Identifying a Seasonal Allergy vs a Protein Allergy
Many pet owners are surprised to learn that their dogs skin and coat can be affected by digestive allergies. However, it can be difficult to identify if a dog is experiencing environmental allergies versus dietary allergies.
Unlike seasonal allergies which often rise with certain pollen levels, dietary allergies stick around. Dietary allergies also come along with digestive issues such as gas, a gurgly tummy, and diarrhea.
To verify if your dog has a protein allergy or an environmental allergy, you will want to rinse their paws after time outdoors and provide them with a prescribed flea preventative medication. If your dog’s symptoms persist, you will want to try an elimination diet or switch them to a single-protein diet using a novel protein.
Most people use “allergy” and “intolerance” interchangeably when referring to their dogs inability to digest certain ingredients. This is not a big deal because intolerances and allergies often cause similar or identical symptoms and can be treated by eliminating the irritant from your dog’s diet.
However, if you’re curious as to what the difference is between the two, it’s simple: With an allergy, a dog’s immune system kicks in and reacts with histamines, resulting in discomfort. With a food intolerance, the dogs digestive system cannot process the ingredient and reacts by evacuating the ingredient and digestive discomfort.
Proteins are the most common offenders when it comes to dogs’ dietary allergens and intolerances. These proteins (according to the BMC Veterinary Research) include:
- Beef (34%)
- Dairy Products (17%)
- Chicken (15%)
- Wheat Gluten (13%)
- Soy (6%)
- Lamb (5%)
- Egg (4%)
- Pork (2%)
- Fish (2%)
What are the Common Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs?
Symptoms of food allergies in dogs vary, but the most common complaint is non-seasonal itching that may involve the whole body or be focused on the ears and feet. Chronic or recurrent ear and skin infections are also typical. Some dogs may even develop vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive gassiness. Symptoms often begin when dogs are young (before one year of age), but may develop at any time.
What Else Can Dog Owners Do?
Using limited ingredient recipes for your dog’s food, snacks, and treats is one of the best ways to keep track of your dog’s diet. Be sure to choose healthy dog snacks that contain the same protein as your dog’s primary diet. This makes the most of your dog’s single-protein diet. Additionally, check your dog’s medications and toothpaste for protein-based flavorings that could cause your dog to have a flare-up.
If you notice no changes in your dog’s allergy symptoms three weeks after switching their protein, they may be allergic to another ingredient. After proteins, carbohydrates are the next most common culprit. Opting for an elimination diet can help you better identify the allergen.
How To Know If Your Pet Has A Protein Allergy
Although food allergies dont affect that many dogs, the symptoms can be stressful for both owners and their canine companions. Here our Woburn vets offer some insight into the best foods for dogs with allergies.
Do you believe that your dog is suffering from food allergies or a sensitivity to an ingredient in their regular dog food? Then its important to know what the symptoms of food allergies are, and what you should do if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy.