The 6 Most Frequent Food Diseases of Dogs

There are a number of diseases of dogs that are caused by food. Food diseases can also disrupt the normal digestive or metabolic processes in dogs. Sensible food choices and an awareness of the signs and symptoms of food-related dog health problems will help keep your dog free disease.

1. Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Canine food allergies are caused by an the immune system overreacting to certain "allergens". In allergic dogs, certain ingredients can produce sneezing, dog skin diseases and ear infections. Your dog may rub her face and ears and chew at her feet. Ear infections are common in allergic dogs.

The most common sources of dog food allergies include:

  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Dairy

Food sensitivities cause gastrointestinal upset. Your dog may be prone to gas, bloating, diarrhea and vomiting if she suffers from a food intolerance. In both cases, switch to a limited ingredient diet that contains a primary protein such as duck, venison or salmon.

2. Dietary Indiscretion

To some dogs, anything that fits inside their mouth qualifies as edible. Socks, corn cobs, sticks and other indigestible material can make your dog very sick. Usually, your dog will regurgitate or vomit inedible material, but sometimes these items will lodge in the intestinal tract and cause a blockage.

3. Food Poisoning

Many common human foods are toxic to dogs. Chocolate is a well-known dog toxin, but other foods such as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts and avocados can also harm your dog.

4. Contaminated Pet Food

Recent pet food recalls have alerted dog lovers to the dangers contained in commercial pet foods. While there is little that can be done to control the ingredients used in large scale pet food manufacturing, you can protect your pet by choosing high-quality brands that contain as few "filler" ingredients as possible.

Alternatively, you can choose to home cook your dog's meals or purchase freeze-dried or frozen raw ingredients. Both options will provide your dog with fresh, nutritious foods that are free of chemical preservatives.

5. Anorexia: When Your Dog Won't Eat

Anorexia is a symptom, not a disease. If your dog skips a meal or two, it is not a cause for concern. If, however, her appetite declines and she begins to loose weight, a veterinary exam is recommended. Some canine diseases that cause anorexia include liver disease, certain cancers, leptospirosis and corona virus.

6. Overeating: When Your Dog Eats Too Much

Obesity is not the dog's fault, it's the dog feeder's fault. Dogs can be very persuasive and it is not always easy to resist those big, pleading eyes, but obesity is the leading cause of diabetes and joint pain in dogs. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for her overall health and well-being.

Some simple tips to help your pet lose weight:

  • Reduce food intake by 10 percent.
  • Feed smaller meals more frequently to stimulate her metabolism.
  • Add low calorie, nutrient-rich ingredients such as carrots, peas, sweet potatoes and squash.
  • Don't leave the cat food out.
  • Reduce between-meal snacks or substitute a low-calorie carrot or apple slice.
  • Exercise. Two 20-minute walks per day will improve her health and weight.

Regular daily exercise and a healthy diet is your dog's best defense against disease. It's an easy and economical way to protect your dog from common canine diseases.