Tuesday, July 16, 2024

What Food Allergies Can Dogs Have

Canine Atopic Dermatologic Immunotherapeutic

Can Dogs Have Meat Allergies?

An even more recent development in the management of allergies in dogs, has been the development of Cytopointan antibody that attaches to an itch-triggering chemical signal called IL-31. Once bound to IL-31, Cytopoint blocks the creation of further itch signals, thus offering relief to your itchy dog. Its not a pill, but rather, is given every one to two months as an injection at your veterinarians office. This is great news for owners of dogs who wont take pills .

The before and after photos below illustrate the marked improvement Cytopoint can make. The photo on the left was taken on November 25, 2020. The photo on the right was taken May 14, 2021.

Cytopoint starts working within one to two days after the injection and helps the dog for one to two months. Because it is targeting a very specific signal in the immune system, the risk of suppressing the immune system is low, so it can be used safely with other medications.

Unfortunately, because this medication targets the chemical signal associated with the itching feeling instead of modifying the action of cells in the immune system, its not as effective as steroids or Apoquel in reducing signs of allergy-related inflammation such as red and irritated skin or swelling of the ear canals.

The bottom line on Cytopoint for dogs

Other Things That Cause Digestive Troubles

Is there some kind of food that just doesnt agree with you? The same thing can happen with your dog or cat. Maybe its eating something that has too much fat, for instance.

Vets call this food intolerance. The difference between this and a food allergy is that food intolerance doesnt involve the immune system.

To figure out if this is whats wrong with your pet, youll have to follow the same trial-and-error process as you would for a food allergy, described above.

Diarrhea and vomiting can also come from:

  • A virus
  • An infection
  • A parasite
  • A condition in your pets digestive system. One example is pancreatitis, which is inflammation in the pancreas, the organ that makes chemicals that digest food.
  • An obstruction. This is when something is stuck in the stomach or intestines.

To figure out whats wrong with your dog or cat, your vet may need to:

  • Consider your pet’s age, past illnesses, other animals it has been around, and other information about its health
  • Do a physical exam
  • Do lab tests on its blood or stool samples
  • Do X-rays or an ultrasound
  • Do a biopsy or other tests on samples of its fluids or tissues

After your vet figures out whats wrong, your dog or cat may need:

  • Medicine that kills germs or parasites
  • Drugs to help with diarrhea or vomiting
  • Fluids to replace what it has lost because of diarrhea
  • Surgery

Dog Shampoo For Skin Allergies

Seasonal irritants like pollen, grass, dander, and insects can get under your dogs coat and cause itchiness. Of course, your dog will want to scratch, and that, in turn, can lead to atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a skin inflammation thats incredibly common in dogs for the aforementioned reason.

Luckily, dog shampoos specially formulated for skin allergies can help. Theyll clean your dog, obviously, removing dirt and irritants. But theyre also designed to soothe irritated skin. Lastly, most of these shampoos are formulated with natural ingredients specifically chosen because theyre likely not to cause allergic reactions.

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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.

Are Food Allergies In Dogs Serious

Dog Food Allergies

Yes, especially if the symptoms persist daily. Even in non-life-threatening cases, allergies provide significant quality of life issues in dogs. For instance, some dogs get so itchy, they create wounds on their skin from scratching and chewing at themselves. These can lead to severe infections that may spread to the bloodstream and become life-threatening.

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My Dog Is Itchy And I Suspect Its A Food Allergy What Should I Do

If your dog is itchy and you think it is allergies, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian to figure out the problem. Determining what kind of allergy your dog is suffering from can be tricky.

Because the symptoms differ depending on whether a dog has skin allergies, skin infections, or infestations with external parasites, like fleas, ticks, or mites, you can help your veterinarian by observing your dog at home and reporting what you notice to your vet.

If your dog has allergies, the symptoms can help you figure out whether it is flea allergy, food allergy, or atopy.

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.

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.

  • 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
  • Seizures
  • 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.
  • Restlessness
  • 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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Dog Allergy Medicine And Treatments

If your dog has an allergy, the best method is avoidance. Change their diet, remove offending triggers, or minimize their exposure. Wiping your dog down after a walk can also sometimes help. Of course, that isnt always possible. In instances where avoidance or removal is impossible, there are a variety of medicines available to treat allergies.

