Food Allergies in Dogs

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What is a food allergy?

Food allergies are one of the most common allergies or hypersensitivities known to affect dogs. These offending food allergens can come from any food source and can widely vary, however, they most often derive from one to five ingredients. The most frequently identified causative allergens in canine food allergy include beef, chicken, eggs, corn, wheat, soy, and milk. Each time your pet eats a food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens and symptoms occur.

When an allergic reaction occurs in your dog, antibodies are produced against some part of the food, usually a protein or complex carbohydrate. It is not uncommon for allergies to present themselves slowly in your pet, as they usually become visible after prolonged exposure to one brand, type, or form of food.

What are the signs that my dog has food allergies?

It is not uncommon for your dog to experience food allergies and in fact rank among the top reasons our pets are seen by vets. Dog allergy symptoms more commonly affect the skin and ears and unlike humans that can outgrow allergies, dogs worsen as they age. The best way we can help our pets is to pay attention to any signs of change and act accordingly.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms that your pet may be suffering from food allergies include:

• Itchy skin or dry skin
• Digestive disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea
• Swelling of the face, muzzle, and/or ears
• Browning of the skin around the mouth
• Watery eyes
• Red or brown nail beds
• Weight loss
• Sneezing
• Chronic ear infections
• Low energy
• Hyperactivity
• Extreme mood changes such as aggression

How can we treat food allergies?

The best way to treat food allergies in your pet is avoidance. Once the culprit food is identified, you can easily eliminate this from your pet’s diet. There is cure for food allergies so it is best to be proactive and preventive. Some pets will require medication during more severe allergic episodes, but most can be successfully treated by being fed a hypoallergenic diet. Food allergens are not always easily identifiable however, and the process can takes months to identify and eliminate the allergy causing foods. With the help of your vet you can begin to slowly change your pet’s diet to get to the root cause. Patience and a high dosage of extra cuddles and love is always recommended as it can be very scary and unpleasant for our pets too go through this process too.

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