What Exactly Are Allergies In French Bulldogs
Allergies are a response from your dogs immune system as a result of exposure to an allergen or other foreignsubstance.
The severity of the allergic response can vary from just mild discomfort to severe hives, facial swelling, andrarely anaphylactic shock. Severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock which would require immediate veterinariancare are pretty rare, and could be caused by things such as: vaccines, drugs, foods, or a bee sting.
There are many types of allergies, but skin allergies and food intolerance are the most common in Frenchies.
You May Like: Allergy Pill Zyrtec
What Is The Most Common Allergy In Dogs
The most common allergy in dogs is skin allergy , which can be caused by food allergens, flea allergy dermatitis, and environmental allergens.
If your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, itchy skin is fairly common, followed by digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting. Some of the most common food allergens in dogs are chicken, soy, dairy, wheat, eggs, beef, and lamb.
Flea allergy dermatitis is exactly like its name suggests. Its an allergic reaction to fleabites. Dogs with this condition are allergic to flea saliva.
After being bitten by a flea, pooches with flea allergy dermatitis experience intense itching, particularly at the base of their skin. Their skin might also be red, scabbed, and swollen.
Lastly, environmental allergens like pollen, dust, mold, and cigarette smoke can cause rhinitis, asthma, or atopic dermatitis. Some allergies, such as pollen, are seasonal, so your pooch might only have symptoms at specific times of the year.
Commonly affected itchy areas of dogs with environmental allergies are around the paws and ears. Your dog can also experience itchiness on their ankles, muzzle, wrists, groin, underarms, face, and in between their toes.
No matter what type of allergy your dog has, any symptoms involving itchy skin can result in infection. When your dog scratches, licks, and bites at the affected area, yeast or bacteria can enter the cut or wound.
Try To Find Out What They Are Allergic To
Once your dog is settled without symptoms on a special diet, your vet may recommend adding ingredients back into their food to try and find out what they are allergic to.
If your dog doesnt show any symptoms, this is a safe food. If your dogs symptoms come back after eating a certain food, its likely they are allergic to it. This will help you select a dog food that only contains safe foods.
Food trials and exclusion diets can be tricky and take a lot of time, the alternative is to keep feeding your dog a special veterinary diet for life.
Some dogs with a food allergy will also have allergies to things in the environment, this may cause allergic skin disease . In this case, they might improve a bit on a special diet but they may need some other treatments as well to help keep their skin symptoms controlled.
Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Pedigree Dog Food
Most Common Dog Food Allergens
“Meat, dairy, and eggs are often thought to be the most common dog food allergens,” says Shmalberg. “Yet generally, it’s the protein part of those foods that tend to be problematic, rather than, say, the meat itself.” Keep in mind, veggies can contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe.
That same review BMC Veterinary Research identified some of the most frequently reported dog food allergens involved in adverse food reactions. Here’s a look, from most-reported to least-reported.
Top Dog Food Allergens
|Dog Food Allergen|
Shmalberg calls out two important caveats to keep in mind here.
More facts about dog food allergens that are helpful to know:
Food Allergy Testing For Dogs
If you suspect your dog is suffering from a food allergy, the first thing to do is talk to your vet about how to pinpoint the allergen. There are commercial skin and blood allergy tests on the market, and your vet may recommend starting there. You can read about one owners experience of this testing here.
However, theres no evidence yet to show that these tests are accurate, so the most thorough way to discover which foods your pet is allergic to is an elimination diet.
What we do is take the dog off all the foods its eating and we put him on a food that hes never had before. Ive sent people out for alligator and yak. Once the dog has improved, we start reintroducing the old foods that we think caused the problems in the first place. If he has a reaction, which usually takes a few days to a few weeks, then we know he has a food allergy.
Don’t Miss: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
How To Prevent Food Allergies In Dogs
Finding the source of a food allergy is difficult enough, but trying to prevent food allergies is another challenge entirely. And while you simply cannot completely prevent a food allergy from happening, there are steps you can take to help stop several common allergies.
First, you can start when your dog is just a puppy. Make sure to feed him a healthy diet and give them adequate nutrition so they can build a healthy mucosal barrier, which can help prevent food allergies in the future.
