Does your dog have itchy ears or chronic ear infections? Does he get skin infections that clear up after a round of antibiotics, only to return once the antibiotic therapy is over? Is he miserable and itchy – and you don’t know what to do? Your dog could be allergic to his food.
That’s right. Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies to things in their environment and to their food. They can even experience seasonal allergies! They also often exhibit many of the same symptoms that humans do. However, a survey by Novartis Animal Health showed that more than half of pet owners had no idea that their dog or cat had allergies. Because of this, symptoms like chronic ear infections in dogs is often overlooked as a symptom of food allergies.
“Dogs, like humans, can develop allergies to things in their environment and to their food. They can even experience seasonal allergies!”
Food Allergy Symptoms in Dogs
Approximately 10% to 15% of allergies in dogs are food-related allergies. Many times, a food intolerance is confused with allergies, but the two are quite different. Food intolerance usually causes vomiting and diarrhea, while food allergies don’t typically have those symptoms. Your dog may have food allergies if he:
- Is very itchy, particularly on his face, limbs, feet, anal area, and trunk
- Has skin infections that seem to go away with antibiotics but recur when he stops taking them
- Has chronic ear infections or ear problems
Elimination Diet for Dog Food Allergies
If you think that your dog may have a food allergy, talk to his veterinarian about an elimination diet. A true pet food allergy is due to faulty wiring in the immune system causing an inflammatory response when the dog eats certain things. An elimination diet will help you identify the ingredient that is causing your pet problems by systematically eliminating certain ones until the problem is found. Some of the more common culprits are rice, corn, soy, wheat, sugar beet pulp, and many of the preservatives, animal by products, and fillers that find their way into far too many pet foods. So, if your dog is suffering from chronic ear infections and you are at your wits’ end, the answer could be as close as his food bowl.