What kind of dog food is best for dogs with skin allergies
If food allergies are sure, your veterinarian may recommend hypoallergenic dog food and treats for your dog to eat. These types of foods take special precautions to avoid being cross-contaminated. Hypoallergenic dog foods may also be hydrolyzed, meaning that they go through a process of breaking below proteins on a molecular level so that they are too little for the dog’s body to recognize them as allergens. This is often a prescription dog food, so you will need to talk to your veterinarian about this as an option for your dog.
While some companies sell over-the-counter foods that claim to be excellent for allergies—and some may contain supplements that can be helpful in controlling environmental allergies—these foods are not ideal for treating food allergies.
As with limited ingredient foods, there is nothing to guarantee that your dog won’t become allergic to them in the future. These dog foods are also less regulated than prescription dog food and as such, might contain other contaminants that trigger an allergic response. It’s also best to be wary of any hypoallergenic claims made by over-the-counter grain-free dog foods. Remember, it’s animal proteins, not grains, that are most likely causing food allergies in dogs.
Dog food allergies are tricky trade.
Fortunately, they’re also the type of allergy your dog is least likely to suffer from. If your dog is showing signs of allergies, talk to your vet before making any changes to his food. Even if it turns out that he does own a food allergy, changing his food without a vet’s supervision could make it more hard to diagnose.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she generally writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.
Common causes of skin issues in dogs include:
- Environmental allergies to dust, pollen or mould
- Parasites & flea allergy
- Various infections
- Food allergies
Despite common belief, 90% of skin issues are not caused by food allergies.
Often, the environmental allergens are the cause of skin problems.
Dog skin allergies tend to show up in extremely specific areas of your dog including: face, ears, paws, base of the tail, under elbows and in the groin area. Allergies typically appear between the ages of 3 months and 6 years.
Environmental allergens can include pollen, mould spores and dust mites. Some allergens are airborne and may appear year-round, aside from pollen, which is more common in springtime.
Your dog’s skin is a crucial barrier to allergens for keeping your pup healthy, which is why your dog’s skin care should be a priority. Dog skin allergies tend to be chronic and often require lifelong management. Regular bath and feeding a food formulated to support skin health can frolic a vital role in helping manage skin allergies.
Some breeds are at higher risk for environmental allergies (also known as atopic dermatitis):
- West Highland white terriers
- German shepherds
- Golden retrievers
- Labrador retrievers
- Yorkshire terriers
- Cocker spaniels
For dogs at higher risk, schedule a visit to your veterinarian proactively, before allergy season starts (around 6 weeks before spring).
Even if your dog’s signs are currently mild, it is beneficial to discuss a proactive plan with your veterinarian to assist reduce skin signs and hold them from coming back year-round.
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.
Are Dog Food Allergies to Blame?
While people are often quick to blame a dog’s skin problems on what he eats, the truth, says Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Middle, is that food allergies in dogs are not every that common.
The most common causes of allergies in pets are environmental including fleas, dust mites, grass, pollen, and other environmental causes. If your pup’s allergies tend to clear up during the winter or become worse at the height of flea season, then it’s likely his allergies are environmental. But because actual food allergies can cause skin and ear problems similar to those caused by environmental allergies, it’s up to your veterinarian to assist you law out other types of allergies for certain before determining whether your dog’s food is to blame.
Diagnosing Dog Food Allergies
Unfortunately, there are no dependable ways to test your dog for food allergies.
The only way to determine which foods your dog is allergic to is through the process of elimination. Typically, your vet will prescribe a special, limited-ingredient dog food containing types of meat and carbohydrates that aren’t in your dog’s usual meals and seeing how he does on it.
If your dog’s symptoms clear up on this special meal plan, after a period of time your vet may own you switch your dog back to his ancient food to see if the allergy symptoms reappear. If they do, that will confirm that you’re dealing with a food allergy.
The next step is to identify the specific ingredient causing the allergic reaction in your dog. This requires changing back to the limited ingredient food. Once your dog’s symptoms clear up, your vet may then own you add ingredients from his ancient food back to his meals one at a time and monitor the results in order to identify which ingredients trigger an allergic reaction.
During this elimination trial, it’s extremely significant to only feed your dog the prescribed food.
The most frequently mentioned reason for failure in determining allergies in elimination tests is household sabotage.
This consists of giving your dog food that was not directly recommended by your veterinarian including dog treats, table scraps, diverse dog foods, etc. During these trials, dogs can’t own even one of these in order for the test to be effective at diagnosing the allergy. To put it in perspective, a human that is allergic to nuts cannot own even a single peanut.
The same is true of your dog. To fully determine the cause of dog food allergies (if any does exist), you must be as strict as possible, and that includes everyone else in your household too. It’s hard when your pup sits there with his large begging eyes, but it is worth it if you can determine if an allergy exists. These elimination tests typically take about 12-weeks after which your veterinarian will verify that your dog isn’t experiencing any of the previous allergy signs.
It is significant that if you believe your dog is experiencing allergies of any sort, food or environmental, that you check with your veterinarian to assist you best diagnose your pup.
Self-diagnosis can be unhelpful or even dangerous in certain cases. Because food allergies and environmental issues present some of the same signs, it is hard to know which is the cause without proper testing. Unlike in humans, dog allergy tests are much less dependable, which is why your veterinarian will likely give you specific instructions on what to expose your dog to and how to monitor his health over time to determine the specific cause for his health issues.
You may be tempted to do a limited-ingredient diet (LID) on your own as well.
This is also not recommended for a couple of reasons. The first being the difference between intolerance and allergies.
Without proper testing, it is hard to know the genuine cause. The second reason why LIDs aren’t always grand in self diagnosing your dog’s condition is that even limited-ingredient foods can be subject to allergen contamination. For instance, if you suspect that your dog is allergic to chicken, and you switch him over to something love lamb or venison, he might start feeling better, but because numerous food companies will use the same machinery to make their chicken product dog foods and their lamb-filled food there is a chance that some of the chicken allergens make it into your dog’s lamb food.
Love mentioned before, any introduction of an allergen, even a little quantity, can affect your dog overall. This is why it is best to follow your veterinarian’s strict instructions when asking about allergies.
What Causes Food Allergies?
According to Tuft University, «Food allergies happen when an animal’s immune system misidentifies a protein from a food as an invader rather than a food item and mounts an immune response.
The finish result of this response can be itchy skin or ear and skin infections in some pets, while it may cause vomiting or diarrhea in others.» Once an immune response is triggered, it grows stronger every time that type of protein enters the body, which means your dog’s allergy may worsen every time he eats that specific food.
Common Allergens in Dog Food
The most common foods to trigger an allergic response in dogs are animal proteins including chicken, beef, dairy, and eggs, says Tufts.
Lamb, pork, and fish are less likely to cause allergies, although it is possible. While some dogs own proven to be allergic to wheat and corn, this is actually much more rare than common wisdom would own you believe. Instances of other grains, such as oats or rice, causing allergies are rare to nonexistent.
Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance
It’s also significant to note the difference between an allergy and an intolerance.
If your dog is unable to tolerate a certain type of food, such as lactose, this means he lacks the digestive enzyme necessary to properly digest that food, and gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, may result. An allergy, on the other hand, is an immune response. When your dog comes into contact with something he’s allergic to, his immune system goes into overdrive attacking the allergen, resulting in skin problems, itching, or hair loss. If your dog is suffering from a food intolerance rather than a food allergy, then hypoallergenic dog food is unlikely to assist.
We recommend seeing your veterinarian to get the best possible solution for your pet.