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hypoallergenic dog food

Does your dog have sensitive skin, poor coat or scratch a lot?  Frequent diarrhoea or vomiting maybe?  Or painful, inflamed ears or runny eyes?  You may have been advised to feed your dog a hypoallergenic diet, but what does this mean?

Hypoallergenic is a term used to describe a dog food which is made using ingredients which are less likely to cause allergies or sensitivities. True food allergies are quite rare in dogs, but food sensitivity or intolerance is unfortunately fairly common.  These sensitivities or intolerances build up over time and mostly affect skin, coat, and digestive systems. Dogs may develop itchy skin, poor coat, dandruff, recurrent ear infections, runny eyes, hot spots, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The ingredients that dogs tend to be more sensitive to include wheat, maize, dairy products, soya and artificial additives. These ingredients are often found in abundance in low-grade dog foods, so it is important to look at the ingredients list carefully. Some dogs can also be sensitive to beef and chicken protein so maybe something to avoid if your dog has skin or dietary problems.

Truthfully speaking though, a diet is only hypoallergenic if it does not contain something that your dog is sensitive to, so if you know which ingredients trigger a reaction in your dog, simply look through the ingredients list carefully and chose a diet that does not contain that ingredient or anything similar. 

Unfortunately, it is not always that straightforward; there are no reliable tests, and it can take at least 6 weeks for any dietary changes to have an effect and reduce symptoms.  A good place to start would be to feed a good quality food, free from low grade fillers and additives like the ones you can find in The Gwen’s Choice range.  If your dog’s symptoms are particularly problematic you may want to consider an elimination diet, starting with a protein and carbohydrate source that your dog does not usually eat, then gradually reintroducing ingredients until the problem ingredient is encountered.  Elimination diets are not nutritionally complete so should not be fed long term and should always be carried out under the guidance of your veterinary surgeon.    

If you’re based in Ruthin and are looking for a local supplier of dog food Ruthin please talk to us to see how we can help you.

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