What Is Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?

what is hydrolyzed protein dog food
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If your dog has allergies or you know one that does, there’s a big chance that you’ve heard of a hydrolyzed protein diet for dogs.

What is hydrolyzed protein dog food, really?

As one of the most common food suggestions from veterinarians, it’s a convenient solution for specific animals.

What Is Hydrolyzed Dog Food?

There’s plenty of research to be done in regards to pet food allergies.

However, it’s challenging to pinpoint the specific cause of certain food-related allergies, which is where a special diet is useful.

Hydrolyzed dog food helps to make kibble easier for your dog to digest so that they can absorb the nutrients they need.

Protein is the most vital component of a dog’s diet, as it breaks down when ingested and turns into amino acids.

Unfortunately, some dogs have an abnormal response to traditional dietary proteins, resulting in significant allergies.

Also known as an abnormal immune response, eating regular kibble can bring about several distressing symptoms.

If this is the case for your pet, they might be recommended hydrolyzed dog food, as it contains unique ingredients.

What Does Hydrolyzed Protein Mean?

So, what is hydrolyzed protein? It’s a uniquely designed protein that’s easy for dogs to digest.

Using hydrolysis, water will break down the proteins in your dog’s food chemically so that they are tiny morsels.

As your dog eats their food, the smaller protein morsels become more manageable for their system to ingest.

The smaller composition of protein helps to reduce allergic reactions as well as significant immune responses.

Most veterinarians prescribe this type of food for inflammatory bowel disease as well as general food allergies.

It’s important to note that hydrolyzed protein is often from non-meat sources, such as soy or wheat.

What Are the Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies?

There are two primary jobs that a dog’s gastrointestinal tract has to do every time they eat.

It is responsible for allowing nutrients into the system while also fighting off microorganisms that can cause diseases.

At times, the GI tract can get confused, causing a dog’s system to think that dietary proteins are negatively impacting their health.

When this occurs, they will have an adverse reaction that can present itself in several ways.

The most common signs and symptoms of a dog food allergy include:

  • Recurring skin infections
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Whole-body itchiness
  • Ears, face, or feet itchiness
  • Skin lesions
  • Hair loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gas

Is Hydrolyzed Protein Good for Dogs?

Hydrolyzed protein is not only suitable for dogs; it can be the only choice for a variety of pet parents.

Implementing a hydrolyzed protein diet for dogs should only be done by a veterinarian.

Otherwise, you could be depriving your pet of a healthy and balanced meal.

The vast majority of dogs will not need a special diet for their entire life, so eating traditional protein is best.

However, for pets with significant immune responses to ingesting protein, a hydrolyzed protein diet is necessary.

By far, the most considerable benefit of this type of diet is that it allows pets with allergies to get the nutrition they require.

As mentioned, protein is one of the most important nutrients in dog food, as it helps your dog’s entire body function adequately.

As the protein is broken down into amino acids, it boosts muscle development and tissue repair, especially in active dogs.

You’ll also find that it contributes to healthier coats, better skin, and longer nails.

The muscle repairing benefits of hydrolyzed protein is remarkable, as it helps cells and tissues regenerate quickly.

You’ll also find that these special diets boost the immune system of your compromised pet to reduce the likelihood of illnesses.

Hydrolyzed protein is also necessary for dogs with allergies to help their bodies produce enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.

When you know what is hydrolyzed protein, you can ensure your pets are getting the nutrients they need.

With vet-prescribed food, protein-based reactions are significantly reduced, soothing your pet’s immune system.

Over time, it can also assist with other issues, such as skin irritation, skin sensitivity, and poor digestion.

what is hydrolyzed protein dog food

What Ingredients Are in Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?

You can guarantee that veterinarian-recommended food is likely to have all of the essentials.

Just because your dog can’t eat certain items doesn’t mean they will have poor nutrition.

In certain circumstances, your pets could be prescribed additional medications on top of their new food to quell allergy symptoms.

Fortunately, the vast majority of these specialty food formulas contain most things you’d find in traditional recipes.

Hydrolyzed Proteins

As you would expect, hydrolyzed proteins are the first-listed ingredient in these foods.

