Dog Food Allergies

Dog food allergies are fairly common. A food allergy in a dog indicates a health problem that needs to be addressed. This article will explore some symptoms to watch for in your dog that may indicate a food allergy versus a food intolerance. It's important to have several options for ways to diagnose and treat a dog food allergy.

Symptoms of Food Intolerance

A food intolerance differs from a food allergy. A dog with a food intolerance will probably have diarrhea or will vomit about 30 to 60 minutes after eating a specific food. Once the food is digested, the symptoms will disappear. It's similar to a person who gets an upset stomach or loose stools after eating especially heavy foods or fried and spicy foods.

Symptoms that Indicate a Food Allergy

A food allergy is more of a systemic and long-lasting problem. Dogs with food allergies will mainly exhibit skin problems as a result of the allergy. A dog with skin allergies will probably scratch and bite at his skin in a way that is noticeably more than the normal dog. His skin my develop bumps or excess redness in certain areas. Patches of fur may be wet a lot of the time because of his constant licking and biting. Check for flaking and redness or bumps in areas such as the face, ears, feet and around the anus.

Foods that Commonly Cause an Allergic Reaction

A dog can become allergic to many foods. Several common ingredients, however, seem to cause dog food allergies more than others. Dogs tend to become allergic to foods that appear in most dog food formulas today which is no coincidence as allergies form from over exposure. The most frequent allergies develop to corn, soy, wheat, beef, lamb and fish. Dogs also often become allergic to dairy products and chicken.


Determining a specific food allergy can be difficult. Many different factors can cause the skin problems that are characteristic of food allergies in dogs. If you try to remove a specific food from the diet to see if the symptoms decrease, you have to keep all other factors the same. You can also add new foods or make food replacements and see if that helps. A vet can run blood and urine tests that can help give more information about a food allergy.


There are many ways to treat dog food allergies. It's best to try to solve the problem versus trying to determine the exact food allergy right from the start. You can feed your dog a limited diet of typically non-allergenic foods such as venison or buffalo and formulas that are low-glycemic. Switching to a raw or more natural formula is a good idea.

You can also try talking to other dog owners with a breed similar to yours and learn about very effective home cures. Tibetan terriers, for instance, do very well on a hypo-allergenic diet with the addition of a slice of a cooked yam in their food. Other dogs may benefit from an omega-3 fatty acid supplement in their food. Other dogs still may respond to 2 drops of grapefruit seed extract to support the digestive and immune systems. With patience and vigilance, you can find what works best for your dog.