Guide to Dog Treats
Posted by Fuzzy Help on
By Dr. Michelle Rose
Is your dog or cat itchy around the face, feet, or belly? What about recurring ear infections? This could indicate that your pet might have an allergy...but what kind? With overlapping symptoms, it can be a struggle to tell the difference between food allergies, environmental allergies, and parasites. To help you, we’ve provided some information about how allergies develop, what to look for in food-related allergies, and a checklist of things to try in order to figure out what the culprit might be.
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system develops an exaggerated response to a foreign substance. While seasonal allergies related to the environment are the most common, ten percent of all allergy cases in dogs are food-related.
Food allergies take time to develop—usually over a long period of time in which your pet has been exposed to the same ingredient day after day. While pet food companies often blame grains as the source of allergies, research shows that proteins are the most common food allergen. Has your pet eaten chicken-based food for years? Time to change! Since it’s commonly found in many foods, chicken is among the top culprits that cause food allergies. Some other common food allergens include: beef, dairy, and wheat. Least common food allergens are fish and rabbit.
Common clinical signs related to food allergies include itching of the ears and paws, which may be related to gastrointestinal issues.
Other clinical signs include:
Here’s a checklist of things to try and kick those symptoms to the curb once and for all:
Fighting food allergies can be a frustrating and challenging journey. Pay closer attention to what your goes in your pet’s mouth, and use the process of elimination to identify the culprit. Some other tips include grinding up proteins in a food processor if you’re feeding them home-cooked meals (this helps improve digestion). Here is a list of approved “people foods” that can also help add a nutritional boost to your pet’s diet and increase variety.
Work with your vet to improve your dog’s nutrition, and make sure you check with them before adding new foods that could impair any food trial you have in place. With patience, you’ll find a way to calm Fido’s allergic reactions. Don’t give up!