If you go to the grocery store, there is a whole section of allergy medications for people. But is there the same awareness of allergies in dogs? Dogs can experience allergic reactions to a variety of things as well. It may surprise you that some dogs can even have gluten allergies! Food allergies are an especially challenging pup issue since so many dog food products are made with low-quality ingredients.
Food allergies can affect many different aspects of your dog’s health. Gastrointestinal and integumentary systems issues are typical of most allergies. Allergies could be making your dog pretty uncomfortable- itchy skin, diarrhea, and sneezing are just some of the symptoms your dog may have. Yikes!
Since dogs are unable to describe their discomfort, it’s part of your job to pick up on the subtle cues that your pup is giving you. Even if you do notice some abnormalities, it can be difficult to figure out what the food is that your dog is allergic to. A trip to the vet is the best way to help single out your dog's allergy.
Sundays for Dogs is a healthy dog food that was co-founded by a licensed veterinarian, Dr. Tory Waxman. Eliminating many of the common ingredients dogs have issues with and replacing them with the pinnacle of fresh ingredients is what Sundays stands for.
Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy
Signs and symptoms of dog food allergies are very similar to what humans experience. Irregular stool, skin irritation, and itching are the most common avenues that symptoms take. Many foods produce these same symptoms in dogs.
While a loose stool is an obvious indicator that some food didn’t agree with your pup, some allergy symptoms can be a little more discrete. Taking the time to give your fur baby a thorough look over occasionally or taking them to the vet for a checkup is a great way to catch these discrete symptoms. Tracking any allergy symptoms is also important so that you can give all of the information to your vet.
Since many allergies are food-based, it makes sense that their symptoms will be related to the digestive tract. A little bout of the runs or an occasional vomit is usually nothing to concern yourself with. The real issue arises when diarrhea or unusually soft stool goes unresolved for a long period of time. This could be indicative of an allergy or other problem.
Allergies and Skin
The skin is another commonly affected organ. This can manifest as itching or general irritation. The skin may appear red, have hives, or other skin changes. In some dogs, you may not be able to see a change in the actual skin because of their pigmentation or because their beautiful floof is in the way.
For allergies that present in the skin, you will most likely notice the change in your dog’s behaviors. They may begin gnawing at an area of their skin or incessantly itching or licking the spot. While you can try and stop these behaviors while you are present, when you go off to work, they can break their skin. This puts your furry friend at risk for infection.
Allergies and Fur
Fur may also show changes. The fur may change its texture or become thinner. In some cases, allergies can cause hair loss which can leave your dog looking patchy. If your dog constantly sheds (hello, Huskies!), it may be more challenging to identify this at first since they naturally are losing fur. Over time the coat may appear less full, or you could see balding spots.
The GI and skin symptoms are typically milder, but some serious symptoms require immediate attention. Think of the child who eats a peanut and has a swollen face, wheezes, and has a hard time breathing. This is a scary event because the throat is essentially swelling shut to close the airway.
This is a life-threatening event called anaphylaxis. This can happen to dogs as well. If this occurs, you may notice your dog having difficulty breathing, having swelling of the face, eyes, and tongue. There also may be symptoms around the rest of the body, such as hives that can indicate an allergic reaction. If this happens, it is important to call your vet immediately to get emergency help. They may give your dog an antihistamine to help control the reaction.
5 Most Common Food Allergies in Dogs
The five most common food allergens for dogs are chicken, beef, dairy, corn, and wheat. If your dog appears to be struggling with allergies, check the labels of their dog food. It could very well be one of these food products that is irritating your pup.
Chicken is one of the most common proteins included in dog food. While you rarely hear of people allergic to chicken, a good amount of dogs are. If your dog has a chicken allergy, try substituting chicken for other healthy proteins such as beef, salmon, or lamb. When choosing a chicken-free food, you should look for whole foods without an abundance of grains and fillers.
Corn and Wheat
Corn and wheat are both grains that can cause allergies. Many foods have these grains in large quantities in the food since it fills up your dog. While it does fill them up, it lacks the necessary nutrition for your dog and could be a culprit behind an allergic reaction. If they are allergic to these products, consider a human-grade food that never uses fillers.
Dairy can also cause food allergies in dogs. Dairy is not in all dog foods, but it sometimes appears in small amounts. Dairy is a common allergy and digestive tract irritant. So, while your dog may love ice cream or whipped cream, watch how much you allow them to eat.
Beef is another common allergen in dogs. Beef is not as common of a main ingredient as chicken since it is usually more expensive to include in the foods. To substitute beef, you want another protein source, such as chicken, lamb, or salmon. Beef is the least common allergy amongst the five.
Figuring Out What Exactly Your Dog is Allergic To
Since most foods cause the same allergic reactions, your vet is the best person to guide you through an elimination diet to identify the exact food that is causing the issues. Your vet may also do diagnostic tests like a saliva test to identify the allergen. These diagnostic tests can recognize certain antibodies that the body builds up towards the food. These antibodies are what make their body react to the foods when they enter the body. Your veterinarian is the only one that can diagnose your dog with an allergy, so working with them to discover it is the key to helping your pet.
Nutritional Alternatives to Common Allergens
These common allergens are in so many of the popular dog foods, so it can seem like they are everywhere you look. You can choose alternatives that are more preferable due to their reduced likelihood of causing an allergic reaction. For example, instead of having wheat or corn, oats and quinoa are an excellent choice for carbs. These are low allergen foods and have a good carbohydrate content.
When it comes to fats, many foods have synthetic fats. Instead, consider choosing healthy natural fats like sunflower oil and fish oils. Vitamins and minerals are naturally occurring in the world around us. Vitamin packs are not the best way to get your dog these nutritional goodies. Focusing on feeding whole foods like fruits and vegetables is the best way to provide your dog with the highest-quality food.
Sundays For Dogs & Allergen-Free Food
The hard part about canine allergies is finding out what your dog is allergic to. The easy part? Picking Sundays for Dogs. Sundays For Dogs is a great option for dogs with allergies, especially those with chicken, corn, dairy, and wheat allergies.
Here are all the other healthful ingredients we use instead: for protein, there is USDA beef, beef heart, beef liver, and beef bone. For fats, there are wild salmon oil, sunflower oil, mixed tocopherols, and flaxseeds. The main grains included are quinoa and selenium yeast.
The other fruits and vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals are Pumpkin, Zucchini, Kale, Parsley, Kelp, Chicory Root, Turmeric, Ginger, Blueberries, Carrots, Apples, Tomatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms, Broccoli, Oranges, Cranberries, Spinach, Beets, Tart Cherries, and Strawberries. This may seem like a grocery list at your local health store, but it is all quality ingredients for your dog.
Allergies are not exclusive to humans, and your furry pup may have a food allergy that could be causing them discomfort. Chicken, beef, wheat, corn, and beef are the five most common food allergens for dogs. If your dog is allergic to these foods, you may see symptoms such as diarrhea, itching, skin discomfort, and fur changes. If you feel your dog has a food allergy, give your vet a call. Your dog deserves all the pets, the kisses, and the best food the world has to offer: Sundays For Dogs is a healthy option for dogs that fights back against common allergies. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.