Dogs can develop food allergies just like people. However, unlike people, they cannot share crucial information for the most accurate diagnosis. With the help of a veterinarian, you should rule out other health issues before settling on a diagnosis of food allergy.
The tendency to develop allergies can also be genetically determined. Dogs with other allergies like inhalant allergies or atopy may be at increased risk for developing a food allergy. Dogs can also develop food intolerance from eating the same food day after day, which can produce the same symptoms as a food allergy.
Food allergy is an immune response which causes itching sensations due to the consumption of a particular allergen in a diet. This means if your dog eats something he is allergic to, he will itch. I’ll try to explain the science behind it in a way that makes sense.
Upon first exposure to the allergen, the body initiates an immune response to the allergen by producing immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. There are usually no significant external reactions. This means that the first time your dog eats something she’s allergic to, there may be no reaction at all on the outside, but on the inside the body has already produced an allergic response.
When the same allergen is re-ingested, the IgE antibodies bind to the allergen and initiate an inflammatory reaction. Once your dog’s body has already started the allergy process, the second time they eat something they are allergic to, the inflammatory reaction (itching) occurs. The reactions continues every time your dog ingests the allergen.
Your pet can develop food allergies at any time in their life with no rhyme or reason. Your dog may develop hot spots or sores among other symptoms, but the most common sign of allergies is itching and dry skin, especially of the face, ears and belly.
Food intolerance can happen the same way food allergies do. If your dog is eating the same diet every day for long periods of time, it is at risk for developing a food intolerance. Food intolerance often have the same symptoms as food allergies.
Although this picture shows a human allergy to ragweed, the process is still the same with your animal and a food allergy.
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy or a food intolerance, check out our e-book at www.addictionfoods.com. We’ll have more informative blogs coming up on the subject of food, so subscribe here (insert link) to stay up to date.