Telltale Signs Your Dog May Have A Food Allergy :
If the symptoms occur at a very young agetypically, puppies younger than age 1 dont experience environmental allergies
If the symptoms arent tied to a seasonal change or dont change in different parts of the country
If the reaction doesnt respond to steroids
If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms
Types Of Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Hypoallergenic dog food could be misleading since an ingredient that triggers food allergies in dogs varies from one dog to another.
For example, for a dog that’s allergic to chicken, any food that does not contain this common allergen can be considered hypoallergenic dog food.
But that’s not the case for dogs that are allergic to various ingredients other than chicken, like rice or beef, pork, and others.
A vet typically recommends this type of dog food once your dog’s food allergies are determined. Though hypoallergenic dog foods are often regarded as prescription dog foods, some are readily available over-the-counter and online.
Here are the common types of hypoallergenic food for dogs: Limited Ingredient Diet, Hydrolyzed Dog Food, and Grain-Free Diet.
Limited Ingredient Diet
Limited ingredient dog food, otherwise known as limited ingredient diets , refers to dog foods with fewer ingredients. This diet helps eliminate and identify food ingredients that trigger dog food allergies.
Generally, limited ingredient diets include a novel protein and a different carbohydrate source.
A novel protein is a new protein that is not usually present in common dog foods. Examples of sources include kangaroo, venison, duck, venison, turkey, and ostrich.
Usual novel carbohydrate sources for limited ingredients diet are brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
Symptoms Of Fish Allergies In Dogs
Symptoms of fish allergies in dogs may appear quickly once he starts eating a diet consisting of it, but in other cases the allergy may take months or years to develop. Allergies typically present between the ages of 1 and 5. Symptoms of fish allergies may include
- Itchy skin
- Hives, swelling or anaphylactic shock. These would occur with an IgE mediated allergies, which are much less common than sensitivities)
A life-threatening allergic reaction such as anaphylactic shock is rare but possible. If the allergy is severe enough, your dog will go into anaphylactic shock immediately after ingestion. If this happens, it is a medical emergency and your dog needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
The terms fish and fish derivatives found on dog food labels are very broad. These terms come with a lot of criticism, but it does not mean that the quality is bad. The terms can vary due to certain countries having laws and customs that may not allow something more specific.
In other cases, using a broad term allows the species of fish in the food to be altered without having to change the bag. As seasons change and overfishing occurs, dog food companies may change the species of fish they are using in their food, but since it is listed as fish they do not have to change the bag.
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Signs Your Dog Has Food Allergies
Having a dog with allergy issues can be incredibly frustrating for you and your dog. Signs of food allergies in dogs include:
- Itchy skin
- Recurring ear infections
- And non-stop scratching at his ears, paws, face, and back that drive you crazy
Your vet may have prescribed a seasonal dose of Benadryl or Claritin, but the itching persists. Maybe feed more Omegas to moisturize his skin. You wait it out. Nothing helps, and you are at your wits end seasonal allergies really shouldnt last this long, should they?
Not only are allergies frustrating, but if you are exposing your dog to unaddressed allergens, just treating the symptoms might not be enough.
Allergies are immune system responses where your dogs body goes a little haywire in response to a trigger. And no matter what you do to treat them, if youre exposing your dog to allergens, the problems and discomfort continue.
Below are some common but little-known signs that your dog may be suffering from food allergies.
Food Allergy Vs Food Intolerance
It’s a common misconception to interchange “food allergy” with “food intolerance or sensitivity.” These are two different conditions causing different reactions to your pet’s body. Food intolerance or food sensitivity is your dog’s inability to digest certain foods, leading to an adverse reaction from your digestive system. This can come in the form of diarrhea, vomiting, or chronic gas. Food allergies usually come down to your pet’s genetic predisposition and affect their immune system when triggered. Food intolerance is easier to manage than a food allergy, while the latter can potentially be life-threatening.
Common foods that can cause food allergies or intolerance are protein-rich, like beef, dairy, and soy. However, wheat, pork, chicken, fish, corn, and egg have also been known to cause allergic reactions in dogs. It’s also possible for your pet to be allergic to more than one ingredient, making it difficult to find the right food or eliminate the correct ingredients – but it’s not impossible.
If you suspect your pet might have food sensitivities, a diet tailored to their specific needs could do the trick. You can take a 3-minute quiz at TailoredPet.com to tell them all about your furbaby and they will personalize a recipe just for them staying away from any sensitive ingredients. They also offer a convenient subscription plan and send the food right to your door at the frequency you choose.
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When To Contact Your Vet
Make an appointment with your vet if you notice any of the symptoms above or you think your dog may have a food allergy. There are many other conditions that can cause these symptoms as well as a food allergy.
