What Causes Food Allergies In Dogs?

Food allergies in dogs is the second most common type of dog allergy. The first is atopy or "inhalant" allergy. Although food allergies in dogs is rarely fatal, the condition can produce a number of symptoms that can range from mild itching to vomiting and diarrhea. Because of this, food allergies can interfere tremendously with an otherwise healthy dog's quality of life. Fortunately, food allergies can be treated fairly easy under a vets care. Before you can treat your dog's food allergies, it is first important to understand the causes and know what symptoms to watch for.

Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs

Unlike atopy, which is a genetically inherited disorder, food allergies in dogs can strike any breed, at any time. Although food allergies can develop in puppies as early as six months old or in senior dogs over 12 years old, they typically develop in dogs between the ages of 2 and 6. A large number of dogs with food allergies also suffer from contact and inhalant allergies.

There are many theories about why some dogs develop food allergies and why some don't, but there are no solid studies that prove what causes food allergies in dogs. A popular argument is that exposure to intestinal parasites might predispose your dog to developing a food allergy. This might explain why some food allergies show up in puppies, as some puppies are born with intestinal parasites (worms). While there is no solid answer to what causes food allergies in dogs, the common triggers are clear. Triggers include protein heavy foods such as meat/beef, dairy, and chicken, and grains such as wheat and corn. In some cases, your pet can eat the same dog food for years with no problems, then suddenly develop a sensitivity to it.

Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

Food allergies in dogs can cause a number of unpleasant and unsightly symptoms. Your dog may bite, chew and scratch his ears excessively, he may also scratch his eyes and muzzle, and bite and chew at his paws, underarms, groin, and anus. In some cases, your dog might vomit, pass gas excessively, have diarrhea, and he might stretch repeatedly for relief.

Allergy Treatments

Treatments range from antibiotics and/or supplements to special diets. A vet can administer the most appropriate tests and prescribe the most effective treatments.