Our San Gabriel veterinarians understand that dealing with the effects of food allergies and food sensitivities in dogs can be unpleasant. To help, here are a few of the best foods to help ease your canine friend's food allergy symptoms.
Food Allergies In Dogs
If your dog has food allergies or hypersensitivities, it's critical to understand the most common signs and symptoms, as well as what to do if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy.
What are the signs that my dog may have a food allergy?
Itching and red skin, as well as rashes on the ears and feet, are common symptoms of food allergies in dogs. Other common food allergy symptoms include gassiness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food allergies in dogs commonly appear around the dog's first birthday, though allergies and sensitivities can develop at any age.
How are food allergies diagnosed?
Much like diagnosing food allergies in people, dogs suspected of suffering from food allergies will be put on an elimination diet.
Your veterinarian will give you specially formulated hypoallergenic dog food to feed your dog for at least 8-10 weeks. During this time period, only hypoallergenic food should be given to your dog, not even the occasional treat. This will give your dog's body time to adjust to the new diet and allow your vet to assess your dog's condition.
Many dog owners see an improvement in their pet's condition after the first 4-6 weeks, however, a number of breeds can take much longer to show signs of improvement.
If your dog's symptoms clear up while on the elimination diet, your vet may request that you return your pet to their original diet in order to confirm the diagnosis. If your dog is suffering from food allergies, the original symptoms should reappear within two weeks.
What should I feed my dog if they have food allergies?
If your dog is diagnosed with food allergies there are a number of food options available in stores, or from your veterinarian, that can help you to address the issue and alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms.
Here are a few of the most popular foods available for dogs with allergies:
- Prescription Dog Food: Your vet may recommend that you feed your dog prescription dog food. While this option can be pricey, it may be the best way to address your dog's symptoms if they are suffering from severe allergies.
- Limited Ingredient Dog Foods: These foods address allergens by containing only one protein source, such as beef, lamb, or chicken. These foods are frequently reduced to a single carbohydrate source. When shopping for limited ingredient dog foods, look for the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO) seal of approval as well as a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer.
- Novel Ingredient Dog Food: Novel ingredient dog foods replace the most common dog food proteins (beef and chicken) with more unusual proteins that will be new to your dog's system such as duck or salmon. Many novel ingredient foods will also use unusual carbohydrates, leading to combinations such as potato and venison.
- Grain-Free Dog Food: Grain-free dog foods and treats are ideal if your pet has a sensitivity to corn, wheat, and other grains. These pet foods are also gluten-free. That said, it's important to note that while grain-free foods are gluten-free, not all gluten-free dog foods are grain-free.
Which food is right for my dog?
Your dog's specific allergy and overall health will determine which diet is best for him. If your dog's symptoms are caused by an allergy, your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best food for your dog's health.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.