Pet Food Market Trends / Pet Food Ingredients
Whether a pet has ingredient intolerance, allergic reaction or just a finicky stomach, plenty of petfood and treat manufacturers offer products made to get animals feeling better.
On June 13, 2013

Nutrition trends: Allergen-free petfoods and alternative ingredients

A bowl full of novel ingredients, fewer ingredients or a hypoallergenic recipe may be just what the itchy, uncomfortable pet ordered

Allergen-free petfoods usually share one of three basic designs or some combination of them, according to’s Mike Sagman:

  • Limited ingredients  make it easier for pet owners to pin down the suspect allergen;
  • Novel ingredients  are less likely to be recognizable to the “memory” of an animal’s immune system; and
  • Hypoallergenic recipes  avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction.

Surprisingly, dogs and cats aren’t naturally allergic to most of the ingredients usually listed on labels with a ‘Free’ right behind them or a bold, red ‘No’ in front. Beef, dairy, chicken, corn, wheat, soy and yeast are simply the ingredients most commonly used in petfood recipes and, therefore, the most likely to be fingered first since they are the foods companion animals are most frequently exposed to at the bottom of their bowl. Sometimes, Sagman points out, it’s not even the ingredients that are the problem, but what’s in the ingredients.

But when a dog can’t stop itching or a cat suddenly has a rash, the petfood they eat is usually the first suspect. So whether a pet has ingredient intolerance, allergic reaction or just a finicky stomach, plenty of petfood and treat manufacturers offer products made to get animals feeling better.

A new line  of gourmet organic dog treats called DogStars is now available in four flavors from SavvyBeast Treats LLC. Made from chia flour instead of wheat flour, DogStars treats are 100% gluten-free, according to the company. DogStars treats are also made with organic ingredients, including organic chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, coconut oil and sweet brown rice.

“The organic chia flour we use is ground from chia seeds; ironically enough, the same seeds that sprout in the shape of pets,” says Queny Villanueva, owner and CEO of SavvyBeast Treats. “These seeds have more calcium than whole milk, more iron than raw spinach and more magnesium than broccoli. Chia flour is also packed with protein and loaded with healthy omega-3 and antioxidants that can help prevent heart attacks, strokes and lower blood pressure.”

Globalinx Pet LLC offers  One Rewards single-ingredient dog treats. One Rewards are freeze-dried to remove roughly 97% of moisture while locking in essential natural vitamins and nutrients of the meats, claims the company. Treats come in four varieties: Chicken Breast, Duck Breast, Chicken Liver and Ocean Whitefish. Without grains, fillers or additives of any kind, One Rewards treats are high in protein and low in fat, while making it easy for pet owners to weed out ingredients that may upset their pet’s diet.

Rachael Ray offers  Nutrish Zero Grain Turkey & Potato recipe dog food. The food is made with natural ingredients that don't contain any grains, glutens or fillers, says Rachael Ray. Farm-raised turkey is the first ingredient, combined with vegetables. The product is available in 6- and 14-pound bags and is a healthy alternative for animals suffering from wheat or gluten allergies.

Natural Planet Organics  offers three grain-free dog food formulas: Organic Grain-Free Turkey formula, Grain-Free Duck & Whitefish Entrée formula and Rabbit & Salmon Entrée formula. The duck & whitefish and rabbit & salmon formulas are manufactured with select non-GMO ingredients for optimal health, according to the company. Natural Planet Organics dog food contains high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and taurine.

Explore more: Allergen-free products

Hypoallergenic, grain-free and fewer ingredient petfoods and treats are trending with consumers, so stay on top of the newest SKUs with our Consumer Product Database at .

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Read the March issue of Petfood Industry!

March 2015

The March 2015 issue of Petfood Industry focuses on emerging pet industry trends. Read about NutriFusion, a company that saw immediate growth after expanding from human food into the pet food industry with its fruit and vegetable nutrient-dense products. Also, learn about how so-called "superfoods" are trending as a new pet food ingredient, and why innovation, convenience and sustainability are key in pet food packaging.

READ MORE in Petfood Industry magazine