More and more dogs are allergic to their food. The reason for this may be various ingredients contained in the feed. In order to avoid allergenic ingredients and to prevent the associated symptoms, it is advisable to feed hypoallergenic dog food.
A feed allergy is an intolerance to certain components of the dog food, which can cause unpleasant symptoms in the dog. Hereditary factors and allergy-prone diseases such as virus infections or parasites can cause allergies as well as feeding errors. As a result, the animal suffers from itching, hives, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Since these symptoms do not always indicate an allergy, an allergy should always be diagnosed by the veterinarian.
Allergy – what is it?
Normally the body develops a tolerance towards substances that are fed with the food. When an allergy occurs, however, the body responds to food ingredients by recognizing them as foreign and storing the appearance of this “intruder” in defense cells. Upon re-contact, these cells react with a secretion of antibodies which, in turn, can produce different symptoms.
In which dogs can a feed allergy occur?
Basically, it can meet every dog, but breeds such as Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever, Shar-Pei or West Highland White Terrier are statistically more frequently affected by feed allergies. There is no risk group for sex and age. An allergy can occur in puppies, but also in older dogs, which has partially absorbed the allergen for several years with their food.
Dog Disease: Symptoms of an allergy
Itching in the dog and excessive nibbling or licking, changes in the skin and skin (eg hot spots), disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract such as diarrhea or vomiting as well as inflammation in the external auditory canals are typical symptoms of a feed allergy.
However, these symptoms also fit into a variety of other diseases. That is why you should invest a moment in the cause research.
Causes: These three steps are necessary to rule out other diseases
If the above symptoms occur in your dog, you should be strategic. Analyze carefully if any other causes than a feed energy are responsible. The symptoms and other possible causes are described below:
- Itching and ear infections – Allergy to the dog: itching and ear infections after the inflammation of the ears, which can occur for example during a feed allergy, the external auditory canal is rather reddened. Is it really possible that your dog has fleas or mites? Examine your dog thoroughly on parasites. Just dogs with drooping ears offer ear mites a nice home. Due to the low ventilation and the body warmth of the dog, ear mites feel particularly comfortable here. Head shaking and itching in the ear are the usual symptoms. If you look closely at the ears of your quadruped, you will recognize a dark-colored secretion in mite infestation. Think of Grasmilben! These small plague glands can also cause bestial itching in your dog. The itching usually occurs in the areas that often come into contact with grass (legs and abdominal area). Grasmilben is particularly active from July to October. Fleas are particularly comfortable on the hind legs, head, and neck of your dog. Can you recognize fleas in the coat of your four-legged animal? Ape the coat and pay attention to small black spots – this could be flea pots. Fluffy Ravens can also be an indication: Are there white fluffy flowers in the basket or on carpets, blankets, and rugs on which your pet likes to lie? By the way, fleas bite your dog. Therefore, flea bites reddened skin parts, swollen spots, itching at the affected site is another indication.
If the animal is actually suffering from fleas or mites, please contact the treating veterinarian or your pharmacy.
- Fur and skin changes – If the dog grows in the meadow, this can trigger allergies. There are various causes for skin changes and coat loss. The most common reason for strong coat loss is, of course, the coat change, which takes place in spring and autumn. Some dog owners report constant coat loss. Depending on race and climate, however, this can be normal. If your dog loses the coat tufted or in certain places completely (eg inflammatory skin spots = hot spots), this is questionable. In this case, please contact your veterinarian. It could indeed be a feed intolerance of the reason for these hot spots. Even during the daily walk, it can occur that the quadruple rolls in something, which causes him itching or even coat loss. If you are traveling a lot in meadows and fields, fertilizers or sprays could be the misdeeds. Can you exclude the fact that your animal has rolled into something, perhaps even unobserved? Just spraying can also be very dangerous for your dog and cause hair loss. In the case of doubt, you should contact your veterinarian.
- Diarrhea and vomiting – Did your favorite eat or drink something wrong? Diarrhea and vomiting do not necessarily have to be related to the main food. A typical reason for stomach and digestive problems in autumn what the dog eats. In winter the streusel, which your dog may be licking from the paws, can cause diarrhea. Even if your dog is drinking from a puddle on the way, diarrhea or vomiting can be the result exciters can be found in unclean water. Do you give your dog something from the table? Many dogs also tolerate no change or well-meaning additions such as dairy products. First of all, add all the extra treats next to the main foodstuff consistently from the menu (treats, food from the table, cottage cheese, curd, yogurt, etc.) and observe if the digestion problems improve.
What are the most common allergies?
Many dog owners question the feed of the dog first. However, there are allergies that occur much more frequently than a feed allergy. As for example, allergy to flea saliva or atopic dermatitis that usually found. Atopic dermatitis is referred to as allergic reactions to house dust mites, mold fungi or pollen. These allergens are absorbed by the dog via the skin or via the airways. Only third is the feed energy.
