Food Allergy Dermatitis in Your Dog: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More Help Your Beloved Furball Recover From Skin Allergies Caused By Food

BY | January 04 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Food Allergy Dermatitis in Your Dog: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More

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Learn more about food allergy dermatitis, how it happens, its diagnosis, symptoms, and ways to treat it. This article will help you understand everything about your dogโ€™s allergic reactions to food.

As a dog parent, you may have seen your beloved pooch develop skin infections after being infested by parasites like fleas or ticks. If left untreated, they go on a scratching spree, which can eventually cause severe skin redness, scarring, and infections. 

But did you know your dog can get allergic dermatitis on their paws, armpits, ears, and tummies from unsuspecting environmental irritants? Apart from dust mites, pollen, and grass, your dog might be allergic to a few food items. The most common food allergen is basically any form of protein. 

In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about food allergy dermatitis. 

Can Food Allergies Lead To Skin Diseases in Your Dog?

Usually, it’s uncommon to see most dogs develop atopic dermatitis or serious urinary tract infections due to food. But if your pooch is allergic to protein, it’ll trigger rashes or flair-ups on their skin. Even though it’s easy to manage common allergies in dogs, dealing with food allergies can get a little complicated. 

When your dog has an allergic reaction to food, their immune system releases a high amount of histamine. In reaction, rashes and hot spots develop on the skin. As a result, it can cause severe discomfort, leading them to sneeze and itch their bodies uncontrollably. 

Why Do Food Allergies Occur in Dogs?

Food allergies will show up when your dog is between one and three years old. Dogs with this type of allergy generally are intolerant of plant- and animal-based proteins. Examples include dairy products, eggs, beef, lamb, soy, fish, pork, wheat, etc.

It happens because the dog’s immunity mistakes the protein molecules in the body as ‘invaders’. Therefore, their immune system attacks the protein. Once that happens, most dogs develop side effects like dermatitis and other skin conditions. 

Unfortunately, they won’t exhibit allergic reactions like inflammation or bumps until later. 

Symptoms to Look Out For

As a dog parent, you can look for the following symptoms associated with allergic reactions to protein: 

  • Restlessness and pacing when they are irritated or uncomfortable 

  • Excessive licking in certain parts of their skin

  • Sudden loss of hair and visible bald spots

Your dog may have dermatitis if they’re rolling on the carpet or grass to scratch their body. Skin irritation from food allergies can sometimes lead to oozing scars and crusty or scaly skin. 

They might also develop hot spots. But you can treat that discomfort using a medicated spray for instant relief. In any case, remember to contact your veterinarian if your pooch exhibits these symptoms. 

How Can You Diagnose Food Allergy Dermatitis?

Are you unsure whether your dog has developed dermatitis due to food allergies, parasites, or infections? In that case, you need to take them to a vet for a quick checkup. 

During the appointment, the veterinary dermatology expert will perform various tests. These include the following:

  • Flea combing to rule out a tick or flea infestation

  • Examining the skin under a microscope to check for dust mites

  • Tape strip testing to check and verify surface bacteria

  • Hair plucking and UV light inspection to determine if there are any fungal infections

If all these are negative, then the vet will perform blood tests and skin biopsies. They can also ask you to approve a food allergy test or an elimination trial. It’s a hypoallergenic food diet that lasts for twelve weeks to diagnose your dog’s allergy. 

How Do You Treat Food Allergy Dermatitis in Dogs?

What do you do when your dog suffers from a flea or tick infestation? Well, you give them preventive medications prescribed by your vet. 

Similarly, they might prescribe the Apoquel brand’s oclacitinib tablet for pruritus and canine allergic dermatitis caused by food allergies. The Apoquel drug class is Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors for this medication. That means it’ll work differently than steroids. 

For instance, it will block inflammatory cytokines from being released in the dog’s body, reducing the urge to itch. Technically, it contains inhibitors and enzymes that can target the dog’s nervous system and stop the compulsion to itch and lick. 

Hence, this FDA-approved immune suppressant can reduce your furball’s allergic dermatitis within a 14-day course. Ideally, you need to give this medicine twice a day to your dog. But keep in mind that this tablet cannot ‘cure’ your dog’s food allergy.

Pro Tip: Since these tablets are bitter and foul, you can use a pill wrap probiotic paste to mask the smell and taste.

In conclusion, pet parents will find it challenging to treat any skin disease resulting from food allergies. However, with proper treatment using oclacitinib tablets, the dog can feel much better within two weeks. But remember that breeding, pregnant, and lactating dogs cannot be given this medication.

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