Dog Food Allergies
Allergies caused by inhalants or atopy from chemicals, dust and pollen
Allergies caused by fleas or other insects
Contact allergies caused by direct contact with materials like plastic/synthetic materials
Bacterial allergies caused when a dog reacts to bacteria
Food allergies in dogs most commonly cause skin irritations and can easily be identified. In a worst case scenario, dog food allergies can lead to complications like skin infections or even bald patches.
Causes of dog food allergies
Dog food allergies can affect any breed of dog at any time. Even though the allergies may develop in puppies as young as 6 months old or even in older dogs of over 12, these allergies most commonly affect dogs in the ages of 2-6. A vast majority of dogs suffering from food allergies may also be affected by inhalant and contact allergies.
Many theories have been advanced as to why some dogs get food allergies while others do not. But the fact of the matter is that nothing has been found to cause dog food allergies yet. A common popular theory is that a dog may be predisposed to a food allergy by being exposed to internal parasites. This is perhaps why many assume that food allergies in puppies are caused by internal parasites such as worms.
And although there’s no solid proof yet of what causes dog food allergies, there are common triggers that are obvious. The triggers include heavy protein foods like beef/meat, chicken, dairy, and grains like corn and wheat. In some instances, a dog may be eating the same food for many years without any problems and then it suddenly develops an allergy to it. In addition, dog food manufacturers can sometimes alter their ingredients which will likely cause an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of food allergies in dogs
One of the major symptoms of dog food allergies is an itchy skin. This may manifest as:
Chewing at the leg, foot and tail
Shaking of the head
Recurrent ear infections
Many people often overlook dog food allergies because they assume that the skin problems are due to other health problems, for example external allergens like dust and pollen as well as fleas and other insects.
Dog food allergies can also manifest other symptoms apart from skin reactions. They include:
Treatments for dog food allergies
Food allergies in dogs have no cure. Therefore, the best way to deal with the problem is to find out the food that is behind the problem and then exclude it from the dog’s diet. In most cases, it is a difficult thing to do.
For starters, one should take their dog completely off its normal diet and then give it food it has never consumed before. Since allergies build up with time, the dog cannot suffer allergies from eating the new diet known as elimination diet. After a short while on this diet, one should be able to see a drastic improvement in the dog’s health. The elimination diet should ideally be homemade so that one can control exactly what food they are giving to a dog. Commercial dog foods should be avoided at this stage as they may cause reactions.
In order to get the best results from the elimination diet, one should conduct it for at least a month or two. It will involve the addition and removal of various ingredients so that the exact cause of the allergic reaction is known. On the other hand, conducting an elimination diet may also not show any improvements in the dog at all. If this happens, one will at least come to the conclusion that food is not what is causing the allergies.
And even though dog food allergies have no cure, it is always advisable for the pet owner to treat secondary complaints like rashes or lesions caused by endless scratching. When the cause of a dog’s food allergy is identified and removed from the diet, effective treatment can then be obtained from traditional dog medications.
Dog food allergies can affect any dog breed and can occur at any age. The allergies can affect both male and female dogs whether they are altered or not. Food allergies are the hardest to diagnose as it takes quite a long time before a dog reacts to a particular food. All in all, when a dog food allergy is confirmed, it becomes easier to treat the problem.