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Itchy dog

Food Allergies in Dogs

Food Allergies in Dogs

In this week’s blog, we are answering some burning questions regarding food allergies in dogs.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy occurs when a dog’s immune system reacts to regular foods as harmful to them. The most common foods that trigger this response are dietary proteins.

What are some symptoms of food allergies?

Dermatological signs include red itchy skin, lesions, recurring ear infections, and hair loss.

Gastrointestinal signs include irregular bowel movements, bad breath, excessive gas, rumbling or gurgling sounds from the gut and nausea.

The most common sign of food allergies in dogs is itchiness

How do you know if your dog has a food allergy?

The best way to determine if your dog has a food allergy is a food elimination trial. Allergy tests based on skin, saliva, blood or hair samples can produce unreliable results. A food elimination trial consists of three steps:

  1. Eliminate the potential food allergen (i.e. dietary protein source). 
  2. The trial period with a very strict elimination diet containing either a novel protein diet or a hydrolyzed protein diet. 
  3.   Re-challenge period with previous food to observe for any recurrence of clinical signs pointing to the food allergy.

Finding a diet to use during a food elimination diet may require a deep dive into your pet’s diet history to ensure you are feeding a novel protein.

On the other hand, you can feed a hydrolyzed protein diet. Hydrolyzed proteins are created via hydrolysis. Hydrolysis uses water to chemically break down proteins into very small pieces so the dog’s immune system won’t react to them. 

What are the most common food allergens in dogs?

The top three food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy and chicken

What are the best hypoallergenic protein options?

A hypoallergenic protein is a protein that is less likely to cause an allergy than other proteins. A good hypoallergenic protein is black soldier fly larvae protein because it is a very novel protein and most dogs haven’t been exposed to insect protein before. If your dog is sensitive to chicken or beef, you may want to try an insect protein diet. 

Check out HOPE's products including hypoallergenic insect protein! 

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