Diagnosis Of A Food Allergy
There is no easy test to determine presence of a food allergy in your pet. A number of blood tests, a salivary swab test, and DNA tests are available through diagnostic laboratories and even directly to the pet owner through online advertising. However, these tests are not helpful in obtaining a clear answer on what foods your pet is allergic to.
These tests definitely dont help you check if your pet is food allergic or not, i.e. there is no simple test to give you a yes or no answer when it comes to food allergies.
The gold standard and also the only available method that is reliable in diagnosing food allergies in pets is a well performed strict dietary elimination trial, based on your dogs specific long term dietary history.
After pursuing a food trial for 2 months and assessing response to this change, a dietary provocation trial is pursued in order to help confirm or rule out presence of a food allergy. This process is called the dietary elimination trial followed by provocative dietary challenge.
There is no cookie cutter approach that helps pets with food allergy. Thus, veterinarians dont simply pick the same diet to treat food allergy in all dogs that they see. Similarly, if your friend or neighbours dog did well on a certain food, there is no way to know if that food will also benefit your own dog the same way.
Some helpful indicators for presence of food allergy in dogs are:
Baby Benadrylan Easy Way To Treat A Dog Bee Sting
Benadryl for dogs? Baby Benadryl is a milder form of the popular over-the-counter antihistamine medication, and many vets recommend it for a dog with allergies, or when a bee stings a dog.
Usually, the recommended dosage for dogs is 1mg per pound of body weight, 2 to 3 times daily. Baby Benadryl is 12.5mg per chewable tablet, so a 25-pound dog, two tablets would be enough. Always consult a veterinarian before giving your dog Benadryl or any other medication.
Food Allergies In Dogs And The Hypoallergenic Diet
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As almost everyone has an opinion about food allergy in pets, there are many myths and misconceptions about food allergies in dogs. It is easy to form an opinion on something quite common, thus food allergy does fall prey to different opinions and beliefs.
The diagnosis, signs and treatment of a food allergic dog can vary based on individual experience, so it is only valid to have differing opinions. Following are some well-known facts about for allergies that are not based on experience and belief alone. These are facts based on documented scientific evidence that veterinary dermatologists often use to help determine how best an itchy, allergic, or food sensitive dog patient should be treated.
It is estimated that about 10% of dogs affected by itchy skin or persistent skin problems, severe enough to be presented to veterinary dermatologists, are affected by food allergies. A bigger proportion of dogs are usually diagnosed with environmental seasonal or non-seasonal allergies as well as flea allergy dermatitis . Such data indicates that while food allergy is a significant and relatively easily treated problem of our canine companions, other allergic causes should also be considered for dogs affected by itchy skin, infected ears or recurrent skin problems.
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How To Treat Canine Diarrhea
Since diarrhea is a symptom, usually caused by an underlying health issue, treatment of diarrhea involves finding out and treating the underlying cause.
If your dog has a bout of acute diarrhea but is otherwise healthy, you can try fasting the dog for 12 hours to see if the diarrhea goes away. Be sure to encourage your dog to drink enough clean water during fasting to prevent dehydration.
You may also want to use some simple home remedies to help make the dog feel better. Visit our post on Dog Diarrhea Cures to see how.
Note, however, if your dogs diarrhea does not improve in 2 days, its time to take him to the vet for a checkup.
Genetic Predisposition To Dog Food Allergies
Wondering whether your dog might be predisposed to food allergies or intolerances? Certainly there’s some evidence that if a parent has an allergy, their offspring is more likely to inherit it. So in that way, genes do play a role. But what doesn’t seem to be a factor is a dog’s breed. In fact, science has never confirmed that any one breed is more at risk for food allergies than another. “It can happen in any breed and in any dog,” says Shmalberg.He also notes that some breeders and owners may have the view that deviating from the ancestral diet of certain breeds might predispose to allergies. For example, Huskies are accustomed to fish diets in their natural habitatso could feeding them poultry lead to an allergic reaction?
In short, no. “There is no evidence to support that theory. Most dogs seem pretty adaptable to a range of foods,” says Shmalberg. The age or sex of the dog also appears to have no relevance to food allergies or intolerances. Some vets do report that food allergies have been found in dogs less than 1 year old. So even young puppies can be affected .
Here are the top 10 breeds most frequently Googled along with the term “food allergies” or “dog food allergies”:
Keep in mind, food allergies can happen in any breed, and, of course, some breeds may be searched more frequently just because they’re more popular in general.
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How Do You Know If A Dog Needs Grain Free Food
If you see any of these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian!The following are symptoms that would be expected in dogs that have food allergies or other types of allergies, including environmental and flea allergies: Itchiness. Excessive hair loss. Bald patches. Inflamed skin. Sores and scabs. Hot spots.
How Do They Relate To Digestion
Various ingredients in dog food can trigger an immune response in your pet. When your dogs immune system misidentifies a particular ingredient as a foreign substance, it can cause an allergic reaction, which presents as GI issues.
