Wondering the best dog food for Pugs with allergies? You need to consider these 4 excellent dog foods for your itchy and unhappy Pug…but only if you want to make them less itchy & more happy!
CC Image “sad pug” via hannah k on Flickr – thx hannah!
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One being the most adorable Pug, called Pippin.
My friend, Jan, has had her since she was a baby and it was puppy love at first sight. Pippin enjoys walks in the park and curling up on Jan’s lap for snuggly evenings in.
Pugs have a reputation for being a bit spoilt and I must admit Pippin is no exception – she has a few designer coats that Anna Wintour would give a nod to and her own monogramed cushion where she rests her perfectly double curled tail.
When she’s not enjoying a jaunty gait in the great outdoors or snoozing contentedly, Pippin loves to eat. Unfortunately, poor Pippin began to experience digestive problems after munching down her meals.
This caused a lot of discomfort for her and an awful lot of worry for Jan.
Why do Some Pugs Suffer from Health Issues?
Pugs are instantly recognizable, small and compact with round heads – it almost looks as though their noses have been squashed onto the front.
They have deep wrinkles on their foreheads (not from worry – Pugs are easy going and far too pampered for that) and large, prominent eyes.
Pippin is no exception, she has the unique appearance only a Pug can carry off, but her “beauty” comes at a price. Compared to the rest of their body a Pug’s head is large (they have wide, short skulls) and their short muzzles can result in breathing issues.
Unfortunately, Pugs can be prone to excessive weight gain and can sometimes struggle to eat large kibble due to their flat faces and thick lips.
This…is a bit different than your run of the mill pugs 101 video. While EXTREMELY enjoyable, you may not want to watch it at work (NSFW)…or in front of the kids. Just watch it already!
How should I feed my Pug?
It is recommended that Pugs are fed a similar amount of food at a similar time each day, this helps to keep things consistent and prevent tummy upsets.
Pippin has her meals twice daily, but some dogs may prefer a breakfast, lunch and supper!
Like all dogs, Pippin needs a well-balanced diet, with plenty of nutrients. She has a tendency to be a little greedy and to avoid excessive weight gain Jan understands she must provide adequate exercise and the right diet is for her beloved pet.
Does My Pug Have a Food Allergy or Intolerance?
Sometimes a dog will eat food that its body takes a dislike to, when this happens the dog’s immune system kicks in (believing that the food may hurt the dog).
Antibodies are then produced.
This happens each time the dog eats that particular food – hence they are “allergic” to it.
Pippin developed noticeable symptoms that were distressing for her and upsetting for Jan. She developed an itchy skin rash, would nibble at her own paws and lick her fur repeatedly. She also suffered bouts of sickness.
If your Pug is experiencing similar symptoms it may be that they are suffering from an allergy- just like poor Pippin.
Like other dogs in general, Pugs can also have an intolerance to certain ingredients. When a dog eats a food that they are intolerant to, their digestive system, rather than their immune system fires off the response.
If your Pug is suffering from sickness, diarrhea, bloating or excessive gas it may be that they have an intolerance to an ingredient in their food.
Both allergies and intolerances are equally upsetting and can have severe consequences for your pet.
If your Pug is showing the symptoms above, it’s important to ascertain if it IS being caused by their diet.
There are other things (such as pollen, detergent and ragweed) that can trigger an allergic reaction.
Trial and error may play a large part in finding what it is that is upsetting your Pug but I would suggest that a visit to a qualified veterinarian. He or she will be able to assist you in finding the triggers – you can then work on eliminating them.
What Should I do if My Pug has a Food Allergy or Intolerance?
If you find that your Pug is allergic or intolerant to a food product, then you should look to eliminate that ingredient from his or her diet.
There are many ingredients that can trigger an allergy, some common ones include:
However, it may be that it is not the actual ingredient that your Pug is allergic to but contaminants within the grains of the dog food.
Contaminants are not pleasant – they refer to mold, mites and insects that may have contaminated the grain whilst it is being stored.
If a manufacturer is using cheap grain filler in their dog food it may be causing an allergic reaction in your Pug.
