Protein Allergy in Dogs

Protein allergy is associated with food allergies in dogs. Pets often develop allergies to certain foods or ingredients that are consumed for a long period of time. Protein is one major constituent of food that is known to trigger allergic reactions in pets. Since dogs require a good source of protein on a daily basis, protein allergies are fairly common in dogs of all breeds. The pet’s immune system often gets highly sensitized to certain products that contain proteins and this causes an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of Protein Allergies

  • Hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Itching
  • Increased bowel movement
  • Hot spots
  • Ear infections

Food that Triggers Protein Allergy

The ingredients that cause protein allergies are present in almost all dog food products. Sources of proteins such as eggs, beef, chicken and dairy products are the most common foods that lead to protein allergies. Fish, lamb, corn and soy are a few other sources of protein that cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Diagnosis of Protein Allergies

Since the symptoms of food allergies are similar to other allergies in pets, it’s important to pinpoint the real cause of the allergic reaction. The vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and rule out the possibility of mange, atopy or other skin infections. If the allergic reaction is associated with diarrhea, the vet will initiate prompt treatment to stabilize the pet.

Food Trial

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the vet will conduct a food trial to find out what the dog is allergic to. Since this is a trial and error method, it will take a while before the actual food culprit is identified. A food trial generally lasts for 12 weeks and the pet is administered a prescription diet or a hypoallergenic diet for the entire duration of the trial.

These diets contain a source of protein that the pet has never consumed before. Good alternatives to regular sources of proteins include venison, duck and rabbit meat. After administering the hypoallergenic diet for a few weeks, the vet will ask you to reintroduce ingredients that are present in the original dog food. This will help identify the exact ingredients the dog is sensitive to.

Conducting the Trial

During the trial, pets shouldn’t be fed table scraps, treats or leftovers. Instead, the dog should be given hypoallergenic treats that are recommended by the vet. It is also important to avoid giving your pet any toys that are flavored.

Treatment of Protein Allergies

The main aim of the treatment is to avoid giving the pet any food products that he is allergic to. Although the vet will prescribe anti-histamine medications and steroids to control the symptoms of the allergic reaction, these medicines aren’t ideal for long term use. Dogs that are suffering from hives and itching of the skin should be bathed with hypoallergenic shampoos that contain oatmeal or aloe vera that soothe the skin.

Some pet owners may prefer to feed their pets home cooked meals in place of commercially available dog food. Since there are many advantages and disadvantages of feeding your dog home cooked meals, it’s best to establish an appropriate diet and nutrition plan after discussing the same with the vet.

Food allergies cause your pet a lot of discomfort. You should make sure that you diagnose and treat the problem in time.