Dog allergies are a common ailment among canines and dog food allergies account for approximately ten percent of all allergy issues among dogs. A dog can become allergic to a dog food that they have been eating for several years. With a little knowledge the pet owner can see the symptoms of a dog food allergy and get the dog to the veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies
The most common symptoms of dog allergies is skin problems and is observed through itchy, irritated skin, dry patches or hot spots, flaking and hair loss. The dog may lick or scratch as dog allergies symptoms in particular areas around the legs and feet. In addition breathing problems such as hacking or wheezing can occur. These dog allergy symptoms may be associated with air borne allergies also so that is why a visit to the veterinarian is a good choice when these symptoms are present. Other signs of possible dog food allergies are vomiting and/or diarrhea when more frequent than just once and a while. If your dog is vomiting and has diarrhea for more than a day you should visit your veterinarian for possible other reasons for this occurrence. Also some symptoms may be caused by allergic reactions to fleas, parasites, mites, pollen, etc. Your veterinarian has test that can diagnose the problem as well as prescribe antibiotics and possibly steroids to help with the symptoms.
Diagnosing Dog Food Allergies
If a food allergy is suspected your veterinarian may prescribe an elimination diet where the dog is taken off its food and gradually reintroduced to the various components of that food to see what in particular the dog is allergic to. This should only be done under the supervision of a veterinarian and should be a very gradual change.
Food items in dog food that can trigger allergic reactions in dogs are:
- Chemicals and preservatives
Treatment of Dog Food Allergies
Once you find out what the particular ingredient is causing the dog food allergies in your dog you can find a good type of food to put them on. A good natural dog food made with meat (not by products but meat), vegetables and carbohydrates (preferably not corn or wheat). You can study the pet food labels to find out what is in the food. Preservatives may cause reactions and should be avoided. Names of some preservatives are BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin, etc. If there are too many chemical I usually strike it from the list. The new diet should be changed over gradually, ideally over ten days.
There may be supplements you can give your dog as well to help keep them healthy and symptom free. Ask your veterinarian about this when you are working with them on the diagnosis for dog food allergies. Stay on the new diet strictly and stay away from table scraps. Know what ingredients are in your dog food by knowing how to read a pet food label. Check out the treats also, a lot of them contain wheat and by products.
Dog food allergies seem to be a more common occurrence than years ago. An additional factor would be that veterinarian science has progressed so much in just the last ten years as well as owners are being more knowledgeable about what is in the food they feed their pets. Some pet food companies are making allergy dog food that is formulated for these conditions. With some help from your veterinarian you can overcome any problems with food allergies that exist with your dog.