Does Your Dog Have Food Allergies?


Does your dog have itchy skin, causing him to constantly scratch and nibble? Have you noticed your dog has recurring ear infections? Symptoms such as these can be very frustrating for owners and it can be difficult to get to the bottom of why it is happening. Vets may treat the itching, or the ear infection, but the symptoms keep coming back and some owners may find they are at their wits end. Read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out more about canine food allergies.

What are the possible signs of food allergies?

There are several signs to look our for that may indicate your dog is suffering from food allergies. However, do remember, that these symptoms could point to other health conditions. Therefore, it is important to make sure you consult your vet about any matter relating to your dog’s health.

Reddish, or brown tints, to the lips, feet or skin.

This is more noticeable in breeds that have pale coloured fur. It can indicate a yeast colonisation and can be accompanied by itchy skin. There are other possibilities which should be ruled out by your vet –  sunburn, or fleas, for example. However, this symptom can also often be a sign of an allergic reaction to something in the dog’s diet.

Recurring ear infections.

Frequent ear infections are often associated with food allergies. This should be considered as a possible cause, if your dog has more than three treatments for ear infections each year. Ears may be full of a brown sticky substance with an obnoxious smell and daily cleaning will not usually clear this up. It is essential to seek veterinary advice to rule out other possible causes such as ear mites, or yeast infections. If it is allergy related, your vet can advice you on a course of action.

A dull coat and itchy skin.

If your dog is constantly scratching to the point he is causing bald patches this may be an indication of dietary allergy. Sometimes the skin becomes pink and inflamed and topical creams, or bathing, does not alleviate the symptoms.  A dull coat and itchy skin could be due to environmental allergies, (such as pollen) as well as food allergies. However, a visit to your vet is advised to conduct further investigations.

Runny eyes.

Runny, sticky, eyes can also be an indication of allergies. Your dog’s eyes may be watery to the point you notice fur staining and he may also be itchy in this area.  However, it is important to rule out other causes such as trauma to the eye, grass seeds or other underlying health conditions. Therefore, a vet visit is crucial.

All the symptoms listed above may indicate food allergy  – especially if other remedies have been tried, to no avail. If other causes have been ruled out by your vet, you could try switching your dog onto a more natural diet, rather than processed food. Processed food contains a lot of additives and fillers which some dogs find difficult to digest.

Common food allergens.

Common food allergens in dogs are corn, wheat and rice – used frequently in processed ‘kibble’ type dog foods. Chicken, beef and eggs can also trigger allergic reactions, as can dairy products such as milk and cheese.

Testing for canine food allergies.

Your dog can be tested for food allergies and your vet will be able to arrange this. You can also put your dog on a food elimination diet, under supervision of your vet. Although a lengthy process – typically taking around 4-6 months, it is a non-invasive way to find out what foods are triggering your dog’s symptoms.