Does your dog have itchy skin? Dog skin irritations are a common problem, and can be just as frustrating to owners trying to help their pet as it is to the poor, itchy dogs. There are a number of possible causes, from parasites to thyroid disorders, and figuring out the cause often involves a lot of frustrating trial and error.

Some of the most difficult causes of dog skin problems to diagnose are food allergies in your pet. This is because there is no one symptom that points to a food allergy as the source of your dog’s health problems. Dog skin rashes and itchy skin are signs of food allergy, but they can also be indicative of inhalant allergies or parasites. To know for sure if your dog suffers from a food allergy, you’ll have to test specifically for it.

What causes food allergies? russian food store

Dogs are not usually born with food allergies, but rather develop them over time. Allergies usually develop as a reaction to certain proteins that your dog has been exposed to repeatedly, but there’s no way of knowing which dogs are disposed to developing allergies or to what foods might become allergens.

How can I tell if my dog has a food allergy?

The symptoms of food allergies strongly resemble the symptoms of other allergies (like dog skin irritation or itchy paws). A good indication that your dog may be suffering specifically from food allergies are symptoms that last year-round or if your dog has chronic ear problems. These are not definitive symptoms, but do suggest that your pet may have a food allergy.

Food trial

To diagnose a dog with food allergies, you’ll need to go through a food trial. You should only perform a food trial after you have eliminated other possible causes of your dog’s symptoms, since many dogs suffer from multiple problems at once. If you haven’t identified and treated the other problems, you’ll never know if the allergies have been resolved.

A food trial entails feeding your dog a diet made up of new proteins and carbohydrates (foods he or she hasn’t eaten). Try salmon or rabbit as protein and rice or potatoes as a new source of carbohydrates. It takes about 8 weeks for the body to clean itself of the old food, so it’s important that you maintain the new diet for at least 12 weeks to properly diagnose a food allergy.

If the symptoms have resolved themselves, you can slowly reintroduce old ingredients back into your dog’s diet. Introduce them one at a time with a week or two between new ingredients. This way if your dog’s symptoms return you’ll know what the culprit was.

Treatment

Once you know what is causing the allergic reaction, it is important to eliminate the ingredient from your dog’s diet. You can give your pet antibiotics to deal with the symptoms, but the only effective long-term solution is to keep her away from the allergen.

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