We all want to give our dogs the best possible food. However, this can be tricky if your dog has an undiagnosed food allergy. It is important to know the symptoms of a food allergy so that you and your vet can begin to determine the problem ingredients.
A dog with allergies will most likely experience skin problems. Irritation from food allergies is extremely painful and may develop into hives. It is most common near the ears, paws, stomach, and tail. Monitor your dog for excessive scratching, licking, or pulling at these locations or others. Fleas can also cause skin irritation, so make sure to check your itchy dog’s skin and fur for any insects or flea dirt.
A dog with dietary restrictions may also experience gastrointestinal problems such as chronic gas, vomiting, and diarrhea. These can indicate either a food allergy or intolerance. An allergy affects multiple organs and may have a variety of symptoms. Meanwhile, an intolerance is usually limited to gastrointestinal complications.
Some dogs may have an anaphylactic reaction to certain foods. This is a much more serious type of allergy that requires immediate veterinary care. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, shock, drooling, and difficulty controlling urine or bowel movements.
Causes of Allergic Reactions
Many dog owners may be puzzled by their furry friend’s sudden allergic reaction. Even dogs that have been eating the same food for some time may develop an allergy to one of the ingredients. This is because canine food allergies require a period of exposure to arise. A dog might not experience adverse symptoms immediately after trying a new food, but they can certainly develop with time.
The most common allergens for dogs are chicken, beef, and dairy. Less common allergens include wheat, corn, barley, oats, or rice.
The Elimination Diet
Veterinary trials for food allergies such as the skin and fur tests are infamously unreliable. Many pet owners are instead turning to the elimination diet. This diet begins with a one to three month period in which your dog only eats a simple-ingredient food that they have never tried before. After this, you would quickly switch back to the old food. If symptoms return, your dog likely has a food allergy! Ingredients are then introduced into the new diet in order to pinpoint what exact ingredient is causing an allergic reaction.
One major concern with the elimination diet is that simple-ingredient dog foods may lack the proper nutritional content that dogs need to survive. Talk to your vet about the elimination diet before attempting it at home.
At Claws N Paws Day Spa, we offer professional grooming services to both dogs and cats. Book your appointment today by calling us at 714-962-1005 or visiting our location in sunny Fountain Valley, California.