Understanding Canine Food Allergies and Intolerance

Canine food allergies can arise in puppies and elderly dogs, but they usually appear when a dog is between 2 and 6 years old. It can be tough to determine what kind of allergy a dog is experiencing because dogs with an inhalant allergy (atopy) usually suffer from food allergies as well.
  • One tell-tale sign of a dog with a food allergy is habitual ear infections, particularly yeast infections.
  • Understand that there is a distinction between food allergies and intolerance.

What is a Food Allergy?

When a dog has a food allergy he responds with the classic allergic responses, which affects a canine's skin and ears. His body is having an ultra sensitive reaction to something in a food source.

Canine food allergies cause a variety of symptoms. Watch for these common reactions in your dog:

  • Chronic or reoccurring ear infections
  • Hair loss; bald patches
  • Higher frequency of bowel movements
  • Hot spots
  • Itchy skin
  • Recurring infections
  • Skin infection
  • Thick layers of dander
  • Uncontrollable scratching

Food Intolerance Facts

Food intolerance happens when your dog has a particular level of sensitivity to something he's eaten. A dog with food intolerance experiences the classic itchy skin of an allergic dog, but does not respond well to allergy treatments such as antihistamines and steroids.

More hints that your dog has food intolerance:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Flatulence
  • Upset Stomach
  • Vomiting

Lastly, elimination diets can help pinpoint what's causing canine food allergies as well as food intolerances.