Treating Dog Food Allergies
Even though food allergies are less common in dogs than atopy or flea allergy, they can still occur. If your dog has allergies year-round or has itchy skin that flares after eating certain foods, your dog may have a food allergy and may need a dog food specifically formulated for dogs with allergies. Check with your vet for suggested options. Here are the basics for treating dog food allergies.
- Food elimination trial
- Hydrolyzed diet
Food allergies can only be diagnosed by a food elimination trial. The basic gist of a food trial is this: You work with your veterinarian to choose a prescription hypoallergenic diet for your dog , and then after you slowly transition your dog to the new food over three to five days, you will feed only that food for eight to 10 weeks. That means that nothing else other than the hypoallergenic food will go in your dogs mouth no other treats, table food, flavored medications or chews, etc. Your dog must consume only that food.
If your veterinarian has recommended a diet trial, it is important to follow their food recommendations precisely. Over-the-counter diets are not considered good hypoallergenic choices for food trials because they are often manufactured on machines that make other diets. Hypoallergenic diets generally are created on dedicated machine that are meticulously cleaned to prevent cross-contamination with allergens.
Popular dog food for dogs with allergies that are used by veterinarians for diet trials could include:
Diagnosing Dog Food Allergies
Unfortunately, there are no reliable ways to test your dog for food allergies. The only way to determine which foods your dog is allergic to is through the process of elimination. Typically, your vet will prescribe a special, limited-ingredient dog food containing types of meat and carbohydrates that aren’t in your dog’s usual meals and seeing how he does on it. If your dog’s symptoms clear up on this special meal plan, after a period of time your vet may have you switch your dog back to his old food to see if the allergy symptoms reappear. If they do, that will confirm that you’re dealing with a food allergy.
The next step is to identify the specific ingredient causing the allergic reaction in your dog. This requires changing back to the limited ingredient food. Once your dog’s symptoms clear up, your vet may then have you add ingredients from his old food back to his meals one at a time and monitor the results in order to identify which ingredients trigger an allergic reaction.
What Exactly Is A Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Technically, the term hypoallergenic dog food is a bit misleading.
There really is no such thing as a universal hypoallergenic dog food its mainly a marketing term. This is because, due to the nature of allergies, one type of dog food could be considered hypoallergenic for an individual dog, but not another.
For a dog allergic to chicken, any food that does not contain chicken would be considered hypoallergenic for that individual canine.
However, another dog may be allergic to rice, not chicken, and therefore will have different needs, changing what would be classified as hypoallergenic for that specific dog.
Hypoallergenic dog food generally refers to a type of dog food that avoids common allergens although what is truly hypoallergenic depends on your dog and her specific situation. Since common allergens can be avoided through a variety of different methods, there several types of hypoallergenic dog foods.
The main forms of hypoallergenic dog foods include:
Note that a dog food can fit into more than one of these categories. For example, a hypoallergenic dog food relying on a novel protein source can also have limited ingredients.
Remember that you should look for single-source novel proteins and single-source carbohydrates .
Common combinations include:
- Salmon & Sweet Potato
- Kangaroo & Brown Rice
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Are Dogs Genetically Predisposed To Food Allergies
It seems logical that if a parent has an allergy, then theres a chance that the offspring will inherit it. But do genes actually play a role in a pets predisposition to food allergies?
While there is some evidence that shows that genes can impact the chance of your pet developing a food allergy, theres no scientific proof that some dog breeds are more predisposed to food allergies than others. The same is true for sex and age, as these factors dont influence how likely a pet is to develop food allergies and intolerances.
Sneezing Itching Paw Licking Runny Eyes Dog Allergies Can Present In Many Ways Heres How You Can Give Your Dog Relief
Dogs can get all kinds of different allergies. It might sound strange, but they can get runny eyes and sneezing fits, just like people do. Canine allergies can also be characterized by a range of other symptoms, including scabs or other skin complaints, itchy ears, increased scratching, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive licking or chewing of various body parts. If you suspect that your canine companion is suffering from allergies, you should take her to see her vet right away. Some allergies can be serious, and even minor ones cause a good deal of discomfort. There are a number of veterinary treatments that may be prescribed for dog allergies.
