Food allergies do not affect humans alone. If you have pets at home, you probably know that they too can be allergic to certain foods, sometimes even to premium quality foods. When this happens, your pets become overly sensitive to certain everyday substances, presuming them to be harmful when, in reality, they are harmless. The symptoms and triggers for food allergies in pets begin to show by the pets’ extreme reaction to such substances when they try to get rid of them:
1. Food intolerance
How do you know it is a food allergy that is affecting your pets? In the first place, it is important to know the difference between the two synonymously-used terms, in this regard: food intolerance and food allergy. Food intolerance is difficult in digesting certain foods. Food allergy is an unpleasant immune response or reaction after eating certain types of foods.
2. Food allergy in pets
A food allergy happens suddenly and can be life-threatening. Even consuming a small amount can trigger a response. Food intolerance happens gradually and is not life-threatening. It usually occurs only when your pet consumes the food in large quantities. Some of the symptoms and triggers for food allergies in pets can be identical to food intolerance. Hence, you should take extra care and pay close attention to determine food allergy.
3. Gastrointestinal food allergy symptoms in dogs
While several gastrointestinal symptoms of food allergies are common in cats and dogs, here are some specific common among dogs:
- Straining to pass stool
- Abdominal pain and vomiting
- Diarrhea with or without blood or mucus
4. Severe symptoms of food allergy
In extreme cases, you may also see some rare symptoms of food allergy in dogs like:
- Breathing problems
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Secondary urinary tract infections
- Weight loss accompanied by diarrhea or vomiting
The following are the behavioral symptoms in dogs:
- Frequent scratching
- Frequently shaking and scratching the ears
- Biting the paws or the tail
- Withdrawal from commonly enjoyed activities
- Refusing to eat food
Note that these behavioral symptoms are very rare and secondary in nature. They are also linked to symptoms mentioned in the earlier list.
One of the best ways to diagnose food allergy in dogs is by trying an elimination diet. You have to feed your dog something new that has never been tried before. It should be pure and should include a single-source animal or vegetable protein and free from any natural flavors. It can also contain a single source of carbohydrates. Try it for about eight weeks. These foods can include rabbit, pea, fish and potato. Discuss with your vet about other new food combinations to try.
6. Choosing an allergy free diet
On the lines of the symptoms and triggers for food allergies in pets, here are some tips to pick a better diet to treat allergies in dogs:
- Change the diet with varied ingredients
- Do not go by commercial food labels. They are not always accurate
- Dog food products are not regulated for purity
- Choose fresh food prepared freshly in small batches with human-grade ingredients