What causes ear allergies in dogs

Wondering what is in dog food that causes allergies? «Meat, dairy, and eggs are often thought to be the most common dog food allergens,» says Shmalberg. «Yet generally, it’s the protein part of those foods that tend to be problematic, rather than, tell, the meat itself.» Hold in mind, veggies can contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe.

That same review BMC Veterinary Research identified some of the most frequently reported dog food allergens involved in adverse food reactions.

Here’s a glance, from most-reported to least-reported.

Top Dog Food Allergens (source: BMC Veterinary Research)

Dog Food Allergen Percentage of Dogs With Reported Reaction
Beef 34%
Dairy Products 17%
Chicken 15%
Wheat 13%
Soy 6%
Lamb 5%
Corn 4%
Egg 4%
Pork 2%
Fish 2%
Rice 2%

Shmalberg calls out two significant caveats to hold in mind here.

  • The more common a food is, the more likely the allergy. «For an allergy to a food to develop, a dog needs to be exposed to that food,» says Shmalberg.

    «That may explain why the proteins most commonly found in dog food, love beef and chicken, drop higher on the list.»

  • Newer research is needed. Numerous of the studies out there, and those sourced in this review, are older, when dog foods were being made and processed differently than they are today. Allergies tend to change over time along with foods, and as new studies emerge, we may see diverse allergens rising to the top of the list.
  • Look out for gelatin.

    Supplemental oils often come in gelatin capsules, and that gelatin can trigger allergies in some dogs.

  • Peanut allergies are rare in dogs. And if they do happen, they typically aren’t of the severity reported in some humans.

    What causes ear allergies in dogs

    Excellent news if your pup is one of the numerous who love a PB treat!

  • With fats, purity matters. Pure fats, love a pure fish oil, are free of protein and shouldn’t trigger a response. But traces of protein can sneak into oils and fats during processing, and in a highly allergic dog, cause issues.
  • Watch for additives. Chemicals, preservatives, colorants, and flavorants aren’t likely to cause a true allergy, but they could trigger an adverse reaction or intolerance symptoms.
  • Where there’s one allergy, there may be more. It’s estimated that more than a third of dogs with one food allergy are allergic to at least one additional food.
  • Starches are safer.

    What causes ear allergies in dogs

    Pure carbohydrates, aka starches, are beautiful low in or free of protein, which means dogs generally aren’t allergic to them. There are exceptions: while potato starch is probably safe, whole potatoes might cause an allergy because they contain proteins. Same goes for higher-protein grains love corn and wheat.

    What causes ear allergies in dogs

    But overall, grain allergies are much less common than meat allergies.

  • No two foods are exactly the same. There’s not a excellent deal of evidence to propose that a dog who has a reaction to one food it is going to react to a similar food. That is, a dog allergic to chicken won’t necessarily be allergic to turkey.
  • Food labels don’t always tell the whole tale. Some non-fresh kibble and canned foods own tested positive for proteins even when they’re not listed on the label.

More facts about dog food allergens that are helpful to know:

  1. Starches are safer. Pure carbohydrates, aka starches, are beautiful low in or free of protein, which means dogs generally aren’t allergic to them.

    There are exceptions: while potato starch is probably safe, whole potatoes might cause an allergy because they contain proteins. Same goes for higher-protein grains love corn and wheat. But overall, grain allergies are much less common than meat allergies.

  2. Where there’s one allergy, there may be more. It’s estimated that more than a third of dogs with one food allergy are allergic to at least one additional food.
  3. Look out for gelatin. Supplemental oils often come in gelatin capsules, and that gelatin can trigger allergies in some dogs.
  4. Peanut allergies are rare in dogs.

    What causes ear allergies in dogs

    And if they do happen, they typically aren’t of the severity reported in some humans. Excellent news if your pup is one of the numerous who love a PB treat!

  5. Watch for additives. Chemicals, preservatives, colorants, and flavorants aren’t likely to cause a true allergy, but they could trigger an adverse reaction or intolerance symptoms.
  6. No two foods are exactly the same. There’s not a excellent deal of evidence to propose that a dog who has a reaction to one food it is going to react to a similar food.

