Dog Food Allergies
Dog Food Allergies
A common problem that is arising in the pet owning community is dog food allergies. Some dog foods can cause allergies and other sensitivities that can create issues for both the dog and its owner.
Some dog foods can cause serious health and behavioral changes in your pet and you may be surprised that you could possibly change that by just changing your dog’s diet.
One of the major contributors to dog food allergies is the chemicals used to produce the dog food. Pesticides and other chemicals, like preservatives, are known for causing food allergies in dogs. There is not a full understanding as to how and why these chemicals cause allergic reactions in dogs, but it is understood that allergic reactions and sensitivities can develop within a dog that is fed these chemicals over an extended period of time.
Common Dog Food Allergies
Many of the common ingredients that you may see in the nutrition facts on the label from the dog food you are feeding are the ingredients causing the issues. These ingredients are: beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, wheat, eggs, corn, soy, and whey.
Originally, lamb was considered the alternative dog food for canines who were suffering from dog food allergies or sensitivities. But, recent research has uncovered that the lamb can cause allergies in dogs as well.
Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy
Many pet owners are confused between a food allergy and simply an intolerance to a certain type of food. A food allergy is truly an allergy and is commonly noted through a dog constantly scratching itself or through a myriad of other skin issues. Food intolerance usually causes a dog to vomit or have diarrhea, but do not produce typical allergic reactions.
Both a food allergy and a food intolerance can be eliminated by simply removing the offending agent from the dog’s diet.
Unfortunately, some allergies and sensitivities are caused by owners following mythical dog food guidelines. One of these guidelines is that you should feed your dog the same thing and the same amount of food everyday throughout its entire life.
Just like humans, dogs need a complete and nutritional diet. This means that variety in food choices can be very beneficial to your dog’s health and taste buds.
Be sure to pay attention to your dog’s behavior before and after feeding it, especially if it is the first time you ever fed it that particular type of food.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the most common signs that should trigger you to believe there are allergies or sensitivities from your pet’s food are external symptoms. These symptoms can be: excessive scratching, sores, head shaking, hair loss, face rubbing, anal itching, and Dog Ear Infections. Many of these symptoms are assumed to be the effect of other problems like Dog Fleas, Dog Ear Mites, Demodectic mange, fungal disease, endocrine or hormonal abnormalities as well as inhalant or contact allergies.
Other symptoms that are internal include : vomiting, Dog Diarrhea, flatulence, sneezing, a resemblance of asthma, seizures, and other behavioral differences.
If you suspect your dog of having a food allergy, then you should take it to its veterinarian immediately. There, the vet can make a diagnosis using allergy tests that will determine the causes for your dog’s symptoms. After the diagnosing, treatments for the allergy should ensue, which should take a few weeks to take effect.
Dog food allergies may not develop in a dog until the particular food allergen has been a part of a dog’s regular diet for many years. This could be due to hormone changes in the dog or changes in the recipe.
All dogs are susceptible to food allergies, meaning every breed, gender, and any age. So, pay attention to your dog’s behavior throughout its life.
After you have ruled out any other possible health concerns, you’ll need to conduct a food trial to determine which food ingredients are causing allergies in your dog.
In order to conduct a food trial you will need to eliminate food from your dog’s diet and then start adding different foods back into your dog’s diet in order to determine the culprit. In most cases your dog will only be allergic to only one or two main ingredients in the regular commercial dog food – usually a protein.
Start by feeding your dog a novel protein and a carbohydrate for 12 weeks. Recommended combinations include duck and potatoes or venison and potatoes.
During this 12 week period do not feed your dog any other food or treats. Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior during this time as well.
If the symptoms have gone away, or at least subsided, after the 12 week trial period, you can then try to feed your dog his old food. If the allergy symptoms reappear, you will then know that your dog is allergic to an ingredient in that specific food.
However, if you notice that there is no improvement of your dog’s allergy symptoms during the 12 week food trail, it will then be in your dog’s best interest to switch to a different source of protein and carbohydrate and try another 12 week trial again.
Keep in mind that if a dog is suffering from food allergies, he may refuse to eat. This can lead to Dog Anorexia if not caught in time.
There are many alternative foods that can be fed to a dog with allergies. Homemade dog food is the best option, as you can tailor your own dog’s diet. If you don’t feel comfortable, make sure to read the labels for possible allergens and study your dog’s behavior when trying a new food.