Does Your Dog Need Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Would you be able to tell if your dog needed hypoallergenic dog food? The main reason to feed hypoallergenic food is when your dog is showing symptoms of allergies. Some of the most common symptoms of allergies caused by foods are loss of appetite, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, upset stomach, irritated skin, breathing problems and gastrointestinal difficulties.  Foods that are the most frequent offenders include dairy products, yeast, wheat, soy, chicken, beef and eggs. Less common but worth mention is lactose intolerance as an allergen.  

If your dog is showing signs of allergic symptoms such as throwing up, diarrhea or constant scratching and inflamed red skin, it is recommended that you quickly start them on a diet of hypoallergenic dog food.

How to Isolate the Allergen

If your dog was showing allergic symptoms and you put them on a hypoallergenic food, did the symptoms improve?  Note: It can take up to 8-12 weeks for symptoms to disappear so be patient and give the hypoallergenic food a good trail period. If the symptoms disappear you can be certain there is an allergy involved and you will need to isolate it in order to avoid it in the future.

Isolating an allergen is easier said than done. After all, man’s best friend doesn’t talk much and thus, it is hard sometimes to ascertain how they are feeling. However, though it may not be immediate to find the offending allergen, it is not really all that difficult.

The method most commonly recommended is an “add-back” approach to your pet’s diet.
After changing your dog’s diet to hypoallergenic food and eliminating all allergic symptoms, one at a time add back one ingredient of the allergy causing food.  For example, add corn, wheat or a specific type of meat. Then you simply wait and see if any allergic symptoms return. If so, you are safe in assuming that the allergen is in the food you returned to the diet.

Never Ignore Altered Behavior

Whenever your dog shows new behaviors such as obsessive scratching and licking or digging at their ears, pay attention! This type of behavior change is often indicative that your dog is under some form of stress and is very uncomfortable; commonly the source of the stress is an allergy. Just like people, dogs can “grow into” an allergy by becoming sensitized to an allergen over time. Just because your Goldendoodle puppy does not have an allergy now does not necessarily mean they will live their entire life allergy free. Always be in tune to your dogs behavior so that if it changes, you will notice it sooner rather than later.

Testing for Allergies

Your vet can run allergy tests and determine what your dog is allergic to. However, it is an expensive alternative for making the determination, especially when compared to simply changing their food.

If your dog shows any of the classic symptoms of allergies, hypoallergenic dog food is the most highly recommended method to alleviate the problem.

John Bolt, his wife and their much loved Goldendoodle, live in Ontario, Canada where John works retail by day and maintains his website by night. When not on the golf course with his golf range finder, he’s doing his dog training to learn how to stop barking dogs including his beloved Daly.

James Wellbeloved dog food testimonials from real James Wellbeloved customers and breeders and their happy dogs! For more information James Wellbeloved at

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