Scratch, Scratch…could it be allergies?
By: Jackie Edwards – featured in: https://www.nomnomnow.com/dog-food-allergies
Keeping Dog Food Allergies at Bay
If you have just adopted a dog who has been rescued by DIMC, then you undoubtedly know of the exciting journey your pooch has made before finding his forever home. DIMC makes patent the extent to which those who love and appreciate animals are willing to go to ensure they are freed from overcrowded shelters and have a greater chance of finding a human best friend. Over 8,000 animals have been flown to safety by DIMC; could your pooch be one of them? If Fido has just arrived, then without a doubt you have made the necessary preparations to keep him safe and sound. In addition to comfy bedding, regular exercise, and plenty of love, make sure he isn’t battling food allergies and stay watchful for any signs and symptoms.
What Do Dog Food Allergies Look and Feel Like?
Canine food allergies can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including itchy skin, hot spots, hair loss, swelling in skin, ear infections, diarrhea, vomiting and other digestive disturbances. If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to see your veterinarian, to ensure there isn’t another reason causing your pet’s distress. For instance, hair loss can occur because of a bacterial or fungal infection. If your veterinarian tests your dog and discovers he has a food allergy, you an elimination diet will most probably be recommended.
What Ingredients are Causing My Dog’s Symptoms?
From the first day you bring your dog home, it is vital to feed him quality food, recommended by your vet. Feeding low-quality sources of protein (some brands use beaks or hooves instead of quality meat) can spark an allergic reaction, as can food coloring, preservatives, flavor enhancers and other ingredients that are as unhealthy for dogs as they are for humans.
Almost any food can trigger dog food allergies, including eggs, dairy, high-carb fillers such as starches or potatoes, corn, milk, etc. Interestingly, one of the most common sources of allergies, are proteins; chicken, beef, fish etc. could be the culprit in your dog’s case. Often, the problem is ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, in which semi-digested (rather than fully digested) nutrients make their way into your dog’s bloodstream, triggering an immune response.
What is an Elimination Diet?
This diet involves feeding just one protein source and one carbohydrate source to your dog for around eight weeks. You will then change either the protein or the carbohydrate source, being vigilant of any possible allergic reactions. Ideally, your dog should be able to consume a wide variety of foods, especially if you weed out harmful ingredients and alternate between the foods he can tolerate.
Some vets recommend the use of hydrolyzed food, which contain protein that has been broken down into tiny particles which do not trigger and allergic reaction in dogs. As noted by Dr. Karen Becker, veterinarian, however, “the animal’s body is not actually being returned to health. It’s only being tricked into not responding to the food it has grown allergic to, assuming the hydrolyzed protein behaves as advertised. Secondly, the methods and chemicals used in the hydrolysis process don’t convert the protein into amino acids in the same natural way your pet’s body does.”
The Novel Food Approach
Dr. Becker recommends adopting the elimination diet using novel foods such as ostrich, goat, duck, venison, or even kangaroo. These meats can help your dog recover from the damage done by previous foods. Three or four protein sources can be rotated regularly, to lower your dog’s chances of becoming sensitive to just one ingredient.
Most dogs can eat a wide variety of foods without a problem but if yours has allergies, take heart. By preparing his meals yourself using just one protein and carbohydrate source, and giving his digestive system time to recoup, he will be on the road to a healthy, happy life in a matter of weeks.