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What Pet Owners Should Know About Dog Food Allergy Symptoms

Dog food allergy symptoms are important to spot as early as possible, so that you can quickly take steps to change your dog's diet. Unfortunately, dog food allergies seem to be on the rise and an estimated ten percent of all dogs are suffering from food related allergies. Besides those that are caused by flea bites or atopy, or inhalant allergies in the environment, food allergies are responsible for causing itching, scratching, ear infections, and a host of other ailments.

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms To Look For

The most common of all dog food allergies are from corn and wheat products, which can cause itching and scratching as well as "hot spots", which are sores that can become ulcerated and rather painful if left untreated. Typical places for excessive itching include the face, ears, front legs and paws, and the rear end, and "bald spots" are often found around the base of the tail or on the face from rubbing against the floor or furniture to find relief from the discomfort.

Corn and wheat can also often cause diarrhea, excessive bowel movements, or more than three per day, and recurrent yeast infections in the ears. Yeast infections in the ears are relatively easy to recognize due to the foul, yeasty smell but often difficult to treat as antibiotics provide only a temporary fix for the problem without first completely eliminating the source of the allergy. Other causes of dog food allergies include dairy products like eggs and milk, soy, and even certain meats.

Remember that food allergies and food intolerance are two very different things and most dogs will develop their food allergies between the ages of two and six. However, keep in mind that a dog may develop an allergy at any point, even if they've been eating the exact same food their entire lives.

Because allergies in dogs caused by foods can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, it is important to keep a close watch on your pet for any subtle changes in their appearance, behavior, or both. Some other symptoms to watch for besides itching and scratching when it comes to dog food allergies include lethargy, digestive problems, a dry, dull looking coat, and skin infections.

Dog Food Allergy Treatments

Treatments for dog food allergy symptoms usually involve dietary changes; however, in more severe cases avoidance may not be the only way to prevent symptoms from occurring again.

Topical therapy including anti-itch shampoos and solutions may be in order as well as treatment with antihistamines or steroids, either in injectable or oral form. And a diet consisting of hydrolyzed proteins has also been considered for dogs with food allergies, as the specially formulated proteins are too small to cause the usual allergic reaction in dogs with dietary sensitivities.

Brands Of Dog Food To Consider If Your Dog Has Allergies

Some of the best brands of dog food for dogs with allergies include:

  • Natural Balance's Limited Ingredients Diets - Costs around $13 for a 5-pound bag
  • Nature's Recipe Healthy Skin Venison Meal and Rice Recipe - Costs around $46 for a 40-pound bag
  • Wysong's Synorgon - Costs around $14 for an 8-pound bag.

All of these brands contain limited ingredients, no preservatives or harmful chemicals, and are specifically formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs and allergies.

Final Comments

Because dog food allergy symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions like sarcoptic mange, yeast or bacterial infections, flea bite allergies, and sensitivities to intestinal parasites, it's extremely important to rule all of these ailments out before making changes to your dog's diet. Your veterinarian can recommend the best course of action, including testing for specific allergies, changing your dog's food, and determining if medication will be needed.

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