Once you have found out what the problem is you need to control your Pug’s diet, you should be looking for dog food that does not contain the problem ingredient – there are a number of Hypoallergenic dog foods on the market and if your Pug is suffering from an intolerance to grain there are a number of grain free options too.
If you are changing your dog’s diet do it slowly and gradually to prevent additional digestive problems.
Best Dog Food for Pugs with Allergies
There are a vast range of dog food brands on the market, but when it comes to a dog with food allergies you have to be even more careful when trying to choose the right one for your pet.
If you have determined the cause of the allergy you can seek the right food to meet your Pug’s needs.
To give you an idea of what’s out there I have explored a small selection of some of the available brands on the market. These have been formulated to meet the needs of dogs that have sensitive digestive systems.
1. Merrick Grain Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food Recipe
Merrick manufactures this grain free dry food and states that it is suitable for all life-stages and breeds. This brand is appealing due to the fact that it is “home-grown,” made from natural, real whole foods that are sourced from local farmers.
If your Pug has been suffering from symptoms associated with grain contaminants this may be the dog food for you (or rather your Pug)
Its natural/real whole food tag is supported by the fact that it’s first ingredient listed is deboned duck.
In fact, all of the Merrick Grain Free recipes start with deboned meat as the first ingredient. That, along with the notion that they claim to offer quality protein (70% meat protein in recipes) and fresh fruits and vegetables (30% fresh produce) makes this dog food extremely appealing.
Hey, I even fancy a bowl now and then!
There is no soy, wheat, corn, or gluten in this dog food, so this grain-free solution should be great to prevent upset to digestive systems that are sensitive.
As a bonus, you also get generous amounts of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids (these help your dog to have a healthy coat) and also glucosamine and chondroitin (which helps to promote healthy hips and joints).
I also like the fact that Merrick’s tell you about their kitchens.
Ok, I know it’s not likely that we will see a Gordon Ramsey type throwing pots and yelling about the state of the back of the fridge at a dog food manufacturing facilities but it is important.
I want to know that my dog’s food is being prepared in sanitary conditions and Merrick’s state that their kitchens are not only upholding the strict guidelines of the FDA, but they are also five-star.
To sum up we like this brand a lot – it tastes good, it’s “home-grown” and it has high-quality, naturally nutritious ingredient.
The only negative seems to be that a couple of owners have experienced some rather smelly gas from their dog’s rear end after din-dins (news flash: THEY’RE DOGS!)
That said, if my Pug was more content and their tummy was settled I think I could live with that.
2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato
Wellness complete is a brand which promises to offer a dog food that contains a limited number of ingredients – all of which are natural and authentic. The food therefore should suit dogs with intolerances and sensitivities.
The manufacturer states that the food provides a good balance of vitamins and minerals and will assist in the maintenance of the health and well-being of your faithful friend (in particular the maintenance of digestive system, coat, eyesight and oral health).
This brand also promotes its ability to boost energy and immunity.
The first ingredient on the list is whitefish – a whole animal product, which is encouraging. It’s good to see that there are no meat by-products, fillers, wheat, corn, soy or artificial colors, preservatives or flavors listed.
I really like that this brand seems to give the taste of its food a lot of thought – and owners and dogs alike seem to be in agreement, that it tastes good!
Wellness likes to point out that they are a family-owned company and that they are really are interested in providing delicious food that your pet will crave. This is backed up when you hear that even fussy dogs seem to be enjoying it.
We have touched on the fact that pugs can have a tendency to carry excessive weight and I’ve heard mixed reviews about how well this brand fares in regards to this issue.
Some feel their Pug has gained weight despite following the feeding guidelines. Others feel that the food has assisted in addressing a weight issue and that their Pug is more muscular and lean since moving to Wellness.
WE could argue that food alone cannot be held responsible for a Pug’s weight – it will also be dependent on his or her level of activity throughout the day.
3. Canidae Grain Free Pure Fields Small Breed Dog Formula with Fresh Chicken
Independent and Family-Owned Since 1996
Canidae are another independently owned brand that promote the fact that their recipes are simple and utilise a limited number of ingredients. This particular product has chicken listed as its primary ingredient, a whole animal product listed first is always a great plus point.
