This post was most recently updated on December 22nd, 2018
Puppies are cute and lovable beings. Although it’s rare, puppies can also exhibit food allergies at an early age. Their coat will grow poorly and their tummies can get really pissed. If you don’t feed them with the best dog food for allergies, their condition will worsen and a host of health problems will ensue.
|PUPPY FOOD||PRODUCT NAME||PRICE||EXPERT
|Hill’s Science Diet |
Large Breed Puppy
|Wellness Complete |
Natural Dry Puppy
One thing you should know is that food allergies among puppies are difficult to diagnose. This is because pups are more likely to show fleas allergy, atopy, and contact allergy. Some owners dismiss the vomiting and diarrhea as an adverse reaction to human food. But what they don’t know is that their puppies’ immune system is causing the over-reaction.
Symptoms of food allergies in puppies
Like in most beings, an allergic reaction takes place when the immune system tags a substance as harmful. So to prevent the mistakenly identified substance from harming the body, the immune system tries to shut it down. The physical manifestation is vomiting and diarrhea for most.
The same goes for puppies and the best dog food for allergies. The antibodies become overly protective that it starts to attack harmless substances like food ingredients. Usually, a puppy with food allergies will react negatively to one or two food substances.
Food allergies usually happen to two-year-old puppies.
The typical symptoms are itching all over the body for an extended period of time. Also, vomiting and diarrhea aren’t the only tell-tale symptoms. Some pups that have food allergies can have a good stool, but with a scaly and patchy coat.
Also, watch out for ear infections and excessive scratching. Although these are also symptoms of ticks and fleas infestation, it can also be red flags for food allergies.
All dogs can develop food allergies, but breeds like Golden Retriever, Miniature Schnauzers, and Shar-Pei have a higher risk.
Important reminder: each time your puppy eats the food he’s allergic to, the more problematic his antibodies become. That spells worse allergic reactions.
Also, the longer you feed your pup with the same food for years, the higher the chance that he will have allergic reactions to it as an adult.
If you don’t get your puppy off the food, the negative reaction would escalate until his body can no longer handle it. This can happen even to puppy food for dogs with allergies.
Common ingredients that trigger allergies
Almost anything can be an allergen to puppies. Each of their immune systems is unique, thus an unpredictable reaction to substances. But usually, pups and adult dogs are the least allergic to rabbit meat and fish. On the flip side, the most notorious allergy-inducers are dairy, beef, wheat, and (not whole) grains.
It’s important that you know which of these ingredients are causing the adverse reaction on your puppy. Later on, we’ll discuss food allergy testing, what you can do as the owner, and the best dog food for allergies.
But before we proceed, remember that food intolerances are not the same as allergies.
An intolerance happens purely in the digestive system when a puppy can’t digest a substance properly. So when we say your pup has intolerance with formula milk, that means he can’t digest it properly. Allergy is about the behavior of the immune system. The antibodies should be involved.
Back to the first point, here are some of the common food allergens:
Dairy. Pups can both have an intolerance and allergy to dairy. Some dogs tend to perceive excessive dairy as harmful to the body.
Beef. As much as beef is an excellent source of protein, it can also stir allergic reactions.
Chicken. Since this is a source of protein, chicken becomes a candidate as an allergen.
Lamb. Lamb is usually the alternative for dogs allergic to chicken and beef. But if it’s the other way around, you should mix things up.
Soy. This ingredient is both infamous for pups and humans. Eating soy for a long time can actually result in more health issues aside from allergies. This isn’t the best dog food for allergies.
What you should do as the owner
When you suspect that your dog has allergies, the first person to contact is your veterinarian. They can conduct proper diagnosis as to which ingredients are causing the reaction. Usually, the dog doctor will recommend that you try the elimination diet where you slowly limit the ingredients you feed your pooch. This way, you get to point out which of the components are the potential culprits.
You can also seek an alternative if you’re worried that your pup’s life is in danger. Venison and potato are a classic combination for puppy food for dogs with allergies. You can also try kangaroo and oatmeal but this could be difficult to find.
Personally, I recommend that you refrain from introducing new treats to your pup. Once you change the main meals, stick to the old treats until you point out the cause of allergies.
Always seek the help of a vet. As much as you can handle everything at home, it’s not guaranteed to yield a positive result. This is just a guide for the best dog food for allergies and not a medically tested opinion.
Food allergy testing for dogs
Once you have a “lead” to what’s causing the allergies, it’s time to subject your pup to either blood or skin test. Your vet will conduct this process for proper diagnosis. Multiple skin tests with different substances will be administered to confirm the allergen.
Some vets conduct another set of confirmatory testing. They will reintroduce the old food and see if the pooch will have an adverse reaction to it. If the allergy symptoms resurface after a few days, it’s confirmed that the pup has food allergies.
