Things Every Dog Owner Should Know About Dog Food Allergies

August 20, 2019

Are you worried about your dog’s constant episodes of itching? Does your furry pet continue to show symptoms of some allergies, despite flea treatments? Perhaps your dog is suffering from food allergy. Although dog food allergies are not very common, some breeds are more prone to it than others. 

Here are a few things you ought to know about dog food allergies:

Everyone, whether it is you or your dog, has antibodies that are specialized cells of the immune system. These cells protect the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders. Sometimes, these cells can become overprotective and attack harmless nutrients, such as proteins, present in food. 

Allergy symptoms occur when the immune system cells have a heightened response to such substances, also known as allergens. This happens to every living being with food allergies, including dogs. If you notice that your dog experiencing allergic symptoms, especially after eating something, they could be allergic to the food they are consuming or an ingredient in the food. 

Common triggers of food allergies in dogs
In most cases, dog food allergy is a genetic health problem. Your dog can be allergic to multiple ingredients in their diet. One of the most common dog food allergy triggers is protein in foods such as eggs, wheat, corn, milk, and beef. Most of these are common protein sources in commercial pet foods. Other triggers include chicken, soy, fish, lamb, rabbit, and port.  

Common symptoms of dog food allergies
Theoretically, your dog can develop an allergy to anything, similar to how humans react. Dogs develop food allergies when are exposed to allergens. Their body’s immune system is primed or sensitized to overreact to such allergens. 

For instance, if your dog has never been exposed to chicken-based foods, they will not suffer an allergic reaction on the first contact. An allergic response may develop only with subsequent exposure. Once this happens, your dog will experience the symptoms. The symptoms usually vary depending on the breed. One of the most common symptoms is itching all over their body. Some dogs may also experience diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms include chronic ear inflammation, chronic gas, gastrointestinal problems, and an itchy rear end. 

Breeds that are more prone to dog food allergies
While some dogs are more prone to dog food allergies, it also depends on their breed. Some breeds such as retrievers, dachshunds, German shepherds, West Highland white terriers, miniature schnauzers, Shar Pei, and cocker spaniels have been observed to be more prone to food allergies. In most cases, the probability of your dog having a food allergy will also depend on where you live. 

Hypoallergenic diets for dogs
A hypoallergenic diet minimizes instances of allergic reactions. However, there is no fixed diet as every dog is different. According to the FDA, only veterinarians can prescribe and distribute hypoallergenic diets. Additionally, there are several brands that make therapeutic foods, especially for dogs with food allergies. If you wish to give your dog a specialized diet, consult your vet. Although dog food allergies cannot be cured completely, they can be managed well if you identify the triggers correctly. Many dog owners prefer giving their furry friends home-made food because of dog food allergies. However, the effectiveness of home-made food depends on how to choose to make it. The protein structure of the ingredients used for home-made food is quite different from that of a processed diet. This may make a difference for some dogs.

Moreover, if you miss out on adding certain essential supplements to the cooked food, your dog’s diet won’t be as balanced. Although the advantage of home-cooked food is that you know exactly what is going in it, it is not necessary that your allergy-prone dog will benefit from it. Always consult your vet before putting your dog on any special diet. 

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