Few things are more upsetting than seeing your dog sick without knowing the cause. Many dog illnesses are caused by food allergies, which can develop slowly over time. In fact, you may discover that your dog has developed a food allergy after many years of happily eating its favorite meal.
The best way to uncover the culprit is to take your dog to the vet at the first sign of an allergy. You can partner with your dog’s vet to use strategies that will enhance your pet’s treatment plan at home.
Learn to Recognize the Signs of Food Allergies
Humans and dogs can react differently to foods. For this reason, every pet owner should be aware that many dog allergies manifest in rashy or itchy skin conditions. Since your dog's coat covers the majority of its skin, you may notice unusual itching and scratching localized around the ears or feet. Diarrhea, vomiting and excessive gas are a few more symptoms that you may notice in a dog with food allergies.
Understand the Dangers of DIY Methods
When your dog is struggling with certain foods, you may be tempted to try out different foods that are advertised as hypoallergenic. Alternatively, you may feel as though preparing your dog's food at home will help ease its allergic response.
However, working with an animal expert is essential to finding a healthy solution since veterinarians can prescribe special foods. They also know which brands at the pet store may contain trace ingredients of known allergens. Certain breeds of dogs also require a special balance of nutrients that is difficult to reproduce when you cook their food at home.
When it comes to food allergies, it’s best to trust a professional with your pet’s health.
Follow Special Diets Carefully
There are several methods that enable your vet to identify allergens in your dog's diet. One way is to start your pet on a strict elimination diet. You then slowly reintroduce certain ingredients back into your pet’s diet until the problem food is identified.
During this time, it is critical to follow the prescribed diet plan exactly since even one instance of eating an allergen could make it harder to pinpoint which food is triggering the reaction. If you do make a mistake and serve your dog something outside of the special diet, inform your vet so that they can help you get back on track.
Use Caution In New Environments
Dogs with food allergies often have several ingredients that trigger a reaction. By carefully overseeing its diet when you are at home, you will be able to observe how your dog reacts after each meal and identify the foods causing an allergic reaction. However, it is common for dogs to be exposed to a food allergen when you take them out in public or have other people around your pet.
For instance, your dog may be exposed to food scraps that trigger a reaction when you dine on an outdoor patio or when a well-meaning relative sneaks it food during your holiday dinner. Be vocal about your dog's allergy and always scan new environments for potential threats before allowing your dog to roam freely.
It takes time to figure out what is triggering your dog's food allergy; a new hypoallergenic diet may take several weeks before you can tell that it is working for your dog. As you work with our veterinary staff at Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & House Calls, remember that we are here to partner with you on your pet's health. Feel free to call us with any questions that come up along the way.