Dog Food Allergies, Common Culprits You Should Be Aware Of
If you think human beings are the only ones who develop strong allergies to the foods we eat, think again. Dogs can be just as susceptible as us to the potentially damaging effects of a food that their bodies decide just isn't good for them.
But, how do you know if your dog has a food allergy and what do you do about it? It's not like he can tell you, "Hey, this dog food is making me itch." It quickly becomes your job to pay close attention to his behaviors and make any necessary adjustments.
* Identifying Dog Food Allergies
It is estimated that 10 percent of all allergies in dogs are food related, coming in third behind flea bite allergies and inhalant allergies.
Of all the scratching and itching in dogs, food allergies are estimated to cause 20 percent of these issues.
Unfortunately we don't know much about how the antibodies are developed, what happens in a dog's digestive tract or how it develops as they age. We do know, however, what we need to do to fix the problem and help our dogs feel
For the most part, dog food allergies can occur at any point in a dog's life, after 5 months and as late as 12 years of age, and there is no link between any particular breed, sex or medical history. Generally, however, dogs
with food allergies may also have other forms of allergies.
Remember that there is a difference between food allergies and intolerances. If a dog is intolerant of a food, it will often cause diarrhea and vomiting, while allergies result in itching and red skin. Both can be treated similarly, though intolerances can be more dangerous.
* Common Culprits
A dog can become allergic to any number of foods, but the most common foods are be meats, such as beef, chicken, lamb and other foods that tend to appear in their food, such as dairy products, chicken eggs, wheat, corn and soy.
Generally speaking, dogs will not be allergic to foods they don't normally come into contact with. Exposure amounts and the proteins that they eat are generally related, similar to how human beings tend to develop allergies to foods they eat as a young child.
* Symptoms of Allergies
The standard symptoms of food allergies in dogs start with itchy skin around the face, feet, legs, ears and the anus. They may also suffer from severe recurring ear infections, loss of hair, hot spots and infections that recur after antibiotics are completed.
The problem with diagnosing a food allergy is that the symptoms are very similar to a dog having a standard allergic reaction to fleas or inhalants, such as pollen.
Yeast infections in the ears is a common sign of food allergies, along with severe skin problems and year-round symptoms.
* Handling a Food Allergy
To deal with a food allergy, you'll need to use a food trial test. This is a long, careful process that starts with removing all outside sources of food from your dog's diet. Remove all treats, rawhides, medications with flavors, toothpastes and other foods from their diet.
Then, put your dog on a strong protein-heavy diet that will be prescribed by your vet. You'll leave him on this diet for 12 weeks and then reintroduce his normal diet.
If that food then causes recurrence of the symptoms, you can determine which foods in his diet are causing it.
Because a dog cannot simply say, "I don't feel well," this method is vital. Blood testing is also available but will only pick out certain recognized antibodies and is not as accurate as trial testing.
If you're concerned about your dog's health, make sure to see your vet right away to discuss the potential of food allergies.
If your dog has known intolerances to other types of food it might be worth trying Woofs fish-based treats. Diane tried the Cod Fingers and never looked back!