Does your dog face dog food allergies? Constant sneezing, Vomiting, Itching, Diarrhea and red eyes are all signs of food allergies in dogs. Are you looking for an answer on how to figure out for sure your dog has food allergies? Then, Do you want to learn what you should do about Dog’s unhealthy situation?
Never worry when you have me. You’ll get all your answers in this article about dog food allergies or canine food allergies.
Just read the signs here and watch out for those signs of food allergies in dogs to protect them and help them come out of it early. Let’s dive right in to the topic.
Taking Care of Dogs
The special bonding between dogs and us transcends way beyond anything any words can really express! Your joys make them happy. And, when you are morose, your furry friend shares that too.
As caregivers, nothing is more delightful than to see a happy pet. Dogs look up to their owners. Eyes sparkling, tails wagging, tongues out, and feet prancing, our fur babies express their happiness when we show our love for them.
Their little big world revolves around us. It is made up of moments such as cuddling, petting, playing, going for a walk, or just chilling around. One of the biggest highlights of their day is the time when you fill up their feeding bowls.
Very important as it is, it is one of the biggest challenges for the owner as well. To give them food that suits them requires a great deal of attention. Their disposition can be intolerant to certain foods.
Sometimes, they may also develop food allergies. Signs of food allergies in dogs include skin rashes, excess shedding, vigorous scratching, diarrhea, and weight loss.
What should you do about it?
Food Intolerance in Dogs
Food intolerance occurs when your pet cannot digest. Although the external symptoms may be largely similar, yet it is different from being allergic. Food allergies in dogs happen due to adverse immune system response, while intolerance is related exclusively to digestion.
Intolerance can happen due to two main reasons. First, your dog finds the diet you provide as difficult to digest. Second, your dog eats something by itself that does not bode well for his digestion.
Intolerance to chicken, beef, lactose, or grains is common. Preservatives and food colors found in packaged food may also cause a runny stomach. However, you should be paying close attention to food allergies in dog symptoms and not confuse it with intolerance.
Our animal friends are well-known for eating stuff that they should not. Rummaging through the garbage bin is a usual bad habit often resulting in an upset tummy. They may also eat certain plants like rhubarb that cause indigestion.
Unless properly trained, it is near to impossible to monitor what your dog is eating, especially when you are not looking. Even gluttony or over-eating can pose major problems for their health. At times, they may even get ill after eating something offered by an over-enthusiastic stranger.
It is important to avoid rushing to a conclusion depending entirely on signs of food allergies in dogs. Do not panic and note down all the adverse symptoms before consulting the vet.
Dog Food Intolerance vs Dog Food Allergies
Dog food allergy symptoms are very same as intolerance. It is easy to mix up. To keep it simple, let’s remember that food allergies in dogs are caused by an immune system response to the protein in their diet.
So, it’s easy to identify the root cause! It must be the chicken or beef in the diet. Yes, it may be so, but do note that proteins are of two types, animal and plant proteins. Your dog may be having an immunological response to plants or from milk protein.
Grain allergy symptoms in dogs are similar to dog poultry allergy symptoms.
Also, note that food allergies in dogs are less common than intolerance. Most often, your dog is in distress because of indigestion. In either circumstance, the vet would suggest an elimination diet to find the food plan that is good for the animal.
Don’t Give These Foods to Dogs
As you try to figure out the best dog food for skin allergies, look up this list of eatables that you should not give to your pet. While sharing your own food may seem like a very friendly idea, not all of it is healthy.
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Along with these banned items, we should always keep a close look at the pet’s feeding habits to interpret signs of food allergies in dogs.
What Happens When a Dog is Allergenic?
Almost 70 percent of the immune system of canines is centered in their gastrointestinal tracks. Of the different types of internal mechanisms, note the roles of Enterocytes, Immune Cells (called IgA cells), and Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue or GALT. Only when these cells function poorly, food allergies in dogs happen as a result.
The basic concept to understand here is the mechanism of protein digestion and absorption in the entire digestive tract. By knowing what happens after they eat, you can better understand the signs of food allergies in dogs.
