Frequently Asked Questions about Hypoallergenic and grain free dog food.
What does hypoallergenic mean and what is hypoallergenic dog food?
Hypoallergenic dog food has been around for a number of years now. Most people have heard the term but very few understand what it means. The word itself is made up of two parts. The first, Hypo, which means reduced or below normal levels and the second, allergenic, which means a substance which causes an allergy. So Hypoallergenic is something which causes a reduced number of allergies.
When we see the term Hypoallergenic dog food it is essentially a dog food which is less likely (but not impossible) to cause an allergic reaction in your dog. This is because it contains a reduced number or even none of the common ingredients such as grains, beef, chicken, soya, or dairy, which are known to cause allergies in pets.
More information about this can be found on our Blog.
What is grain-free dog food?
Grain free dog food is made using a recipe which contains no cereal. That means there is no wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize, sorghum, millet or rice. In our grain Free range the cereal is replaced with a variety of fresh vegetables, such as sweet potato, carrots and asparagus to name a few, ensuring that your dog gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to give a well balanced, nutritious diet using only natural ingredients. People often believe that because a food is grain free that it is carbohydrate free or low in carbohydrates. Whilst meat is the most important part of your dogs diet carbohydrates are a useful energy source and play an important role. The sweet potato in our recipe is just one of the ingredients but are a great source of carbohydrate.
Visit our blog page to learn more about grain free and the role carbohydrates have to play in a balanced diet.
Does grain free mean it's hypoallergenic?
Although hypoallergenic dog foods don't normally contain grain it does not mean that hypoallergenic and grain free are the same. As we explained earlier Hypoallergenic dog food contains a reduced number of common ingredients which are known to cause allergies in pets, one of which is grain. Grain free dog food is just that, grain free, and could still contain some ingredients which are known to cause allergic reactions in our pets.
In short no, grain free does not mean it's hypoallergenic.
Why do people feed hypoallergenic dog food and what are the benefits?
Like humans, pets health can go out of control when exposed to certain food or chemicals. Food sensitivities are whereby the animal is intolerant (sensitive) to one or more of these materials. The body reacts to this unwanted material and there is belief that this causes upset to the animal by including the following gastrointestinal signs: flatulence, diarrhoea, regurgitation or even vomiting, and unwanted variation with wet or voluminous stool quality. Itching and poor skin may also be associated with adverse food reactions.
It is often a protein which is sometimes associated with a carbohydrate (i.e. wheat gluten) that is implicated with causing an intolerance or sensitivity. Therefore, by formulating these recipes and declaring the individual ingredients we have a minimal number of known protein sources to reduce the risk of intolerance’s or sensitivities occurring. Hypoallergenic food from Dogs Life is formulated to work alongside the digestive system and in turn is made up of ingredients which are less likely to cause adverse reactions – for pets with sensitive skin or digestion.
Our hypoallergenic recipes only use the highest quality ingredients and contains no artificial colours, flavourings or chemical preservatives so are healthier in the long term for your much loved pet.
Feeding a good quality hypoallergenic dog food has multiple benefits to your dog and can reduce many issues such as itchy skin, digestive problems, colitis, ear infections, obesity, blocked anal glands and heart disease to name a few. If your dog is suffering with what you believe to be a food allergy then by feeding a hypoallergenic food you remove the possible cause. As the saying goes, we are what we eat and by eating a good quality, nutritious diet you are giving your dog the best possible chance to be happy and healthy.
Feeding a hypoallergenic food may not give immediate relief from the symptoms. It may take 10 - 12 weeks to see the effects. If there is no improvement after this time we would advise speaking to a vet to check for any underlying health conditions.
What are the symptoms of allergies and does my dog need to have them to eat your food?
Symptoms of allergies in dogs can present themselves in many ways. Dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of hot spots, hives, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, excessive wind and vomiting.
All dogs can eat Dogs life dog food, not just those with allergies. It is eaten by many happy healthy dogs who show no signs of allergies but who want to eat a high quality nutritious and tasty diet.
Which flavour is best?
Which flavour is best can vary from dog to dog. If your dog has no special dietary requirements or allergies then it is down to personal choice. If they do have some allergies or specific dietary needs then a certain variety may be best for them.
Puppy - Designed to meet the specific dietary requirements of puppies and growing dogs. Should be fed until 80% of adult size is reached.
Senior/Light - Senior & Light recipes are designed to be suitable for those dogs over 7 years old and those who have excess weight.
Small Bite - smaller size kibble and designed to meet the nutritional needs of smaller breed dogs.
Large breed - Specifically designed to meet the different nutritional needs of larger breed dogs.
For sensitive stomachs, the Grain Free Salmon, Trout, Sweet Potato, and Asparagus diet would be recommended as this is a grain-free product and will remove any problems through any sensitivity to wheat or grains. Or alternatively, the Duck with sweet potato & orange is also recommended, as it is also grain-free, and formulated with a single protein source. Duck is a novel protein source that dogs are less likely to have been exposed to in the past, therefore are less likely to be intolerant to it.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3, DHA, EPA, Protein, and B Vitamins it offers great support for everyday health and well-being.
Blue Whiting a North Atlantic native, Blue Whiting is a novel and sustainable catch rich in Omega 3 and nutrients which is a lean protein source.
Trout is naturally rich in Omega-3 in the form of EPA and DHA which help support the immune system, helping to improve skin and coat condition and contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help support the skin, joints, and heart health.
Tuna is a good protein source that is highly digestible and palatable. It is also an excellent source of selenium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and potassium as well as vitamins B6 and B12.
Turkey is a rich source of protein and amino acids. It is a lean white meat which is low in fat and helps to promote lean muscle development.
It is also a good source of phosphorous and vitamin B12, niacin & vitamin B6. The Grain-Free Light Turkey recipe has 50% Turkey, a delicious source of protein that is low in fat making this recipe suitable for overweight dogs. This also contains L-Carnitine to help maintain a healthy weight and promote lean muscle development.
Beef - Previously there has been speculation surrounding Beef and pets who have allergies specifically to Beef. However, just like many humans have allergies to milk or peanuts, we are all individuals as are our pets. A dog who has an allergy to chicken may not have an allergy to Beef and this can be applied to all protein sources. Our Angus Beef Grain-Free recipe has many benefits as the recipe is hypo-sensitive meaning that it is not formulated with wheat, wheat gluten, soya, or dairy. It is highly palatable, mineral-rich and a good source of vitamins. It is also the only animal protein source that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids.
Duck is a great tasting animal protein source that also provides a number of important nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being. As well as being a valuable source of protein providing essential amino acids it is also rich in B vitamins and the essential minerals potassium and phosphorus. Potassium plays an important role in maintaining the fluid balance in the body as well as having a vital role in the normal functioning of nerves and muscles, while phosphorus is essential for strong bones and teeth. Among other essential nutrients found in duck, selenium plays an important role in normal immune function and thyroid hormone metabolism and provides antioxidant protection while together the zinc and omega-6 fatty acids can contribute to supporting healthy skin and shiny coat. While a fantastic protein source in its own right, duck is also an excellent alternative for those dogs that may show signs of intolerance (e.g. skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset) to other protein sources.
Lamb - A red meat offering vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, and B vitamins. Also a good source of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.