Let’s get to the point: when it comes to food, dog or human, there is only ONE way to cut through distracting marketing, and find what you REALLY need. Luckily, it’s a simple tactic, and it works every single time.
Look past all the flashy photos, all the diagrams and attempts to get you to focus on one or two aspects of the recipe.
There is only ONE thing you need to see: THE INGREDIENT LIST. That’s it. You’ll notice me referencing the ingredient list more than anything else here, because it’s the only thing that matters. If you want to take other things into account, like the breakdown of percentages of nutrients and minerals, go ahead – but NEVER put that ahead of the ingredient list.
Ready to find your dog some healthy new food they’ll love? Put on your Aware Consumer cap and read on! These are the 5 categories of optimal anti-allergy food. Whatever your pup’s needs may be, using these tactics will help you identify the problem, so your pal can start healing!
Grain Free Dog Food Brands
Sometimes eliminating grains does the trick!
Even if your dog isn’t exactly allergic to grains, we’d highly recommend a grain-free diet all the same. While domestication has affected their genes quite a bit, the notion of agriculture is still totally human. The healthiest things for dogs are ingredients that would grow out in the wild – thinking of your dog as a “paleo” eater is generally a good rule!
(Unless, of course, there’s no way around a meat allergy problem – scroll down for vegan options)
Acana Regionals Dog Food
I will of course begin this list with what I feed my own dog, Poppy:
Poppy is a rescue from the north of Quebec – she’s fully in touch with her hunter instincts, so I would not dream of feeding her something less than their signature “whole prey” blend.
There are fewer vitamin supplements in Acana than in most dog food, because they pack it with plants such as kelp, parsnip, pumpkin, and various greens! There are even trace amounts of lavender and turmeric.
Iams – Grain Free Recipe
There’s no false advertising here when it says “with real chicken and peas” – those are the first two ingredients listed, which means there’s more of those than anything else in the recipe. Win!
This choice also depends on how much you trust the use of “chicken by product meal”. Some people say it’s completely fine and has enough nutrients for your dog, so long as the type of meat used is specified (ie, that it doesn’t mysteriously say “meat meal”). Some people prefer to feed their pet “human grade meat”. If you have no issue saving a bit of funds by feeding your dog the parts of chicken that don’t get used for human food, then this grain free option could be for you!
Venison Based Dog Food
Venison (ie, deer meat) is one of the least common meat allergies in dogs. Not surprising, considering that deer is one of the wolf’s favourite prey! Try Venison-based food to see if chicken, beef, or pork, etc are the problem.
Taste of The Wild – Pine Forest/Appalachian Valley Grain Free Dog Food
Aside from the venison, another benefit to Taste of The Wild is that there are 5 types of “fermentation products” listed in the ingredients. This means that there are substantial amounts of probiotics, which can further aid any digestion problems your pup may have been going through lately!
There are also a bit of lamb, duck and fish listed (this is not a limited-ingredient product).
“Pine Forest” is for bigger breeds, while “Appalachian Valley” is for smaller breeds.
These are also grain-free!
Natural Balance – Sweet Potato & Venison
Venison is truly the only animal protein source in this recipe. There is of course pea protein as well, which is generally one of the most complete proteins out there (amazing in human protein shakes too!)
There is a little bit of fish oil listed, so if fish is your main concern, go with Taste of The Wild for Venison, or Acana for other meats.
If you’ve tried different types of meat-based food and haven’t seen any improvement, it may be time to pull out all the stops and go totally veggie. There are only two North American companies holding down this fort, so here we go:
Pea protein seems to be the focus with V-Dog. Other protein-rich ingredients include quinoa, lentils, peanuts… But mostly this relies on the power of peas.
Halo Holistic – Garden of Vegan
This relies on a mix of green peas and chick peas, plus a handful of greens and barley instead of brown rice! Mmmm. Fibre.
Many people find this tactic is optimal for identifying what ingredients exactly are causing allergic reactions.
Acana Singles Formula
Full disclosure: we do not have any affiliation with Acana. We just think this brand is prima perfecta.
Their singles formulas, unlike the aforementioned regionals, rely on 50% of the chosen meat. In this case, it includes fresh pork, pork meat meal, pork liver, pork fat, pork kidney, pork cartilege, and pork freeze-dried liver. Plus botanicals and a few supplements!
An ideal way to narrow down your pup’s preferences.
Earthborn Holistic Grain Free Food – Venture
This is the first brand I’ve seen offer Turkey! Perhaps that’s just what your dog needs. They also offer more predictable ones such as pork, and pollock.
Squash and pumpkin are known to be veeewy vewy good for our doggo’s bellies as well. Another grain free formula with a high chance of soothing your dog’s digestion woes!
The WORST Dog Food Brand: Stay. Away. From. Purina.
I’m not here to tell you that you have to buy the highest end food for your dog. It’s up to you how much money is reasonable to spend, and what ingredients are fit for your pets.
But since I care about the health of your dog, there is one brand I have an obligation to point out.
Purina are the experts of false advertising.
Let’s skip past the lawsuits of over dog seziures and slow, painful deaths that happened in 2015, and stick to my strategy of skipping straight to the ingredient list. This is what they list for their anti-allergy food, called PURINA®PRO PLAN® VETERINARY DIETS Canine HA Hypoallergenic:
CORN STARCH, PROCESSED SOY, UNDEFINED “MINERALS”, OIL, AND SUGAR!?!?!?!
Are. You. Kidding. Me. This is the type of thing that makes the me question the validity of the FDA.
They did not label this list “ingredients”, but “composition”…. It smells like a legal loophole; that there are other ingredients in this “food” they don’t want us to know about. What could be worse than this, anyway? Chemicals that induce addiction? That sounds extreme, but I’m honestly at a loss – how much worse can this list get?
Regardless, this “composition” list speaks for itself. If a pet you know is being fed any type of Purina food, please do what you can to help change the situation. Saving money on pet food is fine, but jeproadizing a pet’s life span, brain function, and digestive health is not.
If you’ve been taken in by this company’s expert false advertising, no need to feel bad. They’re professionals at duping loving dog owners who want the best for their pet! Hopefully this article can help you find a healthful alternative.