What to do for a dog with food allergies

You can only reliably establish whether your dog has a food allergy with the assist of a vet and an exclusion diet. It is significant to watch for symptoms that point to an allergy in your dog. Whereas itching caused by a food allergy causes problems every year circular, symptoms caused by grass and pollen allergies die below after the summer months. The most frequent symptoms of a food allergy are not diarrhoea and vomiting, but itching! Skin irritations can happen in various areas including the face, ears, paws, stomach, inner thighs and armpits. However, remember that: These symptoms can also relate to other illnesses, which is why a visit to the vet is urgently recommended.

Picture this: Your dog is constantly itching, scratching, and biting fur, and you can’t figure out why.

Maybe you’ve tried everything from changing grooming routines to special shampoos, to medications. But own you tried changing your dog’s diet?

Food is one culprit behind allergic reactions in dogs that owners often overlook. In fact, there are dog food allergies and dog food intolerances. Just love us, canines can suffer from either or both. And food allergies in dogs can cause not only digestive problems love vomiting and diarrhea, but also skin issues, and even behavioral problems.

If you or your vet suspect your pup may own be having an adverse reaction to certain foods, and you’re wondering what it every means, you’re in the correct place.

We talked to Dr. Justin Shmalberg, a DVM and NomNomNow’s own veterinary nutritionist, to collect what you need to know. We’ll cover the following:


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. «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?

What to do for a dog with food allergies

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


Problems with proteins

A food allergy in a dog is most commonly triggered by specific food proteins that are contained in the dog food. Studies own shown that these are generally proteins from cows, soya, eggs, dairy products or grain.

Fish and rice, however, seldom trigger allergies.

What to do for a dog with food allergies

If a food allergy is suspected, it helps if you avoid giving your dog a large number of diverse types of food or snacks to eat every at once, as this will make it impossible to check which protein is the actual trigger.

If your pet has a food allergy, Meradog offers its special pure dog food recipes, which are ideally tailored to the needs of sensitive dogs with intolerances or allergies. The Meradog pure dog food is based on just one animal protein source and one carbohydrate source respectively, therefore giving you a dependable way to avoid allergy-triggering components.


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.

Most dogs seem beautiful adaptable to a range of foods,» says Shmalberg.

What to do for a dog with food allergies

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»:

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

What to do for a dog with food allergies

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.

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

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. Scaly and/or oily skin
  2. Sneezing
  3. Skin rashes
  4. Ear infections
  5. Red eyes
  6. Hair loss
  7. Leathery skin texture
  8. Hot spots
  9. Itching (aka pruritus)
  10. Itchy paws
  11. Eye discharge
  12. Pigmented skin
  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. Paws (61 percent)
  2. Ears (involved 80 percent of the time)
  3. Inner thigh/belly (53 percent)
  4. Eye or front leg area (33 percent).

Rarer Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

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

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

Back to top


Most Common Dog Food Allergens

Wondering what is in dog food that causes allergies?

What to do for a dog with food 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.»
  • Look out for gelatin.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. Look out for gelatin.

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

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

  7. 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.
  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. 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.

  2. Starches are safer.

    What to do for a dog with food allergies

    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.

  3. Look out for gelatin.

    What to do for a dog with food allergies

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

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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!
  7. 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.

    What to do for a dog with food allergies

  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


RELATED VIDEO: