Wheat Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

Wheat allergy symptoms in dogs typically show themselves as skin problems, although the condition is normally considered a food allergy. In some cases, a dog can show an allergic reaction simply by coming in contact with wheat, so we’ll look at the clinical signs of both canine food allergies and canine contact allergies.

When a Dog’s Food Causes the Wheat Allergy

The most common sign of a wheat-based food allergy is itchy skin. Other skin-based signs of a food allergy may include face rubbing. The dog may also shake his head constantly or have persistent ear infections. A dog with a wheat-based food allergy may also wheeze or sneeze, or he may have problems with his digestive system, such as flatulence, diarrhea or vomiting.

When Contact with Wheat Causes the Dog’s Allergy

In rare cases, a dog will have an allergic reaction to wheat in his environment. This most often occurs when a dog lives in a rural environment, such as a wheat farm. Environmentally based allergies are also called atopic allergies, which are inhalant allergies that show themselves typically as skin problems.

A dog with a contact allergy to wheat will typically have extremely itchy skin, especially on his nose and paws. If his ears drag on the ground, they may be extremely itchy, as well, and they may become red from your dog’s constant scratching. If these signs are left untreated, your dog may develop secondary skin infections because he scratches the itchy skin so frequently.

Treating a Food-Based Wheat Allergy

When wheat is an ingredient in your dog’s food that causes his allergic reaction, the best method of treating it is to feed your dog a diet that does not include wheat. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe an exclusion diet that contains a unique source of both carbohydrates and protein that your dog has never eaten before.

During the course of treatment (usually about 12 weeks), your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s allergic signs. If they improve on the exclusion diet, an ingredient in the dog’s former diet is the cause of his allergy. Your veterinarian will test the theory by re-introducing ingredients from the former diet to try to trigger an allergic response. When the allergic response is triggered, the allergy-causing ingredient is identified. Many owners opt to feed their pets the exclusion diet as the dog’s new diet to alleviate his allergies.

Treating a Wheat Contact Allergy

When contact with wheat causes the allergy, topical sprays may help alleviate the itching. You may also need to bathe him regularly with medicated shampoos to help keep his coat allergen-free. Your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines or other oral medications to relieve some of your dog’s clinical signs.

Eliminating contact with wheat is the best long-term defense against a contact allergy caused by wheat, so you may need to restrict the area in which he is allowed to run and roam outside. In extreme cases, you may have to move, or you may have to re-home your dog if his wheat contact allergy doesn’t clear up.