While your dog is still a puppy, you can also try to prevent canine gastroenteritis, which is believed to result in a dog that is more susceptible to developing food allergies. The theory of preventing this occurrence is to only feed your pet dog food and dog treats and nothing else. This is trickier than it sounds, as dogs tend to eat anything they can get a hold of.
It takes a lot of patience and a careful eye to monitor what your dog consumes at all times. While many of the items he can consume in the environment are harmless, some may trigger allergic reactions. These environmental triggers will be much more difficult to identify than a food allergy since you generally know what you are feeding your dog.
If you suspect an allergic reaction is due to something your dog got into rather than his normal diet, you should try a low-protein meal plan until your dogs upset stomach or diarrhea goes away. If either lasts for more than 72 hours, take your dog in to see your veterinarian.
How Do We Diagnose Food Reactions
- Food elimination trial is the definitive test for food allergies.
- The diet must be restricted to one protein and one carbohydrate source preferably sources the pet has not eaten before.
- This new food source must be fed exclusively for up to 13 weeks or 3 months.
- We use a commercial dry food that is complete and balanced for food trials. The food is very palatable and most dogs will eat it happily.
Recommended Reading: Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Canned Dog Food
Dog Food Allergies Vs Intolerances
First of all, not every food or ingredient that causes symptoms in your dog counts as an allergy. Many times, an adverse reaction can be caused by a dog food intolerance.
Whats the difference? It has to do with whether or not theres an immune response to the food.
A dog food intolerance is when a certain food isnt processed or digested correctly or just doesnt agree with your dogs digestive system. This is what is often happening when a dog experiences lactose intolerance.
But with true food allergies, your dogs immune system is actually attacking one or more specific ingredients in the food. This response triggers the release of chemicals such as histamines within your dogs body, resulting in allergic symptoms, including itching.
Recommended Reading: What To Feed Dogs Without Dog Food
Treating Itchy Skin And Ear Issues Caused By Food Allergies
The only way to treat a food allergy is to remove the offending food from the dogs diet, but there are options for temporarily treating the symptoms caused by food allergies.
Oral and topical medications are sometimes prescribed to help minimize itching. Any secondary problems, like skin or ear infections, will also have to be addressed.
If youre concerned about any symptoms your dog is experiencing, or youre simply wondering whether the food youre offering is the best choice for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.
Also Check: Dog Food With Food Stamps
Tips For Making Your Own Dog Food At Home
Making your own food from scratch is hands-down the most reliable way to ensure your dogs diet has not come into contact with anything theyre allergic to. Weve got some healthy dog food recipes to share with you and some great dog food recipe hacks to make cooking for your dog less of a chore.
We hope this guide to dog food allergies helps you find a solution to your dogs symptoms. As a reminder, please always talk to your vet before introducing your dog to a new food.
How Can I Treat My Dogs Allergies
You can alleviate your dogs allergy symptoms by treating them with anti-allergy medication, preventing exposure to allergens, and treating secondary skin infections with antibiotics, antifungals, and/or ear medications.
Allergic responses like itching can be reduced with antihistamines, steroids, or other immune-modulating drugs. Your vet will prescribe the best treatment based on your particular dogs needs and considerations. Another option? Allergy shots, just like people get! Vets can use the data from allergy testing to create a custom treatment that helps desensitize your dogs immune system.
Preventing exposure to allergens can be a little more involved than simply giving a pill to your pup. It may mean limiting walks through woods or parks when pollen levels are high, dusting and vacuuming more thoroughly to minimize dust mites, and cleaning your dogs bedding more often. A monthly flea preventative is the best way to eliminate fleas as an allergy vector.
Food allergies are more complicated. Identifying a food allergy and changing a dogs diet to treat it takes time. First of all, remember that easing your dog to a new type of food needs to be done gradually to minimize gastrointestinal distress. Dogs that are allergic to chicken or beef may need to eat a novel protein, such as rabbit, venison, or turkey. It can take up to 12 weeks for symptoms to resolve themselves after changing your dogs diet.
