Is My Dog Allergic to His Food?
By Brooke Sloate
We’ve all probably seen our dogs lick or scratch themselves…they’re dogs, that’s what they do! If done once in a while, it’s not a problem. However, when this becomes a frequent activity, something serious may be bothering your dog, and he’s certainly uncomfortable. What I’m talking about are canine allergies.
Now allergies are not the only reason that dogs itch. There are other conditions that can cause itching such as seasonal allergies, flea bite hypersensitivity, a drug reaction; a bacterial infection; a fungal infection; diseases like pancreatic, liver or renal disease – for example. Therefore, it’s important to see your veterinarian to rule out any serious conditions.
The most common sign of an allergy in your dog is itching. They itch ALL OVER.
So they scratch, chew, and lick their skin, paws or ears. Chronic allergies are miserable for both pets and pet parents…they’re miserably itchy and you want to help them feel better which can take time and money until you figure out what’s wrong.
Let’s talk about food allergies. A TRUE food allergy is less common than many pet owners think. Some experts estimate this occurrence to be about 1% of all dogs and 0.5% of all cats. As compared to flea bite hypersensitivity or flea allergies at 40% or seasonal allergies at 10-15%. And almost half of all pets who suffer from food allergies also exhibit other hypersensitivities, which makes it even more difficult to diagnose.
What’s more, is that you may not know whether you’re dealing with a food allergy or a seasonal allergy, since they have similar symptoms.
Clinical signs of a food allergy are extremely variable and can affect:
· skin issues (most frequent with generalized itchiness all over the body)
· the gastrointestinal tract
· the respiratory system
· the central nervous system
· or any combination of the above
So how do you know if your pet has a food allergy? The fact is, most people don’t actually get their pets tested for food allergies as these tests are very expensive, and are known to be highly unreliable.
If a dog or cat has an allergy to a protein, it’s usually to a protein they have been exposed to before. One that can be more common is chicken, because many pet foods use chicken in their formulas, especially puppy food (however again, the likelihood is low). A food allergy develops when your pet’s immune system becomes overly sensitive to that ingredient – similar to humans.
So if I think my pet’s allergic to chicken, can he eat a food with chicken fat?
If your pet IS allergic to chicken, for instance, they are allergic to the protein in the chicken, not the fat (since fat does not contain protein). This is helpful to note when reading pet food labels so you don’t rule out nutritious food options.
And remember, a food hypersensitivity can begin at any age, even late in the pet’s life.
At pawTree® we are committed to providing pet parents with a line of premium products to help pets thrive. Look at our line of dog and cat food -- we refuse to compromise on quality so you don't have to.
Brooke Sloate, Director of Product Development at pawTree LLC, is passionate about solving problems for pets and creating products that truly make a difference to pet parents.
With over 20 years of experience in the pet industry working for a variety of pet companies prior to pawTree®, including Nature's Variety®, Hill’s®, Mars®, Petmate®, Applica® and Sergeant's®, Brooke has developed a wide range of innovative pet products including pet food, treats, and pet accessories.
Brooke enjoys the unconditional love of her family of Shih Tzus and responds by spoiling them every chance she gets!
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