You know your dog best. If they dont have the symptoms listed above but you are still concerned its always best to contact your vet.
Signs & Symptoms Of Food Allergies In Dogs
Food allergies and sensitivities often don’t appear until the dog reaches their first birthday, although they can develop in dogs of any age.
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms they may be suffering from a food allergy and should be examined by your vet to determine the root cause of the symptom:
- Rashes on the ears and feet
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Is There An Allergy Test For Dogs
Allergy testing in dogs is done for seasonal/environmental allergies only. Studies have shown that blood testing and skin testing for food allergies are not accurate in dogs.
Prior to performing allergy testing, your veterinarian should rule out other causes for your dogs allergy symptoms. Allergy testing should not be used to confirm that your pet has seasonal/environmental allergies, but to determine the specific things to which your dog is allergic.
Studies have shown that hair and/or saliva testing for seasonal/environmental allergies or food allergies in dogs is not accurate.
Seasonal/environmental allergy testing can be performed in dogs by either skin testing or blood testing. Skin testing is the most accurate type of allergy test, and its generally performed by board-certified veterinary dermatologists.
Mild sedation is required. The fur is clipped in a small area, and a series of very small amounts of allergens are injected into your dogs skin. The degree of the allergic reaction to each allergen determines whether your dog is allergic to it. The cost of these tests can range from $300 to $700.
Starting A Food Trial
Starting your dog on a food trial means your pet will eat a prescription diet and absolutely nothing else for a couple of months to see if symptoms resolve.
If they do, some veterinarians will suggest going back to the dogs old diet to see if symptoms return to ensure that the dog is truly allergic to one or more ingredients in their regular diet.
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Rule Out Other Health Issues
Your veterinarian will take a full history on your pet and do a general exam.
Ruling out those conditions comes first because true food allergies are relatively uncommon.
If there is no other apparent cause for your dogs symptoms, your veterinarian may begin to suspect that food allergies are behind your dogs itchy skin or ear infections.
Even if your vet finds a reason for your dogs skin problems, they may still suspect that an adverse food reaction is at least partially responsible since, for example, yeast infections can develop as a result of food allergies.
Once a diagnosis of food allergies seems to be a reasonable possibility, your vet will recommend a food trial.
These Are The Signs That Show That Your Dog Might Be Allergic To His Food
A responsible dog owner considers their furbaby a member of the family. Just as with a child, you must have a certain level of patience in understanding all of your pet’s quirks while you nurture and train them so you can better care for them as they grow up. One way you can keep your dog healthy is as simple as observing any unusual behavior they might display. There may be a myriad of behavioral abnormalities in dogs but none more common than those caused by food allergies and intolerances.
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What Is The Best Food For Dogs With Allergies
It is important to work with a veterinarian to determine the best food for dogs with allergies. Novel protein and hydrolyzed diets that are available by prescription only are superior to those that can be bought over the counter because the latter often contain trace amounts of common allergens, even if they are not listed on the label. Randomly eliminating ingredients from your dog’s diet without the input of a veterinary nutritionist is also a bad idea, as it can result in nutritional imbalances and is unlikely to identify the underlying problem.
Save yourself the worry and speak with your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has a food allergy.
What To Expect During The Food Allergy Diagnosis Process
If a food allergy is suspected in your pet, we will begin the process of diagnosis by planning a special diet for your pet. The diet is custom chosen for your pet based on what he/she has eaten before. The diet can involve either home cooking, where you are your pets personal chef, or feeding your pet prescription dog or cat food that we will help you choose.
In many cases, preparing food for your pet yourself is the ideal option when attempting to diagnose a food allergy, as it gives you increased control over exactly what goes into your pets body. Prescription food specially made for pets with allergies is also a good option, though the ingredients in these foods are not as strictly limited as what you prepare in your own kitchen.
Studies suggest that there is a small number of dogs who do not improve when simply switched to a new food. Many owners feel frustrated because they feel they have tried an endless number of different diets with no results. Pet foods, in general, have many similar ingredients across brands because certain ingredients are more available and affordable. Just changing from one brand to another, even a premium holistic brand, may not be truly eliminating your pets exposure to their allergic trigger, which is the goal of a diet trial. While a smart change in your dogs food is helpful in many cases, many times a home cooked diet is necessary to accurately diagnose a pets food allergy.
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How Is A Food Allergy Diagnosed In Dogs
A food trial using a hypoallergenic dog food is the only reliable way to diagnose food allergies in dogs. There are two ways to do this using a novel protein source or hydrolyzed protein.
A novel protein source is one that is completely new to the dog, thereby reducing the chance of an immune response. In addition, the diet should contain a novel, single source of carbohydrates since plants also contain protein. Hypoallergenic dog food options include venison and potato, duck and pea, salmon and potato or even kangaroo, as long as the dog hasnt been exposed to these ingredients in the past. Lamb used to be considered hypoallergenic but is now in so many commercial dog foods that it is no longer novel.
