Causes of Food Allergy in Dogs
Some dog owners prefer to be on the safe side and prepare the food themselves. The concept seems logical: dog owners can better control the quality and composition of their dog’s food by preparing it themselves. However, a well-intended thought is not always the better option. When it comes to food, not only does the quality of the ingredients matter, but so do the ingredients themselves. Because many animals are allergic to certain ingredients, this results in a food allergy.
In most cases, these are animal proteins, i.e. proteins, but allergens can also be carbohydrate compounds made from sugar and protein (triggers). When a dog consumes allergens that he is unable to tolerate, his body will overreact. Because the immune system believes the ingredients are dangerous, it produces antibodies. In most cases, the symptoms are visible because they cause inflammation. Examine your dog to see if it scratches itself in certain areas of the body on a regular basis or if pustules appear anywhere.
Symptoms of Allergy
Experts believe that every tenth allergic skin reaction is caused by a food allergy. The allergic reaction causes significant damage to the skin, so the problem must be resolved as soon as possible. Classic areas of the body where the allergy is noticeable are the ears, paws, armpits, inner thighs, and stomach. In the most severe cases, the dogs scratch the affected areas until the fur falls out and a wound forms. The risk of infection rises as a result.
Dogs are concerned about allergies as well as intolerances. Food intolerance usually causes a delayed reaction. This can be caused by artificial additives found in some dog foods, such as preservatives, flavorings, and synthetic antioxidants. Ingredients of poor quality and meat that must be preserved are also issues.
Prevent Allergies with Frozen Food
For dogs, meat is an important part of their diet. Only a few animals get fresh meat. Dogs are fed wet or dry food in many households. It cannot be ruled out that a dog will have an allergic reaction to it if its shelf life is extended with special substances. Frozen food is an option. Chemical additives and preservatives are unnecessary in frozen meat. All vitamins are preserved because the meat is frozen. A positive side effect is that the food has a long shelf life. It can be served to the dog up to twelve months later if stored according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dogs Frequently Suffering from Food Allergies
A food allergy can affect any breed of dog, regardless of breed, age, or gender. It also makes no difference whether the dog is a purebred or a mixed breed. According to some veterinarians, there should not be a breed that is more prone to allergies. In practice, the opposite can occasionally be observed.
The following dog breeds often suffer from food allergies:
- Golden Retriever
- West Highland White Terrier
- German Shepherd
- Cocker Spaniel
- Miniature Schnauzer
Allergies in dogs have become more prevalent in recent years. This is comparable to human development. Statistics show that the proportion of allergy sufferers among dogs has more than doubled in the last decade. One in every five dogs now has an allergy. It is impossible to determine the exact proportion of food allergies. Unfortunately, no precise statistics on this subject are kept.
Find Out What Causes Food Allergies
A dog suspected of having a food allergy should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Before you do this, read the label and make a note of the ingredients (or bring the food with you), as the vet will inquire about them. It is not only food that is important, but also bones, treats, and other items that the dog will nibble on. Based on the information, the veterinarian will create a special diet for the dog and prescribe medications based on symptoms. Important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients may also be required by the dog to aid in the healing process.
The vet will most likely recommend an elimination diet to get to the bottom of the food allergy. Certain food components that the dog had previously received are avoided as a result. This is an attempt to identify the source of the allergy. When this subsides, for example, because a particular type of meat or grain was not used, suspicion grows. Small amounts of the suspect food can then be fed back into the food to harden it. Depending on the outcome, the dog is given a new additive over the course of several weeks. If the symptoms reappear, the cause has been identified. Following that, a strict diet plan must be followed, as well as paying close attention to the content of the products when purchasing new feed. This also applies to treats.