Fish Flavor Dog Food

Fish flavor dog foods include salmon, whitefish, and others that are typically well-tolerated by dogs with sensitive GI tracts.  These non-prescription diets are NOT designed to be fed to dogs with true food allergies.  Most of these diets are mixed with other protein sources which are potential allergens.  And they are not made in facilities that can eliminate cross-contamination from other proteins.  Therefore they are not safe for dogs with food allergies.

Dogs with sensitive tummies typically do well on these diets because fish flavor dog food is easily digestible and the trace amounts of other proteins won’t affect them.

Fish Flavor Dog Food and Food Allergies

Dogs with suspected food allergies need to have an elimination diet trial.  This is done by ONLY feeding a hypoallergenic prescription diet (Hill’s z/d, Purina HA, Royal Canin HP) for 8-12 weeks.   That means nothing but the prescription diet and water crosses your dog’s lips for 8-12 weeks.  If the clinical signs of allergies resolve while on the prescription diet, you then feed the original diet as a challenge.  If the clinical signs return, your dog has food allergies.  Go back to the prescription diet exclusively until the clinical signs resolve.  You can then systematically test proteins, one at a time, to find out what your dog is allergic to.  One week, try chicken.  If there are no clinical signs after adding cooked chicken to your dog’s food, your dog isn’t allergic to chicken.  If they react, then they are allergic to chicken.  Feed the prescription diet until the clinical signs resolve and then try a different protein such as salmon.

Food Allergy Testing

Allergy testing for food allergies is fraught with problems.  No test has ever matched reality when checked.  The allergy test could indicate your dog is allergic to something it is not allergic to, or miss an allergen.  These tests are a waste of money and I do not recommend them.  The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to do the elimination diet trial, the challenge, and then to systematically test proteins one at a time.

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