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Dogs and Food Allergies

April 1 2014

Have you noticed your pooch itching, scratching, rubbing, chewing, and biting at his own skin more than usual? The cause may be something you haven’t thought of: a food allergy! Learn more below from a Myrtle Beach veterinarian.

What Exactly is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy happens when a dog’s immune system makes a mistake. Your dog’s body is identifying a particular ingredient in food as a harmful substance, even if it’s not. The body then dispatches antibodies to fight the substance, resulting in the symptoms you see.

What Are the Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs?

The earliest symptoms of a food allergy in your dog will probably be excessive itching, scratching, and biting. Visible skin rash and hives can also occur, and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, and diminished coat quality can happen in more serious or prolonged cases.

How Common Are Food Allergies?

Of all the canine allergy cases veterinarians treat, food-related allergies make up approximately 10 percent. It’s even possible that a dog will develop an allergy to something in food that he’s been eating for years. Certain breeds of dog seem to be more prone to developing food allergies. These include the German shepherd, dachshund, cocker spaniel, and the boxer.

What Are the Most Common Allergens in Food?

Beef, wheat, and dairy are usually the most common allergens in dog food, although chicken, lamb, fish, soy, corn, and yeast are other possible offenders. Just about all commercial dog foods contain these ingredients-it may be necessary to purchase a food purposely void of the particular ingredient that your dog reacts to.

How is a Food Allergy Treated?

If you suspect your dog is reacting to an allergen in his food, set up an appointment with your Myrtle Beach veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet may run tests or suggest a change in diet to determine what’s causing the problem. Don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian more about your dog’s food allergy and how it should be treated. Armed with the best knowledge and advice, you and your dog can defeat the problem and get mealtime back to normal!

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