Dog Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are frequent and may occur in dogs that are also allergic to other irritants. Dog allergies may be categorized as following:

  • Inhalant allergies or atopy caused by dust, pollens or chemicals
  • Flea allergies or caused by other parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Contact allergies to different materials such as plastic or synthetic materials
  • Bacterial allergies occur if the dog is allergic to bacteria

Food allergies most often cause skin irritations and are easy to identify. In extreme cases, the food allergies may lead to complications such as skin infections or bald patches.

Foods that Cause Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies in dogs must be differentiated from food intolerances. Typically food intolerances will cause an upset stomach, diarrhea or vomiting.

Food allergies will cause skin irritation and itchiness.

The most common allergens are contained in the dog’s daily diet including:

  • Meat protein such as beef, turkey or eggs
  • Corn
  • Seafood
  • Soy
  • Gluten
  • Dairy products

Food allergies are permanent, and the symptoms will persist until the allergen is removed from the dog's diet. It may also happen that the dog is allergic to several ingredients.

Identify Food Allergies

Unlike other types of allergies that occur only after a certain age, food allergies may occur at any stage in the dog’s life. However, it is less common to see food allergies in dogs younger than 6 months.

The symptoms of food allergies are similar to those of other allergies:

  • Itchiness of the skin that will cause excessive licking, biting and scratching
  • Bald patches and thinning of coat
  • Dermatitis
  • Dull coat

Other types of allergies will be accompanied by symptoms such as sneezing or coughing. Food allergies will be permanent, and persist until you detect the allergen and remove it from the dog’s meals for good.

Diagnosing Food Allergies

Allergies in canines may be diagnosed employing 3 common methods:

  • Blood analysis
  • Skin testing
  • Food testing

Unfortunately, food allergies cannot be properly diagnosed with blood or skin testing, so food trials will be needed.

During these food trials, the vet will prescribe a diet based solely on one type of protein mixed with a type of fiber. This diet should be kept for 3 to 12 weeks and the dog is observed to see if the allergic reactions are present.

Food trials may last for a long time, but once the allergen is identified, the dog can live an allergy-free life.

Treating Canine Food Allergies

First and foremost, the allergen must be eliminated from the dog’s diet for good.

The dog may live on prescription diet for the rest of his life, or you may choose a dog food that doesn’t contain the allergen ingredient.

Food allergies can be alleviated with a diet that is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. These can be administered as supplements during the food testing.

Until the allergen is detected, steroids may be used to relieve the itchy skin and irritations.