Food allergies. The moment you see or hear these two words, you most likely think about how they are becoming increasingly common for human beings. But did you know that food allergies also pertain to dogs?
If your dog has any type of adverse reaction after eating certain food and it involves the immune system, it means your dog probably has a food allergy. If you are at all concerned about the health and wellbeing of your dog, here are four things you should know when it comes to dog food allergies.
4 Things You Should Know About Dog Food Allergies
1. Dog Food Allergy Symptoms
Since some of the symptoms are very similar to skin diseases, it can be difficult to diagnose whether or not your dog has food allergies. These symptoms include skin irritation, frequent itching, hives, a poor coat condition, and hair loss.
Other symptoms of dog food allergies include:
Recurring external ear infections
Vomiting or diarrhea
Coughing and sneezing
Poor growth in puppies and young dogs
Chewing at the tail or paws
A food allergy is different from a food intolerance. If your dog is sensitive to certain foods, it has nothing to do with their immune system and usually causes digestive distress such as bloating and gas. Food allergies can cause severe allergic reactions whereas a food intolerance simply produces negative digestive consequences.
2. Common Food Allergens
If you do notice any of the above symptoms, you may want to pay close attention to what kinds of ingredients and foods your dog is ingesting.
Some of the more common food allergens that can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs include:
Many dog foods contain at least a few of these ingredients. Also, if a dog has food allergies, chances are Fido is allergic to more than one ingredient or type of food. It’s important to note that dogs can get allergies at any age, and even if a dog has been eating the same ingredients for years, they can still develop an allergy to it.
3. Prevention and Treatment
Allergies can develop over time when you feed your dog the same ingredients over and over again. One of the best ways to prevent food allergies is to rotate the kinds of ingredients your dog receives. For instance, if your dog’s main source of protein is beef, you may want to switch to chicken. Switching your dog’s food a couple of times a year can help to prevent food allergies.
If you realize your dog has food allergies, you may need to try an elimination diet. This means removing common food allergens from your dog’s diet, and then slowly reintroducing the ingredients one at a time to try to find the allergen. If this doesn’t work, you can try switching to a hypoallergenic dog food.
4. What To Do If Your Pet Has Food Allergies
If you suspect your dog has food allergies and you’re not sure what to do, contact your veterinarian. A vet can help to determine if your dog has food sensitivities or allergies and what to do in either situation.