Dog Food Allergy Myths

A dog food allergy can be signaled by multiple symptoms including skin rashes, vomiting or diarrhea. The condition is caused by a negative reaction of the immune system, and the dog will require a special diet for the rest of his life. There are a few misconceptions regarding dog food allergies, which need to be clarified.

Myth: Dog Cans Only Present Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Fact: Canine food allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms in addition to vomiting or diarrhea. The most common symptom of food allergies is itchiness of the skin and skin rashes. These skin symptoms may be difficult to control and may be resistant even to aggressive cortisone treatment.

Myth: The Dog Can't Be Allergic to His Diet, Fed for the Past Years

Fact: Many dog owners fail to understand how food allergies develop and they don't suspect that skin itchiness may be due to the dog's regular diet, which has been fed for the past few years without causing any negative reactions. The dog can gradually develop food allergies, and the dog may not display any symptoms of allergies for many years. Typically, allergies occur after the dog is 3 years old.

Myth: Corn and Soy Are Top Allergens

Fact: Many pet owners believe that corn and soy are the top allergens and purchase foods that don't include these ingredients. As a matter of fact, the top allergens are beef, wheat products, fish and dairy products. These ingredients cause allergies in more than 80 percent of dogs allergic to food.

Myth: Switching to a Different Brand Can Solve Food Allergies

Fact: Food allergies are not easy to identify and eliminate, and by simply switching to a different brand of food, you are very unlikely to solve the problem. Dogs are allergic to certain ingredients, which may be present in the new food as well. The culprit ingredient should be found and eliminated from the diet.

Myth: Food Allergies Can Be Detected through Blood Testing

Fact: Blood testing can only show conclusive results in the case of inhalant allergies, and are not effective in detecting food allergies. A series of food trials is the only way to detect the culprit ingredient. At first, the dog will have to get a diet made up of a completely new source of proteins (i.e., venison, rabbit or other unique meat sources). Week by week, a new ingredient will be introduced.

Myth: The Dog Can Only Be Allergic to One Ingredient

Fact: The dog may be allergic to several food ingredients and also other environmental factors. The allergies are immune system mediated, and a weak immune system may react negatively to more than one factor. You will need to keep an eye on the pet's diet and environment and try to see if he develops new allergy symptoms after getting a hypoallergenic diet.

The dog may also develop new allergies in time, so he may even become allergic to an ingredient in his new hypoallergenic diet.