Allergies in dogs are a common phenomenon that directly affects around 80% dogs of all breeds. They can be caused by lots of different allergens and some of these allergens can be found in dog food.
As a breeder of white dogs, I have noticed that brown tear stains are one of the first signs of food allergy. I have spent more than 3 years creating a dry food composition that is made explicitly for white dogs, which helps to prevent brown tear stains and ensures balanced nutrition. During the creation period, one of the first things the pet nutritionists and I did was seek out the best anti-allergenic protein sources.
What are the signs of nutrition-based allergies?
Allergic reactions caused by food can appear in many ways, the most common are:
- Skin redness, irritation, flaking;
- Brown stains around eyes, mouth, or paws;
- Strong, unpleasant smell from ears, redness of the ear canal, excess amount of earwax;
- Redness in between paw toes, excess licking, irritation, browning of the coat;
- Swelling or brown stains appearing on the face;
- Changes in the pigment or hair breakage in the coat, in other cases even balding.
What protein sources may cause allergic reactions?
When creating the dry food, the pet nutritionists, veterinarians and I have concluded, that the various common proteins in dog food, even the most popular ones, can cause allergic reactions in white dogs. This is what we found:
68% of white dogs have shown symptoms of allergic reactions after being fed dog food with beef, wheat, pork, milk, or other dairy products as the main protein source.
25% of white dogs showed allergic reactions after being fed food containing chicken, eggs or soybean as a main or a secondary protein source.
These conclusions are why, the main objective for us, was to find the protein sources which will not only ensure the dog will obtain all the needed nutrients, but will also help avoid allergic reactions or at least those caused by nutrition. After a research we discovered 5 protein options that can help to achieve balanced nutrition for my white dogs.
Top 5 anti-allergenic protein sources
Sustainably sourced Norwegian salmon has a high level of omega-3 fatty acids together with DHA and EPA, and contains vitamins, such as A, B, D, E and K that are crucial for ensuring the smooth functioning of the body.
The Omega-3 fatty acids are key components that aid in the lubrication of joints and ligaments, together with anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin A is known for its properties in bone and immune health, Vitamin B promotes healthy cells, Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium, and Vitamin E plays a key role in keeping the skin and coat healthy. Vitamin K helps blood clot and produce energy in the cells.
EPA and DHA are long-chain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. As the organism of the dog does not produce them naturally, these fatty acids must be obtained through nutrition. EPA plays a key role in managing anti-inflammatory problems related to joints, muscles, skin, and coat, heart, and bladder diseases. DHA works as a building block and is found in the brain and eye nerve tissue, which allows it to enhance vision and cognitive function.
It is a small, swarming, shrimp-like crustacean that is sustainably sourced in the Southern Ocean. This MSC-certified marine ingredient is rich in digestible protein and highly palatable, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, which is why it is being used more and more in pet food.
Omega-3 is firstly essential for ensuring the functioning of every cell in the body. Furthermore, it can help increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals, stimulate hormone production, ensure healthy growth, and development, and can help prevent treatment and diseases.
Together with Omega-3 fatty acids krill also contains choline. This organic compound has an essential function in the physiological processes that may help prevent heart, liver, and kidney diseases.
White fish, particularly Atlantic cod, Whiting, Haddock, Hake, Pollock, and others, are an easily digestible protein source perfect for dogs that are prone to liver or kidney disease. Due to the easy digestibility of the protein, foods based on this source are great for all allergy-prone dogs.
White fish oil-based food combined with constant exercise can have a great impact on LDL cholesterol, glucose levels, cardiovascular health, and strengthening of the immunity in dogs. That is why, this protein source is great for well-trained or active dogs that are working (e.g. police dogs, mountain rescue dogs) or actively participating in shows.
Insects such as Black Soldier Fly (BSF) is a great source of energy, proteins, fatty acids, and minerals for those dogs, which are prone to nutrition-based allergies. This protein in dog food is not only an ecological but also an ethical choice as it is an easily renewable, nutrient-filled source.
Lamb is a red meat, which is a perfect source of iron, meaning that it is great for dogs which have iron deficiency, in most often cases due to chronic blood loss or puppies that have been fed poor diets. This protein source is filled with amino acids, calcium and right amounts of fat, which are a crucial element in transportation of fat-soluble vitamins in the body so they can be absorbed.
Lamb is a good choice for dogs that prefer meat over fish or insects in their diet, yet cannot consume beef, chicken or pork because of allergies or problems with the digestive system.
What I have noticed when breeding dogs with white coat is that they are like a piece of white paper – if the nutrition is unbalanced it will show on their coat. A white coat dog will not allow you, as the owner, to take shortcuts regarding his health. That is why it is important to know the needs of the breed, choose high quality, balanced, functional food and healthy, natural skin and coat care products from day 1. That is my recommendation based on the experience, research, and cases I have noticed through 35 years of breeding, grooming, and working directly with dogs.