Guide To Dog Food Allergies
Parents of young children are forever watchful of food allergies that could threaten health or even life.
Dog owners should be just as conscientious of the signs and symptoms of dog food allergies.
Allergies are an immune system response to a particular food type. The body accidentally identifies this food as dangerous and responds with a full out attack of antibodies against this perceived harm. A dog can have various severe symptoms that can endanger his or her health.
Some of the symptoms that can indicate a dog’s food allergy include:
- Itching and continuous scratching
- Excessive licking
- Biting of the paws or other body part
- Dull, thin or lifeless fur coat
- Long-term inflammation of the ears
Dogs also have allergic reactions very similar to the types seen in their human counterparts:
- Itching or an itchy rear end
- Hives or a rash on the skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Continuing gas problems or diarrhea
If any of these symptoms occur and persist, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. These trained professionals can figure out if they are caused by a food allergy or any other illnesses or diseases a dog can contract.
Reactions become more severe with continued exposure to whatever food they are allergic to. What may start as a mild rash or bout of indigestion can be exacerbated if you continue to feed the same food. Just because the symptoms appear mild at first does not mean they will stay that way. Dog food allergies can be life-threatening.
What are some of the most common dog food allergens?
Many different ingredients in dog food can result in an allergic reaction but some are more likely to than others. The most common ones include:
- Meat – beef, pork, chicken, lamb and rabbit
- Fish and other seafood
- Dairy products
- Grains – corn, wheat and soybeans
Dogs with food allergies frequently have problems with more than one ingredient.
In order to determine which ingredients should be avoided, a veterinarian will prescribe an elimination diet and then reintroducing possible allergens to test for reaction. For example, the first stage could consist of just ground turkey and sweet potatoes. After making sure no allergic reactions occur, other foods are introduced.
Each new food is introduced alone for a period of at least a week until symptoms arise. This helps you create the right long-term diet for your furry friend.
While dog food allergies to meals are common, an elimination diet may not find any problems. If the symptoms still persist even with one non-allergenic food type being fed, they are probably caused by something in the environment. As possible your dog is affected by other pets’ dander, pollen, medications, type of fabric or their shampoo.
Creating a healthy diet for a dog with food allergies is much simpler than it was in the past. So many more options of food types are available including different combinations of ingredients. Some even include exotics like venison, kangaroo meat, oatmeal and potatoes which are less likely to cause reactions. With proper care and testing with an elimination protocol, you can find the right food to maintain your beloved pet’s health and happiness.