Food Allergies & Your Dog
Food allergies are the most common allergy in dogs, behind flea allergy and atopy (inhalant allergy to dust, pollen, mould or other environmental substances). Scratching starts suddenly, with no apparent trigger. Dogs may itch every where or can focus on one area on the face, ears or feet. Sometimes the dog will start to loose it’s fur and it will come our in large spots and it may become bold in different areas on its coat. Some dogs will start to have problems breathing and their eyes may water more then usual.
Allergies take time to develop, so the dog has usually been consuming a food for months or years with no problems. Approximately a third of food allergies cases occur in dogs under a year old.
One hint that it’s a food allergy rather than flea allergy or atopy is symptoms that stay the same year round. But do your really want to wait to see if the itching goes away come autumn?
Besides doing allergy testing, you can slowly change the dog food, for example, if you are feeding your dog a dog food with chicken in it, change it to lamb or fish. You can start to mixing in another dog food in to the regular dog food you are feeding your dog. Don’t feed your dog any other food. Stay on the food for two weeks, unless the allergy gets worse. If your dog gets better, you will know it is the chicken in the dog food. If not, and the dog’s allergies get worse, you will have to try a different strategy.
If allergy stay the same or get worse, make sure that you don’t use any fabric softener when you are washing any close, use a gentle laundry soap & make sure there is no perfume in it or around your dog. Make sure your dogs blankets are cotton. Start giving your dog vitamins and start changing its food. Start the first week giving your dog cooked or raw veggies and then all fruit in the the dogs diet the next week. Watch closely to see if there is any changes in your dogs scratching or coat.
After three weeks add fish to your dogs diet (no fried fish or battered fish). Then add the fourth week add beef or lamb. If the dog is doing fine after five weeks, add chicken to your diet and if you scratching starts up again, then you will know it is the chicken allergy. If the allergy goes away and doesn’t come back, you will know that it is the environment allergy.
Many dog owners choose to keep feeding the nutritionally balance elimination diet, with out bothering to try determining the offending ingredients. This choice has two potential drawbacks. One is making your food options for your awfully narrow and some people find this restriction hard to maintain. Two, over time your dog may develop an allergy to the ingredients in the elimination diet. You may eventually run out of novel-ingredient diets.