Dog food allergy symptoms? Did you know that food is the third most common culprit of allergies in dogs? If you did not now you do.
Just because your dog has been scratching like crazy and shaking his head does not mean that they have flees og maybe gum disease. It only means they have an allergic reaction to something you have been feeding them.
Just like you, animals also do have a reaction to properties in the food they have been given. Although it is not very serious most times, it can be very uncomfortable for both you and your dog.
Like a responsible dog owner, you should know when the reaction your dog is having is food related to avoid stomach problems and what you should do about it.
There is not much information when it comes to allergies, both scientific or otherwise. It is not know how allergies work and what process they use to manifest symptoms. What is known however, is how diagnose their symptoms and what to do to keep them at bay.
There is not direct link between a dog breed and certain food allergies so do not let anyone fool you into thinking that your dog will be allergic just because theirs is. It is also not true that certain allergies affect only females and not male dogs.
Allergies can show up as early as 5 months or as late as 12 years, there is no specific age that they are limited to. This means that all owners should be keen to notice allergic reactions in their dogs and should know what to do to ease the symptoms.
Food allergies and food intolerance
There is a very thin line between food intolerance and food allergies. This distinction need to be known to a pet owner.
Food allergies are real allergies also known as true allergies. They have symptoms which include itching and skin problems which are associated with canine allergies.
Food intolerance on the other hand results in symptoms that are not allergy related like diarrhea and vomiting. Food intolerance is similar to that of humans where you can get diarrhea and an upset stomach after eating extra spicy food. This does not mean you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the food. It only means that you ate something that did not sit well in your stomach.
The good news is that you can fight food intolerance and allergies by removing the agents that are causing the problems from the food you give your pet.
Dog food allergy symptoms
Like in humans, the main symptom of an allergy is shown on the skin. Your dog will show the primary symptom of itching.
The itching may affect the feet, ears, face, armpits, forelegs and sometimes even areas around the anus. This could be the reason why your dog is scratching like crazy after eating their meals. It does get uncomfortable for them and you especially if you have guests over.
The other symptoms may manifest in the form of chronic or recurrent ear infections, which could explain the head shaking, hair loss, hot spots, skin infections, excessive scratching and skin infections. In many cases a dog owner will get an antibiotic for the infections because they may not know that I is an allergic reaction. While using the antibiotics, the infections may subside but will reoccur immediately after the antibiotics have been discontinued.
There is also evidence that sometimes dogs that have food allergies may have increased bowel movements as their body is trying to get read of the allergen. According to the study, while dogs who do not have allergies have 1.5 bowel movements, dogs with allergies may have 3 or more bowel movements in a day or more.
Many dog owners and vets may confuse the allergy symptoms with those of atopy especially in smaller dogs because they may share similar symptoms. To distinguish you will notice that the symptoms in an allergic dog may last all year round while those in an aopic one will heal faster.
For example symptoms may begin in winter and sill be present the next winter season. The dog may have persistent ear and yeast infections that recur after using an antibiotic. You will also notice that the dog has mild to severe skin problems that are not responding to steroid treatment.
This confusion is normal especially because there is really no blood tests that will help distinguish between allergies. The symptoms are very straight forward but there are also many other conditions that have similar symptoms and at one point it may be found that the animal is suffering from many more problems other than food allergies.
It is important to treat other conditions before coming up with an allergic diagnosis. Yeast infections, atopy, flee bit allergies, intestinal parasites hypersensitivity, bacterial infections and sarcoptic mange can all have similar symptoms to food allergies. Once you have ruled out all other possibilities, they you can begin checking for food allergies.
How to treat food allergies
There is only one way to treat food allergies and that is elimination. Studies have shown that allergies may be cause by genetics. This means that you just cannot cure them.
It is not like the cold where you can find medication so unlike they find ways to replace genes then you will have to find out what It is you are feeding your dog that is causing the allergy. The best way to do this is to look back at around the time the dog began having the allergic reactions, was there something you introduced to the food or you changed food manufacturers. Such simple this would have been the reason your dog has been suffering.
Another way to do it is to feed the dog one food at a time. For example you could begin by feeding them on a protein meal, then a carbohydrate one for their next meal. At which ever time the dog begins showing more symptoms them you will know that that is the cause of their allergy. This will help you find an alternative faster.