The feeding of dogs is essential to keep them healthy and energetic. Therefore, diet is a key factor in its development. But, sometimes, adverse reactions to food are observed. One possible solution is hypoallergenic food.
There are times when dogs develop various problems, such as allergy or intolerance, to some components of the diet.
What is a hypoallergenic diet?
Hypoallergenic food or a restricted diet eliminates certain foods that may be problematic or are believed to be causing an adverse reaction in the animal. In the absence of such foods in the diet, a decrease in reactivity to many foods is observed.
However, it must be guided and controlled by a specialist, since, if done incorrectly, it can pose a nutritional risk. This can lead to an increase in food allergies or lead to the development of diseases.
The steps that the professional follow to apply a hypoallergenic diet are:
- Food allergen identification.
- Start of the restriction diet.
- The collaboration of the owners in the monitoring of the diet would be necessary.
- Clinical reassessment to observe the effects of diet.
- Temporary elimination of the food causing the adverse reaction in the diet, with a possible reintroduction after a prudent period of time. This step can only be stipulated by the veterinarian since each case has its own characteristics.
When to apply hypoallergenic food
Hypoallergenic food or diet is recommended when highlighting possible food allergies or intolerances. However, it is also recommended in the treatment of various diseases, such as intestinal disorders or atopic dermatitis.
Causes: adverse reactions to food
They may have an immune origin, such as food hypersensitivity. The definition that can be given is that it is “an adverse reaction to one or several components of the dog’s diet.”
On the other hand, they may have a non-immune origin, such as food intolerance. It is defined as “an abnormal physiological response to a food.”
The question that may arise is: what foods usually cause allergies or intolerance? One way to approach this question is considering that most food components can induce a hypersensitivity response.
These components are essential in the diet and include proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, or fats, among others. Of these, a group of proteins, glycoproteins are the ones that have caused the greatest number of allergic reactions.
These proteins are characterized by being water-soluble but resistant to acids and having a large molecular weight, between 10,000 and 70,000 daltons. Other components that may be allergens are drugs or chemicals that have a high molecular weight.
Among the components that are part of the dog’s feed or pates, beef and beef have been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions in 80% of cases. The rest of meats, such as pork, horse, chicken, or other components such as fish or egg ‘alone,’ have registered a 15% hypersensitivity.
Finally, it should be noted that 5% of cases have been caused by hypersensitivity to cereals, such as soybeans or wheat, or to additives. However, some studies suggest beef and soybeans as problematic foods.
Options in the hypoallergenic food market
Different brands in the market offer different types of hypoallergenic diets and usually provide exclusive protein sources. These diets include fish proteins, cereal-free proteins, or even rare deer proteins.
For example, the Royal Canin brand offers different types of hypoallergenic feed according to the breed of the dog. For dogs of small breeds, weighing less than 10 kilos, they suggest the product Hypoallergenic Small Dog HSD 24.
Other suggested products, to reduce the intolerance to nutrients or ingredients, are feed or dry food. Among them are Hypoallergenic DR 21 or Hypoallergenic HME 23 Moderate Calorie.
In case you want to vary the diet, and not only administer feed to the animal, but there is also a moist food product. The Hypoallergenic Canine Wet pate is composed of nutrients such as low molecular weight hydrolyzed proteins that provide hypoallergenic properties and other nutrients intended to strengthen the skin barrier.
In addition, they not only offer hypoallergenic diets for dogs, since there are also for cats. This diet has been called Hypoallergenic DR 25.
All products have selected sources of protein and carbohydrates. Its components include hydrolyzed low molecular weight proteins, acid grades (EPA / DHA), and other nutrients to promote digestive health.
Another option that the professional can suggest is to make a homemade hypoallergenic diet. The hypoallergenic food of this diet consists of including foods such as fish, various meats – pork, turkey, or horse – with rice or pasta and potatoes.
You have to know the differences between the different types of diet for each type of animal, so you have to assess the characteristics of each one.