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Food Allergies in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Just like humans, dogs can experience allergies to various types of food. These allergies can cause concerning symptoms and worry pet owners. Today, our vets in Portland discuss everything you need to know about dog food allergies, including common signs and treatment options.

Food Allergies in Dogs

A dog develops a food allergy when its immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food ingredient, usually the protein source, as harmful. The body responds by producing defensive antibodies to combat the allergen.

Over time, dogs with one food allergy may develop sensitivities to other ingredients. Thus, if your dog has a food allergy, you must closely monitor any new symptoms to adjust their diet accordingly.

Dog Food Allergies Symptoms

Most often, proteins from animal or plant-based ingredients in the diet cause dog allergies. Beef, dairy, eggs, chicken, soy, corn, and wheat typically pose the most problems for dogs.

It's not uncommon for a dog to develop an allergy to a food they've been eating for months, so it's always best to watch for any signs of allergy.

  • Itching
  • Red irritated skin
  • Rashes on the ears and feet
  • Weight loss
  • Gassiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity

Common Food Allergies for Dogs

Dog allergies most commonly result from proteins found in animal or plant-based ingredients in the diet. Beef, dairy, eggs, chicken, soy, corn, and wheat generally present the greatest challenges for dogs. It's not unusual for dogs to develop allergies to foods they've consumed for months, so it's essential to remain vigilant for any signs of allergy.

Food Allergy Testing for Dogs

To accurately diagnose a food allergy in your dog, administer a hypoallergenic diet for eight to twelve weeks, known as an elimination trial. Ensure this diet excludes any previously consumed ingredients, and refrain from feeding your dog any other foods, treats, or supplements during this period.

If your dog's allergy symptoms subside during the trial, proceed to reintroduce their old food. If symptoms recur within one week, a definitive diagnosis of a food allergy is confirmed.

Alternatively, serum IgE tests can identify specific food allergies in dogs. Consult your veterinarian dermatology to determine their usefulness in diagnosing your pet's condition. However, evidence suggests that food elimination trials are more effective than blood testing.

Managing & Treating Food Allergies in Dogs

Once you've identified the food to which your dog is allergic, you can choose a diet that excludes it. Nowadays, several hypoallergenic diets are available, which your dog should be able to consume for life. Your veterinarian can assist you in selecting the ideal food for your pup.

While some dog foods in retail stores may claim to be free from the ingredients your dog is allergic to, unlike a diet prescribed by your veterinarian, retail pet foods aren't manufactured with the stringent health and safety protocols necessary to prevent cross-contamination. It's always advisable to heed your veterinarian's advice and diligently follow instructions regarding your dog's food.

Regrettably, there's no cure for food allergies in dogs. The only 'treatment' is altogether avoiding the allergenic ingredient(s). Most dogs can be effectively managed with a hypoallergenic diet, but medication may be necessary in severe cases or reactions.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog displaying allergy symptoms after eating? Reach out to our dermatologist vets in Portland immediately. Our team will promptly test your pup for allergies and administer appropriate care and dietary adjustments.

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Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Portland companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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