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Food allergies in dogs are common. Most food allergies are caused by proteins. Protein-rich foods such as soy, dairy, peanuts, chicken, turkey, and eggs are said to bring about an allergic reaction. The usual symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Rashes and itching
- Paw biting
- Licking excessively
- Nausea and vomiting
Some of the Royal Canin dog food varieties, as well as the Canidae dog food are also rich in protein. Dog treats can also contain high quantities of protein, especially the meaty ones like the Hill’s Prescription Diet dog treats.
What is the difference between food allergy and intolerance?
Allergies are caused by the immune system response that recognizes a particular food ingredient as a foreign substance and mounts an all-out attack against it. Allergic reactions cause wheezing, hives, and trouble breathing, and if untreated, can be fatal. Food sensitivity or intolerance is not an immune system response but rather due to irritation of the digestive system. Food sensitivities can be related to the amount of the problem food eaten. If less of the food is eaten, the response may be milder. With a food allergy, even a minute dose of the problem food can trigger severe reactions. Certain foods can cause severe reactions in dogs that can be terrifying. Knowing what these foods can do to your pet will help in taking care to avoid them.
The much-loved treat can be deadly for your pet dog. Chocolates contain a toxin called theobromine that humans can easily digest, but dogs cannot process it as quickly. The toxin does not get cleared from the blood and causes severe reactions like excessive thirst, diarrhea, restlessness and pacing up and down, panting and shivering, seizures, and severe shaking. Caffeine and dairy products in chocolate add to the problem.
Sugar substitutes such as xylitol can cause extreme reactions in your pet canine. Sweeteners are used in low-calorie diet foods, candies, gums, and mouth fresheners. Vomiting, lethargy, and staggered movements may be the initial symptoms. After a few days, if not treated, this can progress to liver failure and seizures.
Onions and garlic:
Although your pet may tolerate small amounts of onion and garlic, large portions may cause serious problems. Onions and garlic contain substances that can destroy the red blood cells that carry oxygen in the dogs. Anemia and breathing difficulty due to less oxygen are some of the severe symptoms. Macadamia nuts: Dogs cannot digest macadamia nuts, unlike humans. Within 12 hours of eating these nuts, dogs can experience weakness, depression, vomiting, shaking tremors, and high body temperatures.
Be careful about giving salty treats to your pet like chips or pretzels. Salt can cause diarrhea, depression, seizures, high temperature, and shaking. The best treatment for food allergies is to avoid the problem foods. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of food allergy, consult the vet as soon as possible.
Seasonal Allergies vs. Food Allergies in Dogs
If you suspect that your dog rolling around in the grass is causing allergic reactions, like excessive belly scratching or rigorous belly licking, you might be surprised to learn that your dog might actually have a food allergy. While a lot of dogs suffer from seasonal allergies to things like pollen, environmental allergens and food allergens can also cause symptoms like hair loss, itchiness, ear infections, and skin infections. Your vet will diagnose your dog for fungal infections, skin mites, and endocrine diseases, like Cushing’s or hyperthyroidism. Since most of the symptoms of allergies are not unique, treatment might require a bit of trial and error so that you can pinpoint the exact cause. A vet visit is the first step. Here are a few guidelines for pet owners so that they can form a better understanding of seasonal and food allergies.
Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of pet food allergies
Many pet owners do not suspect their dog to have a food allergy as it can take years for a dog to develop food hypersensitivity. The location of the skin problems is a good indicator of food allergies. If there are lesions all over the dog’s body from the flanks and ribs to the knees and hips, then there is a good chance that your dog has a food allergy. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, recurrent ear infections, and itchiness that can lead to self-inflicted trauma like scabs, hair loss, or hot spots (areas that have been chewed or licked repeatedly). Some G.I. symptoms are also an indicator of food allergies. Your vet will take a detailed dietary history and suggest eliminating some proteins and substituting them with a novel protein, like fish, duck, or kangaroo. Another option consists of putting your pet on a hydrolysate diet (where the protein is pre-digested into pieces too small for the immune system to recognize) or switching him over to a homemade diet of raw or cooked food.
Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of seasonal allergies
Some of the most common seasonal allergy causes include dust, pollen, dust mites, grass, and flea bites. Lesions on the underside or top of your dog’s feet are an indicator of an environmental allergen. The environment and climate also play a big role. For example, in Los Angeles, the weather is warm, and things are in bloom all through the year, which can end up exposing your dog to more allergies. However, in a place like New Jersey, things bloom in the spring and they are gone during the winter. There are many ways to test and treat seasonal allergies. Let us look at a few of them:
- Testing – Intradermal skin test will help in identifying which of the allergens is responsible for causing swelling, redness, or hives. Your vet will then prescribe an immunotherapy shot or a specialized serum for your dog.
- Fatty acids – Omega-3 supplements can help to reinforce the skin barrier, reduce inflammation and help all kinds of allergies.
- Antihistamines – It is best to consult with your vet before you give over-the-counter drugs to your dog. Antihistamines are great, provided your dog has not developed a secondary infection.
- Steroids – If your dog is severely itchy, he might need a steroid to abate it. But bear in mind that it can cause undesirable side effects, like kidney disease and high blood pressure. If you are administering steroids to your dog for a long time, he will need regular urine and blood tests.
- Flea prevention and control – Many dogs tend to have allergic reactions to the saliva of fleas, which can cause red bumps and itchy spots towards the back. Use a flea preventative as directed by the vet. Regularly vacuum all the carpeted surfaces, use a flea comb and wash the bedding with non-toxic, hypoallergenic detergents instead of household cleaners that contain chemicals. For fleas, you can also use the Capstar flea medication for dogs. A flea collar for dogs can also provide a good solution to this issue.
Get in touch with an online vet immediately if the symptoms keep getting worse.