Up until about 4 years ago, I had never given the thought of dogs having allergies. Dogs can be affected by environmental allergens as well as food allergens. It makes sense when you really think about it, but what do you do when this happens? How do you pick the right food? It can be so overwhelming when you look at all the different types of dog food. Picking the right food usually does not happen right away. This “trial and error” period can be very trying, but here are some tips to follow when you are choosing food for your dog that suffers from food allergies:
- Proteins– There are several different protein sources that dog food uses. Keep track of the specific protein used in the food when trying to find the right one that your dog can tolerate. Pork, beef, chicken, duck and salmon are some of the common proteins used.
- Carbohydrates– This is another main ingredient in dog food that can affect allergies. When changing foods, also change the carbohydrate source. Keep track of these sources and monitor how your dog is doing. Common carbohydrates used are rice, brown rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and several others.
- Fillers– All dog foods have some fillers in them. Some have lots. When reading the ingredients, the fillers should be towards the bottom of the list. This means that there is very little fillers. If they are at the beginning of the ingredient list, then that dog food has a high amount of fillers.
It may be necessary to seek further help from a veterinarian. They may recommend doing a blood allergy test. This will give you a list of specific allergies and will help in the food choice. Sometimes, a prescription dog food may be the best option when your dog has several allergies. The prescription dog food has different proteins and carbohydrates compared to store-bought dog food. This is the case for our Brutus at home (read his story here). He is on Iams KO, which has kangaroo and oats for the main ingredients.
Choosing the right food when your dog suffers from food allergies can be a difficult task. Keeping track of the proteins and carbohydrates in the foods tried will help when making your choices.
Good luck and feel free to leave any other tips that you may have!