FACT – Food Allergies Account for 10% of All Dog Allergic Reactions
Here’s how the process takes place. Dogs first become sensitized to a particular agent in the food. This in turn creates a complex antibody reaction in the dog’s intestinal tract. The fact is, we don’t understand very well how this takes place… but nevertheless, despite our lack of understanding of how these food allergies affect our dogs, we do understand many things. These include the symptoms, how to diagnose food allergies, and also how to treat them.
Food allergies impact all dogs… all breeds… male and female… any age. They can surface as early as five months and as late as twelve years of age. Most instances begin to show up when the dog is between two and six years of age.
The primary symptom of food allergies in dogs is itchy skin affecting the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits, and the region around the anus. Symptoms might also include recurring ear infections, loss of hair, burning, and skin infections.
The symptoms of these allergic reactions respond to antibiotic treatment, but continue to reoccur once they are discontinued. Dogs with food allergies also sometimes have an increased incidence of daily bowel movements.
How To Diagnose a Dog’s Food Allergy
So how do you properly diagnose a food allergy problem? First of all, dog owners can begin a trial change in their pet’s food. A food trial means feeding the dog a new diet that the pet has not had before. The new diet should consist of both protein and carbohydrates, and should continue for at least twelve weeks..
Rabbit or venison are good choices of protein because they are rarely used in commercial dog food. Potatoes can be used for the carbs. Remember, The dog’s new diet is the only thing that the dog should eat for the full twelve weeks. That means no dog treats, no medications, no rawhide chews, or pig’s ears… nothing but the special food and water.
In addition, the dog shouldn’t be permitted to roam because he might find food elsewhere.
If the dog shows a marked improvement in the symptoms after the 12 weeks, then you should put him back on their original food. If the symptoms reoccur after returning to the original diet, you have confirmed the diagnosis of a food allergy.
Dogs don’t usually suffer with allergies from eating poultry, pork, or beef. But problems can definitely develop when from soybean-related allergic reactions. Therefore, You must be careful and not offer your dog any dog food brands that use soybean as the main source of protein. Also, older dogs are usually the most vulnerable to food intolerance.
The Gradual Switch: Helping Your Dog Eat New Food
You need to slowly transition your dog from their old meals to their new diet. In fact, any change in your dog’s diet should be done slowly, bit by bit, over a period of time. Abruptly switching your dog’s food to a new dog food brand or a homemade dog food may cause indigestion.
Dogs, just ike humans, have native bacteria living in their intestines. These bacteria help break down the food that the dog eats. When your dog’s diet is changed, the intestinal flora must adapt.
Your dog might experience an upset stomach from a sudden change in his diet. This is because the intestinal flora has not adjusted quickly enough to the new diet. Therefore, a gradual shift to new dog food should take place over a period of at least five days.
If you have a more mature dog with digestion problems, the transition period might take as long as 10 days. If any indigestion occurs during the transition period, you can always adjust the food you are giving your dog to achieve an ideal mix. Soon your dog will adjust to the new diet
The following graphic illustration will show you how much food you should give your dog throughout the transition period:
Homemade Dog Recipes Can Help Dogs with Food Allergies
Feeding dogs a homemade meal is another way to avoid giving your dog foods that they are allergic to. You might periodically provide your dog new food items so that you can discover the exact ingredients that cause problems for you pet.
If the dog’s symptoms disappear when he is on the special diet, then add a meat that they may have had in the past — like beef or chicken — for a couple of weeks.
If the dog shows no symptoms, then you can add a different ingredient. However, if the dog begins to show symptoms again, then you can assume that the newest ingredient added to the diet was one of the things causing allergic reactions for your dog.
Following this process, you can eventually determine what foods your pet is allergic to.
Homemade diets are a great way to ensure that proper ingredients are used and balanced with the correct amount of vitamins and minerals.
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