How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Skin Allergies
Your pet may become itchier than normal and may bite, lick, chew, rub or nibble at their: As the disease progresses they may develop skin infections which may make the skin smell, feel greasy or you may notice a rash. Some animals will be worse in the summer if they are allergic to a particular grass or pollen and may suffer with hay fever .
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.
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.
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Itchy Skin Red Underbelly And Dull Coat
Together, these signs can indicate an allergy. Your dog itches constantly without relief, possibly causing hair loss in the affected patches.
What It Looks Like: Skin underneath the hair is red or pink, dry, and inflamed. No relief with baths, conditioners, or over-the-counter allergy medications. Excessive, near-constant scratching.
What It Means: Environmental allergies or food allergies.
But First! Rule Out
Shampoo residue on your dogs skin is a leading cause of contact dermatitis, and often resolves by switching to a milder shampoo and rinsing thoroughly. Try this trick: Shampoo your dog, and rinse him until you think you are done. Then, rinse two more times to be safe!
Shampoos containing artificial colors , sodium laurates, phthalates, mineral oil, and fragrances can all cause irritation. Try switching to a species-appropriate, all natural rinse for your dog, such as ones that contain apple cider vinegar or coconut oils.
Pollen Allergy: Your dog may also have a pollen allergy: try wiping him down with a cool, damp cloth every time he comes inside to eliminate exposure to pollen.
Fleas: Make sure your dog does not have fleas, as flea allergy dermatitis will also cause irritated skin.
In Dogs With A Dog Food Allergy How Long After Eating Do Symptoms Appear
Symptoms caused by a food allergy in dogs can appear in as little as a few minutes or as long as 24 hours. Hives, in particular, can emerge around 6 to 24 hours after your dog eats something theyre allergic to.
Also known as urticaria, hives are itchy red bumps. Theyre easier to see on dogs with short-haired coats. If your pooch has long hair, you might need to feel their skin to spot them.
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Diagnosis Of Dog Food Allergies
Many dog food allergies are genetic, but the genetic reaction can manifest very early in puppyhood or after years of sensitization to that food. The early weeks of puppyhood can also trigger food allergies. A dogs immune system at that age is adapting to, and interpreting its environment. We dont yet fully understand what can happen at that point that predisposes some dogs to allergies.
First, have your veterinarian rule out other medical conditions. At that point, your veterinarian would place your dog on an elimination trial, the most accurate way to determine food allergies. An elimination trial means that your dog will go off of all the diets and treats they have been eating previously, and begin with a new diet suggested by your veterinarian.
Your dog would be on this hypoallergenic elimination diet until they have improved, approximately 8-12 weeks. You would then do a diet challenge by reintroducing one food that your dog had been eating before. If there is a reaction within 7 days , it confirms food allergy. If there is no reaction, you may need to look for another explanation for the improvementseason change, elimination of parasites, resolution of infection.
This can be a lengthy process, but there is no other test that will reliably identify food allergy. Skin testing, blood tests, saliva tests and hair tests all are wildly overstated but do not prove or disprove allergy to certain foods.
Dog Food Allergy Treatment
Dog food allergy treatment boils down to one underlying principle: identify foods your dog is allergic to and avoid feeding him those. “That’s why the elimination diet and trial period is so essential,” says Shmalberg, “as it’s the only way to identify which foods, and food proteins, a dog can tolerate and which he can’t.” Now, if it’s a food intolerance rather than an allergy , a food trial is still helpful, but a simple change of diet can be just as effective. “A diet with a different composition from the one currently being fed is often enough to improve symptoms,” Shmalberg explains.
Unless formulated well, with the advice of a veterinary nutritionist, many homemade diets are deficient in certain critical nutrients.
Aside from that, there are a few other tactics that come up in dealing with food allergies and intolerances. Here’s a brief overview, plus considerations, pros, and cons for each.
Antihistamines and Other Medications
Homemade Dog Food Diets
Homemade diets are sometimes used for elimination diet food trials, and for dogs with food intolerances or allergies. It’s easy to see why they’re effectivethe owner has total control over the ingredients. But there’s an issue with homemade dog food diets. “Unless formulated well, with the advice of a veterinary nutritionist, many are deficient in certain critical nutrients,” says Shmalberg, “and those deficiencies could cause issues in the long run.” The preparation is labor-intensive for the owner, too.
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Signs Your Dog Is Suffering From Seasonal Allergies
Its that time of year when environmental allergies are at their peak. Is your dog suffering? Dog allergy symptoms could arise without you even knowing the reason. Pollen, grass, fleas, weeds, and mold could all cause reactions for your pup. So, its important to pay attention to your dogs behaviors as the seasons change.
Here are 11 signs that your dog may be allergic to all that springtime beauty. If your dog has any of these signs, take them to the vet to get them some relief.
Changing Diet Can Help
These small symptoms can add up to largely indicate an unaddressed allergy. Consider switching from a processed kibble to a raw or home-cooked diet. This reduces the amount of additives, grains, and artificial components in your dogs diet.
But remember: going raw does not guarantee allergy-free. If your dog is allergic to sweet potatoes and peanut butter, no amount of witch hazel in the world will solve these problems if hes getting sweet potatoes and peanut butter daily. See the chart below for a list of common allergens that you may be feeding your dog.
