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Your dog is a member of the family, so finding a diet that works with their allergies is an integral part of running a happy home. Unfortunately, many commercial dog foods and treats have so many ingredients that eliminating the allergens is all but impossible.
While it’s important to work with your dog’s vet to identify allergies, Freeze Dry Australia offers a wide range of hypoallergenic dog treats that can help when you are ready to strategically introduce new foods. Even better, many of our products are single-ingredient whole foods, so you will know exactly what you are feeding your pooch.
- What are the symptoms my dog has allergies?
- What not to give dogs with allergies
- What does hypoallergenic mean?
- Ingredients to look for in Hypoallergenic dog treats
- Hypoallergenic dog treats to try with your pup
- Browse more Freeze Dried pet foods
What are the symptoms my dog has allergies?
Allergic reactions are basically when an immune system responds improperly to some sort of foreign agent, such as a food or environmental particulate. Your dog’s body recognises a seemingly harmless substance (like chicken or beef) as a threat. As a result of this misidentification, the immune system treats the substance as an invader and starts producing antibodies to fight it off.
The symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs can vary widely. It’s also important to realise that you can’t rely on your knowledge of human allergies when it comes to assessing your pup. While there is some overlap in symptoms, the two bodily systems can behave wildly differently. Your best course of action is to work with your vet to identify potential allergies, but paying attention to the symptoms explained below can help facilitate those conversations.
Dermatitis is when the skin gets irritated, itchy and dry. If your dog suffers from dermatitis, one of the first things to inspect for is fleas. Flea bites are a common cause of skin inflammation in dogs, and you’ll want to eliminate them as a possibility before looking too far into food allergies.
When a dog is suffering from food allergies, dermatitis will often cause itchiness in the paws or ears, and may also be accompanied by gastrointestinal upset. Keep in mind that dogs may be affected by seasonal allergies. So if the symptoms seem more related to the time of year than diet, that could be the cause.
Beef, Dairy and Chicken are among the leading allergens in dogs – Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
While hives often accompany dermatitis, they are worth recognising as different symptoms. Hives are typically distinct raised welts, as opposed to the patches of dry skin that are associated with dermatitis. Your dog’s hives will often itch, but this is not always the case. One of the issues with hives as a symptom of allergies is that they often present themselves as late as 6 hours or more after exposure to the allergen. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine precisely what triggered them.
GI issues from allergies typically include diarrhea and vomiting. As you can imagine, these aren’t always a strong indicator because they are a symptom of so many other health issues as well. If you notice that your dog is having regular gastrointestinal upset, your vet may recommend keeping a journal of your dog’s diet and symptoms to help isolate the cause.
Edema is when the face or throat swell up, including a dog’s ears or eyelids. Typically, this reaction is very frightening to pet owners, but it is actually not especially dangerous. Edema tends to set in from as little as thirty minutes from the time of exposure to as much as several hours later. Unlike other symptoms like rash or GI upset, edema is usually a fairly strong indicator that the issue is an allergy and not something else.
Australia boasts several hypoallergenic dog food brands, including Freeze Dry Australia – Zachspetshop.com.au
What not to give dogs with allergies
It is difficult to create a distinctive list of foods to avoid when your dog has allergies because every dog is different. Just like some people are allergic to peanuts and others are allergic to shellfish, dog allergies can vary widely.
Your vet will help you develop a plan for testing and identifying your dog’s allergies, but here are some common allergenic food groups that you may consider eliminating from your dog’s diet.
In general, it’s good to avoid feeding any dog grains like corn, soy and wheat. In addition to being a common source of allergies in dogs, they are also just not particularly healthy for canines. Many commercial dog foods use grains as fillers, so be sure to read ingredient labels carefully.
The most common symptoms seen with grain allergies include itchy, red skin, chronic ear infections, and discoloration of the feet from the pet licking them so much – wagwalking.com
Just like in humans, dairy is a common source of allergic reactions in dogs. Even if your dog doesn’t have a diagnosable dairy allergy, the high concentration of fat and lactose can cause inflammation and digestive upset.
Many dog foods contain added preservatives in order to help keep them shelf stable or to enhance flavour. These include products like sodium nitrate, BHA, propylene glycol and MSG, among others. While these additives are generally considered safe, they may be a source of allergy or sensitivity to your dog. This is one of the many reasons that we rely solely on freeze-drying as our method of food preservation, without using any added substances.
