There are many signs that can indicate that a dog suffers from some type of allergy. While the fact that it scratches frequently and for no apparent reason is the most common, it is not the only one, but there are several more. It is also important to know that the allergen that triggers them could be some of the feed ingredients we are giving you.
Why is it important to know if my dog has an allergy I think it?
An allergy is the body's response to the presence of an element called an allergen, that is to say that the immune system does not recognize and attack it, but in the process the body suffers and if it is not known what is the element that causes the Allergies, it will be useless to mitigate its consequences.
Allergies are very dangerous for several reasons, among which the possibility of triggering responses of various types (which are harmful) and that there is a significant decrease in the animal's defenses, since allergies force the immune system. In extreme cases, the reactions can be lethal.
If you notice different behaviors or see signs that your animal is not healthy, you should take it to the veterinarian. But do not settle for the prescription of antihistamines or ointments to alleviate its itching, because if your dog suffers allergy to feed or some of its components, you will not be attacking the problem at its base.
Generalized itching and opaque fur
When a dog scratches without stopping, without reason and without relief, the skin becomes red, dry and inflamed and in extreme cases it can have hair loss in certain areas and in addition its fur loses shine and freshness, it is very possible that the origin of these conditions is in an allergy, which may be nutritional.
Before determining what an allergy is, other factors should be ruled out. One of them is that after the last bath there could have been remains of shampoo, which cause contact dermatitis. Many of the products that are applied to pets contain artificial colors, phthalates, sodium, mineral oils or other irritating and even toxic elements.
To rule out that this is the reason for the dog's itching, it is best to give it a new bath using a neutral soap and make sure that the final rinse is deep and that there is no foam or product left. If you are suspecting an allergy, it is not advisable to add any other products, such as conditioner or cologne for dogs.
Two other elements that could be allergy triggers are pollen and fleas, more specifically the saliva of these external parasites. The first is usually detected because it is accompanied by sneezing and is usually seasonal. The second is easily avoidable by placing the dog, a highly effective anti-flea product.
Dogs with watery eyes
If you notice that your dog scratches his eyes too often, that he has them teary or irritated, you should pay due attention. Take the veterinarian because there is a fundamental problem, which could be a blockage of the lachrymal, a nasal congestion or excess secretions and all this could be due to a reaction caused by an allergen.
Before doing the allergy tests, the veterinarian will rule out that the cause of these conditions has other reasons, since, it could also be consequences of some type of eye trauma. If the professional notices other problems associated with the symptomatology already described, he will surely deepen the evaluation until he finds the problem.
Recurrent infections of the dog's ears
They are considered recurrent when the animal suffers a minimum of 2 to 3 annual episodes of otitis, which require specific treatment to eliminate them. This could be a sign that our dog suffers from a feed allergy. But that is not necessarily the answer, so it is important that other possible causes be removed from the list.
The veterinarian will examine your dog and verify that it has no accumulated dirt inside the ears, which usually has a black or brown color and could be accompanied by a rather unpleasant smell. This can be caused by mites and / or yeasts, which require specific treatment and do not leave with a simple ear cleaning.
There are also dogs that suffer from the ears due to some type of malformation or because it is their “weak point”. The professional will try to find the reason behind these infections, since when they are recurrent they can represent a long-term danger to the animal's optical health. Among the possible causes will evaluate that of a feed allergy.
Color change of your dog's nails
Nails are also an indication that the dog is in good health. This is easier to appreciate, in those races whose nails are white. If there is a color change in the base, you should see the veterinarian immediately, since this could indicate an immune response, usually of the inflammatory type.
Itching, dull fur, ear infections ... are one of the symptoms dogs present when they are allergic to feed
This could be a symptom that the dog suffers from a feed allergy, but it could also have other causes that must be ruled out, such as a thyroid disorder, which can only be detected by performing blood tests or some type of limb trauma, due to a blow, a sting or a thorn stuck.
Color change on the dog's lips and nose
In breeds with light coat this symptom is very noticeable, but you should be aware that this color change does not occur in all dogs, since it could be the product of a yeast colony that has been installed in the nose of the dog and that causes itching and discomfort. This may be a consequence of a feed allergy.
The veterinarian will try to rule out that the cause of the presence of yeasts is another or that the redness of the lips is due to the fact that the dog has burned in the sun. Yes, dogs can suffer burns and even sunstroke, especially those with sensitive skin, very short hair and / or light colors.
How to know if my dog is allergic to feed?
When some or several of the above circumstances have arisen and the veterinarian discards all other causes, there is only one option and that is that the dog has some type of allergy. This is the moment in which the allergen that triggers these reactions must be resolved.
There are different types of tests that are used to determine the origin of dog allergies, which can be environmental, by feed or by other causes. The idea is to discard from a list, the possible allergens, starting with the most common and moving to the least specific.
You can try to find out if there is a type of feed that causes adverse reactions in your dog. Start by changing the brand you usually give and go testing with hypoallergenic feed, to see if there are improvements. Keep in mind that the results will not be immediate and that this process can be long and tedious. In addition, it will not be the best to find the allergen guilty of the problem.
Does a diet change help the dog with a food allergy?
