Your dog loves you more than you love yourself. So, how can you let your furry pal suffer from food allergies? Here in this following piece of article, I decided to share some foods that are used for pets (especially dogs) who have been diagnosed with food allergies.
But before that, you folks must know the difference between food allergy and intolerance.
Food Allergy in Dogs
It has been said by the veterinarians and the dog experts that usually pets (especially) dogs don’t get or develop the symptoms of food allergies before they reach 12 months of age (or become one year old).
Food allergies in dogs develop when the immune system (defense system of a body) misjudges a foreign (food) substance/ingredient as a threat to the body. Usually, proteins are the main culprit of developing these kinda allergies in pets.
Below are the common foods that (usually) cause allergies in canines;
- Dairy Products (e.g; Milk)
Food Intolerance in Dogs
In efforts of distinguishing food allergy from food intolerance, this paragraph is so important. If allergies in dogs develop because of the immune system response, this is called food allergy. While, if the allergies develop because of eating soiled/dirty/germ-rich foods then it’s called food intolerance.
The symptoms of both are the same but their treatment is different.
Some Common Signs or Symptoms of Food Allergy in Dogs
Below are some indicating signs for you that your furry friend is suffering from a life-threatening condition, i.e. Food allergy.
- Swelling or inflammation on the skin
- Skin irritations
- Redness on the dermis
- If your pet is licking his paws/tale/skin (persistently)
- Certain digestive disorders (Gas, bloating, flatulence, GERD, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, etc)
Only an experienced veterinarian (veterinary doctor) can diagnose a food allergy in dogs (precisely). Because your dog may have the same symptoms with environmental allergy, seasonal allergy, atopic dermatitis (hereditary: genes level mutation), and others.
However, sometimes it becomes hyper difficult to diagnose this disease. If the veterinarian has a suspect that your pet is suffering from food allergies, then the vet may recommend “Eliminating diet” treatment for two to three months.
The word “eliminating diet” could be unknown or new for some of you (pet owners) but this is the highly used technique for diagnosing food allergy in dogs, cats, and other small animals.
What is eliminate diet technique and is it used for? Probably, this is the question (now) arising in your minds or if not must be so.
In eliminate diet method, your pet’s veterinarian prescribes a hypoallergenic diet (prescription food) plan for your pet (for 10 to 14 months or longer depending on the conditions and the feedback) that could only be available on prescription and is not available over the counter (like limited diet).
In that period of time (02 to 03 months), your pet is not allowed to eat food other than (just) a prescription diet (hypoallergenic food: that rarely causes any side effects or adverse reactions).
Usually, if the cause of symptoms is food allergy then (by using a hypoallergenic diet) the signs or indications must vanish and your pet must feel better over 2 weeks.
Keep in mind that it’s all about diagnosing the main culprit, i.e. protein (complex molecules of amino acids).
Consuming hydrolyzed protein diet for a certain period of time usually removes or clears symptoms but this treatment is quite expensive as you can’t buy a prescription diet (hypoallergenic foods for pets) without your vet prescription and it’s expensive though.
So keep in mind that giving hypoallergenic food to a pet is a temporary treatment, just to figure out the main cause behind the symptoms.
Using hydrolyzed protein diet for 2 weeks will make the condition better and the symptoms caused by food allergy will suppress down. After that, you can re-visit your vet’s clinic and may consult about the current condition of your dog.
Now, when the symptoms and signs have gone or are suppressed you may add the regular diet of your pet step by step.
Warning; Your pet must use (consume) a hypoallergenic diet for at least 2-3 months (regularly) without adding regular food to the diet until unless the veterinarian suggests that. Add a certain food to your pet’s diet and use it for at least one or two weeks and see whether it causes side effects or not. Then try another food source.
For instance, you may try lamb to your dog diet (by the recommendation of a vet) and should notice whether it causes the reoccurrence of the symptoms or not. If lamb doesn’t cause allergies then try to add another source of food (protein) like chicken, venison, mutton, beef, dairy products, grains, wheat, etc.
Warning: Don’t add these foods simultaneously to your pet’s diet. Try to give the specific source of protein diet for a certain period of time and see whether it’s causing any adverse reactions or not. If not then move forward to another source unless you find the main culprit that’s causing the food allergy in your dog.
Eliminating diet helps to identify the specific type of food (source of protein) which is responsible for developing the symptoms of allergies in dogs.
The one and only treatment of food allergy in dogs is to remove a specific kind of food (diet) from your pet’s life.
For example, if your pet is allergic to Beef (protein) you must avoid all those foods that possess beef. However, a pet may be allergic to more than one kind of protein source (beef and dairy products at the same time).
Limited Ingredients Dog Food
You may also try limited ingredient dog foods that contain only one source of protein with carbohydrates (single source).
It helps to find the allergen that is causing allergies in your dog’s body. Now, in the following piece of article, I’m not gonna recommend any kinds of products (or promoting Brands). So you may visit your nearby pet supply store offline or may look around online.
Limited ingredient foods are available over the counter (OTC) and you must try them by comparing their prices and reviews.
Can a dog suddenly be allergic to his food?
No! some researches yielded that food allergy in dogs is hereditary or because of genes mutation. Usually, dogs don’t develop the symptoms of allergies, i.e. itching, skin irritations, digestive problems, swelling or inflammation on the skin, etc before the age of 12 months. But it could be active at any stage of their life.
Simplifying article in a few pieces of words…
If you’re worried about what to feed a dog with food allergies? You must need to visit a vet clinic and the vet may decide whether your dog has a food allergy or not. If the vet suspects that your pet is suffering from a food allergy (Disease) then he may prescribe an elimination diet (hypoallergenic food or hydrolyzed protein diet) for your pet (for two to three months).
An elimination diet helps to figure out the main source of protein (diet) that is responsible for causing the symptoms of food allergy in dogs.
By removing the specific food (that could be lamb, beef, milk, chicken, wheat, etc) from your pet’s life could solve the problem.
Using medicines like Apoquel (oclacitinib maleate) may treat the symptoms of food allergy but it’s temporary. Once you discontinue the medication, symptoms may re-occur.