Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food: 2023 Reviews

Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food
Best Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Hydrolyzed proteins in dog food are new, but they appear to be promising so far. This article will discuss hydrolyzed protein dog food. The main idea behind hydrolyzed proteins is to reduce their allergenic potential. According to literature reviews, food allergies affect between 1% and 2% of all dogs. The prevalence of food allergies emphasizes the importance of hypoallergenic diets. Continue reading to learn more about the science behind hydrolyzed protein dog food, as well as its side effects and alternatives. In addition, to make things easier, we will go over the top five best homemade dog foods with hydrolyzed protein.

What is Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food?

Hydrolyzed protein dog food has been changed chemically through a process called hydrolysis, which breaks down the protein molecules in the food into their basic parts (amino acids and peptides). This is done to destroy the molecular tags used by your dog’s body to determine which meat the protein came from.

In other words, even after food has been hydrolyzed, your dog’s body can still digest and use the protein. However, their bodies will no longer be able to tell whether the protein came from chicken, turkey, or beef. The fragmented molecules will be treated as generic, unclassified proteins.

So, why would you want to feed chemically treated food to your dog? Veterinarians give dogs with suspected food allergies or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) hydrolyzed protein dog food to reduce or get rid of bad physical reactions to their meals. The reasoning is that it makes no difference if your dog has a chicken allergy if its body doesn’t realize it’s eating chicken!

Is Hydrolyzed Protein Beneficial to Dogs?

Hydrolysis is not a new process; in fact, hydrolysis has been used in infant formula for years to help babies digest cow milk. Is hydrolyzed protein dog food good for Fido? Hydrolyzed protein dog food has a few advantages. Many dogs find it easier to digest than most commercial dog foods, which helps ease IBD symptoms and overall digestive distress.

When used correctly, hydrolyzed protein dog food can be a useful “clean slate” for “resetting” a dog’s digestive system. It’s meant to calm Fido’s stomach and ease his allergy symptoms so you can start to figure out what was causing the reaction in the first place.

Of course, not every dog reacts the same way to hydrolyzed protein dog food, and side effects are possible. Even though the side effects of hydrolyzed protein dog food are usually not too bad, they can still be annoying for pet owners.

Side Effects of Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

In some dogs, hydrolyzed protein dog food can cause diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive upsets. It also has a lower nutritional value than most dog foods. Some dogs are so put off by the smell and texture of hydrolyzed protein that they refuse to eat it in the first place, which can lead to weight loss and malnutrition over time.

Furthermore, hydrolyzed protein dog food does not always eliminate your dog’s allergy symptoms — which is what it was designed to do! Many pet parents have discovered that their pup’s itchiness or other symptoms persisted even after switching to a hydrolyzed protein diet. Several studies have found that hydrolyzed protein dog foods can still elicit an immune response in some dogs.

There are several reasons why your dog may still experience symptoms after eating “hypoallergenic” hydrolyzed protein dog food. Despite the chemical alteration, your dog may be reacting to the protein itself, or the reaction may be triggered by one of the other ingredients or additives in the food.

If you turn the bag over and examine the hydrolyzed protein dog food ingredients, you might not be impressed.

The main protein in hydrolyzed protein dog food is usually chicken, salmon, or even soy. Feeding your dog a diet based on genetically modified soy that has been chemically altered further through hydrolysis is not natural.

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Chicken fat, fish oil, pea fiber, potatoes, brewer’s rice, cornstarch, or beet pulp are common additives in these diets. That’s quite a list of possible allergens! So, if your dog on a hydrolyzed protein diet has an allergic reaction, it’s nearly impossible to determine which ingredient caused it.

If your dog has a grain allergy or gluten intolerance, you should avoid feeding them foods containing soy, corn, or rice. Even if your dog does not have a known grain allergy, grain-free dog foods are healthier for your dog in general — for a variety of reasons.

There are grain-free hydrolyzed protein dog foods available, but they can be difficult to locate. Even grain-free versions will include carb-heavy fillers like peas or potatoes to “bulk up” the food.

