In a world where there are so many allergies floating about it is not all that surprising to learn that your pet can get a food allergy as well. Allergies in pets are not as easily diagnosed because your dog cannot tell you what is making him so sick. So, how do you recognise that your dog is having an adverse reaction to a particular ingredient in his food?
KNOWING THE SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of food allergies in dogs are complicated, in that they are shared by other diseases that show up in similar ways. Most commonly, food allergies will show themselves in the form of digestive upsets or skin irritations, such as rashes and lesions.
With this in mind, a dog that frequently vomits, has diarrhea, flatulence, itchy, red and inflamed skin, hair loss, ear problems, and/or coughing, wheezing and sneezing should be examined for a food allergy. Skin allergies are most prevalent and often occur in dogs that already have skin problems. With all those symptoms it is easy to overlook food intolerance for another disease. Because of this, any of these signs should be treated by your local Veterinarian.
TREATING THE PROBLEM
Food intolerance can show up in dogs of any age and may last a lifetime. The only treatment for this problem is to identify the ingredient responsible and remove it from your dog’s diet, which can be done with a food sensitivity test by your Vet. Otherwise, try slowly eliminating certain ingredients from your dog’s diet and monitor the results.
Allergic pets need proper nutrition, which means if some proteins are a no go (such as certain meats) then simply substitute them for another source of protein (such as egg, salmon, lamb, venison or whitefish). It is important to keep your pet’s food as balanced as possible and make sure to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. Also make sure there are little additives sneaking their way into the mix.
Some human foods are not suitable for pets in any shape or form. Such foods include chocolate, lollies containing xylitol, garlic, onion, avocado, grapes/raisins, rhubarb, mushrooms and macadamias. Most of these foods can be extremely toxic to our furry friends and should not be ingested in any quantity.
Food allergies can make your dog miserable, whether they have a serious case of the itches or they are suffering with a tummy upset, and discovering and removing a key ingredient can make a big difference to their quality of life.