Taking the Bite Out of Dog Allergies: A Guide to Hypoallergenic Treats

Introduction to Dog Allergies

Food allergies and sensitivities are surprisingly common in dogs. In fact, vets estimate that 10% of all dog allergies are caused by food. The ingredients that most commonly trigger allergic reactions in dogs include beef, dairy, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, and corn.

Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities typically exhibit symptoms like itchy skin, ear infections, gastrointestinal issues, or hair loss. They may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and chronic ear infections. Identifying the allergen and eliminating it from your dog's diet is crucial to managing the symptoms and providing relief.

While dog allergies can't be cured, they can be effectively controlled through diet. Finding hypoallergenic treats and foods is essential to your dog's comfort and long-term health. Keeping a close eye on symptoms and working with your vet will ensure you catch any allergies early and take steps to minimize your dog's discomfort.

What are Hypoallergenic Dog Treats?

Hypoallergenic dog treats are specially formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions in dogs. The term "hypoallergenic" means that the treats contain ingredients that are less likely to cause an allergic response.

There are a few key characteristics that make a dog treat hypoallergenic:

  • Novel proteins - Treats contain protein sources that dogs are less commonly exposed to, like insect protein, duck, venison, or rabbit. This reduces risk of allergy.
  • Limited ingredients - Hypoallergenic treats contain fewer ingredients overall, avoiding common allergens like chicken, beef, wheat, soy, and corn.
  • Grain-free - Grains like corn, wheat, and soy are common triggers for food allergies in dogs. Hypoallergenic treats are grain-free.
  • Carbohydrate alternatives - Instead of grains, hypoallergenic treats use carbohydrates like pumpkin, potato, chickpea, or pea flour.
  • No artificial additives - Preservatives and artificial colors can also cause allergic reactions, so hypoallergenic treats avoid these.

The specialized ingredients and strict manufacturing processes for hypoallergenic treats differentiate them from regular treats that may contain problematic ingredients for dogs with allergies.

Benefits of Hypoallergenic Dog Treats

Hypoallergenic dog treats provide numerous benefits for dogs with allergies. They are designed to reduce allergy symptoms by avoiding problematic ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions. The main benefits include:

Reduce Allergy Symptoms

The goal of hypoallergenic treats is to eliminate ingredients that commonly cause allergic reactions in dogs. This includes dairy, wheat, soy, chicken, beef and more. By removing these triggers, hypoallergenic treats greatly reduce adverse reactions like itching, digestive upset, hot spots, ear infections and more.

Provide Alternative Protein Sources

Since animal proteins like chicken and beef often trigger allergies in dogs, hypoallergenic treats use alternative protein sources like insects protein, duck, venison, rabbit, lamb, salmon, etc. These novel proteins are less likely to cause an allergic response. 

Improve Digestive Health

The digestive tract is vulnerable to allergies and inflammation. Hypoallergenic treats crafted with gentle, easy-to-digest ingredients can greatly improve gastrointestinal health. This leads to normal stool, reduced gas and bloating, and an overall happier digestive system.

Insect Protein as Hypoallergenic Ingredient

Insect protein is growing in popularity as a novel protein source for hypoallergenic dog treats. The benefits of using insect protein include:

  • Insect protein is less likely to cause allergic reactions in dogs. Many dogs are allergic to common proteins like chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs. Since insect protein is new to their systems, it generally does not trigger any existing allergies.
  • High digestibility. The protein found in insects is highly digestible for dogs, making it gentler on sensitive stomachs.
  • Sustainable and ethical. Insect farming has a much lower environmental impact than traditional livestock. It also avoids concerns over animal welfare in factory farming.
  • Nutrient-rich protein. Insects provide a complete, highly bioavailable source of amino acids and protein for dogs.

Some common insect protein sources used in hypoallergenic dog treats include:

  • Crickets - A complete protein source. Provides amino acids, omega-3s, vitamin B12, and other nutrients.
  • Mealworms - Also a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like zinc and iron.
  • Black soldier fly larvae - Rich in calcium and protein. Helps strengthen bones and muscles.

The unique protein profile of insect ingredients makes them a novel, hypoallergenic choice. Since dogs have likely never consumed these protein sources before, they are less prone to triggering allergic reactions and intolerances in sensitive dogs. When sourced and processed properly, insect protein offers a sustainable and nutritious alternative protein for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.

Other Hypoallergenic Ingredients

In addition to insect protein, there are other hypoallergenic ingredients commonly found in specialized dog treats that can help minimize allergic reactions in dogs. These include:

Fruits and Vegetables

Hypoallergenic treats often include antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables which provide vitamins and minerals. Ingredients like carrots, apples, blueberries, and pumpkin are nutritious and less likely to cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Carefully choosing alternative protein and whole food ingredients can create tasty treats that minimize allergy triggers for dogs. Variety is key when finding ingredients your dog can tolerate.

