What is the best dog food for a dog that has skin allergies
Allergens can elicit both immunologic and non-immunologic responses. Immunologic reactions, also known as Type 1 reactions, are caused by the binding of ingested molecules to specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Once binding occurs, mast cell degranulation follows, releasing granules that initiate the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the body. These immunological reactions are almost instantaneous, and it is widely accepted that the molecules which bind to IgE antibodies are generally intact proteins. Non-immunologic, or non-IgE mediated reactions are less understood, but are known to present similar symptoms as immunologic reactions. These reactions can be classified under food sensitivities, and it is argued that they are not truly allergenic. Whether a reaction is truly allergenic in nature or a sensitivity, it is significant that hypoallergenic dog foods provide the ingredients necessary to hold canines from experiencing discomfort.
The signs of a canine food allergy or sensitivity vary greatly, but the most common to glance for include rashes, swelling, itchy or tender skin, and gastrointestinal upsets. These signs are extremely similar to, but should not be confused with canine atopic dermatitis, which is not caused by food allergies.
Hydrolyzed protein diets
One of the possible causes of food allergies in dogs is a reaction of the dog’s immune system to the proteins in a diet. One method that may be used to attempt and combat this immunologic response in dogs with food allergies is the use of hydrolyzed proteins in the diet.
Whole proteins are composed of single amino acids organized into a chain, which then interact in order to fold the protein into its final three-dimensional structure. Hydrolyzed proteins are whole proteins that own been broken below into smaller polypeptides through a process called protein hydrolysis. One method of protein hydrolysis involves the use of enzymes specific to proteins called proteases. Proteases act by cleaving or cutting whole proteins at specific amino acids within their structure in order to form multiple little polypeptides from a single whole protein. Diverse proteases are specific to diverse amino acids, and as such multiple proteases may be used in order to cut a protein at several diverse locations. The theory behind the use of these little peptides in food as an alternative to whole proteins is that their little size will prevent them from stimulating the immune system of the gut, thereby reducing and/or preventing an allergic reaction. When hydrolyzed proteins are used in hypoallergenic canine diets it is with the hopes of avoiding an immunologic reaction both in dogs that own consumed the whole protein previously and in dogs whose intestinal tract has never seen the whole protein before but has been known to react to other protein types.
Novel protein diets
Beef, soy, chicken, turkey and egg products are commonly used ingredients in commercial dog foods as a source of protein. These protein sources own been proven to elicit an allergic response in dogs with food allergies. Novel sources of protein can be used in put of these allergenic ingredients to meet the feeding requirements for a dog, while minimizing or eliminating the chances of an allergic response.
For a protein to be considered novel, it must be one that the dog has not consumed before. Novel protein sources include venison, veal, kangaroo and fish, such as salmon.
Limited ingredient diets
Introducing a food that consists of limited ingredients is a common method of reducing the occurrence of food related allergic reactions in dogs.
Limited ingredient diets are made up of fewer ingredients, typically limiting the formula to one protein, carbohydrate, and/or fat. This is an attempt to improve digestion and reduce the likelihood of a reaction ensuing in dogs with sensitivities to common ingredients found in most commercial dog foods. These diets will avoid protein and carbohydrate sources, such as beef, dairy, poultry, barley, and wheat. There are numerous feed ingredients that own been observed to predispose animals to diet related reactions.
This is due to their frequent exposure to such ingredients, which makes it likely for them to adopt sensitivities and allergies to commercial dog foods. Studies own shown that it is possible for dogs to own symptoms caused by more than one ingredient in a given diet, this makes the use of a limited ingredient diet relevant as a result of the inclusion of single protein and carbohydrate sources. If symptoms of food allergies persist after the introduction of this type of diet, it can also be helpful for determining the new allergen that is causing the adverse reaction due to the limited number of ingredients. Although these diets consist of fewer dietary ingredients, they still provide every the necessary nutrients to meet the animal’s requirements.
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Allergies affect numerous diverse dog breeds, but collies are one of the breeds that are commonly affectedRashes are common in dogs suffering from food-related allergic reactions
Canine allergic disease (atopy) often presents as a skin disease, or canine atopic dermatitis (CAD).
Atopy can be defined as an inherited predisposition to develop hypersensitivity to substances present in indoor and outdoor environments, resulting in reactions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), chronic hives, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Pruritic dermatitis (itchy skin) caused by pet allergies are among the most hard and frustrating problems encountered in veterinary medicine today.
Solving these dermatology cases and establishing an effective dogallergy treatment plan can be challenging.
Several dermatological disorders exhibit clinical signs similar to allergic dermatitis and must be ruled out before a diagnosis of allergy can be made.
Allergies affect numerous diverse dog breeds, but collies are one of the breeds that are commonly affectedRashes are common in dogs suffering from food-related allergic reactions
Canine allergic disease (atopy) often presents as a skin disease, or canine atopic dermatitis (CAD). Atopy can be defined as an inherited predisposition to develop hypersensitivity to substances present in indoor and outdoor environments, resulting in reactions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), chronic hives, allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Pruritic dermatitis (itchy skin) caused by pet allergies are among the most hard and frustrating problems encountered in veterinary medicine today.
Solving these dermatology cases and establishing an effective dogallergy treatment plan can be challenging. Several dermatological disorders exhibit clinical signs similar to allergic dermatitis and must be ruled out before a diagnosis of allergy can be made.