A different kind of diet could help a lot. A dry feed diet can be changed to one of the type B.A.R.F., based on raw, ground and mixed foods, which, according to specialists, is much healthier for all types of dogs. An example of this type of food is the Squeaky diet.
The BARF diet is one of the alternatives to dry feed
The disadvantage is that, in the same way that the change of feed does not imply the identification of the allergen, with this diet the situation could improve, but neither does it have to be the definitive solution. If the dog is allergic to something that, in one way or another, is present in both types of food, it will continue to have allergic episodes.
Most Common Food Allergens
Many of the foods found in different types of feed, raw foods and even homemade food, may contain allergens or be themselves. Performing a food allergy test can provide you with key information, so that your dog is healthy and well fed.
There are many allergens in different food groups. Among the grains include wheat, rice and corn, the proteins contained in eggs, red or white meats, certain vegetables and / or legumes such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, beans and lentils, some nuts especially peanuts and nuts and milk and its derivatives (cheese, yogurt or butter).
As for products that have been genetically modified, such as soy or soybeans, some varieties of corn, papayas and even potatoes and radishes, it is not known what long-term effects they can have on living organisms, but if they have been banned for human consumption, the same should be done for all types of animals.
If your furry friend has any strange symptoms or behavior, take him to the veterinarian and have a thorough check, until he finds the problem that causes his health problems. If the other causes are ruled out, do not hesitate to submit your dog to the tests that are necessary, to find out if he or she has a food allergy.
Once you define what is the component of the feed that triggers allergic reactions, you just have to take care that your dog does not have contact with this food under any circumstances. To do this you must keep this restriction in mind, before giving any food and do not allow anyone to give you anything, that you do not know exactly what it contains.
To prevent very acute reactions, your veterinarian will surely prescribe some antihistamine type medication, in case your dog has a specific crisis. You should not ignore that dogs are very curious and sweet and sometimes, as soon as we neglect half a second, they eat things they should not, so be careful and take good care of them.
Dogs with food allergy
"Food allergies are not rare in dogs. Along with flea saliva allergy and reactions to some particles present in the environment, such as pollen or certain air fresheners, Food allergy is one of the most common in dogs"says veterinarian Nerea González.
exist genetic factors They come into play when the dog has an allergy. But the animal can even develop, unexpectedly, intolerances to diet ingredients that the dog has ingested for years.
Hypersensitivity affects some races more than others. Is frequent among terriers, such as scottish or cairn, and in some other larger ones like setters, retrievers and dalmatians.
"Although food allergies in dogs appear between the first and third year of life, adults are not protected, as they may arise at any age", adds González, who explains that most of the food allergies of the dogs that come to his office are related to "starch, present in rice, lamb and chicken".
My dog is allergic to his food: symptoms and food
The dog's body reacts when an allergy appears. And the skin is one of the first to resent. Usually, can develops dermatitis. "The skin responds with redness, peeling and constant itching"González points out. To reduce the annoying itching, it is recommended to administer fatty acids that have an anti-inflammatory effect and reduce itching.
Other alarm signals that warn of an allergy are the vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Therefore, a quick visit to the veterinarian is essential to the first manifestations of allergic symptoms.
"Most food allergies are due to certain proteins present in milks, meats and fish, but there are also some dogs with intolerance to food additives"adds veterinarian Amanda Friedeck, who has done extensive research to learn about food allergies in dogs and cats. Meats such as veal and lamb, foods such as milk and even cereals such as wheat They are among the foods that most frequently cause allergic reactions in these pets.
How to act: hypoallergenic dog diet
There is three useful concepts about food allergies in dogs, which help detect them in time and treat them properly. One: it is common for an allergic animal to suffer more than one allergic disease. Two: there is no medication that cures an allergy. And three: above all it must be taken into account that, to detect a food allergy in the pet, a blood test of the dog is not a completely effective way. How should one act, then, before a food allergy in the dog?
The first step to identify the food that causes can allergy, you have to subject the animal to a hypoallergenic diet. These diets usually include a source of hydrolyzed proteins and carbohydrates to which the pet has had little or no previous exposure.
If the dog offers any improvement during the hypoallergenic diet, it should be returned to the original diet, to confirm that this is the cause of the allergic reaction and more accurately detect to which specific ingredient is allergic. "In cases of allergy it is essential that the owner collaborate to the fullest, that helps identify what are the foods that are causing the allergy in our dog," continues the veterinarian. For example: change the rice for the chicken, this for the lamb, etc. And so gradually until it is able to detect the ingredient to which the pet is allergic.
The monitoring period for each new ingredient should last about a week.
The hypoallergenic diet For the dog it starts like this: you have to offer a single ingredient and wait long enough to see if it is that ingredient that causes the appearance of the allergy. If no reaction is observed, the next ingredient in the diet is passed. The surveillance period for each new ingredient should last about a week, although, generally, dogs develop allergy symptoms in the first few days. This process must be done under veterinary supervision.
In case the allergy arises, you must remove the last added ingredient and wait for the symptoms to disappear, before moving on to the next ingredient to ensure the success of the treatment, which must always be supervised by your usual veterinarian.
In order to avoid accumulating at home kilos of discarded food to which the pet is allergic, the ideal is make these hypoallergenic diets with small containers of dog food. The commercial samples offered by veterinarians are even worth it.