Hydrolyzed diets are made when intact animal proteins are broken down into very small molecules that the immune system should not be able to recognize as allergens, virtually eliminating the possibility of an adverse food reaction. Starch or rice are typically used as carbohydrate sources because they are very infrequently associated with allergic reactions.
Once the food allergy has been diagnosed using a hypoallergenic dog food, a challenge should be performed to confirm the diagnosis. When the original diet is fed, the symptoms should return within two weeks. Following confirmation of the food allergy, single source ingredients may be added to the hypoallergenic dog food to determine exactly which ingredients must be avoided in the future.
Does Your Dog Really Need Lamb Bison And Other ‘hypoallergenic’ Dog Food Proteins
In order to identify what is the best dog food for dogs with food allergies you must first understand what are food allergies and what causes them.
Many different terms are used to describe abnormal reactions to food. The terms allergy and hypersensitivity describe an immunologic reaction to food allergens and requires previous exposure to the allergen to bring about symptoms. In contrast, a food intolerance does not involve the immune system and can occur with the first exposure to a certain food. Both reactions produce similar symptoms and may be difficult to tell apart without veterinary guidance.
In fact, according to Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and Chief of Dermatology at the Texas A& M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Small Animal Clinic, Food allergies in dogs present themselves quite differently than food allergies in humans. For instance, a person who is allergic to shellfish may experience throat swelling and possibly a critical or fatal reaction, but in dogs, the allergy is expressed through the skin and seen most often as itch.
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Dietary Elimination Trial What Is A Hypoallergenic Diet
There is no true hypoallergenic diet that will help all allergic pets. Humans with allergies may have differing allergies to food such as peanuts, milk, seafood, and avocados to name a few things. Similarly, different dogs will have differing allergies. When starting a dietary elimination trial, the focus should be on having a single protein diet that does not have added extra proteins.
The protein source should ideally be novel to your dog or should be hydrolyzed .
Veterinary prescription diets are processed in plants with thorough cleaning practices that are closely monitored so that contamination of such diets with other proteins doesnt occur.
Studies have demonstrated that this amount of purity is not present in pet store bought foods, as extra non-labelled proteins may be present in pet store bought foods. This is a big reason why pet dermatologists and veterinarians usually recommend veterinary prescription diets to start a dietary elimination trial.
You may be able to manage your dog afterwards with an over-the-counter dog food, keeping in mind potential flare-ups if the food contains the allergen your dog is sensitive to. Under the supervision of your vet or vet dermatologist, such flare-ups would be easy to catch after having done a thorough initial work up.
Treatment For Seasonal/environmental Allergies
If allergy testing has not been performed, then the treatment is symptomatic, meaning that it aims to reduce or eliminate your dogs symptoms. Treatments can include:
Oral medications, such as Apoquel, Atopica, or antihistamines
Injectable medications, such as Cytopoint
Steroids should not be used long-term in the management of allergies due to the risk of significant side effects.
If an allergy test has been performed, then the ideal allergy treatment for dogs is avoidance of the allergen. This is possible in a few, select circumstances, but most dogs are allergic to a variety of substances that can be difficult to avoid completely.
Other treatment can include an allergy vaccine, also known as immunotherapy, which is given either by injection under the skin or by mouth. The goal of immunotherapy is to make the immune system less reactive to the allergy-causing substances.
The success rate of immunotherapy is 60-70%. This is the best long-term approach to allergy control, especially in younger pets that experience symptoms most of the year. Symptomatic treatment can and should be given while starting immunotherapy. It may be many months before any improvement in symptoms is seen from immunotherapy alone.
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Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato
Grain-free, limited-ingredient duck-based food
This recipe features duck as the single animal protein source and relies on potatoes, peas, and pumpkin for carbohydrates, leaving out grains with gluten that can trigger allergies.
About: Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato is a grain-free, limited-ingredient dog food designed to help alleviate your dogs allergies through the use of a shorter, less complex ingredient list.
This Blue Buffalo formula features duck as the single animal protein source, which means its perfect for dogs allergic to more common proteins like beef, chicken, fish, or lamb.
This dog food relies on potatoes, peas and pumpkin for carbohydrates, leaving out grains with gluten that are more liable to cause allergy issues with dogs.
Blue Buffalo Basics Duck & Potato doesnt contain chicken by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
The food is created from a limited number of ingredients, and those that it does contain are rarely the source of allergies. The single-protein source of duck makes it a great choice for an elimination diet.
This dog food is fairly expensive, so it might be difficult to maintain this diet outside of an elimination diet phase.
Deboned Duck, Potatoes, Pea Starch, Peas, Pea Protein…,