Your dog can experience food allergy symptoms just like you can. But you might be surprised to find out that most dog allergies come from common ingredients found in dry dog food. Even dogs who have shown no allergies in the past could develop allergies or sensitivities over time. So, how will you know if your dog is allergic to something in their food? The best way to find out is to keep an eye out for dog food allergy symptoms.
Dog Food Allergy Symptoms
Dogs who have food allergies often have very different symptoms from each other. However, most of these signs are difficult to miss. So, here are some of the most common symptoms your dog could experience if they have a food allergy.
Itchy, Irritated Skin
Most dogs with allergies will at least have some itchy skin. Your dog’s skin could become irritated and incredibly uncomfortable anywhere on their body, including their ears, paws, belly, and butt. Some dogs might also break out into hives if they’re having an allergic reaction.
Allergies can also cause an upset stomach for some dogs. Your dog could experience vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive gas.
In some cases, your dog could have sudden swelling in certain areas of their body. Swelling most commonly occurs around a canine’s mouth, eyes, and ears.
Sometimes a dog’s diet can cause chronic ear or paw infections. In most cases, this is caused by a food sensitivity rather than an allergy though. A sensitivity differs from an allergy because a sensitivity is less sudden. If your dog is allergic, their immune system will trigger an immediate response while a sensitivity might have a gradual reaction after your dog eats their food for a while.
Common Dog Food Allergies
Any dog food ingredient could be an allergy for some dogs, but there are some that are more common allergies. Below are a few ingredients that can often cause allergies and sensitivities for dogs:
- Dairy products
Of course, some dogs might be able to eat all these ingredients and still be perfectly healthy. Yet, if your dog has any unusual reactions to their food, these are the items you should be cautious of. If you can find a healthy recipe that doesn’t include any of these, then that might be best for a sensitive dog.
How to Treat Dog Food Allergies
Treating a dog food allergy is the same as removing the allergen from their diet. This sounds simple enough, but if your dog’s food has a lot of ingredients in it, it might be difficult to know what’s causing the allergy. If you need help figuring this out, you can consult your vet. First, your vet will need to confirm that allergies are to blame for your dog’s symptoms. To do this, they’ll need to run tests to rule out any other illnesses that could be causing them.
Next, you’ll have to eliminate ingredients from your dog’s diet to figure out what’s causing the allergies. Working with a pet nutritionist is the easiest way to get to the bottom of it. After all, you’ll want to remove potential allergens from your dog’s diet while still making sure it’s nutritionally balanced. However, if you think you know which ingredient your dog is allergic to, you might be able to find a more suitable dog food by yourself.
Until your figure out your dog’s specific allergy, your vet might also prescribe something to soothe your dog’s skin in the meantime. Anything prescribed for allergies will only be a temporary fix though. An allergy cannot be completely treated without removing the trigger food.
Finding an Allergy-Free Dog Food
Once you know what your dog is allergic to, it’s time to find a food that better fits their needs. One of the best options is a “limited ingredient” dog food. These are dog food brands that specifically use as few ingredients as possible, getting rid of all the common allergens. The less ingredients a food has, the less likely it is to harm a sensitive pup. So, limited ingredient formulas are overall a great choice.
However, if you only want to eliminate the ingredients that you know your dog is allergic to, there are plenty of brands that exclude specific ingredients for this reason. For example, if you know your dog is allergic to chicken, you can choose a chicken-free dog food. If they’re allergic to grains, find a grain-free option. With so many dog food choices out there, there’s something for every dog.
If your dog has lots of allergies and sensitivities or if they’re only allergic to more obscure ingredients, then it might be harder to find what you’re looking for. In some cases, you might be better off making a homemade diet for your dog. That way, you’ll know exactly what ingredients are going into their food. It might be more expensive and more time-consuming, but it’s certainly healthier if you portion it right. If you want something healthy without the added work for you, you can order a raw food or fresh food diet instead.
Keep Your Dog Healthy and Safe!
Dog food allergy symptoms can be scary to deal with at first, but if you’re careful with your dog’s diet, you’ll have no problem keeping your canine healthy. Changing your dog’s diet is not just about removing potential allergies, but it’s also about giving your dog the most beneficial food possible. So, always be mindful of what your dog eats so you can choose the best diet possible for them.