Puppies, just like people, can be allergic to certain foods in their diet. These allergies can manifest in a number of ways, and can be hard to determine given the diverse mix of ingredients in many puppy and dog food brands. Thankfully, food allergies in dogs are not fatal and can be identified and managed with a diet regimen.
Food allergies are most likely to occur in puppies during their early development, but can also arise in dogs that have never showed problems before and have seen no change in their regular diet.
PetEducation.com notes that there is a difference between a food allergy and intolerance. Food intolerances generally upset the stomach, like a person who can’t eat too much spicy food or dairy. Allergies, on the other hand, tend to cause symptoms such as rashes, swelling, hives, or itchiness. If your dog shows these symptoms, it could be an indication that he or she is allergic to something in their diet.
Canine behavioral specialist and author Alexandra Santos notes in her blog that there are seven potential food allergens that are the culprit of most issues in dogs. They are:
- Cow’s Milk
Unfortunately, these are also very common ingredients in most commercial dog food varieties, which can make it difficult to determine which item or items your four-legged friend is allergic to. Your best bet at identifying the allergen is to perform a test using a “novel food source” diet with alternative ingredients such as rabbit and rice or venison and potato. This diet should be adhered to for 12 weeks to make a clear determination. If your pet’s symptoms clear up on the restricted diet, your dog is likely allergic to some of the ingredients found in your previous dog food.
By keeping a close eye on your pup and finding the right balance of food to keep them symptom free, any allergy issues can be easily managed, allowing your pet to enjoy a long, healthy and happy life as a beloved member of your family.