This article was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Zara Lewis
Typical Food Allergies in Dogs and How to Tackle Them
Every single dog owner knows – never give chocolate to your pooch. It has become one of those laws as universal as that of gravity, but what happens when someone tells you your dog shouldn’t eat chicken or beef? As counterintuitive as this may sound, seeing as how these protein sources are among your dog’s favorite, you’d be surprised to find that too many dogs nowadays suffer from one food allergy or another.
For starters, you need to be able to distinguish between food intolerance and a full-blown allergy, recognize their symptoms, and learn the best course of action to prevent any long-term health damage for your ball of fluff. Let’s take a look at some of the most common food allergies out there that your dog might be experiencing without you even knowing it!
Symptoms to look out for
If your pet’s immune system mistakenly marks a nutrient as harmful, it will lead to all sorts of immune reactions that can range from mild to severe. On the other hand, food intolerance doesn’t involve the immune system at all, even though the symptoms are often similar, making it difficult to tell them apart without your vet’s help. Look for some of the following:
- Excessive scratching and biting
- Ear infections
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Fur loss and irritated skin
- Excessive licking
As delicious as red meat may be for your beloved four-legged companion, dogs are very frequently allergic to beef. This is especially common among dogs who either have a genetic predisposition or their owners tend to stick to a monotonous diet and a single source of protein, which may lead to a sort of “oversaturation”, especially if it’s not a high-quality source of beef.
As one of those label favorites, beef is found in practically every kibble kind you’ll come across, and it can be very tricky to find a brand that will suit your dog’s digestion and prevent any further allergic symptoms from occurring. Vets often recommend alternating between different meats to minimize the chance of an allergy in the first place.
Food additives and other chemicals
If they’re so prevalent in our own food, why should we expect dog food to be any different, right? However, certain additives can cause harm to your dog’s immune system and ultimately trigger an immune reaction that turns out to be a severe allergy. Luckily, we now have access to a wide array of dog food brands, so that you can shop around until you find the best mix for your pooch.
You’ll also find that natural dog food is quickly gaining more traction among pet parents whose fuzzy pals exhibit allergy symptoms related to food additives. It’s vital that you read the label carefully so that you always go for all-natural foods that your pooch will enjoy without those severe reactions. Typically packed with healthy protein sources, veggies and sans grains, these options make for a perfect pick for dogs with sensitive immune systems.
Eggs and dairy
Another two pet peeves to dogs, so to speak: eggs and dairy pose a little less of a health threat since they are easier to avoid and detect on food and kibble labels when you’re on the prowl for the finest dog food out there. However, if your dog’s symptoms are limited to digestion, you may be dealing with lactose intolerance instead of a full-scale allergy. In either case, a visit to the vet is a must to determine the best course of action and help your dog recover.
On the other hand, we’re often told that some dogs can benefit from consuming raw egg yolks, because they can do wonders for their coats to keep them silky and smooth. But as healthy as they may be, eggs contain proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in dogs, which makes them a risky choice. Keep a close eye on your pet if you do decide to introduce eggs, and of course, read those labels very carefully to eliminate any possible risk factors from their diet.
If your pooch has ever had a surgery or a digestion issue, your vet may have recommended cooking some chicken breast with rice to soothe their sensitive bellies. For some dogs, this is the perfect remedy that will ultimately heal them, while for others, it may just be the primary cause of trouble. Grains such as rice, wheat, and corn are commonly used in many dog food brands to add to the overall caloric and nutritional value of their kibble.
However, while protein allergies from beef, chicken, rabbit, and lamb are significantly more common than those of grains, you can still discover that your dog may not handle this food group so well. If your pooch is consuming a risky protein source, such as chicken or beef, it may be the source of the issue, but it’s best to let your pet to the needed analysis in order to find the main culprit, be it the protein, or grains!
Finally, some dog breeds such as Collies, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, and Retrievers among others are often more prone to food allergies than others. Learn about your pooch as much as possible before you pick your companion, talk to your vet, and keep a close eye on any behavioral changes in your dog. That way, you can prevent any long-term harm and keep your dog happy and healthy!
Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at Highstylife magazine and a full-time animal lover. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members