    That is, a dog allergic to chicken won’t necessarily be allergic to turkey.

  7. With fats, purity matters. Pure fats, love a pure fish oil, are free of protein and shouldn’t trigger a response. But traces of protein can sneak into oils and fats during processing, and in a highly allergic dog, cause issues.
  8. Food labels don’t always tell the whole tale. Some non-fresh kibble and canned foods own tested positive for proteins even when they’re not listed on the label.

Back to top

More facts about dog food allergens that are helpful to know:

  1. Starches are safer.

    Pure carbohydrates, aka starches, are beautiful low in or free of protein, which means dogs generally aren’t allergic to them. There are exceptions: while potato starch is probably safe, whole potatoes might cause an allergy because they contain proteins. Same goes for higher-protein grains love corn and wheat. But overall, grain allergies are much less common than meat allergies.

  2. Where there’s one allergy, there may be more. It’s estimated that more than a third of dogs with one food allergy are allergic to at least one additional food.
  3. Look out for gelatin. Supplemental oils often come in gelatin capsules, and that gelatin can trigger allergies in some dogs.
  4. Peanut allergies are rare in dogs.

    And if they do happen, they typically aren’t of the severity reported in some humans. Excellent news if your pup is one of the numerous who love a PB treat!

  5. Watch for additives. Chemicals, preservatives, colorants, and flavorants aren’t likely to cause a true allergy, but they could trigger an adverse reaction or intolerance symptoms.
  6. No two foods are exactly the same. There’s not a excellent deal of evidence to propose that a dog who has a reaction to one food it is going to react to a similar food. That is, a dog allergic to chicken won’t necessarily be allergic to turkey.
  7. With fats, purity matters.

    What causes ear allergies in dogs

    Pure fats, love a pure fish oil, are free of protein and shouldn’t trigger a response. But traces of protein can sneak into oils and fats during processing, and in a highly allergic dog, cause issues.

  8. Food labels don’t always tell the whole tale. Some non-fresh kibble and canned foods own tested positive for proteins even when they’re not listed on the label.

Back to top


Dog Food Allergies vs. Dog Food Intolerances

Dog food allergy treatment boils below to one underlying principle: identify foods your dog is allergic to and avoid feeding those.

«What most people ponder of as a dog food allergy is more appropriately called an cutaneous adverse food reaction, or CAFR,» says Dr.

Justin Shmalberg, a DVM and NomNomNow’s own veterinary nutritionist.

What causes ear allergies in dogs

«It basically means there’s some association between a food and a certain group of symptoms—usually skin problems or gastrointestinal problems.»

In a true dog food allergy, according to Shmalberg, the culprit is often a food protein that triggers an adverse immune response, which then causes cells in the body to release histamines, or compounds that lead to itching and numerous other allergic signs.

A dog food intolerance, on the other hand, doesn’t involve an immune response—but the signs of dog food intolerance can glance beautiful similar to the signs of a food allergy. One example is a lactose intolerance, which happens when a dog’s body just doesn’t process lactose in milk products well, leading to gastrointestinal problems (often diarrhea).

Both allergies and intolerances drop under that category of CAFRs, or, in more general terms, adverse food reactions.

So, how prevalent are adverse food reactions in dogs? One 2017 research review published in BMC Veterinary Research examined just that. The findings propose that, of dogs seeing vets for any diagnosis, 1 to 2 percent own food intolerances or allergies; among dogs with skin diseases, the number jumps up a bit, to about 6 percent. For dogs with itching and allergies, even more—about one in five—show signs of adverse food reactions.

Still, true allergies, in which the immune system is attacking a food protein, are definitely less common than food intolerances.

The takeaway, says Shmalberg, is this: «If your dog is otherwise normal, even if he’s scratching a lot, a food allergy is unlikely. That said, diet can certainly frolic a role in helping to manage skin conditions and diseases, regardless of whether or not your dog has a food allergy.» We’ll discuss more about how you can tell the difference below.

