Understanding Dog Food Allergies
Itching, ear infections, skin infections—if your dog has an allergy, you’ve probably noticed the symptoms. Allergies in dogs are commonly caused by fleas, environmental allergens like grass or pollen, and food allergens. When searching for the best dog food for allergies, it’s important to understand the facts. (And remember, if your dog is starting to show signs of sensitivity or dog food allergy symptoms like itchy skin or digestive trouble, consult your veterinarian.)
Causes of food allergies
Most of the time, dogs are allergic to a specific protein found in food. They can potentially be allergic to any protein and can become allergic at any point in their life. The most common types of allergens found in food are dairy, beef, and chicken. While corn allergies exist, due to the low levels of protein in corn, this sensitivity is very uncommon.
Diagnosing food allergies
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog may have an allergy. The only way to currently differentiate between food and environmental allergies is by performing a skin or blood test for environmental allergies and/or a diet trial for food allergies. These tests are not always perfect, and they do require a significant amount of client compliance and interpretation from your veterinarian; however, identifying the potential allergen(s) can be very helpful in managing disease. Dr. Taylor Francis says, "Once my patient is on a good quality flea prevention, the next step is differentiating between food vs. environmental allergies. This typically starts with an elimination food trial where I'll recommend a hydrolyzed or novel diet to isolate what the patient may be allergic to."
Treating food allergies
If your dog has an allergy, your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet to isolate and identify the cause of the allergy. If this kind of diet is recommended, follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely. These food trials can typically last 2-3 months.
In addition to removing the allergen (if possible), it’s important to treat secondary skin/ear infections, and manage clinical signs. Antihistamines, steroids, antibiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and other newer immune altering drugs are commonly used in the treatment of secondary skin infections and environmental allergies.
Feeding your dog for happiness and health
If your veterinarian determines that your dog’s allergies are environmental and not food-related, you can look to Just Right dog food for a personalized blend with ingredients to support your dog’s unique nutritional needs. If you have questions about how Just Right can help support your dog’s happiness and health, connect with our Customer Care Team and talk to an expert.