What every dog owner should know about dog food allergies
Dogs are robust, energetic animals but they are also surprisingly susceptible to all manner of ailments. Some of the more common problems are allergies, and often these are dog food allergies.In fact, after flea bites and irritants in the environment, food is the most common cause of canine allergies.
But, how do you know if your dog has a food allergy? Then answer lies in watching your dog’s behavior, keeping a close watch for increased scratching, as well as looking for physical indicators of a potential problem.
Identifying Dog Food Allergies
Dog food allergies can occur at any point in a dog’s life, and there is no obvious link to any particular breed, sex, or medical history. Generally, however, dogs with food allergies may also suffer from allergies due to other causes.
Food allergies will most often manifest in skin redness and dryness, resulting in increased scratching and biting at the skin. This is quite different to food intolerances, which will usually cause diarrhea and vomiting.Both conditions can be treated similarly, although intolerances can pose a greater danger.
Any number of foods may cause an allergic reaction in a dog, but the most common are various meats, dairy products, fish, and eggs. Other common causes are grains commonly used as filler in commercial dog foods, including wheat, corn, and soy.
Generally speaking, dogs will develop allergies to foods they frequently consume, rather than those they only occasionally come into contact with.
Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies
The most common symptom of dog food allergies is itchiness, usually around the face, feet, legs, ears, and the anus.Your dog may also suffer from severe, recurring ear infections, loss of hair, hot spots, and infections that re-occur after antibiotics are completed.
Other signs are yeast infections in the ears and skin rashes or lesions.The difficulty with diagnosing a food allergy is that the symptoms are very similar to an allergy caused by fleas, or by irritants in the environment.
Treating Dog Food Allergies
To treat a food allergy you’ll first have to isolate the cause. This starts with putting your dog on a protein-rich diet prescribed by a vet.All outside sources of food including, treats, rawhide, toothpaste, and medications must be stopped.
After 12 weeks on the special diet, you will start re-introducing all of the previous foods, one at a time, to see which cause a reaction.This is a drawn-out process, but the best way to do it. Blood testing is available, but nowhere near as accurate as the method described above.
Allergies are very uncomfortable for your dog to endure. They can also be quite painful, and pose the risk of more serious infections.If your dog has any of the symptoms above, visit your vet to test for the possibility of dog food allergies.