Dogs are allergic to a variety of things including food. If you’ve managed to attribute your dog’s allergies to their diet, you’ll need to find foods that won’t trigger a reaction.
Allergies can’t be cured but they can be managed. Food allergies are caused by an overreaction to one or more of the ingredients in your dog’s diet. Today, we are going to explain how you can prevent and manage your dog’s food allergies.
Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
Dogs will experience a variety of symptoms, some more than others. The typical allergic reactions seen in dogs with food allergies are as follows:
- Scratching & chewing at skin
- Redness/rashes on the skin
- Chronic ear infections
- Hot spots
- Yeast or bacterial infections
- Hair loss
- Facial swelling
- Anaphylaxis (rare)
Anaphylactic shock is rare but can be fatal. Its the result of a severe reaction to an allergen and immediate treatment will be needed.
Diagnosing a Food Allergy
Trying to determine your dog’s allergic triggers isn’t going to be easy! Their immune system is overreacting to something and it could be anything! Below you can find ways to try and pinpoint exactly what your dog is allergic to.
Process of Elimination
To diagnose a food allergy, use an elimination diet for 12 weeks. Your dog’s reactions will help pinpoint exactly what they are allergic to. Your dog’s immune system can overreact to anything including chicken and wheat!
Add and remove ingredients slowly until you’re able to establish the root cause. Don’t forget to keep note of their feeding through a log. This way you won’t lose track of any progress.
Consult with your vet about a special diet for your dog. Again, they will similarly conduct a process of elimination to ensure they don’t overreact to the food. Your vet may be able to recommend specific dog food brands that could work wonders for your dog!
Never steer away from your dog’s diet and that means treats too!
Just to be on the safe side undertake some skin tests via a specialist. Many dogs that suffer from food allergies are also allergic to other things in their surrounding environment. So even if you do pinpoint your dog’s food allergy, they could still suffer from skin conditions.
Food for Dogs with Allergies
Your dog will need a change in diet if they’ve displayed symptoms of a food allergy. There are plenty of food brands out there that can help reduce your dog’s allergic reactions. Once you know your dog’s triggers you can start finding methods of prevention.
Hypoallergenic Dog Food
If your dog has a food intolerance to standard kibble, hypoallergenic food is a better option. There are no artificial colourings, preservatives or flavourings. It’s also free from allergens making it a healthier choice if your dog suffers from a food allergy.
Of course, there will be a variety of brands out there. So it’s important you take a look at the ingredients of each before making a decision. Hypoallergenic food won’t produce immediate results but should be noticeable after 10-12 weeks of feeding.
Cold Pressed Dog Food
Another version of dog food known to be fantastic for dogs with allergies is cold pressed food. Most dry dog food brands use a method called extrusion. This heats the kibble to temperatures of up to 170 degrees which can destroy many of the vitamins and nutrients within.
Cold pressed food is cooked at lower temperatures so more goodness is contained. It’s the closest alternative to a raw diet and digests well as the food doesn’t expand in the belly. This reduces your dog’s chances of Bloat and Gastric Dilatation Volvulus.
It’s important you never steer away from your dog’s diet. Even the smallest treat is enough to trigger an allergic reaction. Ensure any dog treats are 100% natural. Even standard treats that don’t have colourings, flavourings, and preservatives can still be bad for your dog!
Managing your Dogs Food Allergies
There is no cure or magic pill for dogs suffering from food allergies. So owners will need to learn to manage their dog’s symptoms. Below are some ways you can try to manage your dog’s food allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines are highly recommended for both dogs and humans with allergies. It’s best to consult with your vet before purchasing antihistamines from over the counter. Your vet may even have their own supply as some antihistamines designed for humans could be dangerous for our pets.
The American Kennel Club recommends Benadryl for dogs suffering from food allergies. Despite it primarily being a medication for humans, dogs can also benefit. Symptoms of food, environmental, and seasonal allergies may be soothed with Benadryl.
Probiotics can be added to your dog’s diet and can help relax symptoms. Many owners are seeking natural remedies for food allergies as opposed to medications. Probiotics are microorganisms that are also known as ‘good bacteria’. They help balance and support your dog’s gastrointestinal system.
There are a variety of probiotics that can be given to your dog. Yoghurt is the most popular but please be aware some dogs are allergic to dairy. Other probiotics include kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
Please be aware some dogs could be allergic to coconut oil so test your dog with a small amount first. Coconut oil has anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and anti-bacterial properties. Mix a teaspoon/tablespoon (depending on your dog’s size) in their meal once a day.
Coconut oil shouldn’t be given on its own or in large doses as this can cause diarrhoea. Coconut oil can soothe the skin thus reducing itching. It’s nutrient-dense and can settle tummy issues.
Muzzle & Elizabethan Collar
In some extreme cases, your dog may require a muzzle to prevent him from picking up food on their outdoor walks. This will prevent them from triggering a potential allergy through scavenging.
Elizabethan collars are a great way to stop your dog from itching himself. Especially if you go out and don’t want them scratching and chewing away at their skin. The collars in turn will help prevent infections from developing as a result of excessive licking.