Food Allergies in Dogs: Signs and Treatment Options

Canines can have all the identical sensitivities and allergy symptoms as individuals (other than remaining allergic to dogs, of course). Some of their signs are even the identical, such as itchy rashes and diarrhea. When it will come to food stuff allergy symptoms, the therapy is even the same in pet dogs as for persons: steer clear of all traces of the foods allergen. Regretably, figuring out what is causing your dog’s symptoms can be discouraging, and it is disheartening to watch your pet dog be unpleasant. 

Hopefully with a minimal history facts on meals allergies in dogs and plenty of path and assistance from your veterinarian, you can assistance your pet dog really feel wonderful again.

Can Canine Be Allergic to Meals?

Sure! Just like people today can be allergic to foods, so can dogs. The most prevalent foodstuff allergens in pet dogs are animal proteins. Particularly, chicken, beef, and dairy are most possible to cause a response in a puppy. Pet dogs can be allergic to any protein, like egg, fish, seafood, soy, lamb, and even venison. Just like human beings, some puppies have gluten allergy (wheat protein), but this is much a lot less widespread than gluten sensitivity in folks. 

What Causes Foods Allergy symptoms in Canine?

While we do not know accurately what will cause food allergy symptoms in canine, we do know that there is at minimum some inherited element. That is due to the fact German Shepherd puppies, West Highland White Terriers, and Labrador and Golden Retrievers are a lot more probable to have foodstuff allergy symptoms than other breeds (1). The predisposition in Labrador and Golden Retrievers is so wonderful that even their mixes this sort of as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles have significant premiums of allergic reactions. 

Most allergic reactions are because of to an overactive immune method reaction. In a foodstuff allergy, the immune process does not acknowledge a protein as foodstuff. As an alternative, it thinks the food protein is harmful and mounts a reaction. Just as for some people shrimp is a tasty food items when for some others even the tiniest chunk can send out them to the medical center. This reaction is what results in signs and symptoms. Signs of foodstuff allergy symptoms in canines have a tendency to require the skin and the gastrointestinal tract (belly and intestines). 

Can canine build meals allergies later on in lifetime? 

Most meals allergy symptoms in puppies get started to come to be evident concerning 6 to 12 months of age (1). On the other hand, dogs with minimal sensitivities can create much more severe allergic responses to foodstuff as they age. For pet dogs with environmental allergy symptoms, it can be hard to distinguish indicators of foods allergy until the environmental allergy symptoms have been resolved. This is since they overlap in signs or symptoms and numerous pet dogs have a lot more than a single sort of allergy. In addition to meals and environmental allergic reactions, the 3rd common style of allergy in puppies is to fleas.

Puppy Foods Allergy Signs and symptoms

The most popular indications of foods allergy in dogs are associated to digestion and to skin. Dogs with food allergy symptoms may perhaps have long-term or recurrent diarrhea. Vomiting is a additional uncommon but far more significant symptom of foodstuff allergy. Some pet dogs may not want to consume their food if they affiliate it with a belly ache. Canine also exhibit indications of foodstuff allergy symptoms on their pores and skin. They might lick their toes excessively and cause irritation or inflammation between their toes. They may possibly have itchy ears and experience from regular ear bacterial infections. In reality, ear bacterial infections in younger healthful dogs are normally the to start with sign a veterinarian has that a puppy may possibly put up with from allergies of any type. 

Common indicators of food stuff allergy in canine:

  • Diarrhea
  • Diminished urge for food
  • Fat loss
  • Licking toes
  • Swollen ft
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchy pores and skin
  • Ear infections
  • Vomiting 

How to Diagnose a Canine Food items Allergy 

Exploration demonstrates that neither blood nor saliva exams are legitimate for diagnosing foodstuff allergic reactions in pet dogs (2). Consequently, an elimination diet regime trial is the finest way to diagnose foodstuff allergies in dogs. The strategy seems uncomplicated: If you can wholly exclude the offending allergen(s) from your dog’s diet regime, then your pet’s indicators really should take care of. Even so, an elimination diet for canines is tricky to do properly.

The first step is the straightforward element: You and your veterinarian will decide on an correct foods for the elimination diet trial. Alternatives involve:

Hydrolyzed protein doggy meals. Hydrolyzed usually means that the protein source in the food stuff is broken down for the duration of processing so that the entire body no lengthier recognizes the protein as an allergen. Hydrolyzed protein diets are the very best foods for pet dogs with allergy symptoms. Hydrolyzed diet programs these as Royal Canin Ultamino are the gold typical instrument for elimination foods trials. 

Royal Canin Ultamino dog food bag

Novel protein puppy foodstuff. For some dogs (young and with a fully identified diet program history), a novel protein diet is also an proper choice to avoid allergens. Novel usually means your dog has hardly ever been uncovered to that certain protein prior to. Illustrations of novel proteins involve venison, rabbit, and kangaroo. Nevertheless, weight loss plans with identical proteins — believe chicken and turkey or beef and bison — may well cross-react, so these may not be appropriate options. 

