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Allergy Dog Food-Can Hypoallergenic Food Help My Dog?

Updated on January 15, 2010

Using Allergy Dog Food To Treat Problems In Pets

You may not be aware of it, but food allergies are actually responsible for a tenth of the allergy issues we see in dogs. They're also responsible for a little less than half of scratching and itching problems. The bad news is that we don't really know why dogs get allergies. Even if a food has worked just fine for years, it can suddenly become a problem. Dogs will become sensitive to specific ingredients in their dog food, and their bodies try to get rid of it, attacking themselves. This can make it hard to get rid of allergies.

Fortunately, we do know a few things about allergies in dogs. We have the ability to diagnose allergies and use allergy dog foods and special diets to treat them and prevent their symptoms. We've seen allergies in all breeds, both sexes, and equally in intact and neutered animals. Allergies have been seen in dogs as young as five months and have appeared in dogs as old as twelve. However, most cases seem to appear between the ages of two years and six years. Most dogs suffering from food allergies also have other allergic problems.

There are a few common ingredients likely to cause food allergies. These include beef and chicken, dairy ingredients, wheat, corn and soy, and eggs. These are also the most common ingredients in commercial dog food, and dogs' allergies to them probably come from over exposure. To find out if your dog is suffering from one of these allergies, a food trial will be required. This involves testing foods one at a time, under carefully controlled conditions. Many dog owners also use an elimination diet to determine what foods are safe. They have to avoid all treats, including rawhide chews, and may even have to steer clear of flavored medicine. Unfortunately, we can't detect a dog food allergy with a blood test.

Once you've found out which ingredients are causing the problem, all you have to do is avoid feeding them to your pet. While treatment with fatty acids and drugs can relieve the symptoms for a short time, homemade diets and allergy dog food are really the best choice. The good news is that there are plenty of guides to help you make your own allergy dog food, as well as a number of good anti-allergy foods in stores. Just make sure that all foods are well made and nutritionally balanced before you buy. if you're concerned about quality, just ask your vet which foods to choose.

Another Opinion about Dog Allergies

Hypoallergenic Dog Food

Over the course of the past few years, we've become more aware of the fact that people aren't the only ones with allergies. Our dogs can get them, too. A lot of problems that look like misbehavior or other health issues can actually turn out to be related to what your pet eats. That's why there are so many different types of hypoallergenic dog food currently on the market. However, not all dogs have the same allergies. Let's look at some of the things that might cause allergies, and what we can do to help fix them.

One surprising problem for many dogs is grain food. There are some grains and starches more likely to cause problems, but they're also some of the most commonly used ingredients in dog foods. After all, most kibble is based in soy, corn, rice, wheat, oats and other starchy materials. Hypoallergenic dog foods attempt to use less common carbs, in order to help dogs avoid the ones that are causing them issues. They're also usually fairly low in carbohydrates, in an attempt to reduce the risk of a reaction.

Most dogs aren't allergic to all carbohydrates, though. Some of them can eat wheat but not rice, or barley but not corn. The same goes for meat allergies. Dogs are very likely to develop an allergy to beef - one of the most common dog food ingredients - but less likely to have allergies to the less common lamb. However, you shouldn't make the mistake of believing that you can start a dog out on these hypoallergenic foods to prevent problems in the future. After all, most allergies happen because of exposure, not because of the ingredient itself.

A healthy dog with no problems eating grains or other starches should eat a fifth to half its diet in carbohydrates. The rest of the diet should be non-carb based. However, dogs with allergies will require something a little different. Hypoallergenic dog food, whether made at home or purchased from a commercial supplier, shouldn't include as many carbs.

No matter what kind of diet your dog eats, remember that he or she shouldn't eat the same thing forever. Should you switch foods all the time? No - that can cause stomach upset and other digestive problems. However, changing from time to time and making sure all new foods have different ingredients is a great choice for people who want to keep their pets from getting allergies.

Don't make the mistake of buying a hypoallergenic dog food for a healthy animal. It could give your dog even greater sensitivities later. Instead, change foods periodically, read labels with care, and consult your vet about the right diet for your pet. It'll help you have the healthiest pet you can.



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