We all know how dangerous allergies can be for humans, unfortunately dogs can have them to. If your question before opening this article was: Is my dog allergic to his food?, look no more! We have researched and prepared all the information you need to know about this subject.
Allergy occurs when a person or an animal reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless to the most of population. They are misguided reaction to foreign substances by the body immune system.
These substances are called allergens, and are found in insects, ticks, foods and some medications.
When we talk about dog allergies, there are three types:
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Environmental allergens
- Food allergies
In this article we will focus on food allergies in dogs. What’s tricky about these kind of allergies is they can begin at any age, even if your dog has been eating the same food for months or years allergies can start suddenly.
Therefore it is vital that you can recognize signs of allergies and with good certainty determine if your dog is allergic to food.
Types of food that causes allergies in dogs:
Most common culprits are:
- dairy products
Those less common are:
How can I notice if my dog is allergic to his food, what are the symptoms?
We can outline five main symptoms you can notice:
This is the most common type of allergy, it is also known as allergic dermatitis.
Any part of dogs body can be affected by itching and irritation, but it most often happens near:
- Rear end
2. Tummy problems
As humans, dogs can also suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, gas or diarrhea
3. Swollen face
You may notice swelling in your dogs eyelids, lips, or ear flaps.
Hives are itchy red bumps that may pop up 6 to 24 hours after your dog consumed food he is allergic to.
If your dog has short hair you will easily spot them, otherwise you may need to thoroughly inspect your dogs skin with your hands to feel them.
You may also notice two side effects of this irritation:
Your dog will probably bite, lick or scratch irritated areas which can cause broken skin. Open skin is very susceptible to infections and need immediate treatment.
Excessive scratching can lead to hair loss.
5. Chronic ear or paw infections
If your dog has repeated infections in his ears or paws, this actually may be sign of food sensitivity not a food allergy. So it is important that we educate you on difference between food sensitivity and food allergy.
Food allergy triggers instant immune system response, in other words after the dog eats food he is allergic to you very quickly see the symptoms.
With food sensitivity this is not the case, as immune system gradually react to a certain ingredient in food.
IMPORTANT: In very rare cases dogs, like humans, may go into anaphylactic shock that is caused by immune system severe reaction to allergen. This can be fatal if not treated!
Therefore in cases like this it is vital you call veterinarian or emergency animal hospital right away!
How can I test my dog for food allergy?
First, you should visit vet to do a thorough examination of your dog’s health. Veterinarian will then rule all other possible causes of symptoms and if he thinks allergy is the problem, your dog will be tested.
Best way to figure out a food allergy is Elimination diet. Your dog will be fed one protein and one carbohydrate for 8 to 12 weeks, if during that time no symptoms occur that means that type of food is safe for your dog.
This can be difficult to track and do on your own, so it is best practice that you do this step with a help from professional. Because it is the only way you can find cause of the allergy in safe and nutritionally complete way.