Dogs can also suffer from food intolerances. An intolerance, or hypersensitivity to an ingredient, can lead to difficulty digesting that ingredient. Whether your dog has a food allergy or food intolerance, however, the symptoms and the treatment will typically be the same.
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Video Answer: Dr Becker Discusses Pet Diarrhea
An allergy can occur to a protein in a particular food causing colitis and blood in your dog’s stool.
These can be present in the colon, rectum or anus and include benign and malignant tumors.
When blood in your dog’s stool is ongoing, it can point to his colon being inflamed, which is also called colitis.
In fact, there are dog food allergies and dog food intolerances.
Just like us, canines can suffer from either or both.
And food allergies in dogs can cause not only digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea, but also skin issues, and even behavioral problems.
Most Common Dog Food Allergens.
Dogs produce multiple allergens, or proteins that can cause allergy. These allergens are found in dog hair, dander, saliva and urine. All dogs produce allergens studies have not shown that dogs can be hypoallergenic .
How To Manage Your Sensitive Pups Diet
Simple. Identify the foods your dog is allergic to and eliminate them from their diet. There are a few ways to control the ingredients in their diet whether going through a dog food delivery service, running to the store, or whipping it up yourself.
1. Make them a homemade diet.
If you decide to go the homemade route and create your own fresh dog food, its essential to make sure your recipe has the correct balance of protein, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Its complex and should be formulated by a pet nutritionist.
2. Purchase food from the pet store.
This can be a little challenging, and there are a few things to watch out for when searching for the best dog food for your pup.
First, its important to carefully review the ingredients and look for the real protein source. Often, the main protein is something like chicken if you see the word flavor. Chances are the main protein in Lamb Flavor and Rice is something other than lamb. You may inadvertently feed your pup something they react to.
Also, if the label lists natural flavoring as an ingredient, its usually made from pork or chicken. Its generally just a small percentage of the recipe, and mainly included to make it taste yummy for Fido. Call the company to ask what animal the flavor was made from some highly allergic dogs cannot even have small amounts of the protein they are allergic to, and flavor could set off a reaction.
3. Purchase food specifically formulated for your dog.
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Dog Food Allergies Vs Intolerances
First of all, not every food or ingredient that causes symptoms in your dog counts as an allergy. Many times, an adverse reaction can be caused by a dog food intolerance.
Whats the difference? It has to do with whether or not theres an immune response to the food.
A dog food intolerance is when a certain food isnt processed or digested correctly or just doesnt agree with your dogs digestive system. This is what is often happening when a dog experiences lactose intolerance.
But with true food allergies, your dogs immune system is actually attacking one or more specific ingredients in the food. This response triggers the release of chemicals such as histamines within your dogs body, resulting in allergic symptoms, including itching.
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Dog Food Allergy Treatment
Dog food allergy treatment boils down to one underlying principle: identify foods your dog is allergic to and avoid feeding him those. “That’s why the elimination diet and trial period is so essential,” says Shmalberg, “as it’s the only way to identify which foods, and food proteins, a dog can tolerate and which he can’t.” Now, if it’s a food intolerance rather than an allergy , a food trial is still helpful, but a simple change of diet can be just as effective. “A diet with a different composition from the one currently being fed is often enough to improve symptoms,” Shmalberg explains.
Unless formulated well, with the advice of a board certified or residency-trained veterinary nutritionist, many homemade diets are deficient in certain critical nutrients.
Aside from that, there are a few other tactics that come up in dealing with food allergies and intolerances. Here’s a brief overview, plus considerations, pros, and cons for each.
Antihistamines and Other Medications
Homemade Dog Food Diets
Vegan Dog Food Diets
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What Is Inhalant Allergy And How Is It Treated
The term inhalant allergy in the dog is often used as a synonym for atopy. The main inhalant allergens are tree pollens , grass pollens, weed pollens , molds, mildew, and house dust mites. Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed, cedar, and grass pollens. However, others such as molds, mildew, and house dust mites occur year-round. When humans inhale these allergens, the resulting allergy primarily manifests with upper respiratory signs: runny eyes, runny nose, and sneezing . Although sometimes the symptoms of allergies include allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, in most dogs, inhalant allergy manifests with itchy skin . Due to these clinical signs, the condition is also called inhalant allergic dermatitis. The dog may rub its face, lick its feet and scratch the axillae .
“Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.”
Most dogs that have inhalant allergy start showing signs between one and three years of age. Affected dogs will often react to several allergens and often experience concurrent flea or food allergies. If the offending allergens can be identified by intradermal skin tests or blood tests, the dog should be protected from exposure to them as much as possible. Because most of these allergens are environmental, this is difficult and recurrent bouts are likely. Symptoms of atopy can be controlled but a permanent cure is not usually possible.
Allergies Caused By Fleas And Parasites
Almost every dog will get fleas, ticks, mites, or other parasites at some point in its life. Usually, these parasites are easily removed, and the dog will not have an adverse reaction. However, some pets will develop allergies, mainly relating to biting parasites. It is typically the parasites saliva that causes the allergic reaction in dogs.
Flea bite hypersensitivity in dogs will cause extreme itching and discomfort to your pet, this is known as flea bite dermatitis or pruritus. Symptoms and signs include:
- excessive scratching
- hair loss
- formation of scabs or lesions on the skin.
Symptoms are episodic and tend to worsen in summer months, as well as when the pet ages.
Diagnosis of a parasite or flea allergy is relatively straightforward, as you or your veterinarian will be able to identify the parasites on the dogs skin.
Treating the allergic reaction usually involves removing the parasite, either with a topical medicine or by grooming. This should stop the reaction.
For excessive itching, vets may prescribe steroids , antihistamines or antibiotics for a secondary infection.
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How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Allergies
If your dog is suffering with itchy skin, diarrhea, or other symptoms, how do you know whether the problem is an allergy? Figuring out the root cause may not be easy. For one thing, all the symptoms that can be caused by allergies can also be caused by other health conditions. So your veterinarian may want to test your dog for some of those other issues in order to rule them out.
To complicate matters, hypersensitivity reactions actually fall into several types. What most people think of as the classic allergic reaction occurs within seconds or minutes of exposure to the trigger . But other types of reaction take two or three days to produce full-blown effects .
Allergy Testing For Dogs
Depending on what kind of allergy is involved, an allergy test might help your veterinarian determine whats causing your dogs symptoms. Flea bite allergy and many inhalant allergies can often be confirmed with skin tests or blood tests . Several companies offer hair and saliva tests for both inhalant and food allergies, but studies have found that not all of these tests produce reliable results. This study found that saliva and blood tests for food allergies were unreliable. But some saliva tests for food allergies have shown better accuracy than others.
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How To Spot A Food Allergy
Reactions to a food allergen typically occur immediately or shortly after the ingredient/food is eaten, and the symptoms are often severe.
The primary dog food allergy symptom is itchy skin. In fact, food-related skin irritation is the cause of about 20% of the itching and scratching in dogs. Their scratching and chewing may be limited to a single hot-spot or a full body irritation.
You may notice your pup chewing or scratching excessively, rubbing their face with their paws or against furniture, or excessive licking and chewing their paws till theyre swollen.
However, there are a few additional signs that could point to dog food allergies.
One is that your dog has recurrent ear problems, particularly yeast infections. Another tip-off is if their itchy skin doesnt respond to steroid treatment, or they have skin infections that respond to antibiotics but reoccur after antibiotics are discontinued.
Other dog food allergy symptoms include:
Red, itchy, inflamed ears, frequent head shakingHair lossHives, skin rash, or inflamed skinOpen sores or hot spotsCoughing, wheezing, shortness of breathRunny, red, or itchy eyesRunny or stuffy nose, sneezingOdor from feet or ears Stomach upset, gas, vomiting, diarrhea
Some pups may have an increase in bowel movementsup to 3 or more times per day, though this is a less common symptom.
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Your Dogs Feet Smell Like Corn Chips And They Wont Stop Licking Them
While most humans think that the corn chip smell is normal for a dogs feet, its actually a sign of bacteria. If your dog is also licking their feet, its not because theyre cleaningtheir feet are itchy.
If your dogs hair is a light color, you may notice fur staining of the feet, a symptom in which the fur takes on a dark red, coppery color due to the dogs saliva.
The classic corn chip odor of the feet, which many people believe to be completely normal in dogs, is caused by skin infections, either from bacteria or fungi . So how is this symptom related to allergies?
The inflammation associated with skin allergies breaks down the normal skin barrier over time. As a result, opportunistic microbes like yeast and bacteria can go from resting peacefully on the surface to diving deeper, where they set up infections and cause problems.
Addressing these secondary infections will be one of the first steps that your veterinarian will want to take in treating your allergic dog.
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Your Dog Has Red Eyes
Its less common for dog allergies to manifest in their eyes, but it is possible.
When certain parts of the eye become red and inflamed, especially if both eyes are affected, an allergy may be at play. The term for this condition is allergic conjunctivitis.
The redness may be accompanied by squinting or pawing at the face.
How To Treat Dog Food Allergies
Unfortunately, theres no cure for allergiesthe best treatment is simply avoiding the causes of allergic reactions. If your dog is currently having an allergic reaction, however, there are medicines that can be used to stop symptoms and help your dog feel more comfortable.
Discovering what food your dog is allergic to may be difficult, especially because most dog food contains a blend of many different proteins. Unfortunately, there is not an accurate test to diagnose a food allergy. While there are several on the market, they are not recommended due to their lack of validity. The only way to test is to go through an elimination diet trial. There are two major styles of an elimination diet trial to determine the causes of your dogs allergy symptoms:
- Hydrolyzed protein diet. Hydrolyzed protein dietsutilize a process where large protein molecules are broken down into much smaller fragments and can bypass the negative immune response and prevent the food allergy. Like the novel protein elimination diet trial, this diet must also be fed for at least 8-10 weeks and no other food items can be given during this time.
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