Just like humans, many dogs suffer from food allergies that cause uncomfortable symptoms. The most common signs to look out for are:

  • Itchy, irritated skin.
  • Chronic ear infections.
  • Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Lack of energy and poor coat condition.

Food allergies develop when a dog’s immune system overreacts to a particular protein in their diet, identifying it as a threat. This triggers an allergic response.

Common Food Allergens 

The most frequent culprits behind dog food allergies are proteins like:

  • Beef.
  • Dairy products.
  • Chicken.
  • Wheat/grains.
  • Soy.
  • Eggs.

Switching to a diet without these typical ingredients can provide much-needed relief to your canine friend.

What is Hypoallergenic Dog Food?

Hypoallergenic dog foods are formulated without the most common allergenic proteins and ingredients found in regular commercial pet foods. The people at Nextrition say that they feature novel protein and carbohydrate sources that are unlikely to cause a reaction in dogs with food sensitivities.

Novel Proteins

Rather than beef, chicken or dairy proteins, hypoallergenic formulas contain proteins like:

  • Bison.
  • Venison.
  • Duck.
  • Salmon/other fish.

These unique protein sources are far less likely to trigger allergies since a dog’s body has never been exposed to them before.

Limited Ingredients 

Besides new proteins, hypoallergenic pet foods have a limited number of ingredients overall, typically under ten main items. This makes it easier to identify any potential allergens and eliminate them.

Other ingredients commonly found in these diets include:

  • Non-wheat complex carbs like potatoes or oats.
  • Healthy fats like canola oil.
  • Supplements like probiotics for gut health.

No Fillers or Artificial Preservatives

You also won’t find any vaguely labeled ingredients like meat meals or byproduct meals in hypoallergenic dog food. These often contain rendered protein sources that are hard to identify.

Artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors are also eliminated, as these additives can sometimes contribute to allergic reactions.

How Hypoallergenic Food Helps

Feeding a limited-ingredient, hypoallergenic diet has many benefits for dogs suffering from food allergies. These include:

Reduces Itching and Skin Issues

By removing the offending allergen protein, dogs often experience major relief from persistent itchy skin, hot spots, and rashes within just a few weeks. Their coat starts to look shinier too.

Supports a Healthy Gut

Novel carbohydrate sources provide prebiotic fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in a dog’s gut microbiome. This promotes better nutrient absorption and fewer digestive issues.

Boosts Energy Levels 

With no energy being wasted on an overactive allergic response, dogs have more vigor and stamina when eating a hypoallergenic diet tailored to their needs.

Better Overall Health

Food allergies can take a toll on the entire body, not just causing skin and stomach problems. Eliminating allergens reduces overall inflammation and supports the immune system.

The Right Hypoallergenic Diet

Getting your dog on the most appropriate hypoallergenic dog food might take a bit of trial and error. You can start by eliminating common allergens like beef and wheat. If symptoms persist, try a diet with even more limited novel ingredients.

Transitioning to a New Diet

When switching your dog to a hypoallergenic diet, you need to transition slowly. Abruptly changing foods can cause digestive upset like vomiting or diarrhea. Over the course of 5-7 days, you should gradually introduce the new hypoallergenic food to your dog by mixing it with their old diet, increasing the ratio until they are fully transitioned. This allows their system to adjust to the novel ingredients. Be patient, as it can take up to 12 weeks to see maximum benefits once you remove all potential allergens from their diet.


Work closely with your vet to pinpoint your dog’s specific allergens and find a tasty limited-ingredient formula they can thrive on. With the right hypoallergenic diet and some patience, your four-legged friend can finally experience lasting relief.