A wide variety of commercially-prepared dog foods are on the market, with a myriad of ingredients listed on the packaging. If your dog seems to be reacting to an ingredient in the food, you can look for telltale symptoms of food allergy. It can be baffling to try to decipher just what is causing Fido to act so distressed. A remedy is a priority, as we love our pets and hate to see them in discomfort.
Observe your dog’s behavior and skin. Take note of the age your dog begins to have symptoms. Notice if your pet is constantly scratching himself on the face, rubbing its ears or chewing feverishly on its feet or forelegs. Watch to see if it is straining to reach this area to scratch, or to scoot on the carpet to alleviate the itch.
Look for symptoms relating to intense inner ear itching, such as head-shaking, excessive scratching or sores or hot spots. Check the external ear flap to see if it is red and inflamed from rubbing against carpet or rugs to scratch the itch. Observe the ear for yeast.
Note your pet’s response to any antibiotic course of treatment for infection. Tell your vet if your dog’s symptoms have been alleviated with the antibiotics. Pay careful attention to the stop date of the medication, and note if the symptoms return after the treatment has been stopped.
Pay attention to the frequency of your dog’s bowel movements. Note if they have increased to three or more per day, indicating possible food allergic reaction. Be on the alert for additional digestive issues such as vomiting.
Watch your calendar. Be attentive as to the time of year your dog suffers from skin-related symptoms, noting if the skin symptoms are year-round or just in the winter, which could be related to seasonal dryness.
Place your dog on an elimination diet. Carefully check every ingredient of the food you are feeding that could be causing a reaction. Take note of the items that may be causing the allergy symptoms. Remove the suspect ingredients from the dog’s diet and note if the symptoms are decreased or eliminated. Seek a different food that does not have the same ingredients. Repeat this process until symptoms disappear.
Give your new diet at least three months. Carefully note any improvement.
Tips & Warnings
Take your pet to the vet if you suspect it is sick or to identify other issues that may not be food allergy-related. Many other diseases and problems can cause similar symptoms as food allergies.