Is your dog shedding, scratching, or experiencing stomach problems? Although these are extremely common dog-related issues, they are also the most common symptoms of allergies and food sensitivities. Even if your dog is lacking energy or experiencing bad breath, this could be a sign of allergies.
You might be wondering, so what, now I have to go to the vet for an allergy test for my dog? Heading to the vet with your busy work schedule and hectic family life might seem like a chore, plus even basic check ups cost hundreds of dollars. Luckily, there’s an easier solution, and that is to switch to a hypoallergenic dog food.
What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?
Hypoallergenic dog food is exactly as it sounds; it is food that is fed to the dog, but all potential allergens have been eliminated from the recipe. Similar to humans, the most common food allergens in dogs include soy, wheat gluten, corn, and potatoes. Recent research is finding that even chicken is becoming a more common allergen for canines, which comes as a shock to many pet owners.
Hypoallergenic dog food will avoid all of these ingredients, plus any other potential allergens that your dog might be sensitive to. Almost all grain-free dog foods are considered hypoallergenic; the main culprits of dog allergies are gluten and corn, two ingredients that you won’t find in grain-free kibble.
Is a Canine Allergy Test Necessary?
As mentioned before, not all of us have time to take our dog to the vet on a regular basis, and the cost is even more of a deterrent. But if your dog is experiencing some unpleasant symptoms, it is still a good idea to get some allergy tests done. You might first try switching out your current kibble for a hypoallergenic dog food to see if that helps.
But there are sooooo many allergens in the world, and some of them are very unique. PetMD conducted a study to determine the most common dog allergens, and they found that 5% of dogs are allergic to lamb. If your dog is allergic to lamb, a common dog food protein, this is something that you would never know as a pet owner. Unless of course, you have an allergy test performed on your canine.
So even though it isn’t 100% necessary, it is still a good idea. An official allergy test will test your dogs blood for common as well as uncommon allergens. This will give you a clear picture of which foods are OK for your dog, and which ones should be avoided.
Benefits of Making the Switch to Hypoallergenic Dog Food
The main benefit is, of course, that your dog will no longer experience unpleasant – perhaps even life-threatening – allergic reactions. Hypoallergenic foods, grain-free ones in particular, are also known to increase energy levels in canines. On top of that, your dog’s coat will become shinier, shedding will become minimal, and even bad breath can be cured.