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Best Food for Dogs with Allergies

While food allergies are uncommon in dogs, they may afflict your pooch and the symptoms can be stressful for both you and your canine companion. Here, our Flat Rock vets list the best foods for alleviating your dog's food allergy symptoms. 

Food Allergies in Dogs

Do you think your dog might be suffering from food allergies? They may also be sensitive to ingredients in their regular food. It's important to be aware of the most common symptoms of food allergies, and what to do if your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy. Our vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital can help you identify the best food for dogs with allergies and share advice on diet and nutrition.  

Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs

While dogs of any age can develop food allergies, these allergies and sensitivities frequently start to appear around a dog's first birthday. 

The most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs include:

  • Rashes on feet and ears 
  • Itchiness
  • Gassiness
  • Irritated, red skin 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

Causes of Food Allergies in Dogs

Proteins from animal-based or plant ingredients in a dog's diet will often cause food allergies. Wheat, corn, beef and dairy are typically the most problematic foods for dogs. While this may seem counterintuitive, dogs may take a fairly long time to start exhibiting symptoms of food allergies. It is not unusual for a dog to be allergic to a food they have been eating for several months. 

Diagnosing Your Dog’s Food Allergies

An elimination diet is the single most reliable method of diagnosing food allergies in dogs. If your vet suspects that your dog suffers from a food allergy, he or she can examine your dog, assess symptoms and offer nutritional consulting. We can prescribe a specially formulated hypoallergenic dog food. 

For at least 8 to 10 weeks, you should only feed your dog the prescribed food so we can assess whether the change in diet helps to alleviate your dog’s symptoms.

While your dog is on the elimination diet, it’s critical to only give him hypoallergenic food. Unfortunately, this means no sneaking in the odd treat. The special 10-week diet will help your dog’s body to adapt to the food, and give your vet a chance to evaluate your dog’s overall health.

If your dog’s symptoms clear up while he’s on the elimination diet, your vet may request that you return to your dog’s original diet. If original symptoms return, your vet can be confident in diagnosing your dog with a food allergy.

Best Foods for Dogs with Allergies

Following the diagnosis, your vet will work with you to determine the best diet for your dog. A number of food options are available to help alleviate your dog's allergy symptoms

Prescription Dog Food

If your dog's food allergy symptoms are severe, your vet may recommend that you feed your dog prescription dog food. While this option can be pricey, novel protein and hydrolyzed diets available by prescription only are typically superior to those that can be purchased over the counter.

Grain-Free Dog Food

If your pet has a sensitivity to corn, wheat and other grains a grain-free dog food may be ideal. These foods have the added benefit of also being gluten-free.

Limited Ingredient Dog Foods

Limited ingredient dog foods address the presence of allergens by including just one protein source, (such as beef, lamb or chicken), often combined with just a single carbohydrate source. When shopping for limited ingredient dog foods it's important to check for a seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO), as well as a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer.

Novel Ingredient Dog Food

Novel ingredient dog foods replace traditional dog food proteins such as beef and chicken with more unusual proteins such as salmon, duck, or venison. Many novel ingredient dog foods also use unusual carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes to help balance out the diet. If you believe your dog may be suffering from a food allergy, contact our vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital to book an appointment for your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you believe your dog may be suffering from a food allergy? Contact our Flat Rock vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital today to book an appointment for your dog.

Best Food for Dogs With Allergies, Flat Rock Vet

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