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Canine Food Allergies 101

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, because the springtime pollen sets off reactions in many pets. Don’t forget about another possible source of allergies, though—your dog’s food! Learn about the basics of canine food allergies below from your Indianapolis vet.

What is a Food Allergy, Anyway?

A food allergy isn’t as simple as saying your dog is allergic to his food. What he’s really reacting to is a particular ingredient in the food. Your dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies this ingredient as harmful, even if it’s not. Antibodies are then dispatched to combat the “problem,” which causes allergic reactions.

What Do Dogs React to in Food?

The most common allergen-inducing ingredients in dog food are wheat, diary, and beef. Other possible offenders include chicken, corn, soy, fish, lamb, and yeast. Nearly every dog food you find on the shelf contains at least one, and most likely many, of these ingredients.

What are the Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs?

Itching, biting, chewing, licking, and scratching is usually the first sign of a food allergy in a dog, sometimes resulting in bald patches where your dog has removed his own hair. Sometimes, visible rash on the skin and hives can occur. In more serious cases, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach upset can occur, along with poor fur and coat quality.

Are Canine Food Allergies Common?

Food-related allergies make up about 10 percent of all the canine allergy cases that veterinarians diagnose. Certain breeds may also be more prone to developing food allergies, including the cocker spaniel, German shepherd, boxer, and the dachshund. Dogs that have eaten the same food for many years can even develop an allergy to an ingredient if their system identifies it incorrectly.

How Are Food Allergies Treated or Managed?

Set up an appointment with your Indianapolis veterinarian if you suspect your dog is allergic to an ingredient in his food. Your vet will run tests or prescribe a diet change to determine the exact ingredient that’s causing the problem. In many cases, purchasing a dog food that is void of the particular offending ingredient is all that’s necessary. Ask your vet for more information on this so you can get your pooch eating properly again!

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