What works best for your dog varies based on the allergy, breed, size, and even temperament of your dog . Some of these are prescription-based, and others are over-the-counter. While these OTC medications are generally considered safe for dogs, you should always check with your vet first. PetPlate doesnt recommend giving your dog medication before checking with a professional.

Changing Diet Can Help

Does your dog have a food Allergy? If so, do a food trial! Dr. Dan explains.

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.

RELATED: Want to switch your dog to a raw diet? Check out our Raw Food Primer for all the basics.

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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Treating Food Allergies In Dogs

The only effective way to treat a food allergy in dogs is to change their diet.

While grain-free foods are often touted as good for food allergies, science tells us that protein sources are more likely to be the culprit. According to a study published in 2016, the top three most common causes of food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, and chicken.

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.

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Most Common Causes Of Food Allergy In Dogs

  • Beef. Proteins are common food allergens. Feeding your dog a single food for years increases their potential to develop an intolerance or allergy to one or more ingredients. Beef is one of the most common ingredients in a lot of pet foods, which may be the reason its the most common food allergen. I feed our three dogs a raw diet and we rotate meats every week. I do this partly to ensure we decrease the risk of developing a food allergy.
  • Dairy. Some dogs have problems digesting lactose. This is an intolerance, rather than an actual allergy. Lactose intolerance leads to gas, diarrhea, or vomiting. Whats tricky is that a true dairy allergy can lead to these symptoms too, so its hard to know if a dog is suffering from an allergy or an intolerance. One important distinction: a dairy allergy may manifest as skin itchiness or related symptoms, whereas lactose intolerance is always about digestion.
  • Wheat. There are many misconceptions regarding carbohydrate-containing foods for dogs, especially grains. Its much more common for dogs to have allergies to meat than grains, for instance. However, some dogs do have an allergic reaction to wheat. Check with your vet or pet nutritionist about grains, as every animal should be treated as an individual.
  • Eggs. An egg allergy means that your dogs immune system overreacts to the proteins present in the egg yolk. Fortunately, its relatively easy to avoid eggs. Just be sure to double-check food labels.
  • How To Help Prevent An Allergic Reaction

    Does my dog have a food allergy?

    Unfortunately, theres no cure for allergies. You cant prevent your dog from having allergies.

    However, there are things you can do to help keep their symptoms and discomfort under control.

    First, you have to identify the underlying cause, be it seasonal, food, flea, etc. From there you can help your dog avoid those allergens.

    Carvalho explained that sometimes a prescription diet could be necessary along with using flea/ectoparasite control all year round. Pet owners should also keep an eye out for and treat any itches so that they dont lead to inflamed and infected skin and ears.

    Because good health for your canine companion is always in season .

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    What Are The Different Types Of Allergy

    There are several ways of classifying allergies. Some examples of classifications include:

    • Allergen – flea allergy, food allergy
    • Route the allergen takes into the body – inhalant allergy, skin contact allergy, or food allergy
    • Time it takes for the immune reaction – immediate-type hypersensitivity, also called anaphylaxis or shock, and delayed-type hypersensitivity
    • Clinical signs – allergic dermatitis or allergic bronchitis
    • Inherited forms – atopy or seasonal allergies

    Why Dogs Suffer From Allergies

    If your dog suffers from allergies like Zachory did, there are solutions! But before we jump into treatment options, its important to understand why allergies happen in the first place.

    Uncovering the role mast cells play in allergies

    In humans, the cells that mediate allergiescalled mast cellsare predominantly located in the upper respiratory tract, which also happens to be the location that most of our seasonal allergy symptoms center around. However, for our canine companions, this is not the case.

    In dogs, the allergy-mediating mast cells live in high concentrations in the skin. Thus, dogs are more likely to have seasonal allergy symptoms that center around the skin and ears.

    Mast cells are a type of white blood cell that is made in the bone marrow then travels to the tissues of the body . They help protect the body against foreign invaders.

    Mast cells look very distinct under a microscope. They are filled with tiny granules which contain several active substances, the most well known of which is histamine. Dont forget about histamine because it will come into play when we look at allergy therapies namely antihistamines.

