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Food and contact allergies in dogs

Dogs can have allergies to food, or to certain objects they come into contact with. Allergic reactions from foods are often caused by hypersensitivity to a protein source. Contact allergies show when your dog comes into contact with a certain substance. Read more about both allergies and what to look for.
Food and contact allergies in dogs

Symptoms of food allergies

Food allergy often manifests itself through non-seasonal itching, as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. This commonly affects a dog between the paw pads, around the nose and eyes, the groin, armpits or around the anus.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Recurrent ear infection
  • Eczema or other skin infections

Investigate their diet

A food allergy can't simply be diagnosed through a food sample. Often you will need to try and find the source of the allergy at home. Sometimes it's as simple as just changing their diet, however you may need to do an elimination diet with provocation.

The elimination diet is recommended to be carried out only in consultation with a veterinarian. In addition to the diet, a veterinarian should examine the dog and rule out other causes of the itching .

The elimination diet means that you give the dog a diet with a new protein source for your dog. You should be aware that cross-reactions occur, for example, between chicken and fish, between different bird species and between beef and venison.

An alternative is hydrolysed feed, which is a special feed that can be bought from a veterinarian. The feed is broken down so that the immune system cannot react against the proteins in the food.

This diet and good quality water should be given to the dog for a period of at least eight weeks. During this time, absolutely nothing in addition to the diet may be given to the dog. If the dog gets better during the test period, the period can be extended for a few more weeks to see if the dog becomes symptom-free.

Provoke with different topics

It is then time to start the provocation. Using the test diet as a base, give your dog other food on isolated occasions. This should be foods you want to see if your dog is allergic to, for example different meat, eggs, milk, or a complete food. Then watch your dog to see if they have a reaction.

5 common protein sources that can cause skin problems in dogs:

  • Bird
  • Nut
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Wheat (not gluten – gluten intolerance is a diarrheal disease)

Urticaria (hives)

Urticaria (hives) is a form of allergic reaction to something your dog has eaten or inhaled. If your dog is affected by urticaria, acute elevations, bumps and swellings occur in the dog's skin, often at the same time as severe itching.

Urticaria can go away on its own but can also develop into an anaphylactic shock

Contact allergies

If your dogs skin comes into contact with a substance they are allergic too, antibodies are formed.

Investigation by exclusion

To find out what it is that your dog is reacting to, you'll have to do some investigating. It can often be helpful to check on which areas of the body your dog shows reactions. If they turn red around the neck, It could be an allergy to something in their collar, for example, nickel.

If your dog gets skin changes and itching on the lower part of the body, they may be allergic to the material they're lying on. Allergy to certain plastic materials and water bowls usually shows up as itchy changes around the nose and face. In these cases, the cause of the allergy can be easily removed and the dog becomes symptom-free.

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Skin problems in dogs - a sign of allergies

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Cushing's syndrome in dogs

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