A Beginner’s Guide to Managing Dog Allergies Through Diet
You’ve probably had allergies a few times in your life. The itchiness, the runny nose, the sneezing, the inflammation. Allergies can make you feel just plain miserable.
Humans aren’t the only creatures to suffer from allergies. Your dog is just as prone to bouts of allergic misery. Dog allergies can cause your pup great pain and discomfort. In some cases, allergies can even become life-threatening.
Dogs often alleviate their symptoms by scratching, licking, or chewing their skin. They may experience sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, and vomiting from allergies. Not fun!
Let’s take a look at the different types of dog allergies, and ways to help manage allergies with dietary changes.
Types of Dog Allergies
An allergy is simply the body’s immune system overreacting to a certain substance. Just like that bout with hay fever your friend had, your dog’s body is trying to expel what it perceives to be a threat.
Although every dog is different, your dog’s allergies likely stem from one of three sources.
Environmental allergies, or atopy, can be either seasonal or year-round. They occur when your dog is allergic to certain plants and trees, or even pollen, dust, or mold. Environmental factors also include smoke, perfume, shampoo, or cleaning products.
If these allergies are severe, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. Your dog may need to be seen by a veterinary dermatologist for skin and/or blood testing.
Contact allergies are the most common dog allergies. They usually manifest in the form of allergic dermatitis, a painful rash. These allergies occur most often on your dog’s hairless areas. A common contact allergy, for example, would be itchiness or red spots on a dog’s belly after lying in the grass.
Your dog may also be highly allergic to fleas. The allergy is caused by the flea saliva, not the actual bite or the mere presence of fleas on the dog. Fleas use their saliva to anti-coagulate the dog’s blood and drink it. They can make your pup’s skin itch for weeks, leading to hair loss and painful scabs.
Your dog could also have an allergy to certain fabrics or other types of animals. Consult a vet for help diagnosing and treating a serious contact allergy.
Food allergies don’t just cause gastrointestinal symptoms. They can also manifest in your dog’s coat and skin. Dogs are most commonly allergic to ingredients like beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb/mutton, or soy. Sources of protein are the primary culprit for dog food allergies; the more common the protein, the more likely it causes allergies (hence beef and chicken making the list).
And don’t think that just because your dog has eaten chicken-based dog food for years (for example) that they couldn’t be allergic to chicken. Like humans, dogs can develop allergies to certain foods at any time in their lives.
You’ll need to visit a vet to properly diagnose your dog with the correct food allergy. Most vets recommend a food elimination diet to find the culprit. The common solution once a food allergy is identified is to eliminate that ingredient and try switching the dog to another protein-based food that they haven’t been exposed to before. Always make sure to follow your vet’s instructions for determining food allergies or any other type of dog allergies.
Managing Dog Allergies with Diet
Dietary changes are one of the most effective ways to calm your dog’s nervous system. Try managing their allergies with a few dietary adjustments.
Remember to consult with your vet to make sure your dog’s problems result from allergies and not a more serious condition.
An elimination diet is a 12-week test. During this period, you feed your pup only one food source. This helps you determine if a particular ingredient is causing your dog’s allergies. For example, if your dog currently eats a beef diet, you might try turkey or chicken. We recommend doing an elimination diet under the guidance of your vet.
What’s difficult about an elimination diet is that it may not tell you the entire story. For example, it might appear that your pooch is allergic to chicken, when in fact, she’s actually allergic to wheat, soy or carrageenan.
Try switching to a natural dog food without suspicious additives. For optimal dog health, steer clear of artificial flavors and colors, preservatives, and added sugar. Better yet, opt for a USDA Certified Organic food to ensure that your dog’s food is pure just like nature intended.
Environmental allergens, pollen, dirt, grass, weeds, and chemicals that your dog is exposed to during the day all remain in your dog’s coat. Dogs with allergies should be bathed regularly with a natural, gentle shampoo. Try our mild Shampoo and Conditioner, which cleans and conditions using a coconut oil cleansing base and aloe. The fresh scent it leaves behind is thanks to natural essential oils. Gently wash away environmental allergens and moisturize your dog’s skin and coat with this non-irritating shampoo.
Supplements are a good option to help your dog recover from a nasty allergic reaction. Of course, you want to use a non-irritating, safe supplement to ensure that your dog heals more quickly.
Look for pure skin and coat supplements with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This will help your dog get on the road to recovery in no time. Make sure to run any supplements by your vet first to ensure they’re the right option for your dog.
Although dogs are omnivores in nature, a plant-based diet could also be the answer for their allergies. Try organic vegan or vegetarian dog foods as part of an elimination diet to see if your dog has sensitivities to proteins or grains in your current food. These diets can be fed to your dog for a limited period to reset their digestive system, or they can be part of an ongoing diet. Our vegan and vegetarian dog foods are designed for complete nutrition without animal proteins.
Don’t Delay Tackling Your Dog’s Allergies
Don’t let allergies put your dog out of commission. Start adjusting their diet as soon as you can to nip dog allergies in the bud quickly. Remember to consult with your veterinarian to keep your four-legged baby happy and healthy.
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