Food allergies in dogs can be a big problem. Some dogs seem to be able to eat anything and everything with no problem and other dogs can have finicky intestines. Food allergies affect both males and females and most any breed of dog. Terriers do seem to have more than their fair share of food allergies.
Playing detective to find the exact food culprit can take some time. There are many things not known about food allergies in dogs, though there are some things that are known including the symptoms, how to diagnose food allergies, and how to treat them.
Allergies can show up while your dog is still in the puppy stage and also in an old dog, but most allergies start showing up between 2 to 5 years of age.
Is it Intolerance or a Food Allergy?
There is a difference between intolerances of food and food allergies. Intolerances are usually attributed to diarrhea, vomiting and/or upset stomach with no typical allergic reaction. Food allergies, on the other hand show up with itching, skin problems, hair loss.
Possible Food Problems
Studies have been shown over time that certain ingredients are likely to cause food allergies more than other foods. The common food problems found are beef, lamb, fish, eggs, wheat, soy and corn. These food items listed are some of the main products in most dry and can dog foods. Protein is very important to your dog’s health. But, some proteins can cause allergic reactions in some dogs, so those proteins may be more antigenic than other proteins.
Food allergies are in dogs are primarily itchy, dry skin on the legs, feet, ears, face and the area around the anus. Also, chronic ear infections, hair loss, hot spots and skin infections can also be possible signs of food allergy.
If your dog is given antibiotics for the above problems, but upon discontinuing the antibiotics the problems reappear, that can signal a food allergy.
The main issue is if your dog seems to have allergies year around or the symptoms begin in the winter months. Final clue that your dog may have food allergies is if your dog is given steroid treatments for the itchy skin and your dog doesn’t respond to the treatments.
Food Allergy Diagnosis
The diagnosis for food allergies is very straightforward. But due to the fact that many other problems can cause similar symptoms and that many times animals are suffering from more problems than just food allergies, it is very important that all other problems are properly identified and treated prior to undergoing diagnosis for food allergies.
Food trials consist of strict feeding your dog the same exact food for several days and up to a week, thereby watching your dog closely for any show of allergy symptoms. Continuing down the line of possible food culprits can take weeks, but is well worth the time.
When all else fails, contact your dog’s veterinarian to get a proper diagnoses and finding the food(s) that is causing your dog so much distress.
There are many great veterinarians in Tulsa. For a list, click here.
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