People are rarely shy about sharing their food allergies...
Peanuts, shellfish, “gluten”, dairy, etc...
But what about our favorite little canine friends?
Are there common food allergies that we may not be aware of? Are we giving them something that is potentially doing them harm?
Let’s go over some of the most common canine food allergies to make sure man’s best friend is happy and healthy.
How Common are Food Allergies in Dogs?
Food allergies in dogs aren’t very common, but aren’t as rare as you might think.
About 10% of allergy food cases in dogs are food allergies (1).
The cause of the food allergies are widespread, and it can be hard to determine the root cause of a food allergy.
You’ll have to start out with a simple guessing game and try to switch out foods with different ingredients to get an idea of what might be causing your dog’s allergies.
What are the Common Signs of Food Allergies?
There are a lot of tell-tale signs that your dog might be suffering from food allergies.
One of the most common is itchiness. This could manifest in your dog suddenly scratching/chewing on their ears, feet, or hindquarters (or more often if they already do).
Other symptoms include ear inflammation or irritation, with gunk inside your dog’s ears. Cleaning your dog’s ears frequently will prevent them from becoming red or irritated.
Gastrointestinal problems are also common for dogs with allergies.
This could mean chronic diarrhea or chronic gas.
If you’re wondering why your dog has been so smelly lately, you might consider trying a different dog food.
Other possible symptoms include red eyes, eye discharge, hair loss, sneezing, and hot spots.
What Causes Food Allergies in Dogs?
There are lots of different things that cause food allergies.
Here’s what most people don’t know:
You have to have a genetic predisposition to develop food allergies.
The environment that the dog is in also affects whether or not it will ever develop food allergies in their lifetime.
Some people believe that if your dog was treated with antibiotics early in their life, they are more likely to develop food allergies later on.
This is because antibiotics change the environment of the gut, which is the largest immune organ in a dog’s body.
That results in your dog being more likely to develop an allergy because their gut cannot process it correctly.
Common Foods Allergies for Dogs
Here are some of the most common food allergies that dogs usually suffer from.
Proteins are actually common food allergens for dogs.
Did you know…
Feeding your dog a single food for multiple years increases their chances of developing a food allergy?
Since beef is a common ingredient in a lot of dog foods, it is also a common food allergen.
You can try switching your dog food frequently so that they don’t develop an allergy to beef.
Some dogs are lactose intolerant.
It’s important to distinguish that this is intolerance, not a true allergy.
How do you tell the difference?
An intolerance to lactose will always be about digestion and problems with digestion. While an allergy creates other symptoms like skin itchiness.
If your dog is lactose intolerant then they will often have gas, diarrhea, or vomiting.
An egg allergy is pretty easy to avoid since it’s not a very common ingredient in most dog foods.
Just be sure to check labels so you don’t buy a big bag of something you can’t use.
Egg allergies occur because your dog’s immune system overreacts to the proteins in the egg yolks.
Again, this is a relatively easy problem to solve.
There is a big misconception that grains are bad for your dogs and can cause a lot of allergies.
Dogs are actually a lot more likely to have an allergy to a protein than they are to grains.
That being said, some dogs do develop an allergy to wheat.
However, just because your dog is allergic to wheat doesn’t mean that they are allergic to all grains and that you should start buying grain-free dog food.
If you think that your dog might have a wheat allergy, check with your vet and see what kind of food they recommend.
It would be a sad life for a dog if they were allergic to chicken since it’s frequently in a lot of dog foods, but it happens.
Don’t worry, there are lots of different proteins to try giving your dog!
Try the other common proteins to see if your dog develops any allergic reactions to those.
Soy is another common food allergy for dogs.
Unfortunately, soy has also been linked to other problems.
These problems could be reproductive, liver, growth, and thyroid problems.
Some vets suggest that dog owners stay away from feeding their dogs soy in general, saying that the risks will outweigh any benefit that soy has.
Lamb is yet another protein that may cause an allergic reaction in your dog.
A lot of dog foods are labeled “chicken and beef,” but it’s important to remember that lamb could be an allergen as well.
Check labels to make sure there isn’t any lamb in your dog’s food if you think they’re allergic.
Are There Breeds That are More Susceptible to Allergies?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is that there haven’t been any significant studies that show how certain breeds are more prone to food allergies.
However, there are certain breeds that are more commonly googled with the phrase “food allergies” or “dog food allergies.”
What does this mean?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that these breeds are scientifically proven to be more prone to food allergies.
It just means that owners of these breeds see more food allergies in their dogs and are seeking some answers.
Healthy Additions to Your Dog Food
Don’t give up hope if your dog has food allergies!
There are still a lot of foods that you can give your dog that’s healthy and delicious.
Don’t know where to start?
Here’s a good list of healthy additions that you can give your pup with allergies.
There are tons of beneficial vitamins in peanut butter.
Vitamin E boosts the immune system while Vitamin B promotes helps with your dogs coat and skin.
The healthy fat in the peanut butter is heart-healthy!
The best part?
Dogs go crazy for peanut butter! They absolutely love it!
Just make sure that the peanut butter you’re giving your dog doesn't have any sugar in it. Your dog doesn’t need any additives.
Pumpkin is a super-food!
It has vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
All of these combined factors create a very healthy urinary tract for your dog.
Pumpkins also contain oils that help your dog with incontinence if that’s something that they suffer from.
The fiber in pumpkins also helps with digestion, which means a healthier digestive tract and less frequent diarrhea.
Green beans have vitamins A, K, and C.
Vitamin A is frequently in commercial dog food because it is so beneficial for them.
Vitamin K promotes a healthy blood composition in dogs.
Vitamin C boosts the immune system.
Iron and magnesium are also found in green beans.
Carrots are very rich in Vitamin A which is great for helping with better eyesight.
Not only do carrots help with eyesight but they also boost the immune system and promote healthy skin and coats.
Ready for a surprise?
Carrots also improve dental health in dogs!
When a dog chews on a carrot, it’s they’re brushing their teeth.
The hard carrot will actually remove built-up plaque from their teeth!
It’s important to note that Vitamin A in large quantities can be toxic. So don’t give your dog too many carrots!
The Allergy-Free Ending
Your dog may have allergies, but they don’t have to keep eating food that decreases their health.
Give them food that they’re not allergic to and then add in some healthy additions to complete their meal.
This will make them full, happy, and healthy.
Pay attention to your dog and any common signs of allergies. Try switching out dog foods with ones that may not have the common allergens in them.
You’ll be happy because your dog is feeling better, and your dog will be happy that they have food they love!