Our medical experts
Read Also: Is Natural Balance Dog Food Made In China
Having Your Dog Examined By A Veterinarian
Licking Frequently Or Skin Chewing
If your dog chews or licks his skinespecially his feetfrequently or seemingly nonstop, this is a sign hes dealing with some form of allergies.
The problem could come from exposure to irritants in the backyard or on walks, but it may also be a symptom of food allergies in your dog. Although the problem isnt an emergency, youll need to go to the vet in the coming weeks to determine how to treat it and what the underlying cause might be.
Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dog Food
How Are Food Allergies In Dogs Diagnosed
The only way to reliably diagnose a food allergy in your dog is through a food trial using a hypoallergenic dog food. You can do this by using a novel protein source or a hydrolyzed protein.
A hydrolyzed diet is made when these animal proteins are not recognized in the body as allergens. A starch, such as potatoes, or rice will typically be used as the carbohydrate since they are very infrequently associated with an allergic reaction.
During this testing period, the food combo should be given to your dog for a minimum of eight to 10 weeks. This gives proper time to adequately test your dogs response since allergic reactions take time to develop. You should notice an improvement within the first four to six weeks after the new diet as begun, but some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers or Cocker Spaniels, have been known to take a longer time to respond to the new diet.
During the testing period, it is imperative that you only feed your dog the new hypoallergenic diet and avoid all other foods, including treats and flavored medications.
After you have identified the food allergy using the hypoallergenic diet, you should conduct a second challenge to confirm the diagnosis. Going back to the dogs original diet should make symptoms reoccur within a couple of weeks. When the food allergy is confirmed, you can add in single ingredients to the hypoallergenic diet to see what exact food or foods is causing the reaction and avoid this ingredient moving forward.
Watch Out For Gastroenteritis
There have been some theories that early gastroenteritis or severe gastroenteritis, especially in puppies or young dogs, can result in an adult dog that is more likely to develop food allergies. Preventing gastroenteritis, in theory, is easy just dont let your dog eat anything but dog food and treats. In actuality, this is much harder to deal with. Dogs eat a variety of things, some that are not harmfulgrass, dirt, bark, wild berries , sometimes a little cow or horse dungand some that are not good for them . It can be very hard to police what goes in your dogs mouth.
If you suspect that your dog has gotten into garbage or eaten something that may cause tummy upset, it may be best to feed your dog a low-protein diet until the suspected tummy upset passes or you consult your vet. In general, if diarrhea lasts more than 72 hours without signs of getting better or if the diarrhea seems especially severe or malodorous, you should consult your vet. In these cases, do not attempt to treat the dog yourself with over-the-counter medications because diarrhea is the body getting rid of bad things in the gut. To give something that stops the diarrhea can result in keeping the bad things in the gut and causing a serious illness.
You May Like: Is Iams Dog Food Any Good
Diagnosis Of Fish Allergies In Dogs
Intradermal skin testing for food allergies may not give an accurate diagnosis in every dog. This test can give false positive and false negative results. In a false positive situation, despite the fact the dog is not allergic to the food when ingested, it results in a positive allergic skin response. As for a false negative, some food allergies produce a delayed result of a positive allergic reaction. This causes the veterinarian to believe your dog is not allergic to the allergen since she didnt see a skin response, but in reality, he is allergic to it.
Serology can be run to check for antibody levels. As with intradermal testing, results arent always accurate but it can be helpful.
A dietary trial is the most frequently used method of diagnosis. In a dietary trial, you have to feed your dog a novel diet, meaning you feed him a diet without any fish ingredients whatsoever. During this trial, you cannot give any type of treats containing fish or fish flavored medications as it can affect the results. You have to feed your dog the novel diet for at least 90 days before you can get a reliable diagnostic. After the 90 days, if resolution of the allergic symptoms occurs, you then must reintroduce fish to his diet. If a relapse in allergy symptoms occurs once the fish is reintroduced, then you know the source. If symptoms do not return with the reintroduction of fish, then it was a source other than the fish your dog was reacting to.
Identifying Common Food Allergy Symptoms
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Buy Dr Pol Dog Food