Dog allergies come from a variety of causes, but the most common source is commercial dog food. Just like humans, our pets can become sensitive to ingredients used in food, as well as develop allergies to household products and detergents. Symptoms of allergies include scratching at paws or legs, hair loss, lack of energy, and erratic behavior. Switching food may help reduce allergy symptoms, while still giving them a balanced diet.
What to Eat
A dog should have 4 percent fiber, 22 percent protein and 6 percent fat in their everyday meals for the best nutrition. Variety between vegetables and starches give your pet the necessary vitamins and minerals for bone strength, coat care and a healthy immune system. You may also give your pet a vitamin supplement so they are getting enough nutrients, even if they choose not to eat their full serving of food.
Whether you make your own dog food or buy a commercial brand, check the ingredients to make sure there are enough sources of nutrition and not just filler products. Protein should come in the form of lean poultry or beef, especially organ meat. Beans and rice are ideal sources of protein, and nuts, seeds and coconut or avocado oil offer the pet healthy fat, which helps with internal and external health and skin maintenance. You can offer your pet a tablespoon of oil in their meal once a day to improve coat appearance.
Fiber is a necessary source in any diet, and comes from whole grains which contain essential minerals and vitamins. Feed your pet starches in the form of pasta, brown rice, or potatoes. If your pet has a wheat allergy, stick to potatoes or rice to prevent symptoms.
Root vegetables are ideal to provide a healthy balance to a dog's diet, as well as leafy vegetables. Try adding carrots, beets, pumpkin or yams into food to provide nutrition. Avoid giving your pet onions or garlic, since they may be harmful to their health.
Cause and Treatment
Most dogs develop an allergy to food they have been eating for over two years. If they begin to exhibit signs of allergy, you may take your pet to a veterinarian to examine the dog and go over diet history. Most pets that develop an allergy do not do so with new foods, so an elimination trial period might be necessary to determine what is causing the food allergy. Look for foods that have been eaten for at least 12 weeks, since they are most likely the cause for allergy.
Stop food allergies by switching to another healthy brand of commercial dog food, or make your own with balanced nutrition.