Just like their pet parents, dogs can be allergic to their food, too. It is one of the first rules in owning a dog: Keep an eye out for allergic reactions. Figuring out what they’re allergic to, on the other hand, does not always come easy. Without the ability for them to tell us exactly how they feel, figuring out what foods bother them can be a multi-step process.
The chances of food allergies vary from one dog to another. More often than not, you only find out when symptoms arise. In such cases, the most you can do is be prepared. Whether or not you suspect your dog has food allergies, you should learn about common causes should your dog start to show signs of a food intolerance at any point in their life. Keep reading to find out more about food allergies in dogs, the symptoms, and treatment.
Signs Your Dog Has a Food Allergy
Food allergies in dogs do not manifest as fast as those in human beings. Their allergies may only occur after a long period of exposure to certain brands or food. So, if your dog seems fine after trying new pet food, do not assume they are immune. The best approach is to be proactive and look out for possible signs of allergy. Spot the signs, know how to react, and invest in pet insurance for future instances. This will save you a great deal of worry, stress, and money spent on veterinary costs.
Here are the most common symptoms:
- Ear infections
- Eye discharge
- Hair loss
- Hives or inflamed skin
- Hot spots or rashes
- Itchy paws
- Itchy skin
- Lack of energy
- Swelling in the face, specifically in the ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps
- Too much energy
- Weight loss
These signs may be different for each dog. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all per dog breed, size, or age. Any dog can develop an allergy at any point, and it can be caused by foods you would least expect.
What to Do When Your Dog Has a Food Allergy
There is only one way to remedy a food allergy: Go to the experts. Once you spot unusual signs, bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately. They are the only ones equipped to properly diagnose and treat pet allergies. Many dog food brands meant for dogs with food allergies can only be obtained through a veterinarian, as their highly specialized formulas are meant for dogs diagnosed with an allergy.
Having pet insurance is extremely useful in this scenario. While it may not prevent food allergies from happening, it does assure you of proper medical assistance in case they do come up. Plus, it will help you cut down on costs, especially when you may have to make multiple trips to the vet for recurring ear infections or stomach issues. Pet insurance will cover your veterinary expenses in case of accidents, illnesses, emergency testing, and other services.
The Most Common Food Allergens for Dogs
While there is no way to be certain of your dog’s reaction to food, you have the option to avoid certain food groups altogether. This list of food items contains common food allergens that dogs react to. Many times, dogs are allergic to the meat protein itself, making it difficult to find alternatives. Take note of these to be on the safe side.
Tips to Avoid Food Allergies in Dogs
Apart from staying away from the above food groups, here are other practical tips to help lessen the chances of your dog experiencing food allergies.
Get a Food Allergy Test for your Dog
Some veterinary clinics offer a variety of allergy tests for dogs. They are done through blood, saliva, or skin. However, keep in mind that these tests are not always accurate. In that case, the next tip may be a better alternative.
Make Your Dog Go Through an Elimination Diet
Many pet parents go through this process and end up with satisfactory results. An elimination diet is tedious, but it is the most precise way to find out common food allergies, for dogs and humans alike. The effort put into an elimination diet pays off in the long run as you’ll have a clear idea of what your dog can and cannot eat.
It starts with stopping all the food you currently feed your dog with. For the next 12 weeks, you will feed them with one source of protein and carbohydrates. It should be something new to them. You can refer to this list for the most common ingredients used in elimination diets.
- Pinto beans
If they don’t show any signs of allergies after 12 weeks, you can start adding back their original food groups. Do this per item, not all together. Once you spot an allergic reaction, remove the most recent addition, and add that food allergy to the list.
Cook Homemade Dog Food as Often as Possible
Commercial pet food is a combination of different ingredients. And while most in the market claim to be safe, organic, natural, and have all these other pet-friendly benefits, you can never be too sure. They may contain ingredients that trigger food allergies. The easiest solution is to cook your dog food at home. This way, you’ll have full transparency on what you’re feeding your fur baby.
Conclusion for Food Allergies in Dogs
With these tips, you’ll be more prepared if your dog develops a food allergy, and you will be able to prevent your dog from coming into contact with that food in the future. Food allergies can be hard to spot without veterinarian care, as many dog owners may brush symptoms off as seasonal allergies or ignore the problems altogether. In the end, what matters most is your dog’s comfort (and your wallet), so investing in proper treatment and learning about food allergies in your dog will help you and your pup in the long run.
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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