Food allergies are on the rise among Americans and it seems they are on the rise among their pets as well. Vets are giving pets allergy shots and there are now a variety of gluten and grain free foods for dogs.
Unfortunately pet allergy symptoms are not always the same as human allergy symptoms and pet food manufacturing is not as strict. Undiagnosed allergies in pets can sometimes lead to further health complications down the road. It is thought that a gluten intolerance might be to blame for protein wasting disease in dogs.
How do you know if your pet has a food allergy? Most dogs show allergic symptoms through their skin. Whether they are allergic to pollens or food, they typically end up scratching a lot. If you notice your dog scratching more than usual or if his skin is inflamed or raw, you should check in with your vet. Breathing symptoms like that of anaphylaxis in humans should be treated immediately.
Preventing food allergies in pets can be difficult. However, starting with a good food can help. Grain free dog foods often cost more but may end up saving money in the long run should it help to prevent food allergies in your pet.
Many dogs are allergic to common ingredients that are eaten all the time and frequently seen in pet food such as chicken. If your dog shows allergic symptoms, switching to a non grain based pet food or one with a different (less common) protein source might help.
When choosing your dogs food, it’s important to remember to read the ingredients. Keep in mind that labeling laws are different for pet food and foods labeled grain free may in fact still contain trace amounts of grains/gluten. If you have a human member or your household with food allergies as well, it’s even more important to read labels. Many pet foods contain nuts and other ingredients.
Visit your local specialty pet shop or ask your vet for food recommendations. In our household we use Orijen and Acana fish blend dog food which has proven safe for our pooch to eat and our food allergic son to handle.
Allergic to dogs? You might also want to read Dog Allergies and Hypoallergenic Dogs