Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies in dogs is not one of the more common allergies dogs can be afflicted with and most of the foods dogs are allergic to are natural elements like eggs, milk, grains, or meat. It is actually something that develop at any time so even if your dog has been fine up to now, he could develop a food allergy at any time. Interestingly a dog can eat a food for a year or even two before suddenly showing allergic reactions which typically include itching and scratching. This scratching goes on throughout the year rather than just being a result of the summer warmth. Sometimes a dog owner will give their dog some kind of anti-itch medication like Benadryl and when this does not stop the problem may then realize this itching is from a food allergy. Here is a look at the symptoms of food allergies in dogs, how it is diagnosed, how to prevent the itching and treatment options.Advertisement
Symptoms a Dog may Show if They have a Food Allergy
As well as the itching and scratching other common signs include;
Licking his paws
Rubbing his face
Rash that has small red bumps
Skin patches that are raised may appear
Typical areas affected by the rash are the back of the legs, feet, the belly and the ears
How is it Diagnosed?
To get a proper diagnosis you need to take your dog to your vet where he or she will perform some tests, usually blood or skin tests, to determine what is causing the symptoms described. Part of the diagnosis will involve a new diet for your dog to explore what causes reactions and may mean your dog has to eat something new to him. Getting your dog to eat a new diet is not an easy job. It is true that premium brands of dog food are less likely to cause allergies than the cheaper brands but just swapping the food may not be enough and it is always best to check with your vet first. Together you can work out a new diet plan and how to get your dog onto that plan.
Foods That Cause Allergies in Dogs
A dog that has food allergies will react to the following most commonly though there are other triggers;
Have your dog avoid these foods and cheaper brands of dog food where ingredients are not as good quality.
How to Handle Dog Food Allergies
Treating a dog with food allergies is about making sure he does not eat the food he has a reaction to. When you have worked out what is causing the problem, it is then a matter of working out which brand of food is truly devoid of that food. For a few days your dog will have to be on a swapping diet plan which will involve new foods being introduced too. It is important that no other foods be given to him while this is being determined as it will skew the results, including his treats. Stick to the diet trail and the prescribed foods, not even homemade organic or hypoallergenic foods can be tried at this stage.
As mentioned having your dog go onto a new diet with new foods is not going to be an easy time so this is not something you want to undergo is there is no need. Avoid putting your dog on a new food diet just based on your own observations without visiting your vet first for advice and clarification. You need to be sure from a professional diagnosis that it is a food allergy causing the symptoms.
Some dog food brands are very similar and have almost the same ingredients in them so it is hard to know which ones to avoid or try. Your vet is the best person to consult over this. Obviously check labels for soy, wheat, beef, chicken, eggs, lamb and diary but be prepared that a brand may claim it is free of those foods but there may be tiny amounts or contamination or just something else in that food that your dog is still allergic too.Advertisement
You can expect to be on a new food trail for anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks. Once you have worked out what food or foods your dog is allergic to you can start to slowly introduce other foods into his diet being sure to take it one at a time and watch for any reactions. This way you can isolate any other foods to avoid. This is the best way to deal with a dog with food allergies, things like corticosteroid or antihistamine injections will not help him. As long as you follow the plan you will get the answers you need. Then it is a matter of making sure he does not consume foods that are on the no list and make sure you let other people who may feed him know. If he stays at a kennel or with relatives, if other people are likely to feed him, give him treats, or slip him something from their plate!