Choosing hypoallergenic diets
A hypoallergenic and the best dog food for allergies is made of limited ingredients. This is to avoid any possible occurrence of allergy and if the irritation did occur, the diagnosis would be easier. However, take note that the FDA has no specific guidelines on which food is actually “hypoallergenic”. But in the canine world, hypoallergenic dog food products are those that are grain-free and with unique protein sources.
I know that the process of trying various food options can be costly and tiring. This is the reason why you should consult with your veterinarian. He or she may prescribe a therapeutic diet or a homemade recipe that suits your puppy.
Although hypoallergenic food products are formulated to dodge common allergenic ingredients, there’s no guarantee that your pup will be totally safe.
As I said earlier, dogs can be allergic to just about anything. A pup can develop allergies to a unique ingredient over time. Being observant and proactive is the only thing you can do here.
Top 2 puppy food for dogs with allergies
To be honest, preparing your pup’s food at home in line with the vet’s recommendations is a guaranteed way to avoid allergies. But I know that not all of us have the time and resources to do the same. So to give you commercial options, here are two of the trusted options for allergic pups.
Hill’s Science Diet Large Breed Puppy Food
Do you have a large breed pup like Labradors or Goldies? The Hill’s Science Puppy Food will be an excellent choice. This is formulated for pups up to one year of age. It has the right balance of calcium for healthy bone growth as well as glucosamine and chondroitin.
This is a chicken meal blended with oats, whole wheat, and fish oil. At first, I raised my eyebrows on the wheat ingredient, but since it’s whole, my pup never had problems digesting this kibble.
The best part here is that this puppy food supports the immune system. It’s packed with Vitamins C and E that help dodge diseases and heal dry skin caused by a previous allergic reaction. This is blended with antioxidants and Omega fatty acids for the best dog food for allergies.
You don’t have to worry since this is very easy to digest and from Hill’s Science’s track record, I’m pretty sure this is vet and pet nutritionist-certified. It’s also free of artificial preservatives and coloring.
And as you know, large breed pups have the tendency to grow too fast. With this food, you’re assured that your pooch will get only the right amount of calcium and nutrients.
Pro tip: Since this is a dry kibble, you may want to pour water into the bowl to make a pate or a runny food consistency.
Wellness Complete Natural Dry Puppy Food
If your pooch isn’t a large breed, the Wellness Complete Puppy Food is what I recommend. This meal is made from deboned chicken, salmon, and oatmeal. Wellness Complete claims this to be nutritionally balanced, thanks to its formulation that supports the digestive, immune, and skeletal systems.
The Wellness Complete puppy food for dogs with allergies also has blueberries, flaxseeds, and spinach for a dose of superfoods. The only downside I can see here is it only comes in a maximum of 30-pound bags.
This food doesn’t have any wheat or soy so you have complete peace of mind. Personally, I like the fact that this food has reduced calorie content. My Corgi pup is growing a bit on the fat side which I’m trying to control from bordering to obesity.
Anyway, what else can you ask for a dog food that’s specifically formulated for puppies? This best dog food for allergies is also rich in DHA that helps develop your pup’s brain. So aside from healing your pup from the physical damages of his past diet, this food will also bring in tons of other benefits.
Personally, my pup grew better with this food for just a few days. His stool is firmer and the itching is starting to abate. It may take another month or two until my doggo finally gets his zest back.
How to ease food allergy
Getting the best puppy food for dogs with allergies won’t cure your pup’s condition right away. You still have to deal with skin itchiness and other infections that already set in. So to prevent the symptoms from escalating or developing another allergy, here are some of my tips:
Gastroenteritis is a no-no. Pups that experience severe gastroenteritis are more likely to suffer from food allergies as an adult dog. If you keep letting your pup dig into the garbage or chew anything outdoors, you have to be wary about this condition. Always prevent any bad things from entering your pup’s gut, especially if it’s not an edible item.
Be careful of your protein choices. Protein is the leading causes of allergies.
Regardless if your pooch already has allergies or not, it’s best to keep an eye on the protein source. Be diverse in your options. The best dog food for allergies have chicken, beef, lamb, and venison. This will stop your dog from developing allergies to the food.
Some pup owners tend to limit the ingredients of their pooches’ meal to the point that it already sacrifices the nutritional value. As much as you want to dodge allergens, you also have to establish a strong mucosal barrier for your pet. This way, their immune system will be stronger and more efficient in detecting harmful substances.
One tip I also learned from my vet is to make protein digestion easier. If you’re serving homemade puppy food, make sure that you grind the protein source first. As for commercial kibble, the meat is already ground and there’s no need to chop it again.
The best dog food for allergies shouldn’t just put a halt on the adverse reactions. It should also help your pup recover from the intense irritation.