Caring for Dogs With Food Allergies: Isolating Problem Ingredients

Identifying the allergen in dogs with food allergies is a critical process in eliminating the source of the itching, skin and ear infections and gastrointestinal problems. Identifying the offending food will help to keep the dog healthy and in good condition.
  1. Feed the dog a protein/problem ingredient limited diet available from veterinary sources. These are low-allergen diets and allow the dog's body to rid itself of the problem causing allergens.
  2. Keep the dog on this diet for 8 to 12 weeks, until the dog is no longer symptomatic. Do not feed treats, table scraps, rawhide or any other consumables during this time as they can contain the problem allergen.
  3. Add one ingredient back into the diet. Typically start with the proteins as they tend to have higher reactivity rates. Feed this for several days. If no symptoms appear, add a second suspect ingredient and watch for returning symptoms.
  4. Continue this process until the allergenic ingredient is identified. The offending ingredient can then be avoided in the dog's diet. If the owner chooses, the dog can be kept on the protein/ingredient limited diet.

While food allergies are uncommon in dogs, it is important, once a food allergy is suspected, to find out what the problem ingredient is and avoid it in the dog's diet. This can prevent other, secondary problems and keep the dog in a healthier condition.