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What You Should Know About Dog Food Allergies

If you think human beings are the only ones that develop strong allergies to the foods we eat, think again. There are certain foods that you should never feed your dog.

Dogs can be just as susceptible as us to the potentially damaging effects of a food that their bodies decide just isn't good for them.

But, how do you know if your dog has a food allergy or what to do about it? It's not like they can tell you, "hey, this dog food is making me itch."

It quickly becomes your job to pay close attention to their behaviours and make any necessary adjustments.

 Identifying Dog Food Allergies

It is estimated that 10% of all allergies in dogs are food related, coming in third behind flea bite allergies and inhalant allergies. And of all the scratching and itching in dogs, food allergies are estimated to cause 20% of the issues out there.

Unfortunately we don't know much about how the antibodies are developed, what happens in a dog's digestive tract, or how it develops as they age. We do know, however, what we need to do to fix the problem and help our dogs feel better.

For the most part, dog food allergies can occur at any point in a dog's life, after 5 months and as late as 12 years of age, and there is no link between any particular breed, sex, or medical history. Generally, however, dogs with food allergies may also have other forms of allergies.

Also, remember that there is a difference between food allergies and intolerances. If a dog is intolerant of a food, it will often cause diarrhea and vomiting, while allergies result in itching and red skin. Both can be treated similarly, though intolerances can be more dangerous.

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Common Foods

A dog can become allergic to any number of foods, but the most common foods are going to be meats like beef, chicken, fish, and lamb, and other foods that tend to appear in their food like dairy products, chicken eggs, wheat, corn, and soy.

Generally speaking, dogs will not be allergic to foods they don't normally come into contact with. Exposure amounts and the proteins that they eat are generally related, similar to how human beings tend to develop allergies to foods they eat as a young child.

Symptoms of Allergies

The standard symptoms of food allergies in dogs start with itchy skin around the face, feet, legs, ears, and the anus. They may also suffer from severe recurring ear infections, loss of hair, hot spots, and infections that recur after antibiotics are completed.

The problem with diagnosing a food allergy is that the symptoms are very similar to a dog having a standard allergic reaction to fleas or inhalants, such as pollen. Yeast infections in the ears is a common sign of food allergies, however, along with severe dog skin problems and year round symptoms.

Handling a Food Allergy

To deal with a food allergy, you'll need to use a food trial test. This is a long, careful process that starts with removing all outside sources of food from your dog's diet. Remove all treats, rawhides, medications with flavours, toothpastes, and other foods from their diet.

Then, put them on a strong protein heavy diet that will be prescribed by your vet. You'll leave them on this diet for 12 weeks and then reintroduce their normal diet to them. If that food then causes recurrence of the symptoms, you can start determining which foods in their diet are causing it.

Because a dog cannot simply say "I don't feel well", this method is vital. Blood testing is also available, but will only pick out certain recognized antibodies and is not as accurate as trial testing.

If you're concerned about your dog's health, make sure to see your vet right away to discuss the potential of food allergies.

As far as dog health is concerned, I highly recommend "The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health":

Go here for full details:

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