Dog food allergies - Stop the torture!
Food allergies are not exclusive to humans, but they can certainly be difficult to diagnose in pets, especially when dog food allergies appear to manifest so quickly. The biggest problem of course, is the pet's inability to communicate to his master the symptoms effectively, and they are so many times confused with other conditions.
Symptoms of dog food allergies include excessive scratching, hair loss, skin infections, as well as ear infections. Oftentimes, antibiotics used for skin infections will clear them up briefly, but then they will reoccur when the antibiotics are completed.
An animal that has itchy skin that does not seem to be improving with the use of antihistamines or steroids, may be suffering form dog food allergies. Since most dog food is made from beef, chicken, wheat, eggs, soy and dairy products, it should be no surprise that most allergies to dog food are caused by one of these ingredients.
When pet food companies began producing lamb and rice formulas, many dog food allergies seemed to disappear.
Many veterinarians agree that it is not because of something special in the lamb and rice formulas that reduced the incidence of dog food allergies, but rather that the dog's diet was changed and the animal had not developed intolerance to the new food.
Dietary Change to Test for Food Allergies
Once other causes are ruled out, such as flea bites, intestinal parasites, yeast or bacterial infections, a dietary change may be needed to reduce the symptoms of dog food allergies. A new food containing protein and carbohydrate should be the only diet for the pet for about 12 weeks to determine which ingredients in their old food was causing the allergic reaction.
The food must be completely different from the previous food and cannot be supplemented by treats or other types of food for the test to be effective. Once it has been determined the pet is not having an adverse reaction to the new diet, various foods may then be added to help develop a more diverse diet. Any addition must also go through the same test procedures and if any reaction, the new addition will be eliminated. A healthier dog means a healthier friend for life!