Food Allergies in Dogs

Do you know that dogs suffer from allergies just like humans? In fact, allergies in dogs are quite common, and it’s usually evident through the dry skin, itching skin, loss of appetite, and yeast growth. Heck, it even affects their poop. Allergies are reactions by the body’s immune system against foreign substances; allergens. Common allergens include dust, play toys, clothes, and even food. Yes, food allergic reaction accounts for about 10 percent of dog allergies. Just as I mentioned earlier, they suffer from allergic reactions just like humans, and it’s only natural for them to experience food allergies. Although a dog’s reaction to food allergens is quite different from us since their reaction takes days or even years to manifest. It might even go unnoticed if the owner is not observant. Why don’t we take a look at few of the causes of food allergies.

Causes of food allergies

Allergies are caused by an over-reaction of the body’s immune system towards some perceived threats. The reason why food allergies are common is due to the fact that about 60 percent of the body’s immune system cells, stay in the digestive tract. As you know that digestion aims to break down food particles into the smallest unit; amino acids. These amino acids are readily absorbed by white blood cells. However, when these proteins are not properly broken down, the immune system sees them as intruders, hence, it creates an allergic reaction against that food substance. Mind you, it takes a long time for the animal to become sensitized, and form an immune reaction against the food substance. For dogs, there are some foods that are likely to generate an allergic reaction than others. Foods like Beef, Chicken, Corn, Dairy products, Eggs, Fish, Lamb, Soy, and Wheat, are likely to cause an allergic reaction

Common signs of food allergies

Having a dog with allergies is stressful, and incredibly frustrating for both parties; dog and owner. Allergy symptoms includes itchy skins, recurring ear infection, and non-stop scratching of face and paws. If these symptoms persist after a dose of Benadryl, then you should know this is not a seasonal allergy, but a food allergy. So, let’s take a look at the common signs/symptoms of food allergies in dogs.

1. Recurrent Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in dogs. However, when it occurs more then twice in a year, then you should know that your dog is suffering from a food allergy. Yes, we know that ear mites, yeast infection, and “swimmer ears” are common causes of ear infection, but if it persist all through the year, then it’s a food allergy. What’s more?. Ear infection caused by food allergies are stinky, yeasty, and have brown or black build-up. Coupled with consistent scratching of the ears and shaking of the head. To cure this, some people use otic solution; 50 percent water and 50 percent apple cider vinegar. Most often than not, this solution cures the infection, while ignoring the cause of the food allergen.

2. Brown, Red or Bronze Nail Bed

This symptom is easily observed in dogs with white nails, such as Dalmatians, Boxers, Spaniels, Bulldogs, and white bully breeds. You will notice that the base of your dog’s nail is red, black or brown. Once you notice this, know that your dog is suffering from an inflammatory immune response what’s more?; the dog tends to appears to itch or lick the sensitive nails. Although this symptom also applies to thyroid disorders and foot injury trauma. Once you’ve ruled out both illnesses; foot trauma and thyroid disorder, then you can safely say it’s a food allergy. After you’ve confirmed that it’s a food allergy, the next step is elimination method. This method works by eliminating each ingredient in the dog food, until you identify the trigger food or ingredient.

3. Itchy Skin and Dull Undercoat

It’s normal for dogs to have Itchy skin once in a while. It might be due to environmental allergies; caused by environmental allergens. However, if this becomes so frequent that it leads to hair loss, then it’s probably a food allergy. Sometimes, Itchy skin is caused by shampoo. In fact, shampoos are the leading cause of contact dermatitis. You can remedy this situation by using a milder shampoo. Other causes of Itchy skin includes pollen allergies and fleas. Yes, flea allergy dermatitis also irritates the skin. So, how do you confirm that it’s a symptom of food allergy?. When you notice that the skin underneath is pink or red, dry, and inflamed. To treat this symptom, apply Aloe Vera leaves to the affected site at least 3 times in a day. On the other hand, you can also use a mixture of baking soda and water to form a paste, and apply it on the affected site.

4. Bronzing

Bronzing is noticeable in breeds with white coats. It involves the inflammation of the feet, lips or skin. This reaction is caused by yeast colonization, and it’s a tell-tale sign of food allergy. In this symptom, the lips, jowl, and toes become pink and inflamed. You can safely deduce that it’s a food allergy after you’ve ruled out yeast infection or sunburn. To cure this symptom, wipe the affected area with 50 percent water mixed with 50 percent apple cider vinegar.

5. Watery Eyes

Just as we have watery eyes from allergies, dogs also experience this symptom when exposed to some allergies. Dogs with this symptom, often have discharges or excess tear production. Additionally, watery eyes causes irritations or itching. To cure this, you can dab the eye with chamomile tea, and clean it with a cool, damp cloth. You can also use homeopathic eye drops like Allergy Eye Relief or Similisan Irritated Eye Relief, or Boiron Optique can also help.

Food to use when your dog has a food allergy

Mind you; dog allergies are not to be treated lightly. Try reducing the number of additives, grains, and processed foods from your dog diet. It’s advised to place your dog on a hydrolyzed diet for eight weeks, before re-introducing other food ingredients into their diet. Lastly, you can also try home-cooked meals; start with rice and chicken or meat broth.