The particular protein has peptides with a lower molecular weight than traditional protein.

This makes it much easier for dogs to absorb it into their digestive tract without immune reactions.

B-Vitamins and Amino Acids

By adding amino acids separately, they will also be more comfortable for your dog to ingest without adverse effects.

Combining them with B-vitamins ensures that your pet’s skin becomes healthier, too.

If they have shown signs of discomfort, itchiness, and soreness, these ingredients are essential.

While B-vitamins and amino acids help reduce skin discomfort, they are also preventative.

As such, your dogs will likely never have to worry about skin itchiness ever again.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

DHA and EPA are the Omega-3s you’re most likely to find in dog food.

Like B-vitamins, they help produce healthier skin and nails.

What makes DHA and EPA unique is that they also assist with healthier and shinier coats.

Dietary Fiber

When your dog consumes its food, the nutrients must be absorbed, and waste is passed quickly.

Dietary fiber is essential to promote long-term healthy digestion in all dogs, with allergies or without.

By adding fiber to their diets, digestive discomfort will become significantly less, as well as diarrhea.


Some sources of the vitamins your pets need might not be easy for them to ingest.

This is where supplements come into play, as they add the nutrients to the food in a safe manner.

Also, you can use prescribed supplements to add to their food separately.

You might notice supplements such as riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, and vitamin E in your dog’s food.

They’re an ideal solution for a more well-rounded diet in dogs with significant allergies.

Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food Side Effects

It’s important to look at hydrolyzed protein dog food as a type of medication for your pet.

With that said, there are specific side effects to consider, which your veterinarian will discuss.

You will need to monitor your pet’s progress as you introduce their new food to determine if it’s a reasonable solution.

If you begin to notice any adverse reactions to the food, it’s essential to seek help from a professional.

Some of the most common side effects of this type of dog food include:

Poor Palatability

The majority of manufacturers work hard to ensure special dog foods taste similar to traditional formulas.

However, as the recipes are significantly different, it can be challenging to encourage your pet to eat.

They might not like the texture or flavor of the food, significantly reducing their appetite.

If this occurs, your vet might recommend that you try an alternative type of hydrolyzed protein dog food.

You’ll want to choose a recipe that has flavorful and fragrant ingredients that make it more palatable.

After all, the more delicious your dog’s food is, the more likely they’ll be to eat at their scheduled times.

Increased Diarrhea

Diarrhea is likely to happen at the beginning of switching your dog’s food until their system adjusts.

However, if you notice extended periods of diarrhea, it’s essential to consult your vet for additional assistance.

Diarrhea is common in dogs who switch foods, as their gastrointestinal tract needs to adapt to their new diet.

Fortunately, specialized hydrolyzed protein dog food is designed to reduce and eliminate diarrhea.

If it’s causing significant digestive distress, though, you will want to switch your pet to a different diet.

Persistent Allergies

As earlier mentioned, it’s very challenging to pinpoint the specific cause of a dog’s allergy.

Hydrolyzed protein is often the cure-all for most immune responses; however, your dog might have another allergy.

The most consistent hydrolyzed protein dog food side effects your pet may experience are persistent allergies that don’t go away.

It would help if you also considered the manufacturing facilities where the food is made.

It can be very challenging for big-name brands to keep allergy-friendly food away from traditional dog food.

This can lead to contaminants entering the prescription food, which can cause allergic reactions.

How to Use Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

The feeding schedule for your pet may differ, especially if they have allergies.

You might be required to provide smaller servings throughout the day, so the food is more comfortable to digest.

It’s important to stick to the recommendations from your veterinarian.

Alternatively, dog food manufacturers provide vital feeding information on their packaging.

You’ll be able to find the appropriate serving size for your dog based on weight and activity.

Pet parents will also need to ensure their prescribed food is stored as safe as regular dog kibble to avoid spoiling.

What Is Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?

Learning what is hydrolyzed protein dog food can give you solutions to your pet’s allergies.

As a commonly prescribed type of food for dogs, it allows your pets to get their essential nutrients comfortably.

The number of benefits it brings to dogs can save their lives and keep them healthier.

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