The Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food of 2020

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By: Simran Mudaliar Updated: April 16, 2020

illustrations of the best hydrolyzed protein dog food

Pets that suffer from food intolerances can seek benefits with the use of hydrolyzed protein dog food. These veterinary prescribed pet foods are designed to not only decrease an adverse reaction to food, but to also help reduce the symptoms of food allergies in dogs.

A hydrolyzed protein dog food can prove to be incredibly beneficial to pets suffering from a food intolerance. Furry friends that suffer from food sensitivities may often experience uncontrollable itching, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, in this article, we will cover all you need to know about feeding your furry friend a hydrolyzed protein dog food.

Here is Our List of the Best Hydrolyzed Protein Food for Dogs 

Picking the optimal hydrolyzed dog food can be challenging. So, we’ve made it simple! We have listed what we think are the best hydrolyzed dog food diets available for you to try!

Royal Canin Dog Food

It comes with no surprise that Royal Canin has made it to the top of our list.  Veterinarians across the globe aimed to create a delicious line of dog food that’s nutritious and healthy
Undoubtedly, it’s by far one of the best choices a pet parent can make! So, when it comes to choosing a hydrolyzed protein dog food for your furry friend, Royal Canin is a must!

Canned Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Food 

The Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein canned food contains soy protein and low molecular weight peptides (a breakdown product of protein). 

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein Can, 24/13.7 Oz.$189.99
Royal Canin hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein canned dog food provides several things for your dogs diet such as: Contains a single sustainable protein source hydrolyzed soy, a synergistic complex of antioxidants to support cell health, and optimal amounts of b vitamins and amino acids help maintain the skin's natural barrier effect, and fatty acids for additional skin health remedies .

As an added bonus! This yummy food contains:
  • A whole bunch of antioxidants
  • Chelated minerals
  • Trace elements.
This tasty formula ensures both improved digestibility and increased palatability.

Royal Canin Multi-Function Prescription Food Options

Royal Canin’s Multi-Function Support diet for dogs is designed to meet an individual dog’s specific needs. For example, the Multifunction Urinary and hydrolyzed protein diets are designed to support a healthy urinary tract system while also providing a highly digestible form of protein.

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Multifunction Urinary + Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food 7.7 lb by Royal Canin$135.99
ROYAL CANIN VETERINARY DIET Canine Multifunction Urinary + Hydrolyzed Protein dry is a highly palatable, highly digestible, complete and balanced adult dog food formulated to meet multiple nutritional needs, in a single precise blend. Low RSS Relative Supersaturation (RSS) methodology predicts the crystallization potential of urine. RSS is used to develop diets for dogs prone to both struvite and oxalate urolithiasis. Hydrolyzed Protein Hydrolyzed protein, composed of low molecular weight peptides, is highly digestible and minimizes signs associated with food sensitivities.

In contrast, the Multi-Function Renal Support diet is ideal for dogs suffering from kidney disease. This energy-dense formula was created to stimulate a healthy appetite and promote renal health.

dalmatian eating bowl of vet recommended dog food

Royal Canin Food for Allergies 

Royal Canin has a range of hypoallergenic dog food which is ideal for dogs who have food intolerances or food allergies. The Royal Canin Hypoallergenic dog food is ideal for dogs suffering from:

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hypoallergenic Moderate Calorie Dry Dog Food 7.7 lb bag$139.99
Whether a veterinarian has determined through an elimination diet trial that your dog has food sensitivities or that they require long-term support for their skin and GI issues, your vet recommended Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie for a reason. This highly palatable diet is designed for adult dogs. It’s formulated with hydrolyzed soy proteins, composed of low molecular weight peptides, so they can be absorbed in the digestive tract with a reduced risk of triggering an immune reaction. Moderate calorie content and fat levels (9% less calories and 38% less fat than Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP dry dog food) help dogs prone to gaining weight maintain an ideal weight.

Hydrolyzed Protein Treats for Fido 

If you have a dog with food intolerance, then it can be quite hard finding some yummy treats for them. While Royal Canin does have a line of hydrolyzed animal protein treats, we also recommend looking into limited ingredient diets and treats.

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
ROYAL CANIN Hydrolyzed Protein Canine Treats$48.99
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein formula. This includes the following dry and canned Hydrolyzed Protein diets: Adult HP, Adult PS, Moderate Calorie, Small Dog. These treats are part of a comprehensive line of treats that are designed to support specific dietary needs to help your pet achieve treatment goals related to skin and digestive health. You can still reward and bond with your pet even while he’s following a therapeutic diet with treats that taste great and contain only a single hydrolyzed protein and single carbohydrate source. It’s a safe, effective treating option that’s backed by science you can trust.

Other Brands that Make Hydrolyzed Protein Food for Dogs 

For those that are more familiar with the pet food industry, we know that Royal Canin can be out of many a pet parent’s budget! As Royal Canin is a veterinarian-sponsored brand, it is, without a doubt one of the best dog foods out there. Nevertheless, here are some other top-notch veterinary diet dry dog food brands!

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA 

Our first runner up is Purina Pro Plan hypoallergenic dog food. This highly digestible and yummy dog food contains a single carbohydrate source and a single hydrolyzed protein source. It is in its very essence a limited ingredient diet dog food which is perfect for dogs suffering from a food intolerance.

