Does Your Dog Have Food Allergies?

Woman with her Golden Labradoodle dog reading at home

Just like people, dogs can develop allergies to foods at any time – even after years of eating a certain type of food.

Some of the symptoms that your dog might have developed an intolerance to a certain type of food or an allergy, and might be a candidate for a dog food for allergies or another type of special diet, include:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess gas 
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive licking
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Bacterial, fungal or yeast infections
  • Intense itching and scratching that can cause red, irritated-looking skin

In fact, reactions caused by food allergies account for approximately 10% to 15% of all allergic skin disease in dogs and cats.1

Usually allergies emerge when dogs are between one and three years of age, but this is not a strict rule. While all breeds, including mixed breed dogs, can develop allergies, certain breeds are predisposed to developing them. These include:2

  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boxer
  • Dalmatian

Most often, the cause of an allergy isn’t some exotic dietary element. It’s usually a common protein source, such as beef and dairy. But any dog food ingredient could trigger an adverse reaction.

If your dog might need a food for dogs with allergies, your veterinarian might set up a diet elimination trial, the first step in determining whether a food ingredient might be triggering the adverse reaction. These trials usually last between eight and 12 weeks and involve a recommended diet plan for your dog, which you must follow carefully, and feed exclusively.

If your dog is diagnosed with a food allergy, a dog food for allergies can bring him the relief he needs. Often times, food allergies are very specific to the individual dog, so consider this when choosing a food for your pet.

Once you and your veterinarian have identified the source of your dog’s food allergy, you can discuss options that are free of the ingredient that causes the reactions. Fortunately, there are many dog food choices made without some of the most common ingredients that can cause intolerance. One example is Beyond® Natural Pet Food brand, which features recipes containing no poultry by-product meal; no corn, wheat or soy; and no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

The Beyond product line also offers recipes that help pet owners replace traditional (and potentially allergy triggering) protein sources such as beef or chicken, with alternative protein sources like salmon. If your veterinarian suggests an alternative protein food for your dog, Beyond offers options such as Superfood Salmon, Egg & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food.

This is just one example of the quality foods available that may help owners nourish their dogs with allergies. Remember, the right food for dogs with allergies is the one that brings both relief and nourishment to your dog. Talk through the options with your veterinarian, and be sure to transition between foods gradually, to help your dog successfully make the switch to his new dog food without further upset. 

1. Tilley LP, Smith FWK. The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline. 3rd ed. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing; 2004.
2. Allergies in Dogs. Merck Manuals.

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