What are the clinical signs of food allergies in dogs?
In the dog, the signs of a food allergy are usually itchy skin, paws, or ears or digestive disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea. Other more subtle changes can also occur, including hyperactivity, weight loss, lack of energy, and even aggression.
Signs And Symptoms Of Food Allergies In Dogs
Like allergies in humans, there are many different signs and dog food allergy symptoms to watch out for. Signs and symptoms of food allergies in dogs might include:
Like all allergies, the only real solution is avoidance of the known allergen. Your vet can help you diagnose food allergies and come up with a treatment plan to prevent reactions from occurring in the future. If your dog is having a severe or life-threatening reaction, it is important to seek immediate veterinary care.
Dutch’s network of affiliated vets are experts in diagnosing and treating allergies in dogs. You can start by making an appointment today and get your dog seen quickly with state-of-the-art veterinary telemedicine.
The most common source of allergic reactions in dogs is food. In fact, many dogs are allergic to one or more proteins found in different food groups, usually beef or dairy products. In a study published through BMC Veterinary Research, scientists found that these food groups were the most common causes of allergic reactions in dogs1:
Many dog foods contain beef and chicken, so it’s no wonder why so many dogs struggle with dog food allergy symptoms. Dogs may also have allergic reactions to their environments, such as allergies to pollen, dust, mites, fleas, ticks, parasites, bees, wasps, or other things they encounter while out and about. Figuring out exactly what is causing their allergic reaction can be tricky, so taking a systematic approach to diagnose what they are allergic to is important.
How is a food allergy diagnosed?
The best and most accurate method of diagnosing a food allergy is to feed a hypoallergenic diet for eight to twelve weeks as a food trial called an elimination trial. To be a true elimination trial for your dog, this special diet must not contain any ingredients that it has eaten in the past. It also requires that no other foods, treats, or supplements are fed during the trial period, including flavored vitamins and certain parasite preventives.
If your dogs allergy symptoms resolve while on the food trial, the next step is to perform a food challenge by re-introducing your dogs old food. If your dogs symptoms resolve with the food trial AND return within one week of a food challenge, your dog has been definitively diagnosed with a food allergy.
There are blood tests that may indicate whether the dog is allergic to specific foods. These are called serum IgE tests, and your veterinarian will discuss whether they would be of benefit in diagnosing your pets condition. There is some evidence suggesting that this blood testing is not as effective as food elimination trials.