Pet Health - Dog Food Allergy
Dealing With A Dog Food Allergy?
by Blake Kritzberg
Just as humans allergies can show up as a sneeze or rash,
your dog's allergies can manifest as itchiness -- or even
ear infections. In fact, if your dog's allergic to his
food, it can cause him to scratch himself constantly,
even with no obvious parasite problem.
Dog allergies rarely get solved with medicine, so the
best we can do for our four-footed friends is focus on
prevention. Providing the right type of food is essential
to stopping your dog's scratching habit.
Many people like to share their food with their dogs or
let them help "clean up" the kitchen after a
meal. Little do they know, their dogs just may not be
able to take the tasty food we love so much, and some
breeds (like the greyhound) are extremely sensitive. Even
common foods like cheese, beef sausage and tuna may cause
allergic reactions in some dogs. So it's best to let dogs
enjoy dog food and not human food, even though they clearly
adore and want what we're eating!
Narrowing Down the Problem
To determine the exact ingredients your dog is allergic
to, try an elimination diet. Although powerful, it also
requires patience. In fact, the elimination diet can call
for eliminating specific food for up to 12 weeks before
you'll notice the effects. And if you still haven't found
the right (and wrong) ingredients, you'll have to repeat
the process all over again.
So is there an alternative to the lengthy elimination
diet? Yes -- give your dog a brand or type of food he's
never eaten before. But simply changing to a new brand
of dog food might not be enough to eliminate his food
allergies, since many brands contain similar ingredients.
Instead, study the existing ingredients your dog is eating
to determine which types of protein source he hasn't been
exposed to. Then, hunt for a dog food that doesn't contain
any of the ingredients you saw listed. For example, there
are many brands of dog food that contains unusual protein
sources such as rabbit or venison -- great for testing
allergic reactions to other, more common proteins.
Perhaps the best way for you to get control of dog's allergies
is to whip up your own dog food. That way, you'll know
exactly what he's getting and what he isn't -- something
that's extremely hard to tell from reading the back of
a dog food bag. Making your own food is especially helpful
in elimination diets. To start, combine a portion of rice
with baby food and lamb -- so long as your dog isn't already
eating lamb and possibly displaying a reaction to it.
Dog food allergies are a special condition that can be
frustrating and take patience to solve. Since allergic
reactions don't disappear overnight, you'll need lots
of time and thoughtfulness to help your dog overcome this
problem -- but his goofy smile and those scratch-free
days ahead will probably make it all worth it.
About the Author
Blake Kritzberg is proprietor of Poodle-oo: Fashion for
Toy Dogs. Stop by for toy dog couture and home decor,
free toy dog postcards and the Toy Dog Blog. http://www.poodle-oo.com/