Dog Food Allergies

As long time dog owners and rescuers of older dogs, we’ve certainly dealt with our own share of dog food allergies.

We know first hand how frustrating it is for dog owners to diagnose dog food allergies, because the symptoms often mimic environmental allergies, yeast infections, etc.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for dogs to have atopy (inhalant or environmental allergies) as well as dog food allergies.

Plus, the symptoms are often overlooked because unsuspecting dog owners relate the dog itching and scratching to fleas.

Unlike atopy which is often hereditary, food allergies aren’t breed or gender specific.  Any dog breed or gender is susceptible.  Vets conclude that most dogs are between 2 and 6 years old when dog food allergies appear.  Yet, dogs of any age, young or old can develop them at any time.

Symptoms of Dog Food Allergies

There’s a definite difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance.  At some time or another, all dog owners experience their dog eating something that didn’t agree with him.  This usually results in diarrhea or vomiting.

On the other hand, true symptoms of dog food allergies include itchy skin including the face (rubbing the face on the sofa or carpet), ears, feet (chewing bottom of feet), upper legs and armpits and the anus area.  Most dogs with dog food allergies also get reoccurring ear infections.

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The Good News

Once you get your dog on the right food, his allergy symptoms should disappear.  By “the right food”, I mean a food that works for him.  Just because one dog food works for one dog with allergies, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for every dog. We’ve never done the food trials for 12 weeks like most vet’s recommend for determining a true food allergy.  However, we have gone through several dog foods before finally getting our yellow lab’s allergies under control.  Just remember to stick with ALL NATURAL HIGH QUALITY dog foods and dog treats.

Environmental Allergies

It’s important to keep sensitive dog’s clean, especially dogs with environmental allergies. Although some recommend bathing sensitive dogs daily, I don’t – I mean who has the time. Outside of bathing every 4-6 weeks during the warmer months, here is what I do. I get a bucket of warm water and wipe my lab down daily using a cloth (wring the cloth out so that it’s not dripping water), including her tail and underneath her tail (anus area). You have to make sure that your actually cleaning the skin and not just the fur. I then rinse her feet in the warm water as well and thoroughly dry her so that you’re not inviting any yeast problems.

With the right food and daily sponge baths (that’s what we like to call them), our allergy prone dogs have always remained itch free!

Finally, after a month or so, take notice as to how your dog is reacting to his new food.  Are his symptoms fading or disappearing?   If so, congratulate yourself, you did it!  If not, move onto another food and remember to keep your allergic dog CLEAN.

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