If your pet has a food allergy, that may present itself through itchy skin, signs of dietary sensitivity also include chronic ear problems, vomiting, flatulence, or diarrhea, and coughing, wheezing and sneezing. Other more subtle changes can also occur, including hyperactivity, weight loss, lack of energy and even aggression. Food allergy is one of the most common allergies known to affect dogs. A protein or carbohydrate is usually the culprit. In a dog with food allergy the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to substances that it would normally tolerate. Food allergies are very uncomfortable for your dog. And will make you wonder where that happy, lovable best friend went.
What To Do If your Suspect Your Dog Has Food Allergies
The first step in providing the proper relief to dogs with food sensitivities is to consult with your veterinarian to accurately identify the problem. There are tests available to help in the detection of the causative agents. With this information, you and your veterinarian can begin to find a feeding plan for your dog with a diet that agrees with his/her body. The most common foods are dairy products, beef, or gluten. Any ingredient can produce an allergy. Additives can also be responsible.
Elimination Diet to Help with the Diagnosis
Ideally, an elimination diet initially consists of just one protein source and one carbohydrate source, neither of which appears on the list of foods your dog has previously eaten. Elimination diets are generally fed for a minimum of eight or twelve weeks.
Other Tests for Diagnosis
Blood allergy tests can also determine food allergies, as well as allergic reactions to materials like cotton or nylon. Blood tests are much less invasive and time consuming than skin allergy tests. Blood tests are the most commonly used dog allergy test and are called lgE tests. Your veterinarian will discuss whether or not they would be of a benefit to diagnosing your pet’s condition.
It can take several weeks for the elimination diet to reveal the allergen and during this time your pet may still be experiencing some symptoms. Many veterinarians prefer to complete the elimination diet before applying any type of medications. Once the allergen has been identified, the initial course of action is avoidance of the ingredient. Other supplements, such as Omega-3 oils and probiotics, may be recommended as well after the elimination diet is completed to support the immune system. This will assist your canine’s body in handling any accidental exposure to allergens and to prevent the cultivation of new allergies. Today there are a number of commercially available, palatable hypoallergenic diets that can be fed to your pet for the rest of your dog’s life. Your veterinarian can discuss the best choices for your pet, based on the results of testing.
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Companion Animal Medical Centre is a full-service veterinary medical facility offering both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine. Our goal is to give your pet a long, happy, and healthy life. Dr. Gwendolyn Steffen and her professional staff seek to provide the best possible medical care, surgical care, and dental care for your pets.
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