Food Allergies and Special Dietary Needs for Puppies - dummies

Food Allergies and Special Dietary Needs for Puppies

By Sarah Hodgson

All puppies are different. One formula for food just can’t suit everyone — some puppies have special dietary needs and some may have food allergies. Find out as much as you can about the nutritional needs of your puppy by talking to your veterinarian, breeder, or educated pet-store professional to determine the best diet, especially if you notice anything odd about your dog’s behavior or digestion.

If you have a large-breed puppy who’s prone to growing quickly, don’t be surprised if your breeder or veterinarian suggests feeding her adult food.

Pinpointing allergies to your food and theirs

Diet allergies are being diagnosed with increased frequency in dogs. Symptoms include itchy face and paws, vomiting, and diarrhea. To detect what’s causing an allergy, your vet may begin your puppy on a hypoallergenic diet. Hypoallergenic diets use novel protein and carbohydrate sources that your puppy hasn’t been exposed to.

The protein chosen for hypoallergenic diets is usually one that isn’t in other types of dog food (such as lamb, rabbit, or fish); rice is often the carbohydrate of choice. (Your veterinarian can provide you with a special diet or ingredients to blend.) Flavored treats, chews, and medicines are eliminated. You then reintroduce familiar food groups one at a time to determine your puppy’s allergies.

Accommodating special nutritional situations

Your puppy’s system is simply not set up to handle the variation that’s present in your human diet. Processed foods are especially problematic because they have chemicals that are neither recognized nor absorbed by her body. If you’re determined to share your plate with your pooch, keep the additions unprocessed. For example, fruits, veggies, or meats are best for your pup.

Avoid giving your puppy dairy products. She’s unable to break down the enzymes, which leads to indigestion, diarrhea, and gas — loads of gas.

Some puppies have specific ailments, such as sensitive stomach, that require a prescription diet. Your veterinarian can guide you in your selections and provide appropriate foods to keep your dog well.