The best way to rid your dog of allergies is prevention. If your pups vet can figure out what shes allergic to, then its a simple matter of removing the allergen. For instance, if shes allergic to a certain type of food, all youll have to do is stop feeding it to her. That said some allergens, such as pollen, are harder to keep out of your dogs life.
Depending on what kind of allergy shes suffering from, your vet might prescribe your dog anti-histamines. However, the fact is that these are only effective in around 30 percent of all canine allergy cases. If your dog falls into this group, its a relatively safe and cheap way to treat allergies.
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How Is Peanut Butter Used By Dogs
Peanut butter can be used for a few reasons, as seen below.
Help The Dog Take Medicine
Some dogs can be problematic when taking pills. Most people will therefore use it to hide pills inside. This is a method recommended by most vets as a small amount of peanut butter is enough to hide medication. Because peanut butter has a strong scent and is sticky, most dogs will just gobble on it without knowing a pill is inside. You can also spread the peanut butter on a piece of bread and put the pill inside. That way, giving your dog medication does not have to feel like a chore.
Dogs love attention and playing. Therefore, when the weather is terrible, or the owners are occupied, they get bored quickly. They also need mental stimulation, and when they are bored, they might cause trouble by damaging your furniture, mail, or their favorite toy. To prevent this boredom, most people stuff some peanut butter inside a Kong toy to keep them engaged for a while. The licking and chewing can also reduce stress and keep your dog happy. Another alternative for a Kong is a Licki mat. It also helps calm your dog down while they are enjoying the peanut butter. It also encourages the behavior of licking, which can help stimulate the dogs tongue.
It is Healthy
Peanut butter is also nutritious. It contains proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. It also has folic acid, which aids with cell growth, and magnesium, which helps cells metabolize complex vitamins.
Supplements To Enhance And Boost Cooling Effects
Omega-3s Omega-3s have incredible anti-inflammatory properties that many dogs need during allergy season. Omega-3 fatty acids provide optimal nourishment to the skin and coat and even help relieve joint pain! They also help skin retain moisture and hydration.
A key part of my treatment protocol when helping to manage allergies is Omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements rich in Omega-3s, like Side by Sides Shine Through Supplement, also help brain and cell function, says Dr. Birken.
Probiotics Allergy symptoms worsen if the digestive system is out of balance. Having a healthy gastrointestinal tract is essential for dogs as all food nutrients are absorbed and assimilated here.
Probiotics help bring balance and harmony to the gastrointestinal tract.
A healthy gut is essential in ensuring my patients have strong immune systems. And a strong immune system supports healthy skin. I prescribe Belly Balance Probiotics as part of my treatment plan when managing pet allergies, says Dr. Birken.
Helps maintain Gut Flora In The Digestive Tract Provides Enzymes and Factors Necessary for Proper Digestion Assists in the Digestion and Absorption of Essential Nutrients Provides
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Taking Your Dog To Your Veterinarian
# 6 Licorice For Your Dogs Allergies
Licorice is an easy to find herb. Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have used licorice as a harmonizer for allergy patients for thousands of years. In traditional Chinese medicine , licorice tonifies the spleen, benefits the Qi, moistens the lung stops coughing, clears heat, detoxifies Fire Poison and soothes spasms .
A study of a substance in licorice called glycyrrhizic acid showed that it has a codeine-like effect. Licorice can also relieve inflammation in the digestive tract and helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract. Just what the doctor ordered for allergy sufferers!
Giving Licorice To Dogs
Tilford and Wulff recommend working with your vet. This is because dosage varies widely, depending on your dogs condition. But they suggest starting with 12 to 20 drops per 20 lbs of body weight twice daily, using a low alcohol licorice extract. If youre using a tea, triple that dose.
