Food Allergies in Dogs
Has your dog been itching and scratching his body lately? Does he keep shaking his head or keeps licking the toe? Then you should know your furry friend has been suffering from some allergy that he caught after eating something that he is allergic to.
Food allergies cover 10 percent of all the allergies in dogs; it accounts some 20 percent of the itching and scratching causes.
Though we don’t entirely understand the process of sensitization in a dog, we actually understand the symptoms of the disease, how to diagnose food allergies, and also how to treat them.
Most dogs are allergic to few things from their birth, that’s a genetic problem which transfers from parents. While, other dogs get affected by the environment too.
Another common reason come to see is that we use commercial products and food to feed our dog instead we should make dog foods at home for couple of reasons and one of them is that food will be safe for sure for them.
Common Reasons of Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergy is commonly a genetic shift, and it triggers when the dog eats something that he is allergic to.
- Following are some common allergens:
If your dog is allergic to wheat, he might also be allergic to beef or fish. Dogs are not bound to be sensitized only one thing.
Related: Foods that your Dog Should NEVER eat
Related: Safe Foods for your Dog to eat
Food allergy vs. Food intolerance
Lot of dog-parents gets confused between food allergies and food intolerance. There is a distinct difference between the two, and it needs to be understood.
Food allergies are true allergies in the sense that they show proper symptoms like, itching or skin irritation. Whereas, Food intolerance does not produce an allergic reaction but results in diarrhea or vomiting. This is similar to that of human food intolerance.
The good thing is that both can food allergies and food intolerance can be treated by giving a diet free from offending agents.
Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
If the canine has been itching his body and shaking head, if he’s caught chronicle ear infection or has got low quality fur coat, if he keeps biting or lick his paws, and does not respond to steroids; he is suffering from a Food Allergy.
If you observe any of these symptoms, you should contact your vet to have your pet examined if this is indeed a food allergy.
In the following case, make sure you keep your pet away from the things he is allergic to. The more the canine expose to allergen, the severe the reaction is.
How to Diagnose Food Allergies in Dogs?
Diagnosing food allergies is rather easy, but what makes it difficult is that there many other dog problems that can cause similar symptoms and more than that, some dogs suffer more than one disease at a time so it gobbles up everything. Therefore, it is necessary to identify other dog issues and treat them before diagnosing the food allergies.
Many other dog diseases like, Hypersensitivities Sarcoptic Mange (highly contagious skin disease found in dogs), Atopy (A tendency to develop allergic diseases such as allergic rhinitis or asthma), Flea Bite Allergies, Intestinal Parasite and Yeast or Bacterial Infections can also produce similar symptoms as food allergies.
Food Elimination Challenge or Food Trial – Treatment …!
In food trial, you need to stop all the foods you are currently feeding to your dog and start giving him novel food. A novel food is a food that contains proteins and carbohydrates that the dog has never been fed before.
A number of such commercial products are available in the market. Moreover, special ‘hydrolyzed protein’ diets are also available in the market. These diets contain proteins and carbs broken into smaller molecular sizes that they are easily digestible and thus do not cause allergic issues to pets.
Once the dog starts improving, you may reintroduce old food that you think might have caused the allergy. If the dog shows any allergic signs, which only takes few weeks, (as long as 12 weeks), the food allergy is confirmed.
If your dog still shows the allergic symptoms no matter what combination of food you offered, then this might rather be an environmental allergy rather than a food allergy. In this case, there is a fair chance that a factor present in the environment (i.e., pollen, dander or any fabric) is causing the trouble. Keep a check on the recent medication you’ve been giving to the canine, this might as well be a cause of allergy.
With this said, there are still many foods available in the market that present that offer a large variety of proteins and grains to which your dog will not react, such as oatmeal, venison, potatoes and kangaroo etc.
On a Serious note separate from above points.
The Grain-Free and Low Carbohydrate Dog Foods are very popular these days. Many pet owners prefer to feed their Buddies on grain-free food to prevent any allergies or other health issues.
So, a little care and education can make it easy to keep your dog safe and healthy. However, if you feel this is a hectic job, or you cannot get enough time out of the busy schedule, then get off the worry and simply call your veterinarian and speak to him regarding your dog’s allergy.