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Allergy Dog Food - Testing Your Dog for an Allergy to Dog Food - Diagnosing Your Dog, How to Treat an Allergic or Intolerant Dog

diet symptoms allergies dogs

Many people don’t realize this, but it is entirely possible for dogs to have food allergies. In fact, they account for 10% of allergies seen in dogs. So how do you know if your dog has allergies? And what do you do if it does? Luckily, the solution doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can figure out what’s troubling your pup right at home, and take some simple steps to treat the problem without even seeing the vet.

Diagnosing Your Dog

Dogs can have either a total food intolerance or a more simple allergy. A food intolerance will cause diarrhea and vomiting after eating the problem food, whereas allergic reactions are more subtle. Allergic reactions include symptoms like excessive itching (especially around the face, ears, and feet), stubborn ear infections, hair loss, and skin infections. One tip-off to food allergies is recurring skin infections that will disappear with antibiotics, but then come right back after treatment stops. You will also notice very frequent scratching, and there is a possibility of increased bowel movements compared to other dogs, up to three times a day.

The tricky part about diagnosing your dog is that there are plenty of other causes that could potentially be giving your dog similar symptoms. There are also airborne allergies to consider, not to mention flea bites, internal parasites, and yeast infections. You should first take time to disprove these possibilities before moving on to treatment for food allergies, and this is where the vet can come in handy with helping you diagnose it. Once you are sure your dog’s reactions are not resulting from other causes, then you can begin a food trial experiment.

How to Treat an Allergic or Intolerant Dog

Food trial experiments involve putting your dog on a strict diet of only one food blend. Make sure it is a complete protein/carbohydrate blend, and one that is different from your dog’s original food. For example, if your dog was on a beef/rice diet before, try something different like lamb or rabbit with potato instead. You can find specially formulated anti-allergy dog food too, which is created to have proteins and carbs that are so small that they don’t trigger the allergic reaction. Either way is fine. But choosing the diet is only the beginning…

Now you must take every step possible to make sure that this is the only food your dog has available during the testing period. Many dogs could begin showing allergic symptoms after the first month or two, but experts recommend a full 12 weeks of the new diet to ensure the accuracy of the test. During this time, don’t feed your dog anything other than the new diet. This means keeping them away from the table at mealtime, getting rid of any treats that are not made with the exact same formula as the new diet, keeping away any flavored toys, toothpastes, or other animal products from your dog. You should not allow your dog to roam where he could find other items to eat.

Continue this strict diet for 12 weeks while watching the symptoms carefully. If they don’t stop or get more severe, find a new diet choice to try and start the food trial over again. If the symptoms subside, you’ll know that you’re on to something. For a fully accurate test, after the time is up you should feed the original food to your dog while still maintaining the other strict controls on the diet. If the symptoms return, then you have identified the culprit. From here on out, the only thing you need to do in order to treat your dog’s allergy is simply avoid any food product with the same problem ingredient(s) as the original diet. If the symptoms don’t return after feeding the original diet to your dog again, then you know that you have an outside influence from one of the other food sources that your dog used to consume. You can continue this type of isolated testing by very gradually adding new items to the diet until you identify the culprit. As long as you avoid the allergy-causing agent, your dog should have no more food problems in the future.

That’s it for this guide to diagnosing and treating your dog for an allergy to dog food. Follow these tips to ensure that your best friend stays happy and healthy for a long time to come!

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