Learn all about the most common causes of food allergies in dogs, as well as how to get your dog on a high-quality, hypoallergenic diet.
Did you know that dogs can have allergies?
Dogs’ allergies are similar to ours – they can cause uncomfortable symptoms that can have a negative impact on your dog’s health in the long run. Figuring out if your dog has an allergy and preventing exposure to what they’re allergic to is an absolute must!
Here are the most common food allergies to look for, and what you can do to avoid them!
Are Dog Allergies the Same as Human Allergies?
Similar to our responses, a dog can have an allergic reaction when their immune system overreacts to something they eat. Foods that would otherwise be harmless can cause a dog’s inflammatory response to kick in, resulting in lots of discomfort for the poor pooch.
What Are Common Dog Food Allergy Symptoms?
If your dog is allergic to something they’re eating, they’re likely to display some of the following symptoms. However, they might not suffer from all of these – every dog is different, and their allergies are, too.
A dog’s food allergies can cause them to itch. A lot. Your dog’s itchiness might be localized, which means their focus is on one specific irritated spot. However, itching can also be generalized, with the dog experiencing discomfort all over their body.
Bear in mind that if your dog is itchy, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re allergic to something, either. Dogs itch for lots of reasons. Bug bites, dry skin, and a dirty coat can all be causes for frequent itching.
If your dog’s itching persists, it’s always a good call to take them to the vet. Your dog’s veterinarian can examine them for common sources of itching, including allergies.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
As you can imagine, when your dog eats something they’re allergic to, they’re likely to deal with some gastrointestinal distress. That means they may throw up or experience bouts of diarrhea.
These two particular symptoms almost always indicate that something is going on with your dog’s health, allergies or otherwise. While your dog may sometimes get diarrhea as a result of not drinking enough water, it’s more commonly a sign of problems with their diet.
If your dog’s diarrhea or vomiting seem to happen around their mealtimes, it’s a telltale sign that something they’re eating is a culprit!
Coughing and Sneezing
Like humans, your dog might experience respiratory symptoms as a result of their allergies. Dogs cough and sneeze for plenty of reasons, but frequent and long-lasting respiratory issues often indicate that something deeper is going on. If you notice your dog coughing or sneezing often, make sure to tell your vet.
Additional symptoms can include licking their paws and being extra lethargic and tired for no real reason.
If your dog’s snout and face begin to swell and they seem to have trouble breathing, take them to a vet immediately as these may be signs of a severe allergic reaction.
Is It Normal For a Dog to Have Allergies?
Allergies are surprisingly common in dogs. No matter what breed your dog is, there’s a possibility that they might be allergic to something. It’s even speculated that certain allergies can be hereditary, meaning they’re passed down from one of the dog’s parents.
Dogs can have pollen allergies or food intolerances, just like humans! Environmental allergies to dust mites, mold, and flea allergies are more common in pets than food sensitivity, but dogs can have an allergic response to a particular food, too.
Dog allergies typically show up by the time your dog is half a year old. The sooner you catch them, the sooner you’ll be able to save your dog from lots of discomfort!
Are Some Dog Breeds More Prone to Allergies?
There hasn't been any definitive research showing that one breed is more prone to allergies than another.
That being said, some researchers believe the following breeds may develop allergies more often due to the fact that these breeds appear frequently in search results regarding allergies in dogs. Still, that may be due to these breeds being among the most popular breeds in the West in the first place.
Breeds that commonly appear in Google searches for dog allergies include:
- - Retrievers
- - German Shepherds
- - West Highland White Terriers
- - Cocker Spaniels
- - Dachshunds
Serious Allergic Reactions in Dogs
In some rare cases, dogs can suffer from severe food allergies that can even be life-threatening. These allergies can cause a reaction called anaphylaxis, which can send your dog’s system into shock and make it nearly impossible for them to breathe well. Anaphylaxis, either in humans or dogs, is a medical emergency, and it requires a fast response.
If your dog has severe allergies, your vet will most likely prescribe them epinephrine shot that you can inject in an emergency. Like the Epi-Pens that are prescribed to humans with severe allergic reactions, these shots give your dog a life-saving boost of epinephrine (i.e. adrenaline) to combat the effects of anaphylaxis.
In a situation where there’s no epinephrine shot available and your dog is having a severe allergic reaction, it’s essential to get your dog to the vet as fast as you can! Your local veterinary clinic has resources for responding to pet emergencies, and they can help you if your dog’s life is in danger.