It also includes peas, lentils and dried whole egg (good for digestion).
A feed with simple and limited ingredients is less likely to cause problems for dogs with sensitive tummies, so could be suitable for your Pug is they have a food allergy or intolerance.
Obviously, its “grain free” status falls in line with this and you won’t see any corn or soy etc. on their ingredient list.
Canidae also adds a “Health Plus Solution” to its food and state that this, along with the fact that their ingredients are cooked with probiotics, results in a healthier immune system and better skin for your dog.
I do like the fact that this brand’s tag line is nice and straightforward -they want you to know that they use simple recipes for sensitive dogs, their key message that they use whole foods to aid gentle digestion, exactly what you are looking for if your Pug has problems like this.
The fact that Canidae are independent and family owned since 1996 adds to their charm – USA dog food from a family business.
They have good reviews too, there have been some niggles about price increases, but if your Pug is healthy and happy you are probably more than likely to take a higher price on the chin.
It was interesting to note that one reviewer had a concern about the amount of poop their doggy has started to produce since switching to Canidae, the company took the time to contact this consumer in order to work through the issue with them.
It transpired that the dog just needed to get used to the different fiber content and the increased poop volume soon settled. Good news customer service is taken seriously.
4. Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
A food aimed at dogs with sensitivities – states that it is made with one animal protein and no gluten or grain. The great selling point of this product is the fact that it contains just a few ingredients – all of which are easy to digest.
It does not have any grain, gluten, potato, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef or fish – the majority of foods that are known to be common in regards to allergies.
The primary ingredient in this product is turkey meal and Nature’s Way state that their food is rich in nutrients to assist with digestion. Alongside the absence of grain there are also no artificial colours or preservatives.
Nature’s Way also add their own “Raw Boost” in the form of freeze dried raw pieces that are a great source of nutrition.
The food has been produced in accordance with the needs of small breed dogs – so it should be ideal for Pugs. They have also looked at making their kibble size smaller, another plus point for Pugs, they may find it easier to eat this food.
This product seems to have been a hit with consumers seeking a good quality food that will aid digestion and dogs like the taste.
It is deemed as “not a cheap option.”
But perhaps here the adage is correct – you get what you pay for. This product really does seem to do what it says and is a real find for dogs that have very sensitive tummies.
If your Pug is suffering it is definitely worth a try.
So, What Is The Best Food For Pugs With Allergies?
This is simply down to what suits YOUR Pug the best in terms of their particular food allergy or food intolerance.
Veterinarians can cast a professional opinion and carry out tests to assist you in making a judgment on what may be causing your pet’s discomfort. This will give you an idea of what you need to look for and avoid when purchasing dog food.
The four examples listed are all great for Pugs with sensitive digestive systems and are similar in some ways but do have unique differences that will apply more to some Pugs than others.
Pippin is currently enjoying Canidae Grain Free PURE Fields Small Breed Dog Formula with Fresh Chicken.
Pippin’s problem seemed to be associated with grain, so this grain free formula was ideal. Jan liked the fact that it is specifically for small breed dogs and the simplicity of the recipe made this food very appealing.
This is the best food for Pippin but what about your Pug?
Merrick Grain Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food Recipe is another grain free option and if you like the idea of a USA home-grown dog food manufactured in a five-star kitchen then this could be for you.
If you have a fussy eater on your hands the reportedly extremely tasty Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Whitefish & Sweet Potato may be worth a try.
Finally, if you have a dog with a very sensitive allergy who cannot tolerate a range of foods then Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (Turkey meal formula), with its very limited ingredients, is a great choice.
Make sure your voice / bark is heard!
Pippin the Pug is now content and enjoying meals without the discomfort of itching sickness. Jan has been fortunate is finding the right brand of dog food that suits her dog.
There is a myriad of information out there relating to dog food brands suitable for dogs with food allergies and intolerances, but no amount of research can substitute for the views and opinions of you as Pug owners.
We want to know what you think!
Have you tried a particular brand already?
If so, what did you and your four-legged friend think of it? Share your comments and views with us or ask your fellow dog lovers a question.
We all share one common trait here – we love our dogs and want the best for them!