Much like their human friends, dogs often suffer from the food they eat. Frequent gas, diarrhea, chronic ear infections, bald spots, foot chewing and scratching are some of the symptoms of dog food allergies. Hypoallergenic dog food diets--special diets free from substances likely to trigger canine allergies--can relieve your pet's allergy symptoms. These diets are available through veterinary clinics, stores or homemade in your own kitchen.
Eliminate Other Causes
Symptoms of food allergies can sometimes be linked to other health conditions. Like humans, dogs react to allergens in the air. Allergic symptoms include bad coat texture, itching, chewing and ear infections. Many of these are also symptoms of thyroid disease. A visit with your vet for blood and skin tests is a sound first step.
After determining your dog has some kind of food allergy, finding a diet he can safely eat becomes a challenge. Our canine companions can be allergic to many food ingredients used to make popular dog foods. The most common food ingredients that cause allergies in dogs include corn, beef, chicken, dairy products, eggs, soy wheat and yeast.
Process of Elimination
Feeding your pet an elimination diet offers new sources of protein and carbohydrates that he has never eaten before. Through trial and error, you may be able to figure out which ingredients set off allergic reactions. Ask your vet to recommend brands of hypoallergenic dog food to try. Start out by trying types without beef and corn and check for signs of improvement. After a month or so--if that does not work--choose another food absent other common allergens until the symptoms cease. Keep your pet off any food scraps or treats while going through this testing process.
Homemade and Raw Diets
If you have the time and passion, try mixing up your own home-cooked rations for your allergic dog. A typical mix contains hypoallergenic protein and carbohydrate sources, with vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Some dog owners find a raw diet of raw meat, organs and bones solves the pet's problems. Work with your vet to ensure that your home mix or raw diet is correct and balanced for your dog.
Some available hypoallergenic products.
Some examples of hypoallergenic dog foods mentioned on the Love To Know Dogs website include Addiction Pet Food, Health Pro, Hills Prescription Diet, Holistic Blend, Nutro Ultra Holistic and The Honest Kitchen.