Digestion Issues In Dog’s Stomach
When your dog has a meal, the protein in it undergoes a process of breaking down or digestion. This breakdown is caused by the combined action of various enzymes and digestive acid in the stomach. Unless a protein chunk is broken down to its constituent amino acid, the body finds it difficult to absorb.
As the complete (or incomplete) breakdown of proteins to amino acids happen in the stomach, it is the first stage in deciding whether the animal will develop allergic symptoms. On your part, the objective should be to provide food (or more specifically, protein) that can be easily broken down in the stomach. You can even try a hypoallergenic diet (home-cooked or over-the-counter products) to prevent food allergies in dogs.
The small intestine consists of special cell groups called Enterocytes playing vital roles in amino acid absorption. These work as gatekeepers, either accepting amino acids, or rejecting them.
Gastro-Intestinal Tract Issues For The Dog
Malnutrition affects enterocyte structure and functioning. Poorly functioning cells can let absorption of whole proteins, which in turn causes the immunological response. Externally, it shows up as signs your dog is allergic to his food.
If the puppy has been treated with antibiotics, chances are that he may develop food allergy afterward.
The IgA cells are a type of immune cells found in intestinal secretions. Some of these cells float in the intestinal space, while others attach themselves with enterocytes. Their function is to prevent enterocytes to come in contact with whole proteins. If they come in contact with unbroken protein, they send it back to the intestine for further digestion.
Amino acids are not stopped by the IgA.
The lining of the gut (mucosal barrier) also serves additionally to prevent unbroken proteins to come in contact with enterocytes. If the intestine is not secreting enough IgA, it can cause absorption of the whole protein. This triggers an immunological response that is externally visible as signs of food allergies in dogs.
The Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue or GALT acts as the final line of defense when a protein breaks the barriers of IgA and enterocytes. Usually, GALT would prevent an immunological reaction, but when it is weakened by malnutrition, the prevention is superseded by an immunological response.
Food allergies in dogs can onset all of a sudden. Once it sets in, it tends to escalate every time the pet eats the same source of protein. As a result of this hypersensitivity, the mast cells of the immune system secrete a compound called hertamine. Excess secretion of this compound in the intestinal tract of the dog results in itchy skin, bald patches, diarrhea, and other signs of allergy.
Types of Allergies in Dogs
Apart from food allergies in dogs, they can also have a similar response to other allergens. Pets may develop a flea allergy. Dogs might also react adversely to environmental allergens.
Flea allergy happens when the animal reacts adversely to fleabites. If your pet is itching a lot, and you can see fleas, consult a vet regarding it. The itching mainly occurs at the base of the tails, although other parts of the body are equally vulnerable. Also, the dog can develop inflamed skin, which becomes red and scabbed.
Adverse reactions to environmental allergens such as pollens and dust also involve similar symptoms. Usually, these are seasonal allergies, and they occur only during certain times of the year. According to experts, only about ten percent of allergic reactions are due to food.
The vet may prescribe medicated shampoo. Ask for instructions from the doctor on how often you should give your pet a bath with it.
Signs of Food Allergy in Dogs
When you see these symptoms, remember always that they may or may not represent signs of food allergies in dogs. As the symptoms are similar, it is often difficult to diagnose true food allergy. Your vet may conduct blood tests (in severe cases) and try different medications in treating a sick pet.
Your pet may be vigorously scratching. If you see this happening despite giving baths with a medicated shampoo, it may be one of the dog wheat allergy symptoms. The pet may also develop hot spots (pyoderma).
You may also see bald patches. If your dog has a light coat, rashes on its skin may be visible where too much scratching is involved. The paws may get discolored (hyperpigmentation). Also, the ears are particularly susceptible to develop infections.
You may run the risk of a secondary infection. Always take proper precautions. Consider the signs of food allergies in dogs seriously and take adequate measures to help your pet.
Other signs of food allergies in dogs include continuous diarrhea and vomiting. The animal may also develop inflamed anal glands. See if your dog is scooting at home. Chronic flatulence is another symptom.
