It’s always unsettling to see your beloved fur baby feel uncomfortable and act unusual. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just tell us their symptoms in order to avoid their dreaded trip to the vet? While our pups can’t talk to us, it’s up to pet owners to recognize unfamiliar behaviors as possible symptoms of a health issue. Perhaps the cause of the issue may be directly linked to their food! While eating is a crucial part of survival, it’s necessary to detect your dog’s food allergies fast, in order to take the essential steps to find a new brand of food for your companion. Below, we discuss important tips and symptoms regarding food allergies for your pooch!
What is a Food Allergy?
According to ModernDogMagazine, food allergies occur when there’s an “over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein”. Whether your pooch’s food is meat, grain, or vegetable based, there are different kinds of proteins found in each. 70% of your pups immune system rests in the gastrointestinal tract, which is made up of the mouth, stomach, and intestines. When proteins are absorbed in the intestines instead of first being broken down in the mouth and stomach, allergies against the protein will occur as the immune system works harder than ever. When your pup continues to eat the food he’s allergic to, the immune systems response actually increases and therefore forms a hypersensitivity to the protein. Once hypersensitivity occurs, the immune system begins to release hertamine, which causes the symptoms discussed below.
What Are Symptoms to Look Out For?
1. Recurring Ear Infections
According to DogsNaturallyMagazine, ear infections that reoccur at least 2 or 3 times a year, even after being treated, are an absolute indication of food allergies. If you catch your pooch frequently shaking her head, scratching her ear, or see brown or black build up in the ear canal, it may be time to look at other dietary options for your beloved! However, before you go on a research binge, keep in mind there are other factors for recurring ear infections. For example, if your dog loves to swim, she may be prone to ear infections because of the water build up, instead of being allergic to her food!
Household remedy for ear infections: 50/50 of purified water and apple cider vinegar. However, if the ear infection is caused by food allergies, a change in diet is essential!
2. Skin Conditions
If you notice your munchkin’s lips, jowls, or toes pink, red, or inflamed, then they may be allergic to their food as well.You may also notice your pet constantly itching and/or licking certain parts of their body. According to NomNomNow, skin conditions surrounding the ears, paws, inner thighs/belly, and the eyes are common areas that result in pink and itchy skin. Perhaps your pup itches so uncontrollably that hair loss may be presented as well. However, it is important to rule out any other potential factors, (such as shampoo residue) that could also contribute to excessive itching of the skin! Just keep in mind that if you believe your dog’s skin condition stems from food allergies, a thorough bath won’t do the trick!
3. Diarrhea and Vomiting
If you see your poor darling suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, it may be because their food allergy is affecting their digestive tract. According to NomNomNow, this symptom only occurs to 10-30% of dogs who are confirmed to have food allergies. Ear infections and skin conditions are the most common symptoms.
What To Do:
Have a trusted vet administer an “elimination diet” where they can suggest a new food that has a different protein and grain than before. These diets can be homemade and only contain a few ingredients—usually, “one protein and one carbohydrate, and other necessary fats, vitamins, and minerals“. This type of food can be given to your pup for at least a month in order to monitor improvement. However, in order to detect an allergy, you may have to re-administer their old food to track any changes.
It’s important to remember that humans are not the only ones with allergies to food! Our animal friends can fall victim to allergies as well. If you see your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms listed above, it’s okay to use topical treatments and antibiotics to rid these symptoms. Just note that the underlying problem stems from Fido’s food, so while topical treatments and antibiotics will provide initial relief for your fur child, a change in diet will provide them with a lifetime of comfort!