Hypoallergenic and limited-ingredient dog treats are becoming easier to find these days, much to the delight of pet owners.
Once rare and expensive, these specialized treats are now an accessible option for pets with food allergies or intolerances.
Why Do Dogs Become Allergic to Certain Ingredients?
Like humans, dogs often eat the same foods and treats over and over again, becoming over-exposed to certain ingredients. Over-exposure to the same ingredient can cause the immune and digestive systems to react in negative ways.
Ingredients like beef, dairy, corn, and wheat (to name a few) are used in the majority of standard dog foods and treats, and many dogs can no longer process them. To make matters worse, when a dog develops one allergy, they’ll likely develop others as well.
Common symptoms and reactions that dogs suffer from when fed these ingredients involve:
- Digestive Issues
- Skin Irritation
- Ear Infections
Veterinarians and dog food manufacturers recognize the seriousness of these allergens and recommend that dog owners keep common allergens away from their pets.
To isolate which foods your dog is reacting to, your vet will likely put your dog on an elimination diet, followed by a food challenge. This is done by solely feeding your dog one or two foods, such as ground turkey and sweet potatoes. Once you’ve established that your dog doesn’t have a reaction to these two foods, you can start the food challenges.
Gradually, more items are added in, until you notice that your dog has an allergic reaction. This will clearly identify which allergens your dog is reacting to, and you can then create a diet avoiding any allergy triggers.
Once you are aware of what ingredients you need to avoid, you can begin experimenting with different hypoallergenic dog treats and holistic dog food, all while monitoring your dog’s reaction to make sure the food is working for them.
For dogs who have developed allergies, hypoallergenic dog food and hypoallergenic dog treats are a must!
Common Ingredients Found in Hypoallergenic Dog Treats
Many more foods are available, offering a wide variety of protein and grains that your dog may not react to. Common ingredients in hypoallergenic dog treats include:
- Duck, Salmon, Venison, or Kangaroo. These are known as “novel” proteins, as they come from only one source and the dog hasn’t been exposed to them in foods or dog treats before. Instead of a dog treat made from a combination of chicken and beef, a hypoallergenic dog treat will contain protein from just one novel protein. By feeding your dog a completely new source of protein like duck, venison, etc. you may avoid a negative response from his immune system.
- Sweet Potato or Pea. Novel proteins are usually paired with a single-source carbohydrate, the most common ones being sweet potato and pea. Like the novel protein, this carbohydrate source should be new to the dog’s diet and isn’t combined with any other carbs or fillers.
- Rice, oats, and other starches. These ingredients used to be key in hypoallergenic dog food and treats, but have since become so common that dogs are developing intolerances to them, too. You can still find these ingredients in some hypoallergenic dog foods, and they may be worth trying if your dog has not been exposed to them before.
4 Best Hypoallergenic Dog Treats: Reviews and Ratings
These hypoallergenic dog treats contain ingredients that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions for your dog. Different ingredients will be suitable for certain dogs vs others, so make sure you understand your dog’s allergies.
You may also consider trying multiple treats with different ingredients and recording your dog’s reaction to help eliminate any ingredients causing a negative affect.
About: Purina Veterinary Diets Dog Treats are designed specifically for dogs with meat allergies and is part of the HA diet treatment. These treats are just the thing for dogs with severe protein allergies, and is commonly prescribed by vets for dogs that need hypoallergenic treats.
- Made of Sensitive Stomachs. Extremely gentle on your dog’s stomach.
- Approved By Vets. These hypoallergenic dog treats are often recommended by veterinarians.
- Meat-Free. Best for dogs with protein/meat allergies
About: Chewerz Sweet Potato Dog Treats are chewy, all-natural hypoallergenic dog treats made from sweet potatoes and designed for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Made in the USA. These treats are sourced, produced, and packaged in the USA.
- Grain Free & Vegetarian. These treats don’t have any strange additives, grains, or meats. In fact, they only have two ingredients – U.S. No. 1 sweet potatoes and vegetable glycerin.
- Satisfaction Guarantee. If your dog doesn’t like these treats, you get your money back!
About: Omega Grain Free Dog Treats are a gourmet, USA-made dog treat that are great for dogs with sensitive tummies.
- Several Flavors. Available in a variety of flavors, including mint, peanut butter, pumpkin, and sweet potato.
- Great Ingredients. Contains no gluten, soy, wheat, corn, rice, artificial colors or flavors, fillers, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils, sugars, salt, waxes or glycerin.
- Health Benefits For Your Canine. Claims to use natural ingredients to reduce allergies and inflammation, along with glucosamine to support healthy joint function.
About: Fruitables Crunchy Dog Treats are baked, all-natural, hypoallergenic dog treats made from fruit!
- Variety of Flavors. Available in a variety of flavors, including pumpkin & apple, pumpkin & banana, pumpkin & blueberry, and pumpkin & cranberry.
- Wheat and Corn Free. Contains no corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, ingredients, or preservatives. Since these treats are made of fruit and veggies, with no wheat or meat, they’re great for dogs with allergies.
- Low Calorie. Only 9 calories pet treat, avoiding hidden calories that can lead to pet obesity.
About: Old Mother Hubbard Dog tTeats are bone shaped dog biscuits that will remind you of the classic dog treat, with a cute design and crunchy texture your dog will love!
- Natural Ingredients. Made with all natural ingredients.
- Several Flavors. Available in multiple flavors and biscuit sizes, with flavors like Liver, Peanut Butter, and even a Vegetarian and Vegan option.
About: Virbac VeggieDent Chews pull double-duty as both a treat/reward for your dog and a dental cleaning.
- Promotes Healthy Teeth. Helps reduce plaque and tartar as your dog chews.
- Freshens Your Dog’s Breath. Leaves your dog with fresh breath – no stinky mouth!
- Limited, Meat-Free Ingredients. Made with limited ingredients and no meat.
About: Greenies Pill Pockets are dog treats that can be used to hide your dog’s medications in a tasty snack. If your dog has other medical issues requiring medication, in addition to their allergy issues, Greenies Pill Pockets could be a solution.
- Multiple Flavors. Available in four flavors: Chicken, Duck and Pea, Hickory Smoke, and Peanut Butter.
- Good for Taking Medication. Masks the smell and taste of the medication.
- Two Designs to Choose From. Choose from Capsule or Tablet pockets.
- Better Than Using Human Food. A healthy alternative to using human foods to hide pills.
Do you have any favorite brands of hypoallergenic dog treats that we did not include? Share your favorites in the comments!