Hydrolysed dog food (including exclusion diet)

Had quite a few customers in recently where the vet has recommended ‘Hydrolysed dog food’ - now they don’t recommend a particular food but have told the people to go and look for said type of food. Now the only foods I can see that contain hydrolysed proteins are the foods that are, ahem, heavily promoted by vets. Looking at the ingredients of these foods, the hydrolysed component is often way down the list of other pretty dubious ingredients - on one, the first three ingredients are wheat, maize protein, animal fat and the hydrolysed component is 10th. I understand the concept of hydrolysed dog food but if the component is only a small part of an otherwise not very good (my opinion) dog food, then is it effective? Any suggestions or insights welcome!

I would be interested to see people’s thoughts too. Personally, if I had a dog with allergies, I would be exploring every option before trying hydrolysed food. Here is the link to the subject on this site


I had a customer the other day that had been put on hydrolysed food so if I give you a bit on that it should be a bit clearer.

The process of hydrolysing is to eliminate protein element that is causing a reaction in the animal and is usually following allergy tests. My customer had this done and it flagged up 99% of all animal proteins so a food with plant proteins and hydrolysed animal fats was the only solution for the vet. My conclusion was that the heightened state of the dogs defence due to a reaction caused this so once the hydrolysed food had had a few weeks to remove the reaction I put it on an exclusion diet. To do this you need to be 100% sure that single identifiable easily digestible protein sources are used and I start with fish and potato as a very gentle option. The both rarely cause an issue and the dog is absolutely fine. Should the customer want to try other proteins we can do that or settle on the more palatable and better value option. The other issue was that this dog was having to be fed 375g per meal as opposed to 200g on the suggested solution. There seems to be a feeling that wheat, maize and hydrolysing is bad but they aren’t. Wheat gluten can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs <10% and maize somewhat less but the issue is that they are less digestible but are good fibre sources.

My enquiry was more about whether ‘hydrolysed’ was a new buzz word from vets (passed on through certain food reps perhaps?) It was also that when I was looking at foods containing hydrolysed eg this one - Rice, rice protein, hydrolysed salmon protein, pork fat, minerals, vitamins and trace elements, powdered cellulose, sunflower oil, psyllium husk.
Antioxidants: EC approved additives: BHA, BHT. - If salmon were thought to be the allergy trigger then the diet should exclude salmon as a protein source - I always recommend exclusion diet as way of determining allergy trigger.
Other thing about the food above, I can understand the ‘taking away’ of potentially bad thing but to add in BHA & BHT - are these controversial ingredients added because the protein source is hydralysed?

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With regards to exclusion diet, I wonder if the production line could skew results? I am thinking about the situation with nut allergy in humans. Sometimes manufacturers will put something about the possibility of there being traces in their products. For example, the fish and potato diet referenced above is a useful start but if using dry food, would it be better to choose a company that only sells this type and manufactures it’s own?

No hydrolysed isn’t a new buzz word. The process is simply removing the protein element from the food as that is the allergen not the fat. It has many titles like digest, gravy or poultry fat and is commonly used to improve palatability levels. In this instance confusingly labelled as it is Salmon protein that is hydrolysed. Rice protein again is confusing as it will contain rice protein (gluten) so why put it in again. No %ages of ingredients is one of my ‘pet’ hates.

BHA & BHT are antioxidants that stop the fats going rancid and are ok in small doses

I see your point, cross contamination risk. There is always that possibility but it is very rare that a kibble remains in the system. Also kibbles are different colours, shapes and sizes so that you can spot random ones. A company that only produces F&P and manufacturers its own as far as I am aware doesn’t exist… Smaller manufacturing sites won’t be able to afford the best machines so the kibble integrity will be poor and tend to be inferior in all respects. If that company only created F&P you would need another to produce Chicken & Potato and another for Lamb & potato to just do 3 proteins. Nothing is ideal but this is the best option available. Also finding ones that are honest enough to tell you exactly what’s in the food and has no other likely allergens.

I know that hydrolysed isn’t new , I was just wondering if anyone had been told by the vet to look for a hydrolysed food - I’m being cynical basically!

‘No %ages of ingredients is one of my ‘pet’ hates.’ Ive been told many times this is ‘so competitors can’t copy our food’ ::slight_smile:
‘BHA & BHT are antioxidants that stop the fats going rancid and are ok in small doses’ - I think you’ll find it’s you vs the internet on that one - I’m surprised the ingredients list mentions them as I believe they could’ve just left it at ‘EU Approved additives’
‘I wonder if the production line could skew results?’ I’ve asked the question of cross contamination to a very large manufacturer and got a very positive response.

Just to go back to the exclusion diet/fish and potato products the only company that I am aware of that sells nothing but this type of food is Fish4Dogs - Sea to Bag. However, there are other companies that sell just fish products, Skippers being one of them.

Had a quick dive online. It is identifiable but not as digestible and more expensive than what I am using. Feed rate for 15kg 205g v 150g £57.50 per 12kg v 53 per 15kg. Do you know who manufacturers for them? Not a bad food though. I know Skippers as I use their treats. My issue would still remain I don’t know who else they manufacture with and when I want to move to the next protein I would have the same issue. Thanks for the ideas http://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/forum/Smileys/default/smiley.gif

I only know what is on the website although I have fed their products in the past. My friend has had her Labs on the Working product for some time and is happy with it. My own three (for a variety of reasons) do better on cold pressed. They have the sea jerky squares every day because they are supposed to help clean teeth and they are low calorie.

* Because we have deviated slightly onto exclusion diets (understandable), I’ve tweaked the title of the thread slightly so that it can more easily be found if anyone is searching for the information.