Specialist Dog Food – What’s New?


An increase in awareness of canine digestive issues, coupled with a better veterinary understanding of the causes, is leading dog food manufacturers to respond with a wider range of specialist dog food. Gilbertson & Page’s brands have  offered a strong line-up of feeds for dogs with sensitive digestive systems over many years. However, the Dr John range has recently expanded to include feeds that cater to more specific dietary needs.

Specialist Doog Foods Image



Some symptoms of digestive problems are easier to spot than others. An upset stomach, vomiting and excessive flatulence, for example, are all obvious signs that your dog’s stomach is not well. A dog that is in discomfort will usually pace the floor and whine. Skin conditions, such as dry, itchy or flaky skin, can also be a symptom of food allergy or intolerance, although it is undoubtedly harder to pinpoint the source of a skin complaint than a prolonged stomach upset. A good owner will also know instinctively when their dog is not ‘right’. All of these symptoms are great reasons to make an appointment with the vet to get your dog checked over.


The causes of digestive problems can take some time to diagnose, as a large degree of trial and error is often necessary. However, it is worth persevering to have a happy and healthy dog once the root cause is pinned down. Food allergy and intolerance can be at the heart of a sensitive stomach. This could include wheat, gluten and grain allergies. Or your dog could simply have a sensitive digestive system requiring easily digestible food, such as lamb, fish and rice.


Switching your dog’s diet to a specialist dog food could well be the solution to their digestive sensitivity. This may be as simple as switching to a food with more easily digested ingredients. Or it may involve a lengthy process involving allergy testing or an elimination diet to find the right food. However, there are some things to bear in mind:

  1. Consult your vet before making any changes. They should be able to advise on the best course of action for your dog’s particular circumstances.
  2. Choose a dog food manufacturer that prioritises quality and nutrition in their specialist dog food. It is important to check that a new dog food will still provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, vitamins and minerals to keep your dog in excellent shape as well as addressing their digestive issues. This is especially important if your dog is an active sporting or working dog with a demanding day-t0-day life.
  3. Make any dietary changes very, very gradually. Even a dog without a sensitive stomach would need to change their diet over the course of a week to prevent an upset stomach. Therefore, a dog already experiencing digestive problems needs to make an even slower dietary change to avoid exacerbating the problem.
  4. Don’t expect to see a difference straight away. Give the new diet a couple of weeks before deciding whether you’ve made the right choice.

Gilbertson & Page’s Specialist Dog Food Range

Gilbertson & Page have recently added three new specialist dog foods to their highly-regarded Dr John range, with each formula targetting particular dietary problems for busy, working dogs.

Dr John Hypoallergenic – A wheat-free alternative for adult and senior working dogs with sensitive stomachs, Dr John Hypoallergenic still contains a protein level of 21% and 10% fats and oils. These are essential to maintain the health of a working dog. This dog food contains barley and oats instead of wheat.

Dr John Hypoallergenic Lamb with Rice – Another wheat-free alternative for sporting and working dogs for whom chicken is also an issue. Dr John Hypoallergenic Lamb with Rice replaces the chicken and wheat constituents with the more easily digested lamb and rice. It still contains 21% protein and 11% fats and oils.

Dr John Grain-Free Chicken and Potato – The 33% chicken content in Dr John Grain-Free Chicken and Potato contributes to the 25% protein level and 10.5% fats and oils level of this specialist dog food. The cereal content is totally replaced with potato, making it a perfect choice for those active and working dogs that have trouble digesting any grain at all.

Shar Pei image courtesy of Ruth Neil.

Gilbertson & Page recommend always seeking the advice of your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.