There are certain human foods your dog should never ingest such as chocolate, grapes, xylitol or onions. But what if his regular dog kibble or wet dog food is creating issues for him? As a local pet hospital in Gilbert, East Valley Animal Hospital we want our human clients to be able to understand and identify when their four-legged companions are experiencing symptoms of dog food allergies.
What Causes a Food-Related Allergic Reaction in Dogs?
If your dog is truly allergic to something in their food, the culprit is usually a food protein from meat, eggs or dairy. Less common allergens include corn, wheat, rice, barley or oats. When a food protein is identified as a foreign substance, it triggers the immune system to release something called histamines. When the body releases an inordinate amount of histamines, it leads to allergic reactions such as a runny nose, watery eyes and tissue swelling.
A food intolerance, on the other hand, is generally what leads to issues in the gut, causing an imbalance and discomfort.
Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies
By far the most common sign your dog might be experiencing an allergic reaction brought about by something he ate is itchy skin. While dog food allergies impact a very small percentage of pets (1-2%), one in five dogs that visit the vet for itchy and irritated skin show signs of adverse food reactions. Other signs your pup might be struggling with his food include:
- Swollen face
- Chronic paw or ear infections
- Hot spots
- Eye discharge
Treatment for Food Allergies
Since itchy skin can be a sign that your dog has fleas or any number of health conditions, it’s recommended that you bring your pup in to see your local vet. At the vet, your canine will likely need blood tests and other allergy tests to determine the source of the symptoms.
If your dog is in the midst of an acute allergic reaction, the most common treatment is to offer an antihistamine. From there, your vet will recommend an elimination diet to identify the underlying food protein that is causing an allergic reaction. A diet that is different in its nutritional makeup is often enough to cause an allergy or intolerance to subside.
A Few Other Considerations
Dogs who do have true food allergies are often allergic to more than one food protein. Environmental allergies frequently accompany food allergies. Grain allergies are much less common than animal protein allergies. If you are feeding your dog supplements, keep in mind that capsules are often made of gelatin, which is a common allergen for dogs.
At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, we’re passionate about the health and wellness of our four-legged community. We know that getting to the bottom of dog food allergies can take a bit of time and testing, which is best performed by your local vet. If your dog is displaying any of the above signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with us today so we can help him find some relief. We’ll take care of your pet with personalized TLC and quality, professional know-how.