Wheezing, coughing, and sneezing are less common signs of food allergies in dogs. Even then, you should take them very seriously. If your puppy has allergy, it may result in poor growth.
In some cases, swellings of the face, eyelids, ears, and throats might be visible.
Remedy for Food Allergies
If you find your dog to be uncomfortable, you may want to check for signs of food allergies in dogs. Once you notice the symptoms, you need to find good remedies to relieve your pet. However, it is good to keep in mind that treatment ideally takes time.
Tests at the Vet
The vet needs to rule out the possibility that skin disease is caused due to any other external factor. For this, skin scraping and skin cytology tests are conducted. Blood tests are generally done in more serious cases. Make sure you regularly check with Vets on your pet health, even if there are no visible signs.
You need to follow up with an elimination diet plan for the pet. This is applicable both for food allergies and intolerance. Start with replacing the primary protein source in the diet.
If you are using beef, replace it with chicken, and pay attention to the response you are getting from your pet. The main idea here is to present a protein source that the animal has not tried before. A novel protein source (such as duck or kangaroo) refers to something that the pet has not tried before. You need to try a novel source for plant proteins as well.
Always keep a close eye on the symptoms of common food allergies in dogs. Do not neglect the plant protein sources when you are trying to finalize the right food plan. Eliminate the wheat, or corn and try different alternatives.
It is important to remember that it can take months for the results to be visible. Have patience and try to make sure that your dog is not eating anything else except for the prescribed food plan.
You need to feed it to the dog until all symptoms of food allergy subside. Some dogs respond faster than others. Ultimately, an elimination diet may replace all of the original food plan that was causing the allergy.
After ten to twelve weeks with the elimination diet, try a ‘challenge diet’. It means giving the original food again and watching out for symptoms. If within 14 days of eating the challenge diet, your pet does not develop symptoms of allergy or intolerance, you can be sure of its safety.
Many vets also suggest hydrolyzed proteins for dogs. In these, the protein is already broken down so that the pet may find it easy to digest. Some brands of hypoallergenic diets exclude plant proteins entirely.
Nonetheless, there are different views about using a hypoallergenic diet for food allergies in dog treatment. Many pet owners are apprehensive about added chemicals and preservatives in this kind of food. Hydrolyzed protein consists of monosodium glutamate which is not good for your dog.
You should always keep a close look at the ingredient list of packaged food. Unless you are sure that it’s fresh and good for the pet, look for a different option. For example, if it states starch, you might want to be sure that it is suitable for your dog.
You may also try different home remedies for dog food allergy treatment. Home remedies for dog allergies must involve careful planning and a lot of initiative on your part.
Suggested home remedies include natural bovine colostrum. Colostrum is the ingredient found in mother’s milk that develops immunity in a newborn. It may be a good option for your fur-baby. It consists of a beneficial substance called Proline-Rich Polypeptide or PRP.
Some mushrooms consist of beta-glucans, which help develop immunity. However, you should feed it in moderation. Mushroom varieties that consist of Beta-Glucans include Reishi, Shiitake, Maiatake, Cordyceps, and Turkey-Tail. Also, make sure that the packaged mushroom contains a low percentage of starch.
You can also try an herb called nettles to help your pet with allergies. Prepare a tincture and give 2 drops of nettle per 10 lb of body weight. Another helpful herb is licorice. You can give 12 to 20 drops of its tincture per 20 lbs of body weight.
As for the topical treatment of itches, you can use a baking soda paste.
Final Words – Signs Of Food Allergies In Dogs
All in all, you should have a good understanding of what are the signs of food allergies in dogs. Not all pets are allergenic, some are intolerant, but the symptoms may be the same. Also, your pet may be suffering from a different type of allergy. Take heart because your pet will definitely get better with proper care. Learn what dog food ingredients you should avoid as well.
Pets may develop an allergenic or intolerant response to home remedies as well. Even if you are trying home remedies, always consult a vet. But, next time, also make sure the pet dogs like to be pet, before you pet them. Look for all signs of sickness or symptoms early and cure it for the canine friend.