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Dog looking sad lying down next to a bowl of food on a wooden floor

Food Allergy in Dogs

Food Allergy in Dogs

Just like us, dogs can be affected by a food allergy or intolerance. It often causes itchiness and stomach problems, but can also manifest itself into something more severe and dangerous.

Food allergies most commonly reveal themselves when dogs are less than a year old, but they can develop at any stage in their life. Even if your pet has been eating a particular food for months or for years, they can still develop an allergy to it.

Although food allergies can’t be cured, you can avoid symptoms by cutting out any ingredients your dog is allergic to and placing him on a hypoallergenic diet.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy can occur when a dog’s immune system overreacts to one or more of the ingredients in their diet and produces antibodies to substances that it would typically tolerate. This can result in skin problems such as itchiness or tummy problems such as vomiting, or for some unfortunate pets, both.

With the right care and diet planning, there’s no reason for your dog’s food allergy to affect their quality of life. If left untreated however, it can have a serious impact on your dog’s health.

Symptoms of a Food Allergy in Dogs

Your dog may have a food allergy if you notice frequent skin and stomach problems. You should always seek veterinary advice if you notice any of the following symptoms:

Skin

Your dog can experience irritated and itchy skin anywhere on his body but the most common places he may have these issues are near the-

  • Ears (persistent head shaking and scratching)
  • Paws (look out for red, brown or bronze nail beds, especially if your dog is licking them often)
  • Rear end (look out for a rash or red and sore skin)
  • Stomach (sore, red, or irritated skin)

You may see some itchy red bumps on your dog if they have short hair, but you might have to feel for them if you they have a longer coat.

young dog with an allergy scratching himself in a field during the summer

Stomach

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive wind (farting)

More subtle indicators such as weight loss, lack of energy, hyperactivity or aggression can also occur.

It is important to consult with your vet on the best course of action to help treat your dog, as it may not necessarily be a food allergy that is causing the issue.

Nobody knows your dog better than you do, and even if they aren’t displaying all the symptoms above and you are still concerned, it is still best to get in touch with your vet.

Most Common Allergens

Foods that contain proteins such as meat or dairy are the most common culprits when it comes to food allergies in dogs.

 Common AllergensLess Common Allergens
BeefSoy or gluten (from wheat)
ChickenRice
LambBarley
EggOats
Dairy ProductsCorn

Diagnosing a Food Allergy

The first step to helping your dog is to seek professional assistance from a vet, as it is the only sure-fire way to determine what is the root of the problem.

If your vet suspects a food allergy, they may run a ‘food trial.’ This involves feeding a special, strict diet on their recommendation for a specified time period.

If your dog’s symptoms begin to ease during the trial, it may mean they were allergic to something in their food. Food trials and elimination diets can be time consuming and tricky, but ultimately they can help find what the issue is.

Treatment

Your vet will advice you on the best way to help treat your dog’s food allergy and what trigger foods to avoid. There are many tasty and nutritious hypoallergenic diets available that you can feed your dog.

We carry a range of options for dogs that have specific dietary needs, and our team are on-hand to help you navigate through the options should you need us.

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