Lastly, hydrolyzed protein dog food isn’t meant to be fed on a long-term basis. Instead, it’s meant to be a short-term solution to help your dog’s allergy symptoms while you figure out which ingredients he or she is allergic to. Once that information has been confirmed, your dog can be switched to more natural dog food that does not contain the offending ingredients.

Benefits of Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Now that we’ve covered the basics of hydrolyzed foods, let’s look at the advantages. The following dogs and conditions may benefit from hydrolyzed protein diets.

Proteins Hydrolyzed for Food Allergies The primary benefit of hydrolyzed protein diets is seen during the elimination phase of food trials. In such cases, hydrolyzed proteins are used to literally cleanse the organism of existing food allergens and bring the immune system back to normal. Aside from food allergies, studies show that hydrolyzed protein foods can help dogs with atopic dermatitis.

Foods with Hydrolyzed Protein for Sensitive Stomachs Dogs with stomach problems have difficulty digesting food. This is when hydrolyzed protein dog foods come into play. Hydrolyzed proteins have been broken down into their smaller components (amino acids and peptides), indicating that they are in a pre-digested protein form. In other words, hydrolyzed proteins are more easily digestible than regular proteins and thus have higher nutritional profiles.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and Hydrolyzed Protein Foods Dogs with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) do not produce enough pancreatic enzymes for food breakdown, resulting in poor digestion. Growing evidence suggests that the easy digestibility of hydrolyzed protein sources can help dogs with EPI manage and reduce the condition’s signs and symptoms.

Proteins Hydrolyzed for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Hydrolyzed dog foods are very effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease in dogs (IBD). According to research, feeding hydrolyzed proteins to dogs reduces the severity of chronic symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) associated with small bowel enteropathies. Furthermore, research indicates that long-term use of hydrolyzed protein improves the integrity of the intestinal membrane.

Homemade Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food

Here are some of our top recommendations for vet-approved homemade hydrolyzed protein dog food recipes:

#1. The Old Standard


  • 1 ½ cups of brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 lbs. ground turkey
  • 3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ½ canned or frozen peas or green beans

Recipe: Fill a saucepan halfway with 3 cups of water. Cook the rice according to package directions, then heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes, or until the turkey is completely brown. Also, Cook the spinach, peas, carrots, zucchini, and brown rice until the spinach is wilted and the vegetables are tender. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before feeding your pet.

Advantages: This recipe is extremely simple to prepare and store in large quantities. You can freeze portions of the mixture and reheat them in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds for daily meals. The recipe is also very simple and adaptable using different types of meat and vegetables. It has a protein-to-grain ratio of 50%:25%.

#2. Beef Stew


  • 1 lb of ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 1 large potato or sweet potato
  • 1 medium-sized diced carrot
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • Water

Recipe: Begin by browning the meat in a large pot until it is no longer pink. Do not drain the fat because this is the type of fat your dog requires. Cook the potatoes and carrots until they are soft. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes with just enough water to cover the meat and vegetables. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before serving it to your dog.

Benefits: This recipe is versatile and can be made with turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb if you’re feeling fancy. Simmer the vegetables until they are soft, allowing the nutrients to be absorbed. If you want to reduce your carbohydrate intake, leave out the potato.

#3. Homemade “Classic” Dog Food


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground chicken
  • ½ lb. ground turkey
  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 2 small-sized potatoes
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water

Recipe: Cook all three types of meat together in a large crockpot until completely cooked. Cook the chicken broth and water together for about 30 minutes on medium heat. Cook for another 20 minutes after adding the potatoes, carrots, and eggs. Allow it to cool before portioning it out to freeze.

Benefits: Because it contains three different types of meat, this recipe is high in protein. If you want a grain-free dish, swap out the vegetables and leave out the rice. Best of all, this recipe yields enough food for nearly two weeks. If you want to boost the flavor, add a pinch of salt.

