Food allergies have been on the rise in dogs, with the proliferation of food products, treats, and supplements on the market. If you can identify signs of a food allergy and intolerance in dog, you can help your furry friend live a happy, healthy life!
What Are Food Allergies And Intolerance In Dogs
Food allergies and intolerance are often used interchangeably; however, their meanings are slightly different. Food intolerance refers to the trouble a dog may have digesting specific ingredients. An intolerance of a specific food could result in stomach ache, vomiting, or diarrhea. Food allergies, on the other hand, are ingredients that cause an actual immune-related allergic reaction.
This may range from small rashes or itchy bumps appearing on the skin to swelling and difficulty breathing, known as anaphylaxis. While food intolerances can be problematic for you and your dog, food allergies are much more serious and should be addressed immediately.
Allergy to certain ingredients may vary from breed to breed or dog to dog. Some dog breeds, such as Boxers, can have a genetic background of IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a condition that makes the ability to digest certain proteins impossible, leading to inflammation and widespread irritation of the digestive system. These medical conditions often cause serious issues in dogs until they are addressed and treated by switching foods or adding supplements to the diet.
Can I prevent Food Allergies And Intolerance In Dogs
Food allergies are usually not found until your dog has an actual reaction to the ingredient he or she may have an intolerance or allergy to. Are there any signs of itching, chronic diarrhea without resolution, or the pooch looks unhealthy or irritated? If so, then it is better to look for any signs of allergic reactions. If you can find and eliminate the allergen from his diet, you can prevent allergic reactions and food intolerance in your furry friend.
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Dog Is Allergic to Something
If you suspect your dog may have a problem with an ingredient in food or treats, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with a local vet. It is important to rule out other serious health conditions to make sure that it is an ingredient and not an illness that is causing problems. Your vet can also work with you through food trials or diet changes to carefully monitor and “sniff out” the problem food.
The most common ingredients that cause problems in dogs tend to be certain grains, such as corn, soy, and wheat ingredients. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this. While some experts feel that dogs need a primal diet like their ancestors used to have, others wonder if changes in our food growing habits are to blame. Whatever may be the cause, if your dog has an allergy to a certain grain, switching to a less allergic grain source, such as rice or oats, or even choosing carbohydrates without grains, such as sweet potatoes or peas, may provide relief.
Proteins are often secondary in food-related allergy issues and usually caused due to a genetic or internal condition causing the allergy. With IBD, certain proteins become hard to digest, or the body actually begins to mount an immune response to them. Switching to an alternative protein source that is not commonly used, such as duck, venison, or buffalo may help.
In dogs with severe issues, your vet may recommend switching to a veterinary prescription diet that utilizes hydrolyzed proteins. These foods take the protein source and provide them in an already broken down format, bypassing the body’s recognition and attack on protein sources.
Natural Remedies for Food Allergies And Intolerance In Dogs
A dog can be allergic to almost any ingredient in a product, so knowing what your dog eats holds the key to helping provide relief and preventing a response to the problem food. Natural supplements and remedies can also help by giving the body an outside boost to break down problematic foods.
Adding probiotic supplements through a prescription from your vet or adding natural plain yogurt may help minor digestive issues by providing good bacteria that break down the food. Digestive enzymes added to the diet may also help if your dog has a condition where digestion of certain ingredients is difficult or if the body tends to mount an immune response to an ingredient. Working with your vet or holistic vet holds the key to finding the right balance of food and supplements to provide relief.