Confined-ingredient dog foodstuff. As the title indicates, minimal-ingredient pet food items have less components than regular puppy foodstuff. They ordinarily include a solitary protein supply, confined carbohydrates, and no fillers. The recipe might use a novel protein supply as explained over. Nonetheless, a complicating component is that not all confined-ingredient diet programs are totally free from cross-contamination with possible allergens. Prescription restricted-ingredient meal plans tend to be the only types in a position to warranty in opposition to cross-contamination.

As soon as you and your veterinarian have picked the food items, the tricky work begins at property. You, other members of your residence, and readers ought to NOT feed your dog something other than the suggested diet regime. This usually means no treats, snacks, desk scraps, or medications or supplements that include food stuff proteins. This can be complicated, in particular in homes with several dogs. You will want to feed your other canines separately, or else all of your pet dogs will have to have to take in the very same elimination diet. If you unintentionally permit your doggy consume anything outdoors of their approved food plan, you will want to begin the total demo timeline around all over again.

Even prescription drugs and supplements that incorporate food-primarily based components ought to be avoided. This may necessarily mean using a different month-to-month heartworm preventative, these kinds of as a topical therapy, through your dog’s diet plan trials. Any flavored tablet could contain what your doggy is allergic to. Discuss to your veterinarian about every treatment and complement your dog is on.  

It can consider up to 12 months soon after switching your dog’s foods for allergy indicators to go away. For this cause, diet regime trials ordinarily final four to 12 weeks. Your veterinarian will evaluate your canine each and every two to four weeks. Make absolutely sure to maintain a document of your dog’s signs or symptoms at house so you can talk about their progress during these vet visits. Continue to keep in head that some pet dogs answer to diet trials quickly although others acquire extended. The trial will conclude at the time your canine enhances or at least 12 weeks have passed devoid of any development and your veterinarian has evaluated your dog. If your pet responds to the demo, their gastrointestinal signals will typically enhance initial prior to their skin indications enhance.  

As soon as all indicators have settled, your veterinarian will immediate you to insert again in a person protein at a time, known as a food stuff challenge. It could be rooster a person week and then beef two months later. It is crucial to give every protein time to trigger a reaction and detectable indicators ahead of moving on to the subsequent food stuff obstacle. Your veterinarian will direct you on how to keep an eye on for a reaction and how to move forward.

How to Treat Canine Food stuff Allergy symptoms

English Cocker Spaniel dog eating food from bowl

The best way to treat a puppy foods allergy is to wholly reduce the offending allergen from your dog’s surroundings. You will need to feed your dog a hydrolyzed protein, minimal-ingredient, or novel protein food plan, and be certain that your dog’s treats, dental chews, prescription drugs, and so forth., are also allergen-free of charge. Do not feed your pet desk scraps or let them lick dishes in the dishwasher. 

Apart from seeking at the key substances in your dog’s food, you need to contemplate the chance of cross-contamination with other proteins. As opposed to human foodstuff, canine foodstuff are not necessary to state attainable allergen contaminations on the packaging. For illustration, foodstuff may possibly be labeled as being built in a facility that procedures peanuts. Pretty couple of pet food items providers can ensure towards cross-contamination for their constrained-ingredient diet plans. This is simply because it is time-consuming and pricey to shut down services and deep clean up in between making distinctive items The few organizations that do make this assure contain Royal Canin, Hill’s, Purina, and Eukanuba. These are usually prescription weight loss plans that can be labeled as a treatment for your dog’s allergy symptoms. 

It is not value jeopardizing your dog’s pain by feeding something that may only be partially helpful. For canine with foodstuff allergy symptoms, food is medication. Indeed, allergen-cost-free prescription pet foodstuff expenditures much more revenue than most other pet dog meals. Trying to help you save a few pounds by continuing to expose your dog to even minimal levels of their allergen may possibly not result in a response at very first. But signs and symptoms can worsen in excess of time, leading to unneeded irritation to your doggy (and cost of managing the pores and skin concerns).

Though your frequent veterinarian can diagnose a pet dog food allergy and conduct a dog foods demo, veterinary dermatologists are typically the best source due to the fact they focus in diagnosing and treating allergic illnesses in canines.

Your dog is not likely to want medicine for food stuff allergies, so very long as you manage their allergen-free food plan. If your dog’s symptoms flare-up, then your veterinarian could prescribe a quick system of medication to aid them experience better whilst also reinforcing the have to have to stick to an allergen-free of charge eating plan.

A meals allergy is only a single of lots of leads to of pet itchy skin or GI pain. Keep away from using matters into your very own fingers. Program an appointment with your veterinarian ahead of switching your dog’s foods or seeking an elimination diet program. Undertaking it incompletely or the wrong way to start with only prolongs your dog’s discomfort.


  1. Olivry T, Mueller RS. Critically appraised matter on adverse food stuff reactions of companion animals (7): signalment and cutaneous manifestations of puppies and cats with adverse foodstuff reactions. BMC Vet Res. 201915(1):140)
  2. Jackson, Hilary A. “Food allergy in canines and cats present-day perspectives on etiology, diagnosis, and management.” Journal of the American Veterinary Clinical Association vol. 261,S1 S23-S29. 18 Mar. 2023, doi:10.2460/javma.22.12.0548

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