If your dog has itchy red skin or is losing hair, then food allergies could be the cause. Allergies are very common in adult dogs, and can occur at any age.
The most common allergies in dogs are allergies to flea bites, food allergies, and a condition called atopy, which is an allergic reaction to things in the environment like pollen and mold.
My Dog is Itchy and I Suspect It’s a Food Allergy, What Should I do?
If your dog is itchy and you think it is allergies, the best thing to do is schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian to figure out the problem. Determining what kind of allergy your dog is suffering from can be tricky.
Because the symptoms differ depending on whether a dog has skin allergies, skin infections, or infestations with external parasites, like fleas, ticks, or mites, you can help your veterinarian by observing your dog at home and reporting what you notice to your vet.
If your dog has allergies, the symptoms can help you figure out whether it is flea allergy, food allergy, or atopy.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
If a dog has a food allergy, then the itching will start after he has eaten something that he is allergic to. If a dog has a food allergy, that means he or she has a hypersensitive adverse immune reaction to something he or she ate.
The most common food allergens are chicken, beef, pork, and soy.
Food allergy is a nonseasonal problem, it happens year round. In comparison, flea allergy and atopy are more seasonal problems.
Itchy dogs with food allergies are less responsive to steroid therapy, so if your dog has received a steroid shot and is still itching, then your dog might have a food allergy or another problem such as a skin infection, that doesn’t respond to steroids.
Where Does Itching Manifest if Caused By a Food Allergy?
Dogs that have a food allergy are often itchy on their ears, feet, arm pits, groin, face, neck, or perineum, or they can just be itchy everywhere.
The skin in affected areas can be red, or have red bumps called papules. Ear infections are common – an infected ear can be red, smelly, have colored discharge, can be painful, and the dog may scratch at the ear or shake his head.
Dogs with a food allergy can be so itchy that they scratch their hair out and traumatize their own skin, which can lead to secondary infections with yeast or bacteria.
Skin infections with yeast cause redness of the skin, hair loss, and an odor. Bacterial skin infections cause redness, pustules that look like pimples, skin crusting, and hair loss.
If the dog has been itching for a long time, then chronic trauma to the skin from constant chewing and licking can thicken the skin and turn it darker. Excessive dandruff called seborrhea along the top of a dog’s back can also be a sign of a food allergy.
My Dog isn’t Itchy, Does this Rule Out a Food Allergy?
Food allergy can be tricky because some dogs aren’t itchy at all, but instead will get recurrent ear infections or skin infections. Other dogs will have such severe reactions that they can develop facial swelling or hives in response to eating something to which they are allergic.
Dogs with food allergies can manifest stomach problems in addition to skin problems. Dogs with a food allergy can develop loose or runny stool, nausea, excessive flatulence or burping, or in more severe cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
What To Do Next?
If your itchy dog is having any of these problems, make sure to mention it to your veterinarian during your appointment.
Fortunately, If you suspect that your dog might have a food allergy, there are proven ways to help your dog, and they require the help of your local veterinarian.
Talk with your veterinarian about starting your dog on a food elimination trial, in order to help your dog get back to the non-itchy good life.
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