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Most Common Food Allergies in Dogs

Is your dog’s food making your dog sick? Dogs suffer from allergies just like humans, and many suffer from food allergies caused by common ingredients in dog food. Dog food allergies may be a lifelong problem, or they may build up over time and seem to develop spontaneously.

How do you know if your dog has food allergies? Food allergies in dogs often manifest in the form of skin problems. Excessive itching, hair loss and paw chewing are all common symptoms of dog food allergies. Recurring ear infections may also be the symptom of a food allergy. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms in your dog, your vet will be able to rule out other causes, and may be able to test your dog’s blood or skin to determine the exact allergens.

The most common dog food allergens are chicken, wheat, eggs, corn and soy. But dogs may also be allergic to beef, fish, lamb, pork and whey, so figuring out which food is causing the reaction may be a bit challenging. Although it is not a universal cure, grain-free duck and potato blends are often recommended for dogs with food allergies. If your dog is suffering from food allergies but you’re not sure what they are allergic to, it may be effective to slowly transition them to a duck and potato diet, and then once symptoms have stopped, try reintroducing the common allergens one by one to see which foods cause a reaction. Always be sure to read the labels on your dog food and dog treats.

Pet food allergies are often caused by overexposure, which is why the most common dog food allergies are also some of the most common dog food ingredients. If your dog has eaten only chicken-based dog food for her whole life and now won’t stop chewing on her feet, try switching her to a lamb-based dog food and the problem may fade. Once you’ve determined the allergens, either through an elimination diet or allergy tests, be sure to find a dog food that is free of those ingredients. Ensure that any treats measure up as well, and don’t allow trainers, friends or family to feed your dog anything that you haven’t approved.

Rotating your dog’s food is a good way to prevent food allergies from developing. Dogs need variety in their diet too! Choosing premium dog foods that contain fewer ingredients and more whole foods is also a good choice for preventing dog food allergies. Wheat, corn and soy are used as fillers in mainstream dog foods, which increases the exposure and therefore the risk of allergy. The chemicals and preservatives used in mainstream dog foods can also cause food sensitivity.

Examples of premium dog foods are Avoderm, Innova and Wellness. Mainstream dog foods include Iams, Science Diet and Purina. If in doubt, read the label. The first ingredient of a high-quality dog food should be an animal protein such as chicken, beef or lamb. If the first ingredient is corn, wheat or another filler, the food is lower quality and more likely to contribute to dog food allergies.

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