Dog food allergies are more common than most people realize, and true allergies (as opposed to sensitivities/intolerances) generally produce skin irritations and problems rather than digestive upsets. Symptoms of food allergies in dogs can appear within a short time of eating a particular food, or take weeks, months or even years to develop. Contrary to popular belief, most dog food allergies occur as a reaction to a familiar food that your pooch has been eating quite happily for years, rather than to a new food that you’ve just introduced him to. In fact around 70% of dog food allergies are caused by a food that’s been well tolerated for more than two years. An allergic reaction to a food almost never happens on first exposure, but on second or subsequent ones.

Food allergies are found in every kind and breed of dog. Neutered and intact, young and old, male or female, any canine can have food allergies. Although the age food allergies most often show up is between 2 and 6 years old. A few of these breeds are :

  • Terriers
  • Bulldogs
  • Schnauzers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers

A few clues that point towards dog food allergies are when the symptoms are present all year round (not just seasonally), antihistamine treatment doesn’t seem to help and if your dog is still young and has recurrent, chronic ear or skin problems. A dog can react badly to almost any ingredient, but the ones that tend to cause the most food allergies in dogs include :

  • Beef
  • Dairy Products
  • Chicken
  • Wheat and grains
  • Yeast
  • Preservatives and colorings
  • Corn
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Lamb
  • Oats

Itchy skin is the number one sign of food allergies. Allergies in dogs are often associated with the following symptoms :

  • Dry skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammations of the ear
  • Hot spots that are persistent
  • Chewing on paws, legs or other parts of the dogs body
  • Lack luster, dull coat
  • Upset tummy and or diarrhea
  • Itchy Anus
  • Rubbing Face

Canine food allergies can cause other symptoms, unassociated with skin irritation. These may include -

  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Breathing difficulties (similar to allergies/asthma in humans)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Eye irritation, inflammation or infections
  • Behavior problems such as aggression or hyper-activity

There is also a difference between dog food allergies and food intolerance. An intolerance to certain foods may cause symptoms such as diarrhea or frequent bowel movements and vomiting. Fortunately, whether the animal is suffering from food allergy or food intolerance, once the proper diagnosis has been made, they can both be treated.

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