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Best Dog Food For Allergies
The bottom line is there isnt a single best dog food for a dog with allergies. It comes down to what is best for the individual dog. Look for dog food made with quality ingredients and regulated for purity. Companies that make dog food listed as hypoallergenic or limited ingredient should be following best practices but be aware there is minimal oversight of pet food manufacturing. Read more here
If your primary veterinarian is unable to help you resolve your dogs allergic symptoms, you may be referred to a veterinary dermatologist. Finding the right answer for your dog might not happen quickly or easily, but it is worth the effort to have a happier, more comfortable dog.
Does your dog have a food allergy or intolerance? How have you dealt with your dogs condition?
Food Allergy Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian:
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Most Common Causes Of Food Allergy In Dogs
What Are The Best Food Options For A Dog With Food Allergies
In addition to novel foods, i.e. choosing new protein and carbohydrate sources for your dog in an elimination diet, you can also feed them a hydrolyzed diet. A hydrolyzed diet is one made with intact proteins that have been broken down into such small molecules that your dogs immune system cannot recognize them as allergens. Starch or rice also make great sources of carbohydrates for your dogs diet because they rarely cause allergic reactions. Prescription foods and those approved by your veterinarian are preferable to those available over-the-counter. If this all seems overwhelming, consult the experts at Hungry Bark, they can help you choose the best diet for your pup in no time and offer nutritional guidance from a Certified Pet Nutritionist
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Signs Of Food Allergies In Dogs
If an underlying health condition has been ruled out, and your dog continues to suffer from chronic diarrhea, it may be time to consider a dog elimination diet for allergies.
We have an excellent 8-page reference for you to download about how to detect and treat dog food allergies, as well as how to conduct a controlled elimination diet.
Allergy Symptoms In Dogs
If your dog is experiencing symptoms like itchy ears and skin or stomach issues, theres a good chance your dog may have a food allergy.
Allergies in dogs are usually genetic. When this issue is triggered, its because the dog came into contact with whatever it is he or she is allergic to. Environment can affect your dogs allergies but a genetic predisposition is almost always the root cause.
According to pets webmd, 10% of all allergy cases in dogs are food allergies. Studies are still being conducted to determine just what causes some dogs to express the trait of food allergies.
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It’s Crucial To Act Fast
Noticing if your animal has discomfort, itching, redness and irritation in certain areas can make all the difference between a fast treatment and one that’s more long and painful. Dogs often scratch constantly and strongly, increasing the chances of wounds becoming infected and thus aggravating the whole situation. So, if after a few days you notice that this situation persists, consult the veterinarian.
Common Food Allergens For Dogs
In general, the protein sources in many dog foods are some of the most well-known offenders. Beef products can be especially triggering for dog food allergy sufferers. While this may seem counterintuitive since dogs are primarily carnivores, if the quality of meat isnt up to par its likely to cause upset.
Many pet owners also mistakenly assume that their dogs have iron stomachs and can put down almost anything. In truth, most dogs are lactose intolerant and the dairy products found in many common dog food brands can seriously disrupt their systems. Be careful if you are in need of a puppy milk replacer for nursing newborn pups.
In addition to beef and milk products, some other notable food allergens include:
Just like humans, dogs can also have a severe gluten intolerance. Wheaten Terriers and Irish Setters are notorious for developing celiac in their lifetimes. This results in internal intestinal inflammation that can prevent the digestive system from properly absorbing nutrients. Outwardly this might result in poor coat conditions, rapid weight loss or persistent diarrhea. To remedy this, dogs must be strictly fed grain-free dog food. Feed and treats must be entirely devoid of wheat-derived products like rye, oats, barley.
Lastly, allergies in dogs can be traced back to food, environment, or both.
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How To Feed A Dog With Food Allergies
Once youve determined the offending items in your dogs diet, the next step is avoiding them as much as possible. You can use prescription food from your veterinarian, make your own food from scratch, or you can try a limited ingredient diet. A roundup of quality limited-ingredient foods for dogs with allergies can be found here.
You can also keep a look out for dog food using hydrolyzed proteins, which is a fancy way of saying that the protein is broken down molecularly so theres nothing left of the potential allergen.
How Common Is Chicken Allergy In Dogs
There are several types of food allergies that are common in dogs and the chicken allergy is one of them. However, food allergies as a whole tend to only effect around 10% of the allergy cases in dogs. The main food allergies for dogs are chicken, wheat, soy, milk, beef, eggs, and corn. Its relatively common for a food allergy.
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The Top 7 Most Common Food Allergens For Dogs
- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
When I was a practicing veterinary technician, I encountered many clients with questions about their pets potential allergies. Theyd be surprised to find out that dogs can develop allergies to certain ingredients even in premium foods. Increasingly, its easy to find pet foods made with high-quality ingredients and limited fillers. Yet our dogs can still be allergic or intolerant to a number of these ingredients.
First off, its important to know theres a big difference between a food intolerance and a true food allergy for dogs. A dog food intolerance is when a dog has difficulty digesting a certain ingredient, like dairy, whereas a food allergy triggers an immune response.
Jean Hofve, DVM explains in Whole Dog Journal that for most dogs, skin and gastrointestinal problems are not usually the result of a food allergy, but rather due to environmental allergies like pollen or grass. However, some dogs are truly food-allergic.
Read on to find out what that means, and how youll know if your dogs food is causing an allergic reaction.