Signs that your dog is suffering from a food allergy
It’s horrible to see your pooch miserable. It’s even worse when an upset stomach is plaguing them for no apparent reason. Recurring symptoms of diarrhoea, scratching and ear infections no matter how common they are, is not normal and is a sure sign that something isn’t quite right.
If you’ve taken your beloved fur baby to the vets and have gotten the all-clear for any nasty parasites, you’ll want to start checking Fido for a food allergy.
That’s right – food allergies are just as rife in dogs as they are in humans with the most common allergies being beef, dairy and wheat – all though, this is not exclusive.
So, what should you look out for if you suspect your dog of having a food allergy?
1. Gastrointestinal problems
Vomiting and diarrhoea are a sure sign that body is rejecting something. Due to your dog’s inquisitive nature, it is not unlikely that he will get V&D at some point in their life from something they have eaten that they shouldn’t have! However, if the vomiting and diarrhoea is becoming an ongoing problem, it may be a sign that they are rejecting the over-invading protein.
2. Itching and scratching
Food allergies tend to affect your dog’s skin. If Fido continues to eat a diet where an allergic-response was caused, he will start to form a hyposensitivity to it which will most commonly manifest in their skin causing irritation. No matter how many doses or Benadryl or Claritin your fur baby is given, if an allergy is present, the symptoms will continue.
3. Recurrent ear infections
More than 2 or 3 ear infections a year can be another telltale sign that Fido is suffering from an allergy. Although yeast infections and “swimmers ear” tend to be common in dogs, causing similar symptoms, it is the frequency of ear infections that may suggest an underlying allergy. Be sure to look out for any build-up inside the ear, any smells excreting from the ear, or if poor Fido is shaking and scratching the ear on a regular basis.
4. A change in nail beds
It can be difficult to check, depending on what breed of dog and what colour coat they have, but a red or brown colour of Fido’s nail beds is another sign of an inflammatory response. Your dog’s nails should be white with a hint of pink, so if your dog’s nails are a bloody red colour, a bronzed colour, or they are appearing to lick the area often, and it is not caused by some sort of food trauma, then it’s time to start the elimination process.
5. Redness or browning around the lips
If your dog’s coat is white, then this will be a lot more obvious for you to see. A yeast colonisation, triggered by a food allergy, will cause pink or red inflamed lips and jowls. After you have ruled out any yeast infections, it’s time to seriously consider the possibility of an allergy.
What to do?
So, what next? Once you’ve ruled out other possibilities or infections for the ongoing symptoms with the help of your veterinarian, it’s time to start an elimination diet. This is the only sure-fire way to diagnose a food allergy accurately.
Contrary to popular belief, putting Fido on rice and cooked chicken to allow their stomachs to heal is not a good move. The chicken can be too rich for their bodies to process and you never know, chicken could be the culprit.
Try moving Fido on a grain free diet, using grain free treats to subsidise their meals, and putting him on food he’s never had before to give him some time to improve. To help speed up the recovery process, you may want to consider some probiotics for dogs and vitamin e and omega 3 6 9 for dogs. Once you’ve given your dog some time to recuperate and see the symptoms reduce, it’s important to start reintroducing the old suspicious foods one at a time. This does take some time, as a triggered reaction can take from a few days to a few weeks so be sure to be patient, and prepare for a slightly lengthy process.
Having a dog with a suspected food allergy can seem like the most frustrating thing, and it can be incredibly upsetting to see them unwell. But rest assured, that once the culprit of the food allergy is found, it is all plain sailing from there on out!