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What Should I Feed My Dog
With all this in mind, you might still be a little unsure of what food is best for your dog. This is a common feeling, as no two dogs are exactly the same! They all have unique personalities and preferences in food. What works best for your neighbors dog might not work that well for your dog and thats okay!
Being knowledgeable about what your pet with allergies needs in a food will help you make a more informed decision and choose a healthy recommended dog food meal you can feel confident feeding your pup.
If you think Earthborn Holistic might be the right food for your dog with allergies, but want a little extra help in deciding which recipe to try, please send us a message! Wed love to get to know you and your furry family more to help with your decision!
Is It Likely That My Dog Could Develop Other Food Allergies
Dogs that have developed an allergy to one particular food may develop other food-related allergies in the future. In addition, many dogs with food allergies have other allergies, such as atopy or flea allergy.
“Dogs that have developed an allergy to one particular food may develop other food-related allergies in the future.”
If you think your pet may have a food allergy, you should discuss this with your veterinarian, who can help your pet resume a healthier, itch-free life.
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Best Hypoallergenic Dog Food For Dogs With Allergies
When you are seeking a good food to eliminate your dogs allergies, you are really looking for a food that does not include the most common allergens . But you should also avoid foods that contain additives and byproducts, which may contain allergens too.
Many such foods are labeled as hypoallergenic, but this just means that the food contains fewer allergens than a normal food does .
Obviously, there is a great deal of wiggle room in this definition, so it is important to consider all the ingredients contained in a given dog food, and not just the marketing claims.
Additionally, some good foods for dogs battling allergies feature hydrolyzed proteins, which should prevent allergic reactions from happening at all.
The following five products are all generally good choices for dogs with food allergies, although of course the best food really depends on your dogs unique issues!
Dog Food Allergy Symptoms
Sneezing. Ear infections. Chronic Diarrhea. Restlessness. Dog food allergy symptoms run the gamut from skin reactions to gastrointestinal troubles to behavioral issues. Below you’ll find a full list, broken down by category, to help you identify whether your pup might be suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. Note, it’s estimated that about a quarter to a third of dogs with a food allergy also has an environmental allergy, which “has similar and at times indistinguishable, symptoms,” says Shmalberg.
Most Common Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
These are the signs you’ll see most often with a food allergy, says Shmalberg, starting with the single most common symptom: itching.
Rarer Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
These symptoms aren’t as common as those above but may occur in some dogs.
- Nasal discharge
- Secondary urinary tract infections
- Weight loss
Dog Behavioral Issues from Food Allergies
The symptoms below are also rarer, and usually secondary to or linked to discomfort from symptoms listed above.
- Frequent scratching of self on furniture, owner’s legs, etc.
- Frequent shaking ears or scratching ears
- Biting at paws, rear end, and/or tail
- Withdrawal or reduced interest in playtime
- Anorexia, or disinterest in or refusal of food
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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.
What Causes Allergies In Dogs
Your dog may be exposed to the allergens through her food, insect bites, inhaling pollen or fungal spores, or even from brushing up against or lying down on a particular surface.
When your dog is exposed to an allergen, it triggers an immune response that leads to the release of histamines. Histamines are naturally occurring chemicals in your body, but too many of them can cause your dog a lot of discomfort, including inflammation, itching, and swelling. Depending on the source of the allergen and the severity and location of the response, the inflammation can cause a wide variety of symptoms in the affected dog.
Allergies can affect dogs of any age, breed, or mix. Some allergies are inherited, so allergies and other immune disorders in relatives are always a good thing to ask about when getting a puppy from a breeder.
Your dog can also develop allergies later in life as her immune system becomes sensitized to a particular allergen and starts to overreact to repeat exposures. Allergies often appear as a young adult. And as if all of this isnt bad enough, your dog can also be allergic to more than one thing.
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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.