Back to top


Genetic Predisposition to Dog Food Allergies

Wondering whether your dog might be predisposed to food allergies or intolerances?

Certainly there’s some evidence that if a parent has an allergy, their offspring is more likely to inherit it. So in that way, genes do frolic a role. But what doesn’t seem to be a factor is a dog’s breed. In fact, science has never confirmed that any one breed is more at risk for food allergies than another. «It can happen in any breed and in any dog,» says Shmalberg.

He also notes that some breeders and owners may own the view that deviating from the ancestral diet of certain breeds might predispose to allergies.

For example, Huskies are accustomed to fish diets in their natural habitat—so could feeding them poultry lead to an allergic reaction? In short, no. «There is no evidence to support that theory.

What causes ear allergies in dogs

Most dogs seem beautiful adaptable to a range of foods,» says Shmalberg. The age or sex of the dog also appears to own no relevance to food allergies or intolerances. Some vets do report that food allergies own been found in dogs less than 1 year ancient. So even young puppies can be affected (whereas they typically aren’t as susceptible to environmental allergies at this age).

Here are the top 10 breeds most frequently d along with the term «food allergies» or «dog food allergies»:

  • Bulldogs
  • Dachshunds
  • Pugs
  • Pitbulls
  • Westies (aka West Highland White Terriers)
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Yorkies (aka Yorkshire Terriers)

Keep in mind, food allergies can happen in any breed, and, of course, some breeds may be searched more frequently just because they’re more favorite in general.

Back to top

Keep in mind, food allergies can happen in any breed, and, of course, some breeds may be searched more frequently just because they’re more favorite in general.

Back to top


Dog Food Allergy Symptoms

Sneezing.

Ear infections. Chronic Diarrhea. Restlessness. Dog food allergy symptoms run the gamut from skin reactions to gastrointestinal troubles to behavioral issues. Under you’ll discover a full list, broken below by category, to assist you identify whether your pup might be suffering from a food allergy or intolerance. Note, it’s estimated that about a quarter to a third of dogs with a food allergy also own environmental allergy, which «has similar, and at times indistinguishable, symptoms,» says Shmalberg.

Most Common Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs

These are the signs you’ll see most often with a food allergy, says Shmalberg, starting with the single most common symptom: itching.

  1. Sneezing
  2. Itching (aka pruritus)
  3. Skin rashes
  4. Pigmented skin
  5. Ear infections
  6. Eye discharge
  7. Scaly and/or oily skin
  8. Hot spots
  9. Red eyes
  10. Itchy paws
  11. Leathery skin texture
  12. Hair loss
  13. Secondary yeast or bacterial infections (aka pyoderma) of the skin or ears

One study ranked the parts of the body most often involved in itching related to food allergies, as follows:

  1. Ears (involved 80 percent of the time)
  2. Paws (61 percent)
  3. Inner thigh/belly (53 percent)
  4. Eye or front leg area (33 percent).

Gastrointestinal Food Allergy Symptoms in Dogs

According to Shmalberg, only 10 to 30 percent of dogs with confirmed food allergies own gastrointestinal, or GI, symptoms love vomiting or diarrhea.

«This is a condition that is much more often linked to skin symptoms,» he explains (see above). «Sudden and short-lived GI symptoms are almost never caused by a food allergy. On the other hand, food allergies can contribute to or cause certain chronic symptoms.»

  1. Diarrhea with or without blood and/or mucus in stool
  2. Straining to pass stool
  3. Vomiting
  4. Abdominal pain

Rarer Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

These symptoms aren’t as common as those above, but may happen in some dogs.

  1. Nasal discharge
  2. Breathing issues
  3. Seizures (food allergies could trigger them in predisposed dogs)
  4. Secondary urinary tract infections (due to overgrowth of skin bacteria)
  5. Weight loss (in combination with severe diarrhea and/or vomiting)

Behavioral Symptoms

The symptoms under are also more rare, and generally secondary to or linked to discomfort from symptoms listed above.

