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What is a hydrolysed protein and why is it in dog food? It is first important to remember that protein is a core component in any diet which makes up your dog’s muscles, hormones and even disease-fighting antibodies. Hydrolysis is a process where water is used to chemically break proteins down into pieces so small that your pet’s immune system does not react to them – this is especially important for dogs that may face abnormal immune responses from dietary proteins.
Hydrolysed protein dog food is hence often dubbed hypoallergenic dog food which as you may have noticed, is great for dogs that suffer from food allergies.
Dog food allergies can cause your dog to not only develop an itch all over its body, but also hair loss, skin lesions and recurring skin or ear infections. Some dogs may even start to vomit, have diarrhoea or excessive gassiness (although this is rarely associated with allergies and more of leaky gut or IBD).
Food allergy symptoms can start from anytime within your dog’s lifespan from eating a new type of dog food to even after many years of consuming the same dog food. In order to pinpoint the dog food allergy, vets typically would recommend a food trial of hydrolysed protein, hypoallergenic dog food or a diet made from a single-protein source that your dog has never been exposed to before to identify what is causing the allergic reactions.
In some cases, allergic symptoms may point towards a more serious health condition called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) where the gastrointestinal tract of the dog becomes abnormally inflamed. While IBD is typically seen among middle-aged to older dogs, it can still occur to dogs of any age. Some dog breeds such as German Shepherds and Boxers are also known to carry a higher genetic risk for IBD.
Hypoallergenic dog foods are hence ideal for dogs that have food allergies and food intolerances. Apart from being gentle on the your dog’s immune system, hypoallergenic dog food are also known to carry other benefits such as not having artificial preservatives or additives which can contribute to your dog getting higher nutrient values and lower risks of developing diseases. Hypoallergenic dog food also usually has added proteins, vitamins, and minerals to meet nutrient requirements, but rarely exceed them.
It is no surprise that many dog owners opt to feed their dog a hypoallergenic recipe as a preventative measure to begin with even though their dog may not display signs of allergic reactions. This is not recommended as the protein quality of such food is often of lower quality.
If you do decide to start your dog on a new hypoallergenic dog food diet, it is recommended to introduce the new food over a period of 2-3 weeks so that your dog’s digestive enzymes and microflora have time to adjust. The last thing you want is to incite an adverse reaction within your dog by changing its diet too quickly. To avoid that, try gradually reducing the amount of old food and slowly introducing the new food to your dog’s diet.
A fresh, less processed, natural and more nutritious alternative of hypoallergenic dog food includes Pet Cubes’ Gently Cooked Dog Food and Raw Dog Food . There is a wide range of novel protein options to choose from: pork, duck, kangaroo, venison, crocodile. Crocodile is touted as the most hypoallergenic animal protein currently available and great for dogs with any protein allergy.
For example, their Gently Cooked Pork range offers lean pork which is the highest digestible protein source, and it is also low in nitrates.
If you find that your dog may be facing issues while eating its current dog food or itching more than usual, why not try out hypoallergenic dog food?
As always, it is important to consult your veterinarian whenever in doubt as each dog is unique and has varying health conditions to take note of.
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