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DOG / nutrition

Does My Dog Have a Food Allergy?

Your canine pal may be sensitive to certain ingredients in their food. A special food formula can help.

Overview

What are the symptoms of a dog food allergy?

Allergies are a type of food sensitivity in which a certain protein or carbohydrate triggers a reaction in your dog’s skin or immune system. (Other food sensitivities can cause digestive distress.) Here’s the strange thing: Your dogs can develop an allergy from eating one type of food over a long period of time. So, if you’ve ruled out fleas, pollen or grass, there’s a chance your dog’s allergic to something in their food. Common culprits include:

  • Wheat
  • Chicken
  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Eggs

Treating dog food allergies

A vet can determine if your dog has a food allergy or intolerance. He or she will probably suggest you switch your dog’s food, either to a prescription formula or a grain-free or limited-ingredient diet. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Grain-free dog food is made without any wheat, corn or soy, ingredients that are sometimes linked to food allergies.
  • Limited-ingredient dog food is often made with alternative meat proteins—like salmon, bison or duck— and only one type of carbohydrate.
  • Transition dogs to a new food over seven days by substituting a little of the new stuff for the old in their usual meal. Swap out a little more at the next feeding, and so on. By the end of the week, your dog should be eating the new food exclusively.
  • Make sure the new diet doesn’t include the common ingredients that can cause allergies in dogs.
  • Steer clear of treats and human food for at least six weeks while you keep an eye on your dog’s progress. It can take up to 12 weeks for a new feeding regimen to take effect.
  • If you notice any new symptoms, consult your veterinarian.
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