1. What is dog food allergies?
Food allergies is a condition in which your dog’s immune system reacts adversely to an ingredient found in his food. Your dog may be allergic to one or more ingredients.
This ingredient(s) that triggers the allergic response can be a protein, carbohydrate(eg. grains) or artificial additives in the dog’s food.
A food allergy can develop with foods that your dog has been eating for years, with no prior problems.
2. Is it common in dogs?
Food allergies make up about 10% of all allergy cases seen in dogs.
The top 3 dog allergies(listed in the order of most common) are:
- Flea bite allergies
- Inhalant allergies
- Food allergies
3. What are the symptoms of food allergies in dog?
Your dog might have any of these symptoms:
- Facial itching(around eyes, muzzle, ears)
- Chews on paws or legs
- Itching affecting armpits, belly, or around the anus.
- Chronic ear infections
- Excessive scratching
- Dry dog skin
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Increased bowel movements
4. What is the difference between dog food allergies vs food intolerance?
A dog with food allergies manifest allergic symptoms, mainly associated with itchiness and skin irritations, as discussed in Q3 above.
In food intolerance, it is an adverse food reaction that does not involve the immune system. Hence, a food intolerance will not trigger an allergic response. Instead, vomiting or diarrhea might occur. This is because the body is unable to process or tolerate the food. The symptoms are more like having a tummy upset after eating something disagreeable.
Eg. Some people(and dogs too) get diarrhea after drinking milk. This condition is called lactose intolerance. The body simply has a lack of the enzyme, lactase, to fully digest the milk sugar. But all is well again, after making a few trips to the toilet.
5. Why dog food allergies cause your fur kid so much itching?
Yes. It can be extremely itchy. You will see your dog scratching or licking frequently. Some pet owners get anxious that the dog might chew through his paw.
In another blog post, I mentioned how the body reacts to an allergen. Find out the reason why your dog’s skin gets so itchy and irritated here: Dog skin allergies – Q4.
6. What food ingredients can cause food allergies?
Any food or food ingredient can cause allergy. However, protein, from a meat source, is usually the offender.
Here are some common food ingredients that might be the culprits.
- dairy products
- chicken eggs
You would notice that ingredients in the protein and grain source are just your everyday type of foods. These are foods that you would include in your grocery lists.
But, it is, as it is. Dogs can develop food allergies to these food ingredients.
Artificial preservatives, food dyes, or sweeteners found in commercial dog foods can also cause allergic reactions.
To understand more about dog food allergies, look out for Part 2 of this article. You’ll learn how a vet diagnose food allergies, options you have when feeding your allergic dog, and more.