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
HA Hypoallergenic Purina Vegetarian Dog Food 6 lbs$42.87
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA Hydrolyzed Canine Formula provides complete and balanced nutrition for the growth of puppies and maintenance of the adult dog and has been formulated to achieve the following characteristics: Hydrolyzed protein source with an average molecular weight below 12,200 daltons, high digestibility, and a source of Medium Chain Triglycerides. Diets with these nutritional modifications have been recommended for the following uses or for dogs with the following conditions: Elimination diet for food trials, dermatitis and gastroenteritis associated with food allergy, pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Hills Prescription Diet Kibble for Food Sensitivities 

A lot of dogs with food intolerance or sensitivity may experience irritated skin, ears, and even gastrointestinal problems. The Hills Science Diet Skin and Food Sensitivities diet are intended to combat these very problems! This veterinary diet contains: 

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Hill's Prescription Diet z/d Original Skin Food Sensitivities Dry Dog Food 17.6 lb$99.30
Food sensitivities and intolerance are potentially serious problems that can result in sensitive or irritated skin, coat and ear conditions or even gastrointestinal upset. Dogs that have a food sensitivities or intolerance, also called adverse reactions to food, typically experience an abnormal response to the protein in the food. If your dog suffers from adverse reaction to food, it is even more important to feed the right food. Hill's nutritionists and veterinarians developed Prescription Diet z/d clinical nutrition especially formulated to support your dog's skin and food sensitivities. In fact, z/d is clinically proven nutrition to help avoid adverse reactions to food.

  • A single source carbohydrate and hydrolyzed protein: Both of which improve digestibility 
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: Which promote healthy skin
  • Antioxidants: Which helps keep your pet’s immune system functioning

dog sitting at table with bowl of wet dog food

Hills Hydro Treats 

Similar to the Hills Prescription Diet for Food Sensitivities, the Hydro treats by Hills  is perfect for dogs with food intolerances It too contains a single hydrolyzed protein source, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants.

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Hill's Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Canine Treats - 12oz$150.99
Dogs with skin conditions and food sensitivities love treats just as much as any other dog, and that’s why there’s Hill's Prescription Diet Hypo-Treats Dog Treats. The nutritionists and veterinarians at Hill's developed these tasty, crunchy biscuits especially for dogs enjoying a z/d, d/d, i/d or Derm Defense prescription diet. The hydrolyzed chicken liver protein helps alleviate adverse reactions to food, while omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, including EPA, help nourish the skin and coat. Added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help further support healthy skin barrier function. Key Benefits Allows dogs suffering from skin conditions and food sensitivities to enjoy a delicious crunchy treat.

Blue Natural Veterinary Diet FH 

Finally, another amazing prescription veterinary diet for dogs is Blue Natural Veterinary. This delicious formula contains:

Rated 4.50/5.00 by Certapet
Blue Natural Veterinary Diet HF Hydrolyzed for Food Intolerance Grain-Free Canned Dog Food 6/12.5 oz$38.99
Help your sensitive dog get the nutrition she needs and the taste she loves with Blue Buffalo’s HF Hydrolyzed for Food Intolerance Dog Food. Some dogs negatively react to common proteins, which can lead to issues like skin irritation and digestion problems. This Blue Buffalo recipe is specially formulated to help manage those issues and minimize reactions. It’s crafted with hydrolyzed salmon—a digestible protein source and provides dogs with healthy omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed to promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat. Plus, it’s grain-free and rich in antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.

  • Hydrolyzed salmon protein 
  • Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Antioxidants that support immune health 
  • It’s completely grain-free

The diet is perfect for dogs who suffer from both a protein and grain intolerance!

What is Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?  

It is not uncommon to learn that today many dogs and cats are susceptible to allergies. One of the most common allergic reactions a pet may face is food allergies.  But, what does this mean?
We can breakdown an allergic reaction to food into two categories: 
  • Non-immunologic (aka food tolerance) 
  • Immunologic (aka food hypersensitivity)
In dogs and cats, a food hypersensitivity reaction occurs when the animal’s immune system labels a protein source as a threat. This misidentification results in the generation of an immune response, which can manifest as:
  • Itching in dogs 
  • Hair loss
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Licking or scratching on skin
  • Red patches on skin
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

So, the big question—what is hydrolyzed protein dog food?
Veterinarians have come up with a cool way to trick the immune system into thinking that a supposed food allergen is actually alrightHydrolyzed protein dog food contains the animal protein that’s broken down into amino acids and peptides

Hydrolysis Definition: What is Hydrolysis?

Before we aim to understand what exactly hydrolyzed protein dog food is, we must first look at the science behind itHydrolysis is a chemical process where water helps break down the chemical bonds that make up a structure

To hydrolyze proteins, scientists use a selection of enzymes to break down a protein source into smaller particlesBy disrupting the chemical structure of a protein, these hydrolysates will be able to hide from the immune system. In other words, these newly broken down structures look less like a threat to your dog’s immune system

To put simply, let’s look at an example; if your dog was allergic to chicken (the food allergen), then a hydrolyzed protein dog food would contain the breakdown proteins of such a protein source. 

puppy eating hydrolyzed protein food for dogs in red bowl

A Look at the Benefits of Hydrolyzed Protein for Your Dog

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is a hydrolyzed protein dog food?”, let’s have a look at how this type of dry dog food can benefit our pets.

  1. A hydrolyzed animal protein source improves the digestibility of food. The best way to think of a hydrolyzed animal protein is that it is essentially pre-digestion protein. As it’s broken down into many peptides and amino acids, the body is able to utilize its components more easily.
  2. It’s perfect for dogs suffering from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is a disease where the pancreas is unable to secrete enough levels of enzymes required for the breakdown of food. So, a pet diagnosed with such a condition would experience weight loss, pica, polyphagia, and poor skin and coat. Rising evidence suggests that the symptoms of EPI could be significantly reduced due to the increased digestibility of hydrolyzed protein sources.
  3. Hydrolyzed protein dog food has proven to be quite effective for dogs and cats suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Studies show that hydrolyzed protein sources were able to reduce the severity of the chronic signs associated with inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. These included vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite.

Common Questions

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