Allergies can manifest in dogs in different ways. The most common symptoms of dog allergies are when their skin is itchy (sometimes leading to a loss of fur), digestive disorders, and respiratory issues. Just like with humans, there are multiple root causes for dog allergies. Some are allergic to grass, some are allergic to insects, and others are allergic to foods. It all depends on the dog. When your dog is allergic to foods, the way to treat that is by feeding them a canine hypoallergenic diet. This modified diet consists of foods that are unlikely to cause allergies, which, assuming your dog is allergic to the food you're giving, should get them back feeling new.
As a dog owner, it's essential to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of food allergies so you can know when a hypoallergenic dog food might be warranted. Of course, a vet can also help answer these questions, but sometimes it's more cost-effective to try a couple of things yourself (like switching foods) before rushing to book an appointment.
Top Food Allergy Symptoms
You might think that food allergies would be most likely to cause some stomach problems. That's not true. Just like many humans experience skin problems with food allergies (hives, swollen extremities, etc.), dogs also experience the same things. The difference is, of course, that humans can tell what's going on, whereas dogs merely scratch themselves incessantly.
Food allergies can also cause respiratory distress and stomach problems. If your dog is throwing up, has diarrhea, or is having trouble breathing, your dog may be experiencing allergic reactions to food. There is also a multitude of other reasons why they could have these symptoms, but an allergy is one of them. It's important to note that if food allergies are causing these problems, then medications typically won't help them. You'll likely need to address the underlying root cause.
Consider A Hypoallergenic Diet
If your dog has itchy skin, is losing fur, has stomach issues, or is having respiratory problems - and they're not severe enough to warrant going to the vet - you may wish to consider trying hypoallergenic foods. Of course, if any of these symptoms are serious, then you should book a vet appointment immediately. However, if you feel like your furry friend is panting just a little bit more than usual or you're noticing he's scratching an area over and over again, a hypoallergenic meal plan won't hurt, and it will help rule that out as a cause.
For dogs, putting them on a hypoallergenic diet involves buying them hypoallergenic dog food. Many brands sell this type of food, although it is often a little pricier than regular dog food. It can take a few days for the hypoallergenic food to take effect, so you should not expect their skin problems to clear up overnight. If you're feeding them this food for a few days and you notice some changes, you can have confidence that it was an allergy.
If you notice no differences, then you may wish to take your dog to the vet to let them see what's going on! It's a relatively quick and easy way to see if what your dog is experiencing might be an allergy!