What is Hydrolyzed Protein in Dog Food?

dog sitting in grass

Dog food with hydrolyzed protein is not an everyday food for your precious pooch. Your vet typically prescribes it for pups with food allergies or inflammatory bowel disease.

Protein is an essential component in Fido’s diet. His hormones, muscles and the antibodies to fight diseases are proteins. Your pup takes all the proteins he needs from the food you provide, and his body then breaks the proteins down into amino acids, which are like building blocks. After that, his body rebuilds new proteins by combining different amino acids. 

Sometimes, a dog’s system mistakes dietary proteins as enemies, triggering abnormal immune responses, aka allergies. Hydrolyzed protein is the solution. It is produced by a hydrolysis process, which is the chemical breakdown of proteins by using water. This process breaks the proteins into bits so minuscule that they slip right past the pup’s immune system without being identified as a threat. Thus, your vet prescribes food containing hydrolyzed protein to help your pupparoo get over the allergy.

How to recognize a food allergy in your dog

Look for any of the following telltale symptoms of allergies:

  • Hair loss
  • Itchiness in the face, ears or feet or even the whole body
  • Skin lesions
  • Recurrent ear or skin infections
  • Digestive problems such as excessive gassiness, vomiting and diarrhea

The what and why of food allergies

Your best bud can begin early, even before he is a year old. However, dogs of any age can develop allergies. It is essential to watch for red flags when your pup starts a new brand of dog food. Again, there are exceptions because the body could suddenly mistake proteins to trigger an allergy even after years on the same diet.

Your vet will likely suggest a food trial over about two months. During this time, you might have to feed your pup on hydrolyzed protein to see if the symptoms improve. If the problem reappears after Doggo is back on his usual diet, the vet can diagnose an allergy.

Can all dog breeds develop allergies?

The answer to this question is yes,it can happen to any dog. However, the following breeds are genetically predisposed to allergies: Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Poodles and Shar-Peis.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.