Grain Allergies Leading to Severe Health Problems for Dogs
How to know if your dog could be suffering
Gluten and grain allergies and intolerances have spiked in humans and now pet owners are also finding out that Fido might not feel his best with a diet filled with grains either. Food sensitivities can manifest right away or can develop over time. So how can you tell if your dog is experiencing food issues?
Just like in people, common symptoms of a food allergy or intolerance include obvious gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and vomiting, but also can show up in seemingly unrelated problems including:
1. Itchy, flaky, dry skin
2. Rash and bumps
3. Changes in skin texture
4. Hair loss
5. Chronic ear infections
6. Licking and chewing feet
7. Red paw pads
8. Red eyes, eye discharge
9. Overly pink or red lips
10. Red, pink or bronze nails
Allergy vs. Intolerance
A food allergy triggers an immune response, while an intolerance does not, even though the symptoms a dog has in each case are similar. An allergy is the body reacting to a protein in the food. A true food allergy is rare. Most likely a dog with food issues has an intolerance.
Research has not found any one breed of dog more susceptible to food issues than another. Some studies do show that if a parent had an allergy, the offspring is more likely to as well.
Food allergy vs. Environmental allergy
Environmental allergies are much more common in dogs than a food allergy, but there are some telltale signs you’re dealing with food, not an environmental allergy that include:
The issue starts early-in the first year of your puppy’s life
If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal issues
If the symptoms don’t change with the season
If you tried steroids and the issues persist
Testing for food sensitivity
If you think your dog is suffering from grain intolerance or allergy you can have your vet run blood and patch allergy tests to see if either can pinpoint the source of the irritant. You can also simply try an elimination diet. Take out all the grains from his diet, including wheat, corn, and rice for eight weeks. Observe the results. Add back each type of grain individually and note changes in their coat, gastrointestinal response, and behavior.
Why it matters
Besides the obvious fact that your dog is suffering, unresolved food allergies can lead to bigger problems down the road including; development of additional allergies, secondary skin infections, worsening of initial symptoms and even death.
What Food is Best
If you’ve determined that your pup can’t stomach grains, it’s imperative you switch to a grain-free diet. Thankfully there are now many dog food options without grains including Taste of the Wild Grain Free Dog Food, Zignature, Blue Wilderness Adult Grain Free Dog Food, Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.