The Most Common Food Allergies in Dogs
Dogs can be allergic to a wide array of foods, and they may suffer from multiple allergies at once. If you’re not sure what is causing your dog’s symptoms, it’s always a good idea to pay a visit to your vet. However, it’s also helpful to know the foods that are most likely to cause an allergic reaction in your dog.
Let’s cover each of these foods and unpack some of the science behind why dogs might have allergies to them.
When a dog is allergic to soy, their immune system will respond negatively to even the smallest traces of soy products in their food. Soy is one of the main ingredients in lots of highly processed dog food formulas, so it’s definitely one to keep an eye out for if your dog is experiencing symptoms.
The symptoms of soy allergies in dogs include:
- - Itching that doesn’t seem to go away with the use of medications like corticosteroids. If your dog has a soy allergy, these topical treatments won’t get to the root of the problem, so the itching will persist.
- - Gastrointestinal distress. Soy allergies often cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs, which can definitely be alarming for you as an owner. If your dog can’t seem to control their bowels and is throwing up, it’s always a good call to visit the vet immediately.
All of Sundays for Dogs food is made completely soy-free. We don’t think soy products are a good choice for your dog – they’re often genetically modified and highly processed, and they’re one of the most common allergy triggers.
By keeping soy out of your dog’s bowl, you’re doing your pet a favor!
If your dog is allergic to wheat, you’ll most likely have to steer clear of the majority of dog food formulas (our excluded).
Wheat can cause a wide array of symptoms in dogs who are allergic to the grain, including:
- - Itching
- - Loss of hair in certain spots
- - Dry skin
- - Vomiting and diarrhea
- - Inflammation around the paws that can cause your dog to lick or chew their feet frequently
- - Rashes
If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, take a pause and examine what you’re putting in their bowl.
The best way to treat a dog’s grain allergies is to feed them grain-free food. If you suspect your dog is only allergic to wheat, gluten-free dog food is a perfect option, too. Consult your vet for the best recommendation for your specific pup.
Just like wheat, corn is a grain that can cause lots of problems for your dog – especially if they’re allergic to it! Corn allergies are very common in dogs, and they can cause an upset stomach and other uncomfortable symptoms in many cases.
In addition to being a common allergen, corn definitely isn’t the most nutritious food you can give your dog. It’s not particularly nutrient-dense, which means it’s mostly giving your dog calories rather than vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
In addition, corn has a high glycemic index, which means it may cause a spike in your dog’s blood sugar. Rapid blood glucose level changes can make a dog bounce off the walls, then experience a sudden energy crash – and that’s no fun for you as an owner, or for your dog!
Eggs and Dairy
Eggs, proteins, and dairy are three more common allergy triggers in dogs. If your pup is allergic to these foods, they might experience some very bothersome symptoms, including flatulence, AKA farts.
Like lactose intolerance in humans, dogs can deal with chronic gassiness as a result of an egg or dairy allergy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, allergies to these foods can also cause more serious gastrointestinal distress, as well as coughing and wheezing.
Chicken or Lamb
There are plenty of reasons to feed your dog beef-based food. One of the biggest pros of switching from chicken, lamb, fish, or even venison to beef is the potential for your dog to be allergic to these forms of protein.
Sometimes, these sensitivities develop because your dog was only fed one form of protein for years.
Chicken and lamb are common food allergens for dogs, which is why we make all of our food with USDA-grade beef instead!
Diagnosing and Treating Food Allergies in Dogs
When a dog has food allergies, vets have to take a unique approach to treatment. While many of the types of allergies that dogs suffer from respond well to medications, food allergies can usually only be prevented with elimination of the allergen. That means you and your vet will need to team up to determine what’s causing your dog’s symptoms and cut it out of their diet.
To diagnose your dog with food allergies, your vet may recommend that you put them on what’s known as an elimination diet. This diet works to cut out the most common allergens that cause reactions in dogs, one at a time, so you can figure out what their allergen is. That means trying no dairy, corn, soy, wheat, chicken, or eggs.
Without these foods, your dog is left with better overall nutrition anyway. Even though some dogs might not be allergic to them, foods like corn and wheat are best left out of your pet’s diet as they’re mostly filler ingredients.
While the average dog food is highly processed and packed with common allergens, Sundays for Food for Dogs is all-natural and never air-dried. It’s human-grade food that your pup will love!
Want To Learn More About the Best Food For Your Dog?
If you want to treat your dog like canine royalty, Sundays is the perfect food for them. It’s packed with nutrients and made without any of the most common allergens.