At Pet Doctors of America we understand how unpleasant it can be having to deal with the effects of food sensitivities and allergies in dogs. Today, our Jacksonville vets share some of the best foods you can give your dog to help with their allergy symptoms.
Food Allergies In Dogs
If your pup is suffering from food allergies or hypersensitivities, it's imperative that you understand the most common signs and symptoms of a food allergy and what you need to do if your pooch is diagnosed with an allergy.
What are the signs of a dog food allergy?
Generally, the first symptoms a dog develops when they have an allergy are itching, and red skin or rashes on their feet and ears. Several other common symptoms of food allergies in dogs include diarrhea, gassiness, and vomiting. A dog can start showing signs of a food allergy when they approach their first birthday, however, allergies and sensitivities can arise at any age.
How will my dog's food allergy be diagnosed?
Similar to diagnosing food allergies in humans, dogs that are suspected of having food allergies will be placed on an elimination diet.
Your vet will provide you with specially formulated hypoallergenic dog food to feed your dog for a minimum of 8-10 weeks. It is essential that during this timeframe only the hypoallergenic food is given to your dog, not even the odd treat now and again. This gives your pup's body time to adjust to the new diet and provides your vet with the opportunity to evaluate your dog's condition.
Many dog owners see an improvement in their pet's condition after the first 4-6 weeks, however, a number of breeds can take much longer to show signs of improvement.
If your dog's symptoms clear up while on the elimination diet, your vet may ask you to return your pooch to their original diet in order to confirm the diagnosis. If your dog is suffering from food allergies, the original symptoms should reappear within two weeks.
What can I feed my dog if they have a food allergy?
If your dog is diagnosed with food allergies there are several food options available in stores, or from your veterinarian, that could help you address the problem and alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms.
Here are a few of the most popular foods available for dogs with allergies:
- Prescription Dog Food: Your vet may recommend feeding your dog prescription dog food. While this option can be pricey, it may be the best way to address your dog's symptoms if they are suffering from severe allergies.
- Limited Ingredient Dog Foods: These foods address the presence of allergens by including just one protein source, such as beef, lamb, or chicken. Often, these foods are also reduced to a single carbohydrate source. Be sure to look for a seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO), as well as a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer when shopping for limited ingredient dog foods.
- Novel Ingredient Dog Food: Novel ingredient dog foods replace the most common dog food proteins (beef and chicken) with more unusual proteins that will be new to your dog's system such as duck or salmon. Many novel ingredient foods will also use unusual carbohydrates, leading to combinations such as potato and venison.
- Grain-Free Dog Food: Grain-free dog foods and treats are ideal if your pet has a sensitivity to corn, wheat, and other grains. These pet foods are also gluten-free. That said, it's important to note that while grain-free foods are gluten-free, not all gluten-free dog foods are grain-free.
What food is best for my dog?
Your dog's specific allergy and overall health will determine which diet is best for your four-legged friend. If your dog's symptoms are caused by an allergy, your vet will be able to recommend the best foods that can improve your dog's health.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.