Just like humans, your furry best friend is also at risk of suffering from allergies, both environmental and food-related. It is estimated that around 10% of all allergies in dogs are food allergies and, in most cases, grains tend to be the culprit. So, how do you go about diagnosing a food allergy in your dog, and how can you ensure that he receives the care he needs to live a healthy, happy life despite this setback? Read on for the facts.
What are the symptoms of food allergies in dogs?
The most common symptom of a food allergy in puppies and adult dogs is severe itching – although this can also be a sign of an environmental allergy. Other common symptoms include stomach upsets, such as diarrhea and vomiting, a dull-looking coat, and frequent ear infections. Some pets may start licking themselves obsessively, leaving behind painful red patches on their skin, while others may regurgitate their food shortly after eating. Hives or skin swelling are also possible signs that a food allergy is present.
What should I do if I suspect my dog is allergic?
Take him to the vet. The vet will take action to rule out any other potential causes of the presenting symptoms. From there, he or she will likely recommend allergy testing or a food elimination diet. The latter usually takes place by giving the animal a single protein and a single carbohydrate for a period of three months to see whether or not their symptoms improve.
If it becomes evident that your dog is allergic to a specific food, your vet will provide you with guidance in terms of how best to manage it. If, like most other allergy-affected pets, your dog is allergic to grains, you will be advised to investigate a grain-free diet. There are lots of high-quality grain-free dog food products and brands out there, so you will be spoilt for choice. Just be sure to do your research before choosing the dog food that best suits your pet.
Unfortunately, while a grain-free diet will likely clear up your dog’s symptoms, it does come with its disadvantages. Due to the fact that grain-free dog foods consist of high levels of protein and a much lower amount of fiber, your dog may need to eat a lot more of it in order to feel full and maintain his energy levels. The lower fiber content could also result in your dog experiencing problems with constipation. This is why it’s a good idea to try him on a high protein, ancient grain formula, such as that from Taste of the Wild, before eliminating grains entirely. Many dogs that are allergic to typical grains are indeed able to tolerate and thrive when consuming ancient grains, and this means that they can enjoy a much better-balanced diet. Click here to learn more about Taste of the Wild Ancient Grains benefits.
To sum up…
The key to managing an allergy lies in having it properly diagnosed and in finding the right dog food to keep those horrible symptoms at bay. It can prove to be a lengthy process to get to the bottom of the problem, but you can be sure that your pet will be grateful that you took the time to get his health back on track!