If your pup is chewing, scratching, and gnawing on their paws incessantly, you might begin to suspect they are suffering from a dog food allergy. Here are the best and most effective ways to tell if your dog has a food allergy and how to manage it. But dog food allergies are not as common as you might think. It’s far more likely that your dog’s discomfort is due to fleas, allergies to fleas, and environmental allergies (dust mites, pollen, grasses, mold, cleaning chemicals, perfumes in detergent or shampoo, etc), or another common culprit, food sensitivity (aka intolerance). They all share many of the same symptoms. In the case of a dog food allergy or sensitivity, your dog’s reaction is likely something that has developed over time. What may have been perfectly fine to eat a year ago may now cause a problem—one that’s important to identify. The long-term effects, if untreated, could lead to behavioral changes and reduced quality of life (due to prolonged discomfort), as well as worsening symptoms. So, familiarizing yourself with dog food allergy (and sensitivity) is the first step in solving the problem and keeping your pup healthy and happy. Knowing the difference between a dog food allergy and sensitivity These two food-related issues share many of the same symptoms, but most often dog food allergy symptoms appear swiftly and involve itchy skin or ear and skin infections due to the body’s natural inflammatory response. Less frequently, pups will have a gastrointestinal reaction causing vomiting or diarrhea. But some unlucky pups will have both skin and tummy issues related to their dog food allergy. If your pup suffers from dog food sensitivity (as opposed to an allergy), they’re much more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea, vomiting, gas, lack of appetite, and weight loss) due to an inability to process an ingredient properly. They may also have intermittent itchy skin or redness that seems to resolve only to return again. The causes behind a dog food allergy When your dog has an allergic reaction, it’s because their immune system has misidentified a protein in their dog food as an invader and mounted an attack. But it isn’t the food itself, rather the protein structure in it. And it’s not just meat; some veggies contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe. Topping the list of culprits are proteins most commonly found in dog food, like beef, chicken, eggs, and dairy. But an allergy to one meat protein
Feeding a dog isn't as simple as pouring a can of dog food into a bowl and leaving it for your pooch to eat at its leisure. Knowledgeable owners, handlers and trainers are often extremely passionate (sometimes to the point of being evangelical) about their preferences. They know that in order to give your animal the best type of dog food to supply the exact nutrition that he or she needs, there are some important guidelines to follow.