Symptoms that indicate food allergies also occur with flea and other allergies. Dogs with food allergies often show symptoms such as ear drainage, skin rashes and skin, ear infections and itchy feet, according to Purdue University of Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians typically advise the owner to either bring the dog in for allergy testing or put the dog on an elimination diet to determine the cause. Once you find the foods your dog needs to avoid, controlling its diet helps your dog decrease allergic responses.
Ask your veterinarian for recommendations regarding commercial food for dogs with allergies. Check with pet supply stores and online for further recommendations. Make a list of available prescription and nonprescription foods to evaluate for cost and availability.2
Read the ingredients and eliminate any foods, including treats, containing substances that cause reactions with your dog. Select food and treats or contact a board certified veterinary nutritionist for recipes to prepare homemade food. Contact your veterinarian or local veterinary teaching hospital for nutritionist contact information or a referral.3
Explain to household members and guest the need to avoid giving the dog any treats or table scraps without your approval. Provide a container with small pieces of raw vegetables, fruits, approved treats or kibble for others to give the dog. Avoid sharing restaurant and prepared foods that often contain flavorings from meat sources.4
Continue to monitor your dog for indications of new allergies, as a new allergy may develop in months or years, warns veterinarian Wendy C. Brooks, VeterinaryPartner.com's Educational Director.5
Perform a new food trial if symptoms return, as some dogs develop additional allergies. Limit the dog to a single protein source, such as rabbit, fish or kangaroo, and carbohydrate, such potato or sweet potato and avoid flavored medications during the trial, suggests University of Illinois Information Specialist Ashley Mitek.