    When mast cells sense something they see as a potential threatin this case an allergen, like pollenthey become activated and start degranulating. This is the process of dumping the granule contents into the surrounding tissue. A chain of events ensues which summons the rest of the immune system army and causes allergy symptoms.

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    Elimination Diet For Dogs With Food Allergies

    If an elimination diet is recommended for your dog, a specially formulated hypoallergenic food will be prescribed. For 8-10 weeks you will only feed your dog the prescribed food, completely eliminating all other food sources from your pet’s diet.

    If one or more of the ingredients in your dog’s regular food is the source of the symptoms, the elimination of the regular dog food should help to improve your dog’s condition.

    It’s important to note that, for the elimination diet to work you must stop giving your dog treats during this period as well as their regular food. Only the hypoallergenic food should be fed to your dog while they are on the elimination diet.

    Being on the elimination diet for 10 weeks will allow your dog’s body to adjust to the new prescription food, and give your vet the opportunity to assess your dog’s overall health.

    If the allergy symptoms clear up while your dog is on the elimination diet, your vet may request that you return to feeding your dog their original diet to see if the allergy symptoms reappear.

    While an elimination diet can be helpful in determining food allergies in dogs, other tests can also be useful, and provide quick results. Here at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital our in-house lab allows our vets to test for the root of your pets problem and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.

    When The System Works

    How To Find Out If Your Dog Has Food Allergies | Hair Testing

    The intestinal tracts ability to prevent the absorption of whole protein is dependant on the health and integrity of the mucosal barrier. It is the proverbial guardian of the body at the gastrointestinal gate. The mucosal barrier is comprised of both structural components and immune system components. The structural components physically prevent the absorption of large proteins. The immune system component is responsible for recognizing potentially harmful contents of the gastrointestinal tract. The health and integrity of the gastrointestinal tract is dependant on the normal structure and function of the enterocytes, effective protein digestion, and the presence of the dogs immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract.

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    If You Want To Give Your Dog An Antihistamine Like Benadryl Here Are Some Things To Consider:

    • While typically safe, every dog reacts differently to antihistamines, according to the VCA. They may cause drowsiness in some dogs and hyperactivity in others.
    • If you purchase an over the counter medicine for your dog, check the label to make sure it doesnt contain any other ingredients like decongestants or pseudoephedrine, which are NOT safe for dogs.
    • Its also important to note that dosage for humans and dogs will not be the same.

    We recommend talking to your veterinarian before giving your dog any over-the-counter medication to ensure the dose is accurate and that there are no adverse reactions with any other medications they may be taking.

    Signs Your Dog Is Having An Allergic Reaction To Food

    Diagnosis of food allergies in dogs begins first with recognizing symptoms. Since some symptoms may signify other health issues or conditions, besides allergies, its important to closely monitor the extent and severity. As always, owners should plan to visit a veterinarian or specialist if symptoms persist.

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    Gastrointestinal Symptoms Of Food Allergies In Dogs

    Although skin symptoms are the most common manifestation of food allergies, some dogs do display gastrointestinal symptoms, or a combination of both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. Dogs with gastrointestinal symptoms typically display signs such as diarrhea, increased number of defecations in a day, flatulence, vomiting, drooling, weight loss, and abdominal discomfort.

    As with skin symptoms, these gastrointestinal symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to see your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs or suspect your dog may have food allergies. Your veterinarian will help you take the appropriate steps to diagnose your dog with food allergies.

    How To Determine What Foods Your Dog Is Allergic To

    5 Signs Your Dog Has Food Allergies

    There are two primary ways to identify a potential food allergen: an elimination diet or an allergy test administered by a veterinarian.

    Elimination Diet

    During the elimination diet, remove one ingredient from the dogs diet for at least one week. Its important to remove the ingredient from any treats and supplements as well. Observe your dogs symptoms. If you dont see a change, eliminate other ingredients one at a time.

    Allergy Test

    Some commercial allergy tests are available in which a dogs hair/saliva sample can be submitted by mail and tested however, studies have found these tests to be inaccurate. These allergy tests are for seasonal and environmental allergies but can be helpful to connect reactions with specific allergens.

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    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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