In today’s society, we’ve all become accustomed to hearing about food allergies. Peanut allergies in children seem to be the most prevalent and scary. Just the other week, I was on a plane and as the flight attendants were passing out their standard peanuts, the pilot came over the speakers to announce there was a person with a peanut allergy on board. The flight attendants removed all of the peanuts and everything turned out fine. This was I’m sure a scary moment for the person suffering from the peanut allergy, but what a lot of people probably don’t realize is that our pets can suffer from food allergies as well. Many of these pet allergies are found in people food, but interestingly enough, some of the most common allergy-causing items can be found in your dog’s food. Here’s a quick breakdown of what to watch out for.
If your dog is suffering from ear problems, red or irritated skin, diarrhea, excessive gas, general malaise, hot spots, constant chewing of paws or other areas, he or she probably is experiencing a reaction to something in their diet. As with anything else, a visit to your vet is high recommended, but experimenting with different foods may make a big difference in your dog’s comfort and quality of life.
Common allergies for dogs include corn, grains, dairy, eggs, soy, chicken, pork and beef. Less common are allergies to fish and rabbit, but certain dogs will have adverse reactions to these meats too. It’s ironic that many of these ingredients are found in most dog food, so be sure to read the ingredient list on anything you buy.
If you suspect any of these items might be causing your dog problems, you’ll want to eliminate them from their diet by only feeding them one or two items at a time until you can rule out the food that’s causing the reaction. Pumpkin or sweet potatoes mixed with venison, duck or bison is usually the recommended diet to rule out food allergies. Follow this regimen for at least a week or two and gauge the results. If there’s still no improvement after the trial, your dog may be experiencing an environmental allergy, which is more complex, but could be caused by something as simple as a grass pollen allergy, or even household cleaners or the doggy shampoo you’ve used. Environmental allergy tests can be ordered by your vet to specifically pinpoint the environmental cause.
It’s a little know fact that puppies or younger dogs that have been treated heavily with antibiotics can develop food allergies. This is caused by the altering of good bacteria in the gut via the antibiotics. Most food allergies in dogs are genetic too. If you’re buying a puppy from a breeder or adopting, make sure you inquire about allergies in the sire and dam if possible. Do your best to visit the breeder and see the puppy’s parents to make sure they have good coats and aren’t exhibiting any signs of allergies.
While we’ve listed the foods that can cause mild to moderate allergic reactions in your dog, there are some foods that can be harmful and even fatal. Those foods include, but are not limited to the list below. Avoid giving foods or items on this list to your dog.
- Coffee and coffee grinds
- Anything with caffeine
- Dairy products
- Macadamia nuts
- Food bones such as T-bones and chicken bones and others
- Gum, candy, sugar
- Peaches and plums
- Any fruit or food with seeds. The seeds can cause gut inflammation or worse.
- Excessive salt
- Yeast dough
- Raw eggs
- Human medications unless given permission by your vet