Approximately 10 percent of dogs will have food allergies and is the third most popular seen in canines. Some dogs have food intolerance which differs quite a bit from allergies. A visit to a veterinarian is the only sure fire way to know which one your pet may be suffering from.
A dog with food intolerance will display diarrhea and/or vomiting after eating particular foods their body wants to reject. However, intolerance will not bring about an allergic reaction and response. Food allergies on the other hand will cause a reaction and other symptoms will be present such as skin irritation and itching, most commonly affecting the forelegs, anus, feet, ears and face. In severe cases chronic scratching, repetitive ear infections, hair loss and hot spots are commonly seen and are persistent.
Studies have shown that the biggest offenders of food allergies tend to be dairy products, beef, chicken, corn and wheat. All of these ingredients ironically are found in most food products that your dog consumes over the span of their life.
Diagnosing food allergies is a simple process that is non-invasive and consists of trial and error changes in your dog’s diet. Although some veterinarians suggest blood tests, such test shave not been proven to be effective in diagnosing allergies yet. Omitting your dog’s entire current diet and placing him or her on a completely new diet consisting of foods they have never had before is the first step. This can be challenging and time consuming, but is the only current effective method. Once the diet has been altered, reintroduction of the foods you may suspect caused the initial allergy can take place and then it is necessary to observe your dog and their behavior to notice even subtle changes and irritation. Only then will you know for sure which food is the culprit.
Remember to subtract everything from your dog’s previous diet, even if they have eaten some of the foods for years without incident. As with people, dogs can develop food allergies suddenly to foods they have been able to enjoy in the past. Never assume your dog is sensitized to any food product.
New age and herbal remedies have gained popularity in the past decade and it may be useful to speak to your veterinarian about herbal treatments and possibly a home cooked or raw diet. Processed pet foods have lots of additives and ingredients may or may not be the best for your dog and his or her digestion. Preparing your own pet meals means you know exactly what your dog will be consuming. There are also herbal and natural topical remedies on the market that may help with itch and irritated skin associated with food allergies. As always, consult with your vet prior to giving any treatments to your animal.
Once it has been determined which food/s are causing your dog grief, the treatment plan is simply: do not give your dog that particular food. More times than not this is enough to keep food allergies at bay and keep your furry friend happy and healthy.