Food Allergies: What All Dog Owners Should Know

What is a food allergy?

food allergy is an adverse immune system response to a particular protein in food. As a result of this response, some dogs develop itching or skin and ear infections. In other animals, the allergy causes vomiting and diarrhea, while some may have all the symptoms.

 Consulting a veterinarian is always essential in order to rule out other causes for the same symptoms mentioned above.

 Itching and skin and ear infections can be caused by flea bites and allergies to herbs, mites, pollen, etc.

Gastrointestinal changes can originate from infections by parasites, viruses, or bacteria and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), for example.

Discarding other causes of these gastrointestinal symptoms that are not of food origin, we can, in addition to food allergies, take into account food intolerance, which does not involve an immune response, but rather the inability to correctly process a particular food constituent. , such as lactose intolerance which causes diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.

Food intolerances are more common than food allergies.

How is food allergy diagnosed?

There is not yet a simple and fast test that makes it possible to diagnose a food allergy.

There is, however, a set of signs that, when verified, indicate a greater probability of having a food allergy and not another type of allergy or infection.

Signs that your dog may have a food allergy:

  1. If symptoms occur at an age younger than 1 year (puppies do not normally develop environmental allergies);
  2. If the symptoms are not seasonal or do not change with regional changes (eg travel or changes from drier to humid climates);
  3. If there are no reactions to steroid injections;
  4. Both gastrointestinal symptoms and skin symptoms are present.

Elimination Diet

The “gold standard ” for diagnosing a food allergy is the elimination diet test, which consists of feeding the dog a diet prepared by the veterinarian, which normally only includes a few ingredients (protein and fiber plus fats, minerals, and vitamins).

If after more than a month on this diet there is a marked improvement in symptoms, to confirm the food allergy, your dog must go back to the previous diet, with each ingredient being tested later.