KEY FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT DOG ALLERGIES
- No single treatment for allergic dermatitis is perfect and often several modalities such as medications, shampoos etc are needed to assist a pet
- All dogs with allergies own occasional flare-ups which will require a visit to the vet
- There will be some quantity of expense involved in managing an allergypet throughout its life
- Allergiesare generallya lifelong disease requiring continuous, hands-on management
- Dogs with allergiesare at increased risk of bacterial and/or yeast infections
Nutrients included in hypoallergenic diets
Omega-3 fatty acids
Essential n-3 fatty acids in dog food assist to treat the inflammation associated with allergic reactions. These essential fatty acids assist to manage inflammatory responses by changing the levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids produced during a reaction. They also assist to maintain healthy skin and to maintain cell structure. These n-3 fatty acids are generally incorporated into dog food diets by using ingredients love fish oil.
Vitamin A is involved in cell growth and division, as well as hair growth and skin maintenance. Since some of the key symptoms of food allergies include damage to the skin, it is significant to include Vitamin A in hypoallergenic diets to assist clear up the damage done by any previous allergic reactions a dog may own had.
Ingredients in dog food that function as a source of vitamin A are fish oils such as cod oil.
Zinc supplementation in hypoallergenic dog foods aids in the maintenance of skin and jacket health. Zinc also plays a role in mitigating inflammatory and immune reactions. Zinc can be found supplemented as a mineral in the diet, but it can also be added in the diet through lamb meat, as this ingredient is known to be high in zinc.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which has significant functions in immune health. These compounds scavenge for free radicals, protecting cell membranes from damage caused by lipid oxidation. This is beneficial to own in hypoallergenic dog food diets to assist maintain cell integrity in case damage does happen due to a reaction.
Vitamin E is commonly found just as a vitamin supplement in diets, but it is also present in other food ingredients such as soybean oil, corn oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil.
Carbohydrates are large macronutrients which supply energy to the organism consuming them, and include nutrients such as sugars, oligosaccharides, and starches. Dogs may become sensitive or allergic to certain carbohydrate sources in their diet, and novel carbohydrates may be used in an attempt to avoid this reaction. Novel carbohydrates are carbohydrates which the dog they are being fed to has never consumed before.
Some examples of novel carbohydrate ingredients include brown rice and sweet potato, as well as brewer’s rice.
Negative digestive effects that accompany dietary food allergies can be reduced by including soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers own a relatively low fermentability, which assist to decrease the negative digestive effects such as gas and soft stools. When soluble fibers are mixed with water they form a gel-like substance which helps to reduce gastric emptying in order to increase the time available for nutrients to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Compounds called fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are found in various soluble fibers, which aid in promoting intestinal health. FOS act as a prebiotic to increase the growth of beneficial bacteria and hinder the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the animal’s digestive tract.
Common ingredients in dog food that provide such fibers include beet pulp, cellulose and chicory root.
Dog Allergy Symptoms
While not generally life threatening, allergies in dogs do cause discomfort. Most symptoms are associated with skinproblems but some can also lead to gastrointestinal or breathingissues in some dogs.Sometimes an owner will bring their dog to a veterinary appointment, suspecting a serious medical condition and finish up finding out that their canine companion has an allergy.
Here are some allergy symptoms commonly found in dogs:
- Skin irritation
- Red itchy bumps
- Inflamed or uncomfortable ears
- Odor coming from the skin or ears
- Hair loss
- Runny eyes or nose
- Frequent shaking of the head
- Frequent sneezing and/or wheezing
- Compulsive scratching or rubbing
- Excessive licking
- Regularly rubbing body or body parts against the ground, walls, furniture, etc.
- Periodic chewing on the same or diverse body parts or areas
- Diarrhea and vomiting
Most environmental allergies develop in the second year of life for dogs.
During the first year, a dog will be exposed to numerous types of allergens primarily through contact with the skin. A smaller number of allergies may be caused by food (usually the protein source) and inhalant (things they breathe in that are in the air). In the second year of life, the dog’s immune system will overreact to the antigen(s) causing release of immune cells which release inflammatory substances ( such as histamine) which lead to symptoms of itching.
Rarely is a dog allergic to just one thing. Most allergic dogs are born with a less than optimal skin barrier which allows for antigens to enter the skin more easily. Dogs that suffer from allergies own abnormal skin and a less than optimal immune response which allows for secondary infections to happen. Typically, dogs do not suffer from a single allergy, but instead, dogs with sensitivities to allergens own numerous sensitivities.
You must understand that dog allergies are due to a complicated set of issues that tends to change as the dog’s environment changes.
Because these symptoms can own several possible causes, we recommend making an appointment immediately to speak with one of our veterinarians if you notice your dog exhibiting any of the above symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment of dog allergies not only increases the likelihood of your dog’s treatment being successful, but can also be less expensive than delaying treatment.
The longer you wait, the more your dog suffers and more severe the secondary infections can become.
A food allergy is the most likely cause of allergic symptoms in animals under 1 year of age.
Food allergy symptoms can manifest in your pet as:
- Excessive feet licking
- Generalized to severe itching
- Ear Infection or inflammation
- Vomiting and diarrhea in some cases.
Other clues your pet may be suffering from food allergies include year-round symptoms and poor responses to steroids.
Food-induced allergic hypersensitivity cannot be treated by immunotherapy, therefore, avoidance and elimination diets are the only form of treatment for your pet’s food allergy. If your pet test positive to specific foods, then we will provide your veterinarian with a list of commercial diets free of those ingredients to which your pet has tested positive.