Dog owners are becoming more knowledgeable and diligent regarding nutrition of their dogs, which is why it comes as no surprise that the demand for hypoallergenic dog feeds is on the rise.
Food allergies and intolerances in dogs are generally referred to as adverse food reactions. Although true food allergies are relatively rare in dogs, intolerances are much more common. Some of the most common causes of allergies and intolerances include beef, dairy, wheat, egg, lamb, soy, pork and rabbit. Some dogs could have adverse reactions to multiple feed ingredients.
Commonly, symptoms of adverse feed reactions, involve skin irritation, leading to itchy skin, hair loss, hives, scabs and increased risk of secondary infections. Other dogs may display gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as bloating, vomiting and diarrhoea.
True food allergies develop when the dog’s immune system identifies a harmless feed ingredient as harmful. This leads to the production of antibodies to fight against this feed ingredient. This process of developing an allergy can take months, or even years. If the offending ingredient is ingested following this, an antibody reaction will be triggered, leading to release of inflammatory mediators such as histamine. This will lead to the symptoms associated with feed allergies.
The majority of puppies do not show any signs of an allergy until they are six months old, but most allergies appear in dogs who are 1 – 3 years old. Once your dog has an allergy towards a feed ingredient that they have ingested, it is likely they will always have an allergic reaction whenever they eat it in the future. Food intolerances, unlike allergies, do not involve an immune response, but instead involve a gradual non-immune mediated response to a feed ingredient.
How hypoallergenic dog feeds can help
If your dog displays symptoms of adverse food reactions, your vet may recommend feeding a hypoallergenic dog food. Autarky dog feeds are all hypoallergenic, which means that we avoid any ingredients which commonly cause allergies or intolerances. Feeding a hypoallergenic dog food will therefore limit the risk of exposure to problematic ingredients, which could potentially affect your dog’s health.
Furthermore, if your dog is constantly experiencing reoccurring health issues from an allergic reaction, switching to hypoallergenic dog food could save you money in the long-run.
Hypoallergenic dog food will not cure your dog’s allergy, but by reducing exposure to the ingredient causing the problem you could see improvement in your dog’s symptoms. After switching to a hypoallergenic dog feed, it is unlikely that you will notice any improvement in symptoms immediately. Allow a few days, or even a week to allow time for your dog to adjust to the new feed. If you do not see any differences, then you should medical advice from your vet.
When it comes to feeding your dog the best way forward is to feed a complete, balanced high-quality food that provides of all the key nutrients. Autarky hypoallergenic dog food is formulated using locally sourced, high quality ingredients to provide a naturally balanced diet, packed with additional support for the joints, immune system and digestive tract. Autarky feeds provide high levels of protein, balanced levels of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and natural antioxidants giving you piece of mind that your dog is receiving everything that they need for optimal health.