Pet Food Allergies

By Valdette Muller| November 30, 2017 | Blog

food

Food allergies account for 10% of all the allergies seen in dogs.

Food allergies are the 3rd most common cause of allergens after flea bite allergies and atopy (inhalant allergies).

While we watch out for our own children and adult related allergies, our pets suffer just as much from allergies.

What is the difference between food allergies and intolerances?

Food Allergies: Similar to the response of a human’s body, if a dog swallows an allergen in food, the immune system mistakenly believes the specific food is harmful. The dog’s immune system responds with antibodies, which triggers a series of uncomfortable, even painful symptoms.

Intolerances: A food intolerance can have some of the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy, so people often confuse the two. Similar to a human being lactose intolerant or having irritable bowl syndrome after eating something offensive to the stomach, a dog’s stomach shows the absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest the food eaten. Food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious than allergic reactions and are often limited to digestive problems causing stomach gripes, vomiting or diarrhoea. If your vet finds that your pet may have a food intolerance, they will prescribe medication used to help regulate their digestive system.

Signs of an allergic reaction.

Symptoms for food allergies generally account for 20% of the causes of itching and scratching in dogs.

Many of these symptoms can be signs of a food allergies in a dog which include:

  • Recurring ear inflammations or infections
  • Non-stop scratching and biting of the ears, paws, face, belly and back that will drive you crazy! This shows your dog itches constantly without relief, possibly causing hair loss in the affected patches. A possible allergen in the food, shampoo or environment.
  • Poor coat quality
  • Obsessive licking
  • Watery eyes which could mean your dogs has been scratching at their eyes often. See if your dog has goopy discharge or a clogged tear duct with an excess tear production. This can be the result of staining and irritation. This could be a result of possible food or environmental allergies.
  • Bronzing or redding colour around the lips can be a result of a yeast allergy. This is more noticeable in breeds with whiter coats around the mouth.
  • Red or browning nail beds is a true sign of food allergies. This is more noticeable in breeds with whiter coats around the paws. Please rule out ant foot injuries (trauma) or thyroid disorders before assuming an allergic reaction.

Allergens may be seasonal for a dog so vets often also prescribe omega supplements to help combat a dull coat or itchy skin.

Even if you have done all you can for your pet’s seasonal allergies as well as applied anti flea and tick solutions, there is the possibility that your pet’s itching and infections may persist past the usual allergen season. If this is the case, please seek veterinary advice as this may be caused by a food allergen.

If your dog has food allergies, make sure to choose the best hypoallergenic food for sensitive dogs. ACANA Singles Free Run Duck Dog Food and Royal Canin Maxi Digestive Care are some of the hypoallergenic dog foods available for adult dogs.

Sources: http://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_best-dog-food-for-dogs-with-food-allergies

http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2017/01/food-allergies/

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