Allergies can make anyone irritable and sick, even fatally, but imagine being an animal and not being able to tell what the problem is and what is causing all the trouble. Food allergies exist in dogs. There are certain food substances that dogs can develop a particular reaction to. It is also known as an adverse reaction to food or an uncharacteristic response of the body to a type of ingredient or food.
Dogs get either a food intolerance (a reaction that does not involve the immune system) or a food allergy (when the immune system is involved. for Example; eating grapes).
Causes of Food Allergies
It is not necessary that your dog develops a food allergy from puppyhood. It can take many years to become allergic to a particular type of food. However, once it develops the allergy, it will stay.
Most allergic reactions are linked to the protein in your dog’s food, such as meat or chicken. It’s good to know the common types of food products that dogs can develop allergies to. These include wheat, beef, and different types of milk products.
The damage that food allergies do to your dog can range from mild to severe. One of the severe reactions includes kidney failure. Other consequences include infections, inflammations, and surgery.
The medications that you may be giving to your dog can also lead to food allergies by damaging the digestive system. These allergies can occur at any age, so even if your dog was fine with a particular ingredient, you should not rule out its allergy.
One point to note is that some dog breeds are more likely to develop food allergies than others. Such breeds include Irish Setters, West Highland Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels.
Dogs and Their Sensitivity to Foods
A diagnosis is not easy, especially identifying the product your dog is allergic to. Some common symptoms of a food allergy are skin irritation and digestive issues. Most people notice itching more than the digestive issues as it is more frequent.
Skin issues related to food allergies usually occur on a dog’s ears, face, and feet. The difficulty with diagnosis occurs because there can be various causes of these skin problems. For instance, a reaction can be caused by atopy or flea bite. Dogs that have regular ear infections (recurring or chronic) need to be checked for food allergies as well.
A few signs of food allergy include frequent vomiting, skin irritation, hair loss, bad coat, and diarrhea. Keep a close check for:
- Itching and hair loss
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Chronic ear issues
- Skin inflammation (redness included)
- Improper growth for young dogs
- Sneezing, coughing, and wheezing
If you notice any of these symptoms occurring consistently, please consult a vet as soon as possible. Food allergies can lead to fatal diseases like kidney failure. Many of the symptoms are similar to that of other diseases as well, so it is best to consult a vet to find out the real problem.
Dogs and Their Kidneys
A dog’s kidney works similar to that of a human. It balances some substances in the blood and takes out the urine. It ensures that the salt and water concentration in the body is maintained at a normal level. It also ensures that the pup’s blood pressure is under control, maintains the phosphorous levels, and helps in calcium metabolism. It also forms hormones that promote the production of red blood cells.
There are different causes for kidneys not working properly. When that happens, various (and deadly) toxins accumulate in the body, causing the dog to fall sick. It can also lead to kidney failure.
Causes of Kidney Issues
Kidney failure can happen slowly or in a matter of days. There can be a sudden and unexpected decline in its working in just a few days.
There are different causes of acute kidney failure. It can happen due to food allergies, ingestion of toxins (which include contaminated food, antifreeze, and certain types of medicines), decreased level of oxygen or blood flow to the kidneys, urinary infections, and blockages.
Some problems related to the kidney can easily be identified and fixed, but there are times when a dog develops chronic diseases and it comes up over a period of time. The causes then are harder to find and understand. It happens slowly and you will find this issue mostly in older dogs.
If your dog has food allergies, be extremely careful so that your dog doesn’t have to suffer from kidney issues.
Treatment of Food Allergies
Food allergies stay with a dog until it dies. Since they can create a bigger problem in a dog’s digestive and immune systems, it is imperative to manage them. The best thing you can do for your dog is to manage these allergies by finding the main food item responsible for the reactions and to avoid it altogether.
Check for whatever is causing skin problems and gastrointestinal issues. If there are food allergies, make sure you feed your dog the right type of food for the rest of its life.
The best way to find out what is causing the problem is to use dietary elimination trails. It means that you will need to remove one ingredient from your dog’s food every time you feed it to find out what is actually causing the issue. This method is said to be accurate and a practical way of finding the issue.
Make sure that the food your dog eats is balanced. Its meal should have a few ingredients and additives as dogs do not need too many ingredients. While trying to find the product that’s causing the problem, make sure you do not give the dog any table food, dog food, chew toys, or snacks in between.
If you find out that your dog is allergic to a particular type of meat, you need to substitute it with a new type as dogs need meat. For instance, if it is allergic to beef, you can try giving it chicken, duck, salmon, lamb, or eggs. In case the dog is allergic to all these proteins, you will need to find a source with broken-down proteins.
If you want a proper prognosis, you need to take your dog to the vet and let them do a thorough examination. They can also recommend the best diet for your dogs.