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Hypoallergenic dry food: Here's how to best treat food intolerance in dogs

Is your four-legged companion a sensitive dog that frequently suffers from diarrhoea, vomiting and skin itchiness? A diet based on hypoallergenic dry food will help you deal with and solve these issues in the healthiest and most natural way possible!

What are food allergies and intolerances in dogs?

Over the last few years, we’ve been noticing our four-legged companions (dogs and cats) suffering more and more frequently from food allergy and food intolerance symptoms (Link a EN_Allergie e intolleranze alimentari nei cani e nei gatti).
These symptoms are the body’s natural reaction to one or more ingredients in the food eaten.
In fact, when the body identifies substances as being toxic or harmful, it handles these by activating:
  • removal and expulsion mechanisms;
  • an inflammatory process in the target organ.
While allergies trigger an actual reaction of the immune system, intolerance “only” causes an inflammation in one or several parts of the body.
In both cases, it is crucial to get to the source of the problem in order to solve it and avoid the risk of serious complications.
Allergies can cause insane alterations to the immune system, such as anaphylactic shock and auto-immune diseases; food intolerances, if not treated properly, generally create debilitating chronic inflammation conditions.

Food allergy or food intolerance: how can I tell them apart?

It is now evident that many commonly occurring disorders are food related and today, an elimination diet makes it relatively easy to pinpoint the cause.
An elimination diet, in fact, has become popular as the most effective means to diagnose food allergies and/or food intolerance in dogs.
So if your four-legged companion is showing one or more symptoms, we recommend you visit your vet and together decide the necessary steps.
Discovering the cause is important, but so is fine-tuning the differential diagnosis between allergy and intolerance in the best possible way in other to create the right action plan!

The differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance

Below, we explain the differences between food allergy and food intolerance in dogs in simple and direct language.
However, please remember that you should always follow your vet’s advice. Making a bad judgement call can lead to serious health problems for your furry friend.
  • Allergy: involves the immune system;
  • Intolerance: chemical-physical reaction without involving the immune system.
  • Allergy: elimination diet response time from 20 to 90 days;
  • Intolerance: elimination diet response time from 3 to 30 days.
  • Allergy: localised itchiness and lesions of the skin, belly, limbs and auricle;
  • Intolerance: localised itchiness and lesions of the auricle, neck, armpits, rump, thighs, and volar surface of the wrist (carpus).
  • Allergy: sensitisation time from one to ten years;
  • Intolerance: sensitisation time of even just a few days.
  • Allergy: mainly affects the skin and gastrointestinal system;
  • Intolerance: affects all the essential systems with inflammatory responses and/or increased secretions and excretions.
  • Allergy: not affected by the quantity of the allergen; a small quantity is enough to trigger a reaction.
  • Intolerance: reaction depends on the dose.

Allergy vs intolerance: Which one is more common?

Up until a few years ago, it was believed that allergies, alone, accounted for more than 90% of adverse food reactions.
Nowadays, many are convinced that the opposite is true, with food intolerances accounting for the overwhelming majority of cases.
Who’s right? The answer may be found in an elimination diet which, through the time of disappearance of symptoms, can point to an allergic or intolerance trigger of the suspected symptoms.

What does food intolerance in dogs involve and where does it come from?

As mentioned earlier, food intolerance causes the body to react to substances it considers to be toxic with an inflammatory response in the most sensitive part of the body (called “target organ").
The response differs between dogs. Dogs may suffer from ear infections, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, gastroenteritis, cystitis and other conditions.
In fact, inflammation of the target organ can often represent the only visible manifestation of the food intolerance.
Today, the majority of dog health problems directly linked to food intolerance is caused by certain pharmacological and chemical residues in food and in meat meals (meat usually sourced from intensively farmed animals).
Contaminants, preservatives, artificial colours, drug residues and toxins are considered to be the trigger of an adverse food reaction.
So this is why feeding our furry friend a proper healthy and balanced diet based on hypoallergenic dry food is a good first step in eliminating the issue.

What are the symptoms of food intolerance?

Unfortunately, the list of symptoms is incredibly long.
Let’s look at it together:
  • conjunctivitis
  • constant tearing
  • ear infection
  • foul breath
  • itchiness around the neck and the lower back
  • dermatitis
  • hot spots
  • dandruff
  • dry and dull coat
  • constant hair loss
  • foul body odour
  • anal gland inflammation
  • constant craving for grass
  • vomiting at night on an empty stomach
  • flatulence
  • loose stools or diarrhoea
  • licking
  • anxiety
  • unpredictability
  • fear aggression
  • constant barking
  • excitable behaviour
  • fear
  • attention-seeking behaviour
These problems represent the effects of toxic components and/or the defence mechanisms the body uses to get rid of them.
It’s important to know that treating the symptoms is not the solution to the problem. To bring back your four-legged companion to its old self, you need to go to the source.
That’s why, as we said earlier, feeding your pet dry food for intolerant dogs is the first step for a proper recovery.

Hypoallergenic dry food: The solution to food intolerances

To properly treat the target organ from intolerances and allergies, the only solution is a healthy and complete diet, free of toxic residues.
In fact, as little as just one portion of the food the body interprets as being toxic will trigger an inflammatory process or one or several of the above symptoms for a few hours (or, at most, several days).
Otherwise, the symptoms will eventually become chronic if that food continues to be part of the pet's everyday diet.
FORZA10 diets were specifically created to reduce all the problems discussed until their complete resolution and have been doing so with extraordinary effectiveness for 25 years thanks to the use of fish or alternative meats from extensive production.
But there’s more! Our dry food for intolerant dogs contains beneficial titrated and suitably dosed and combined botanical substances and enough amounts of Omega3 to restore the balance between Omega 3 and Omega6, for normal physiological functioning.

Dry food for sensitive dogs: the Active line and the MONODiet line by FORZA10

Our lines Active and MONODiet are the embodiment of our promise.
The first line is indicated for food intolerances and has a disorder-specific nutritional profile (kidney, urinary, intestinal, dermatitis treatment, etc.).
Active is a line of products designed to give dogs and cats with specific disorders and food sensitivities (intolerances or allergies) the nutritional support they need and, because the products are naturally supplemented with botanical extracts, they also respond to the nutritional goals of each disease or disorder.
It is generally recommended by the veterinarian based on the needs of the individual patient.
The second line, on the other hand, is not strictly therapeutic but a line of low-grain and grain-free foods with just a single animal protein source, designed to reduce food intolerances on a general level.
As such, it is a super-premium range for maintenance that uses alternative protein sources to chicken, helping to prevent food sensitivities but also to ensure the health and well-being of pets that are not suffering from any specific condition.

Hypoallergenic dry food supported by science

Our dry food lines for intolerant dogs stem from carefully-designed and accurate studies.
Our ongoing scientific research at FORZA10, in collaboration with prestigious universities and research centres, has led to more than 30 publications  on major international science journals.
Our aim over the years has been to eliminate the risk of pharmacological residue in our foods by refusing to use meats from intensively farmed animals or artificial colours, appetite stimulants and synthetic preservatives.
The research studies demonstrate the efficacy of our diets against food intolerances in dogs but also aim at expanding the horizons of the field by exploring the relationship between diet and disorders that are often considered idiopathic (of unknown origin) or ascribed to other factors.
This is how we discovered and demonstrated adverse food reactions that lead, over time, to unexpected problems, including growth problems, behavioural problems, decreased fertility and immune system dysfunctions.
A proper healthy and balanced diet is the first factor to assure our four-legged companions a happy life by our side!
We hope our article provided you with helpful information for choosing the best hypoallergenic dry food for your dog.