Are Dog Food Allergies Making your Dog Sick?
Canine food allergies and food intolerance can sneak up on you, because dog food allergies develop over a period of time, when your dogs immune system reacts to certain foods.
Most often, the source of your dog’s misery is a protein or grain in his dog food. Corn, wheat and soy are three of the most common allergens, but there are many more.
Because so many dogs have developed canine food allergies in recent years, dog food companies have started making hypoallergenic dog foods with exotic ingredients like venison, kangaroo, rabbit, duck and fish.
And the new recipes use starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes or oatmeal.
Using these new ingredients seems to help dog food allergies, because dogs have not been eating the “new” foods.
Allergies to a food, only develop after a dog has eaten that food for a long time. A dog’s body cannot be allergic to a new food…
Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies
So how will you know if your dog has canine food allergies? Food allergies in dogs show up in a number of ways that are pretty easy to see.
Here are some things to look for:
- Rashes or hot spots
- Vomiting after eating – this can also occur when your dog eats too fast or she has eaten something nasty outdoors.
- Ear infections – that keep recurring
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Lots of scratching
A single occurrence of a symptom, like vomiting, does not mean that your dog has canine food allergies. However, if she vomits every day for a week or two, you should suspect dog food allergies or another medical problem.
Treatment for Canine Food Allergies
So what should you do if you suspect that your dog has food allergies? There are three approaches:
Take your Dog to the Vet
This is the most expensive approach, but you may feel more comfortable starting here. Your veterinarian can do allergy tests, just as your medical doctor would do, if you want to confirm beyond a doubt that your suspicions about the cause of the allergy are correct.
Switch to another Dog Food
Switching to a hypoallergenic dog food seems like a simple solution, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Since you don’t know exactly what your dog is allergic to, you might not choose the best dog food formula (the one that eliminates your dog’s allergen).
However this is easy, and it might just work!
This is the most difficult and time-consuming approach, but it is the most accurate way to discover canine food allergies.
Take your dog off everything that she usually eats, and feed her something that she has never had before. For example, you might feed your dog lamb, rabbit or venison combined with a starch like rice or potatoes.
The only rule is that your dog must not have been exposed to the new foods.Feed your dog the new diet for 1-2 months.
Then, if your dog’s symptoms have cleared, introduce ingredients into her diet, one at a time. Each ingredient (like wheat) should be given to her for 5 days.
If the food allergy symptoms come back, that ingredient should never be given to your dog again.
If you decide that you would like to continue to feed your dog home cooked meals, make sure you get a book with recipes that have balanced nutrition.