  1. Frequent scratching of self on furniture, owner’s legs, etc.
  2. Restlessness
  3. Frequent shaking ears or scratching ears
  4. Biting at paws, rear finish, and/or tail
  5. Withdrawal or reduced interest in playtime
  6. Anorexia, or disinterest in or refusal of food

Back to top


Dog Food Allergy Test and Other Diagnosis Methods

So, how can you tell if your dog is allergic to food?

First, it’s helpful to know how you might distinguish a food allergy from an environmental one. «Environmental or flea allergies are far more common,» explains Shmalberg. If you suspect either of those, consult your vet, who can assist identify and treat fleas, or do a combination of blood tests and/or intradermal allergy testing (which involves injections of potential allergens under the skin) to assess environmental allergies.

But if your dog has the following signs, talk to your vet about setting up a dog food allergy test or elimination diet.

Telltale Signs Your Dog May Own a Food Allergy (vs.

an Environmental or Flea Allergy):

  1. If the symptoms happen at a extremely young age—typically, puppies younger than age 1 don’t experience environmental allergies
  2. If the symptoms aren’t tied to a seasonal change or don’t change in diverse parts of the country (e.g. if you travel or move with your dog from a dry climate to a humid one)
  3. If the reaction doesn’t reply to steroids
  4. If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms

Dog Elimination Diet

The most dependable way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog something entirely new, and relatively pure, for at least eight weeks. For precise results, you’ll need to feed a non-contaminated simple ingredient diet (it can be commercial or cooked) for the entire trial.

Most importantly, says Shmalberg, «the diet should include a single-source animal or vegetable protein and a single source of carbohydrate calories, without other natural flavors (that could own unidentified proteins)—and it must be a food your pet hasn’t had in the past. Classic examples include venison and potato, rabbit and pea, and fish and potato.» There are newer options out there too, love alligator and coconut.

It’s also significant you refrain from feeding treats, table scraps, snacks, and flavored medications and supplements of any helpful that don’t match the specific ingredient combo you’re using for the trial.

After eight weeks, to truly prove the food allergy, you must then feed the original food—the suspected allergic protein or proteins—again. If there’s a reaction or breakout at that point, that’s a beautiful excellent indication of an allergy.

«The reality is that most owners don’t finish this part, as they don’t desire their dog to own symptoms again,» says Shmalberg. «An owner might just continue to feed the trial food if it seems to be agreeing with the dog.» But reintroducing the suspected allergens is really the only way to confirm an allergy.

Shmalberg suggests cycling through potential allergens one by one—chicken, beef, egg, dairy—to see what does (and does not) trigger symptoms.

Other Types of Dog Food Allergy Testing

Aside from elimination diets, there are a couple of other test options worth a look.

  1. Blood tests: Blood tests exist, but they’re not extremely precise. «There are new food allergy blood tests in development, which appear better than those on the market,» says Shmalberg. «That means, for now, a food elimination diet is the best option.
  2. Patch tests: Patch tests are generally thought to be more precise than blood tests.

    Yet, according to Shmalberg, «They’re not commonly done but may be offered in a dermatology clinic, where a protein (e.g. beef) is mixed with petroleum jelly and taped on the skin for about two days, then tested a day later. If there’s irritation (redness, hives), it’s considered a positive test; if not, it’s negative.

Back to top


Long-Term Effects of Dog Food Allergies

If a food allergy goes untreated, there are some more serious health issues that could develop. These include secondary skin infections, development of more allergies, worsened symptoms, behavioral changes, and a poor quality of life.

It’s that final point that is most pertinent.

«Usually animals don’t die from a food allergy, but it does affect their quality of life,» says Shmalberg. «If they’re itching every the time, it can feel love having a thousand mosquito bites every the time. While that’s not as catastrophic as something love organ failure, from a day-to-day standpoint, it can be beautiful hard on the dog.» So, when a dog is feeling bad, that’s when you may start to see some of those behavioral issues listed above. To avoid chronic ailments and problems, diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Read on for the details.

If your dog is constantly itching, it can feel love having a thousand mosquito bites every the time and lead to poor quality of life.

Back to top


RELATED VIDEO:

What causes ear allergies in dogs