Is your dog sensitive to particular food, or does he have a true allergy? That is one question every vet asks when you go to them for advice on the best hypoallergenic dog food.
Food sensitivities or intolerance are far more common than true allergic reactions towards food in most dog breeds.
Why do you need to take allergies seriously?
The Anaphylactic route is the most severe form of an allergic reaction. You may have heard about people with severe nut allergies. Consumption of peanuts can cause their face, mouth, and tongue to swell up and result in internal swelling too. It can cut off the airflow into the lungs quite quickly. It can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Although not all allergic reactions have to take the Anaphylactic route, most of them persist in the form of rashes, hives, facial redness, and swelling. You might notice facial swelling and redness, but it reaches only till the lips and ears. The swelling can occur 30-minutes to an hour after consuming the allergen. Sometimes, you may notice gastrointestinal signs like vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Thankfully, food allergies in our pets manifest in the form of dermatological conditions mostly.
The recurrence of dermatological symptoms makes it challenging for the owners and vets to distinguish it from food sensitivity. The symptoms of food sensitivity can include –
- Poor, rough, and shaggy coat. Loss of fur upon touch.
- Repetitive chronic infections of the ears, foot, or nose.
- Frequent diarrhea after the consumption of particular food (vomiting may or may not occur).
What’s causing those nasty rashes on your dog’s skin?
Yes, it is entirely possible that your dog’s allergic reactions are not due to food, but due to fleas or environmental factors. If your dog goes outside for walks and plays in the park, then there is a good chance that he or she has invited some six-legged friends to live in the fur. It’s time not to panic and talk to your vet to eliminate any possibility of a flea infestation.
Environmental factors can range from pollen and molds to dust. These are factors that are almost impossible to control. Thankfully, most atopic allergies are seasonal, and you can control the reactions with the help of anti-histamines that your vet prescribes.
What to do when your dog has severe food allergies?
If your dog still does not stop scratching, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for your pooch’s allergy profile tests. Do you think that your dog might be allergic to a dog food or any ingredient in your home-cooked meal? Your first duty is to exclude the component or switch to the best hypoallergenic dog food that does not have the component. However, changing the diet plan of your dog can send a shock to his GI system and lead to further complications.
Therefore, before you put your pooch on an entirely new diet, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about a diet replacement plan. It typically involves replacing a small amount of his/her daily food with the new hypoallergenic kibble until he/she is comfortable eating the hypoallergenic meal only. The switch might take two weeks or longer, depending on your dog’s current health condition and dietary preferences.