#4. Doggie Fish Cakes


  • 2 peeled and chopped large potatoes
  • 4 oz frozen peas
  • 1 large can of tuna
  • 2 cans of albacore tuna
  • 2 large hardboiled and chopped eggs
  • Large handful of chopped parsley

Recipe:  Begin by boiling the potatoes until tender, then mash them in a bowl. In a separate saucepan, cook the frozen peas with a dash of parsley. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the salmon, tuna, remaining parsley, and peas. Feed the mixture to your dog in small discs using a cookie cutter.

A dog is a beloved member of the family who deserves only the best. Giving your pup the best homemade hydrolyzed protein dog food is one way to show your appreciation. The key to making homemade hydrolyzed protein dog food is to ensure that your dog gets the right combination of nutrients to stay healthy. Following these recipe suggestions will make mealtimes more enjoyable for your dog.

Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food Alternative

You cannot make hydrolyzed protein dog food at home, and non-prescription or over-the-counter options are generally regarded as less effective than prescription foods. There are, thankfully, other options for your dog’s elimination diet trial. The North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital says.

One viable alternative to hydrolyzed protein dog food is a novel protein diet. It’s a great way to “reset” your dog’s digestive system without using chemically modified hydrolyzed protein. The term “novel” simply refers to any protein that your dog has never eaten before, making them less likely to be allergic to it.

So, if you feed your dog hydrolyzed protein dog food, you’ll be reliant on the same manufacturers’ hydrolyzed protein dog treats.

If, on the other hand, you’ve chosen a novel protein diet, you only need to make sure your dog’s treats don’t contain any new ingredients. For example, if your dog is now eating only duck treats, train them with only duck treats. Just be wary of treats that use the same protein source but still contain grains, dyes, or other artificial ingredients. (For example, if the label on a bag of treats says “duck-based” or “duck-flavored.”)

An ultra-limited ingredient diet will be ideal for an elimination food trial. Grain, fillers, and other additives are still present in hydrolyzed protein dog foods. If your dog keeps getting sick after eating hydrolyzed protein, it may be hard to figure out which ingredient is to blame.

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An ultra-limited ingredient diet is the best way to eliminate any “wild card” ingredients. If your dog does develop allergies, you’ll know for sure that it’s to the protein and not to one of the other additive ingredients.

Vital Essentials dog food and treats are made with real, high-quality meat and are free of grains, artificial preservatives, and unnecessary fillers. So, VE foods and treats are a great choice for a trial of an elimination diet.

Hydrolyzed protein dog foods may be a viable option for some dogs to manage food allergy symptoms and other types of digestive distress.

However, as a pet parent, this chemically altered prescription food is not your only option. A novel protein diet based on a grain-free, high-quality, ultra-limited ingredient dog food is yet another way to eliminate potential allergens while still providing your dog with all of the amazing health benefits of naturally protein-rich real meat!


Hydrolyzed dog treats are said to be healthier for your pet to eat. However, this is not always the case. Unfortunately, this type of treatment necessitates a unique procedure. You might not be able to use that method at home. Making your own is generally not an option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What dog food is closest to hydrolyzed protein?

Royal Canin, Purina, Hill’s Science Diet, and Rayne Clinical Nutrition is among the brands recommended by Harbour.

How long can a dog eat hydrolyzed protein?

Most vets say that a dog should eat a diet with hydrolyzed protein for six to ten weeks. At that point, your vet will probably do a dietary challenge to see if your dog is allergic to the food ingredients that are being blamed.

Is Royal Canin hydrolyzed protein good for dogs?

An exclusive fiber blend promotes healthy digestion in dogs prone to digestive upsets, such as diarrhea. Because Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP is made in a way that helps prevent cross-contamination, you can feel safe giving it to dogs with food allergies over time.

What food is best for dogs with itchy skin?

  • Pupper Chicken Topper.
  • ZIGNATURE Kangaroo Limited Ingredient Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.
  • CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe.
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Skin & Stomach Care Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe.
  • Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food for Sensitive Skin.

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