4 Essential Things About Dog Food Allergies Every Dog Owner Should Know

Humans and their best friends, dogs, have a lot in common, including food allergies. Though you might have an enviable connection with your dog, the poor pooch cannot tell you that it is allergic to certain foods. So, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on any unusual behavior that your pet might display. If your dog has been itching like crazy or you misread your doggo’s lack of activity as boredom, you might have to dig a little deeper. The culprit in such cases hides in plain sight; there are high chances that it can be allergic to the new dog food you just bought.

Dog food is made from a lot of different ingredients, and your dog can be allergic to one or more of those. As a responsible dog owner, you need to identify the allergy and have a better understanding of what food allergies are and what can cause them. Here are certain things about dog food allergies you need to know.

Common signs of food allergies in dogs
Like humans, even dogs display symptoms when they fall sick. Itchy skin is one of the most common symptoms of food allergy in dogs. It often occurs near the ears, paws, rear end, or the stomach. Another symptom of dog food allergy is the appearance of hives. These are tiny red bumps that are itchy, and they tend to appear within 6 to 24 hours after your dog eats the food that triggered the reaction. Gastrointestinal problems are another prominent symptom of food allergy. Your dog might display symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, or vomiting after eating dog food. Also, if you notice that your dog develops repeated infections in the ear or paws, it can be a sign of food sensitivity, which can turn into a full-blown food allergy. You need to look for these signs whenever you suspect that the food your dog eats doesn’t agree with their system.

Causes of food allergies in dogs
Firstly, you need to understand that food intolerance and food allergies are two different things. Food intolerance occurs due to poor digestion, whereas, food allergies occur when your dog’s immune system goes into overdrive. Food allergies are triggered by a type of protein that is present in your dog’s food. Your dog’s gastrointestinal system is armed to protect them from potential allergens and once your dog eats a meal, the food is first digested in the stomach. When the food is further digested and the proteins are broken down into their smaller parts, known as amino acids, they are absorbed into the body through special cells called enterocytes. These enterocytes decide whether the amino acids are beneficial or harmful and if a whole protein enters the intestines without being broken down first, the immune system goes haywire and starts attacking it. As this occurs, your dog develops a food allergy.

Common food allergy triggers
The ingredients used in dog food might act as food allergy triggers. So, always read the ingredient list behind the dog food package. The most common food allergy triggers that are found in a majority of dog food brands are beef, dairy, preservatives, artificial food coloring, or cornmeal. It is advisable to keep rotating your dog’s meal so that they wouldn’t have to eat the same thing over and over again, as they’ll eventually develop food sensitivity towards it. You can even opt for homemade dog food, and look for recipes online.

Treatment for food allergies
In case of life-threatening allergic reactions, you should call an emergency animal hospital right away. In other cases, the treatment mostly involves trying the elimination diet or the vet can prescribe antihistamines to bring the situation under control.

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