Does your dog have runny eyes or an itch that won’t go away? This could be an allergic reaction to their food. Dogs can have food allergies, much like people, and suffer from many of the same symptoms. The veterinarians at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines can help you determine whether your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity, and prescribe the right treatment for your pet. With proper diagnosis and diet, your dog can live a happy life free from allergy pain.
Food allergies are a response to what your dog’s immune system views as an invading protein. Most of a dog’s immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. An overactive immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells rather than germs like viruses and bacteria. Severe allergic attacks can induce anaphylactic shock, but they are very rare. Certain breeds are more prone to allergies than others. Bulldogs, pitbulls, golden retrievers, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, pugs, Shih Tzus, dachshunds, Westies, and Yorkies are usually more vulnerable to dog food allergies.
Common allergens include:
Sensitivity vs. Allergy
Food sensitivities do not involve an immune response and are usually a gradual reaction to a specific type of protein. However, they still cause many of the same symptoms as food allergies. Identifying a food sensitivity can help you to alleviate symptoms by removing that type of food from your dog’s diet.
Allergy symptoms include:
- constant licking
- inflamed skin
- swelling of the face, ears, lips, or eyelids
- runny eyes
- chronic ear infections
Treating Dog Food Allergies
The most effective treatment is to change your dog’s diet. An elimination diet is usually the best way to determine which foods provoke an allergic reaction. After your vet diagnoses a food allergy, the best course of action is to start your dog on a diet of foods they have never eaten before. Then, by gradually adding different types of foods back to your dog’s diet you can identify which foods are causing the allergic reaction.
Sometimes cooking your own dog food is the best way to reduce chances of cross-contamination. Once you know which foods are safe for your dog, you can minimize the risk of an allergic reaction by preparing dog food at home. Grinding or blending your dog’s protein in a food processor can help the digestive process. Your vet might also treat allergy symptoms with prescriptions, or recommend a hypoallergenic dog food with hydrolyzed proteins. Never let other people feed a dog with food allergies or sensitivities, unless they are following specific feeding instructions.
If you think your dog is suffering from food allergies, schedule a wellness exam and allergy testing at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines. Allergy testing should be considered for any pet that is suffering for symptoms that occur more than four months out of the year. We offer the highest quality allergy testing to determine whether your pet is having an adverse reaction to something they have inhaled or injested. Call us today to request an allergy screen for your pet!