Dogs rarely have food allergies, but when they do, it can cause stress for both owners and dogs. Our Grants Pass vets have shared the best foods to alleviate your dog's food allergy symptoms.
Food Allergies in Dogs
If you think your dog has a food allergy or sensitivity to an ingredient in their regular food, you should be aware of the most common symptoms of food allergies and what to do if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy.
Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies in dogs often begin to appear as the dog reaches their first birthday, although allergies and sensitivities can develop at any age.
The most common signs and symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:
- Red irritated skin
- Rashes on the ears and feet
Common Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs
Most dog allergies are caused by proteins found in animal or plant-based ingredients in their diet, particularly beef, dairy, corn, and wheat.
Surprisingly, it may take a while for food allergy symptoms to show up, even if a dog has been eating the problematic food for months.
Diagnosing Your Dog's Food Allergies
The only reliable method to diagnose dog food allergies is an elimination diet.
Your vet may prescribe a hypoallergenic dog food if they suspect a food allergy, which you'll feed to your dog exclusively for 8-10 weeks to assess if it improves their symptoms.
During this period, it's crucial to stick to the prescribed food and avoid giving any treats. This diet allows your vet to monitor your dog's overall health, and if their symptoms clear up, they may recommend returning to their original diet.
If symptoms return, it confirms a food allergy.
Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies
After diagnosis, your vet will collaborate with you to find the most suitable diet for your dog. Several food options can help alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms.
Prescription Dog Food
In severe cases of food allergies, your vet may suggest prescription dog food for your dog. Although it may be expensive, prescription-only novel protein and hydrolyzed diets are usually more effective than those sold over the counter.
Grain-Free Dog Food
Grain-free dog food may be ideal if your pet is sensitive to corn, wheat, and other grains. These foods have the added benefit of also being gluten-free.
Limited Ingredient Dog Foods
Limited ingredient dog foods contain only one protein source (such as beef, lamb, or chicken) combined with a single carbohydrate source to address allergens.
When buying these foods, look for the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO) seal of approval and a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer.
Novel Ingredient Dog Food
Novel ingredients in dog foods substitute common proteins like beef and chicken with uncommon ones like salmon, duck, or venison.
These foods also include unusual carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes to provide a balanced diet.