Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies

Dogs may develop allergies to a number of allergens, including pollens, mold, dust, smoke or food. Dog food allergies are quite common and some dogs are more exposed to developing allergies to food. The allergens are typically common foods including meats, corn, starch or dairy products. Diagnosing dog food allergies is difficult; however, some symptoms may point to canine allergies.

Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies

Food allergies and intolerances may cause a lot of discomfort in your dog and you may notice a few signs that may indicate that the food may be causing the allergies. The symptoms of food allergies in pets include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Itchy paws and feet
  • Excessive scratching
  • Excessive biting and chewing of skin, paws and feet
  • Skin rashes
  • Flaky skin
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Hair loss, may be caused by the excessive scratching but also by the culprit allergen
  • Dull coat
  • Chronic yeast infections or other bacterial infections, especially in the ear and the skin
  • Vomiting, typically caused by food intolerances, but may also be a symptom of food allergies; this occurs immediately after the ingestion of the culprit product or ingredient
  • Diarrhea, similar to vomiting may point to food intolerances or allergies

These symptoms may be all present or the dog may only display a few of these symptoms; also, the symptoms may vary from dog to dog.

Some of these symptoms may occur and last for a limited amount of time, while other symptoms will be permanent.

The symptoms may occur anytime, even if the dog hasn’t had food allergies before. Food allergies may occur at any age in the dog’s life.

Diagnosing Food Allergies in Dogs

Diagnosing food allergies in dogs is very difficult, as some symptoms may also point to different diseases or inhalant allergies. Typically, the dog is suspected of having food allergies only after all the other possible diseases were ruled out.

The detection of the food causing the allergies will also require a lot of time (sometimes several months). The detection of the allergen will be done through an exclusion diet.

Dog Food Allergies Treatment

Antihistamines or steroids are typically not helpful in food allergies. These medications may relieve the food allergies for a few days, but the dog will soon relapse and display allergy symptoms.

The dog food allergies occur as a negative response of the immune system, so boosting the immune system may also reduce the allergic symptoms, until the allergen is detected.

Once detected, food allergies can be manageable. It is essential to isolate the allergen and eliminate it from the dog’s diet completely. Common allergens include beef, chicken, eggs, soy, corn, starches, wheat or dairy products. There are prescription dog foods that will not contain one or several of these ingredients and the vet will recommend you a food that is suitable for your dog’s condition. Alternatively, you may feed your dog at home by preparing the food yourself and making sure that no culprit ingredients are used while preparing the food.