Food allergies in humans, yup I can handle that. Food allergies in dogs, well I guess I can do that too! This really should have been more obvious, but sometimes when it is too close to home, you just don’t see it.
After three months of a strict hypoallergenic diet, we got the verdict, “Your dog has food allergies.”
“Come again? My dog has food allergies?” The news lands in a mix of absolute astonishment and a touch of hilarity. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
Our Veterinarian looks at me, not sure how to interpret the expression on my face. This is before COVID and we could see each other eye to eye without masks. So, she launches into an explanation of what food allergies are, “…and he cannot have even a little bit.” Politely, I nod and explain that I too have food allergies, which is why I think it is kind of funny that my dog does too.”
After all the parasites our poor puppy had in his first year, it is quite a relief that he only has food allergies.
Navigating food allergy in dogs
Welcome to the food allergy club, Belmont! My dog is officially allergic to beef protein. Since we aren’t sure if any other proteins may be a problem we have to introduce new foods one at a time and slowly. Sound familiar?
It kind of felt like this was bound to happen. I was somehow not surprised at all that my dog was diagnosed with a food allergy. Actually, I know a lot of people who have puppies with food allergies.
Here at Zestfull, we believe knowledge can help you take ownership and feel more confident about an allergy diagnosis. So, I thought it best to learn more about how food allergies work in dogs. We asked Dr Rosie Brandreth-Poynter, a Veterinarian and Great Christmas Bake Off 2020 Winner, a few things about food allergies in dogs.
5 Questions about food allergy in dogs
1. What are the signs of food allergy in dogs?
Itchy skin, sometimes redness, scabs, bumps or pustules. Also persistent diarrhea or malabsorption. Very occasionally dogs do have an anaphylactic reaction but rarely due to food. Usually, these are drug reactions or a bee sting (again this is rare so don’t panic!)
2. Do dogs have a ‘top 8’ list of allergens? What ingredients are more likely to cause an allergy for dogs?
Not grains as most people think, actually grain-free diets are responsible for heart disease and sudden death in many dogs.
There are three main types of allergies for dogs:
1- Food allergies are usually to proteins – lamb, beef, chicken, etc.
2- Inhaled allergens – pollens, house dust mites, etc.
3- Parasites – flea saliva.
3. How are food allergies in dogs diagnosed?
Either an intradermal test (like the skin prick in humans) or a blood test to identify a broader range. Also, diet exclusion trials are used.
4. How is a food allergy treated?
By avoiding the allergen if possible but lots of dogs have multiple allergies, there are medications to control the skin (JAK inhibitors, steroids, etc) or desensitizing monthly injections.
5. Is it likely that my dog could develop other food allergies?
Yes, it is possible. Like in people some individuals have a predisposition to allergies.
Well there you have it, dogs are just like us! If your dog has been diagnosed with food allergies and you are still not sure where to find them safe snacks, or their safe snacks are not safe for you, Rosie has great recipes for allergy-friendly pet treats. Belmont has been begging for the Potato and parmesan (gluten-free) dog biscuits!
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!