For any dog food you’re considering for purchase…Search the label for the “fat” ingredient, followed by the words “preserved with BHA“. Avoid these. – dogfoodadvisor.com
What does hypoallergenic mean?
Despite a common misconception, hypoallergenic does not mean completely free of allergens. It just means that a food or product has a very low chance of producing an allergic response. Some dogs may very well have a negative reaction to foods marketed as hypoallergenic.
So, until you truly know what your dog’s allergies are, you have to tread carefully with new foods. Once you work with a vet to identify allergies, you’ll know which hypoallergenic dog treats are actually appropriate for your pup.
Typically, your vet will propose a food trial in which your dog relies solely on a single source of food for several weeks. Then, new foods will be introduced slowly in order to identify the specific sources of allergic reaction.
There is no evidence for the classification of certain dog breeds as being “hypoallergenic.” – Sciencedirect.com
Ingredients to look for in hypoallergenic dog treats
A common strategy when trying to feed dogs with suspected allergies is to introduce a novel protein. This is simply a meat that your pup has never eaten before, or at least hasn’t consumed in a while. For example, if your dog’s usual food is derived from chicken and beef, you could consider switching them to fish, turkey or even kangaroo.
By swapping their normal diet for a novel protein, you are eliminating the potential allergen and—hopefully—introducing something that isn’t going to cause a negative reaction. Here are some common novel proteins used as ingredients in hypoallergenic dog treats and foods:
- Fish is common enough that it’s easily obtainable in pet food form. Furthermore, it is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential nutrient for every dog’s diet.
- Kangaroo is an ideal choice because there is a good chance that your dog doesn’t eat it regularly. It’s not a common ingredient in most commercial dog foods, so it should make for a novel protein for your pup.
- Crocodile is another rare meat to feed your dog. Although it may be difficult to use as a primary food, it can be an ideal hypoallergenic dog treat once your pet is ready to introduce new meats.
- Emu is a good alternative for dogs who are used to beef. Even though an emu is a bird, nutritionally their meat is more like red meat than poultry.
Hypoallergenic dog treats to try with your pup
If you are ready to introduce some new hypoallergenic treats into your doggo’s diet, here are some of our top offerings. All of our products are freeze-dried right here in Australia, a preservation process that maximises the amount of nutrients retained and doesn’t require any additives or preservatives.
Freeze Dried Kangaroo Cookie
These bite-sized kangaroo cookies are 100% kangaroo meat. In addition to being a likely novel protein, kangaroo is high in protein and low in fat. Because kangaroos live in arid environments their meat is also known for being gentle on dogs with sensitive digestive systems.
Freeze Dried Kangaroo Liver
If your dog responds well to our kangaroo cookies, they will love these 100% kangaroo liver treats. Organ meats are a great source of iron, zinc and B-vitamins.
Freeze Dried Emu Cookie
Another one of our favoured “cookie” treats, these emu bites are ideal if your dog is also trying to lose weight. Emu is naturally low in fat and cholesterol while still providing many of the nutritional benefits of red meat.
Freeze Dried Salmon Bellies
If fish is a novel protein for your pup, these raw salmon bellies are a nice “sometimes” treat to encourage them through the food elimination process. As an added benefit, the omega-3s help promote a luscious coat and healthy skin.
Freeze Dried Whole Sardines
In addition to being a hypoallergenic dog treat, our freeze dried sardines also contain nutrients that are known to reduce inflammation. Since many dogs have an inflammatory response to allergens, sardines could be a perfect option to promote health.
Freeze Dried Whole Green Lip Mussels
These can be a bit smelly to sensitive human noses, but your dog will love our green lip mussels. One of the benefits of treating pets to whole foods like these is that it is much easier to identify specific allergens. Generic treats made of mixed ingredients can be more trouble than they are worth. If your pet has a poor reaction, you won’t know which of the many allergens are the culprit.
Freeze Dried Crocodile Bites
Crocodile is a novel protein rich with calcium, glucosamine and chondroitin. These crocodile bites will provide a nice change of pace for your dog and are small enough that you can treat them to several pieces without feeling like you are overindulging your pooch.
Browse More Freeze Dried Pet Foods
That’s just a small sampling of our collection. View our full range of freeze dried foods, treats and supplements to find the best hypoallergenic options for your dog. Remember also that it is important to work closely with a veterinary professional when identifying and treating allergies in your precious pup.