A food allergy can arise when your body misidentifies certain proteins as a dangerous substance, triggering a response from your immune system. It's not only the human body that might do this, and the same type of response can be found in animals. Although you're able to spot the signs of a potential food allergy in yourself, would you be able to do the same with your dog? Here are some ways to know whether your dog is allergic to their food.
1. Look for Possible Symptoms
If your dog was to develop an allergy to their food, the precise symptoms will vary depending on the nature and severity of the allergy. This can involve a mildly upset stomach, all the way to significant digestive issues. An epidermal reaction is also possible, and your dog's food allergy can present itself as persistently itchy skin. Essentially, if your dog begins to demonstrate digestive problems (including vomiting and diarrhoea), or becomes inexplicably itchy despite no obvious external irritant, then they might be allergic to their food.
2. Recognize Other Causes
Vomiting, diarrhoea, and itchy skin indicate a food allergy, but these symptoms are not conclusive in themselves. If these symptoms are ongoing, then your dog needs to be assessed by your vet to rule out any other possible causes of these issues, before a food allergy can be properly diagnosed.
3. Diagnose the Allergy
A formal diagnosis of an allergy is not the end of the story. While your vet might know that an allergy is to blame for your dog's issues, they will not necessarily know what your dog is allergic to. As in humans, determining the precise nature of a food allergy in dogs involves a process of elimination. This process is not as straightforward as it seems, and your vet might recommend a specific type of pet food that contains minimal ingredients. If the allergy does not go away, then it's far easier to pinpoint the culprit since your dog's diet now only has a few possible allergen contenders. The allergy could easily disappear once your dog's diet is changed, so your dog might be just fine with this new form of unprocessed pet food.
A food allergy might not pose a significant threat to your dog's health, but it can make them extremely uncomfortable, which is why you need to know the signs of a dietary allergy in your four-legged friend. Contact vets and pet food suppliers to learn more about your dog's health.