Choosing Hypoallergenic Treats

When selecting hypoallergenic treats for your dog, there are a few important factors to consider:

Consult veterinarians: Have an open discussion with your vet about your dog's allergies and get their recommendations on hypoallergenic treats. Vets stay updated on the latest products and can suggest the best options for your dog's needs.

Read labels for ingredients: Thoroughly read the ingredient labels and avoid any known allergens. Look for treats made with novel proteins like insect protein, rather than common allergens like chicken, beef, dairy etc.

Consider your dog's specific allergies: While some dogs are allergic to proteins like chicken, others may be allergic to grains or carbohydrates. Choose treats that eliminate ingredients your particular dog is sensitive to.

Doing your homework by consulting experts, reading labels, and understanding your dog's needs will help you make the best hypoallergenic treat choice. Your dog's comfort and health depends on it!

Transitioning to Hypoallergenic Treats

When transitioning your dog to a hypoallergenic diet, it's important to do so slowly and carefully. Here are some tips for successfully switching your dog to hypoallergenic treats:

Introduce treats one at a time. Don't change your dog's diet all at once. Start by substituting one regular treat for a hypoallergenic option and stick with that for a few days. Watch your dog closely for any reactions during this time.

Gradually increase hypoallergenic treats. Once your dog tolerates the first new treat, you can introduce another. Again, give your dog's system time to adjust before making the next change. Take it slow to allow their body to adapt.

Watch for reactions. Look for symptoms like itching, scratching, digestive upset, or changes in behavior. If you notice any reactions, stop using the new treat and try a different hypoallergenic option. Only reintroduce treats that don't cause a reaction.

Adjust as needed. Be prepared to tweak your approach based on how your individual dog responds. You may need to transition slower or try a variety of treats before finding the right ones. Remain patient and attentive during this process.

Consult your vet. If you have any concerns about your dog's food allergies or diet, check with your veterinarian. They can provide tailored advice for transitioning your pet safely and effectively.

Recipes for Homemade Treats

Making homemade hypoallergenic treats for your dog is a great way to control ingredients. Here are some recipes using novel proteins and grains:

Peanut Butter and Banana Bites

These tasty bites use peanut butter as the protein source. Peanuts are less likely to cause an allergic reaction in dogs than common proteins like chicken or beef.


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup rice flour


  1. Mash the banana in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter and rice flour and mix well.
  3. Roll into bite sized balls and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Let cool completely before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Pumpkin and Oat Cookies

Pumpkin provides vitamin A and fiber without common allergens. Combine it with oat flour in this simple cookie recipe.


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin, egg, and peanut butter.
  3. Stir in the oat flour until a dough forms.
  4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned.
  6. Let cool before serving. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

If you don't want to bake your own check out our hypoallergenic dog treats

FAQs About Hypoallergenic Dog Treats

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about hypoallergenic dog treats:

What makes a dog treat hypoallergenic?

Hypoallergenic dog treats are made without ingredients that commonly cause allergic reactions in dogs, such as wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken. They use alternative protein sources like duck, venison, lamb, rabbit, or insect protein.

How do I know if my dog needs hypoallergenic treats?

Signs your dog may benefit from hypoallergenic treats include itchy skin, ear infections, hot spots, gastrointestinal issues, and excessive licking/biting/scratching. Check with your vet if you notice any persistent skin, coat, or digestive problems.

Are hypoallergenic treats better for all dogs?

Hypoallergenic treats can be fed to any dog, but dogs with food allergies or sensitivities benefit the most. Check with your vet before transitioning your dog's diet.

How do I transition my dog to hypoallergenic treats?

Gradually mix in the new hypoallergenic treats over 5-7 days, starting with a 75/25 ratio of old to new treats. Slowly decrease the old treats until your dog is eating 100% hypoallergenic treats. Go slow to avoid GI upset.

Can I make homemade hypoallergenic dog treats?

Yes, you can make homemade hypoallergenic dog treats using single-protein sources like chicken, turkey, duck, venison, rabbit or insect protein. Check recipes online and consult your vet. Monitor your dog for any reactions.

Are hypoallergenic treats more expensive?

Hypoallergenic treats can to cost more than classic treats made with cheap ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy. But the investment is worth it for dogs with food sensitivities. Shop around for deals on single-ingredient or limited-ingredient treats.

Want to try some out? Check out our hypoallergenic dog treats