Some types of meat and cereals are commonly used for a long time in many different dog fodders. These may inevitably lead to intolerance reactions or allergies in dogs. Thus, beef or wheat is often suspected.
Allergies can be triggered by different ingredients in the dog food. No matter whether beef, lamb, pig, chicken, milk, soy or wheat, dry or wet food – the range of possible allergy triggers are great. An exact diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian. For this, the animal must hold a so-called exclusion diet for a certain period of time, usually six to ten weeks. During this diet, dogs are fed with special dog food containing only a protein source and a carbohydrate source. The prerequisite for this is that the dog has not taken this type of protein and carbohydrate too often. This elimination diet is particularly suited for feeding a hypoallergenic dog food with exotic meat. These include meat varieties such as kangaroos or ostrich meat. The more exotic the meat type, the lower the allergy risk. If the allergy triggers are determined, a compatibility test follows to ensure that the correct diagnosis has been made. In doing so, the dog is carefully nourished with the original feed to test whether the symptoms recur. If you want to spare your four-legged dog, this process can continue to provide hypoallergenic dog food.
Symptoms of a feed allergy
Symptoms Feed allergy unfortunately, a feed allergy is not clear. Both gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence and changing faces, as well as skin problems, can be signs of an allergy. The most common symptom for the dog and the owner is the itching. The most common affected areas are on the head, paws, ears, belly and underarm areas. This can lead to redness and scratches caused by itching, and also to secondary bacterial infections. However, also ear infections are in some cases attributable to an allergy of the dog to a component of the feed. Most allergy patients have a long history of their illness. Unspecific symptoms and numerous differential diagnoses, i.e. other diseases which are similar, contribute to the fact that feed allergies are often discovered late.
Triggering allergens in dog food
Allergy-causing substances an allergic effect can be caused by different kinds of meat, fish, milk, soy and cereal products as well as eggs. In addition, additives in the form of preservatives or dyes can enhance allergies. Many dogs react directly to several food components. In order to prevent allergic reactions, the use of hypoallergenic feed, which meets the individual requirements of sensitive dogs, is imperative. For a grain of rice allergy, for example, the sweet potato as a carbohydrate source can be beneficial. If your dog is allergic to beef, chicken or lamb, it is advisable to change the dog nutrition to hypoallergenic meat varieties such as horse or ostrich meat. Also, pork is excellent for a sensitive gastrointestinal tract. It is a rarely used but high-quality product with food quality, high digestibility and a favorable amino acid pattern. Therefore, it is particularly suitable as a feed raw material for dogs with allergies.
Is my dog affected?
Some dog breeds are more often affected by intolerances than others. However, a general statement cannot be made. Both mixed breeds and breed dogs can develop food allergies. Dog breeds that are more often affected:
- Golden Retriever
- German shepherd dog
- West Highland White Terrier
These four dog breeds show disproportionately high feed intake (findings are based on observations by veterinarians and dog owners), so a hypoallergenic dog food is often recommended. Many dogs develop a feed allergy only after their immune system has been sensitized by repeated contact with the causative antigen.
A hypoallergenic dog food provides the solution for allergies
Hypoallergenic dog food Different feedstuffs can be the cause of intolerance. These allergens should be avoided if possible. To enable this, the so-called hypoallergenic dog food is available. Hypoallergenic means “low allergenic”. Hypoallergenic dog food means the fodder species which are particularly allergen free or allergen free. Either the allergy-releasing substances are not at all in the food or they are crushed by a hydrolysis process so far that they are no longer recognized by the body as an allergen. Before the dog gets a hypoallergenic feed, however, the feed components should be identified in collaboration with the veterinarian, to which the dog reacts allergic or incompatible. This can be done by means of an exclusion diet. If the allergens in question are identified, a suitable dog food for allergy sufferers can be selected. Hypoallergenic fodder varieties, compared to normal dog food, dispense with the use of typical allergenic ingredients. Usually, such a recipe consists of only a carbohydrate and a protein source. The list of ingredients of a hypoallergenic dog food should be as short as possible. As a rule, the use of artificial additives and preservatives is also dispensed with.
Hypoallergenic dog food helps with many allergies among which our four-legged friends suffer. Not only do people suffer from allergies, even our most faithful companion the dog can be affected by a feed allergy. Anyone who finds this allergy form with his dog should be informed about hypoallergenic dog food. The allergy usually results from the repeated contact with the allergy trigger and develops only with the time. The animals then often suffer from a disease, which also causes a severe itching, which leads to scratches and damage to the skin. This often leads to the loss of the coat at the affected sites and it comes to strong skin irritations which often ignite.