How Do You Know if Your Dog has a Food Allergy?
Just like humans, dogs can experience food allergies that make them seriously uncomfortable in their own skin. However, unlike humans, they can’t tell us when they’re experiencing discomfort. That’s why it’s so important to know what the symptoms of a food-related allergy look like.
Whether your dog’s allergic reaction is caused by a genetic predisposition or amplified by their environment, food allergy symptoms are distinct and can be dangerous if left untreated. Below we’ll investigate how to recognize them, what causes them and how to fix them.
What are the most common symptoms of dog food allergies?
Symptoms may vary widely based on breed and the severity of your dog’s allergy. Some breeders can propagate food allergies by breeding dogs from the same family lines, though other purebred dogs like Shepherds and Retrievers, Dachshunds and Cocker Spaniels do have a somewhat slightly higher risk of developing food allergies.
Generally speaking, watch for skin-related irritants like rashes, hives and itching as many allergens attempt to ‘escape’ through the skin. If you spot Fido constantly licking or continuously biting her paws, that could be a sign something’s wrong. Redness and inflammation in the ears are also common with food allergies.
While you might expect to see mostly gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, an inflamed rear or chronic diarrhea and gas, these may actually be more akin to food intolerance than traditional allergies.
Food intolerance is less of an immune response and more of a digestive problem and stems from an inability to digest a specific ingredient.
What are some common causes of dog food allergies?
Again, most food allergies have a genetic root but can also be reflective of the quality of your dog’s food. When an allergy is triggered, the reaction may depend on which ingredient(s) is/are causing the upset. It’s also not uncommon for dogs to have more than one allergy.
More often than not, exposure to certain these common proteins and plant derivatives can incite an allergic reaction:
How do I know if it’s Dog Food Allergies or something else?
While the vet can do some blood tests or send fecal matter off for analysis, a less expensive way to single out a food allergen is to try an elimination diet. Put simply, this involves changing the food completely and switching to a clean diet of mostly raw foods. After a few weeks, once all symptoms have cleared, slowly begin adding the dog’s regular food. If you spot a reaction, food allergies are likely the cause and it’s time to make a change.
Ultimately, if you suspect your dog may be experiencing a food allergy, don’t wait to speak with your vet about it. Left undiagnosed, you could seriously damage your pet’s digestive system, not to mention leave them feeling generally unwell. Always consult a trusted veterinary professional before drastically switching your dog’s diet and, of course, feed them quality food manufactured with the highest standards. Doing so could very well reduce the risk of dog food-related allergies and will definitely help with their quality of life!
Guest post by Mitch Felderhoff. Mitch can be reached at:
Filed under: Dog Care
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