As with human allergies, there is a growing awareness of allergies and intolerances in pets. Allergies are essentially the immune system being over sensitive to something that is usually harmless, such as something touched, breathed in or eaten.
You may notice a variety of symptoms of this over sensitivity in your dog. They may have a skin reaction: rashes, sores, itchy and inflamed skin, recurrent skin infections; or a reaction in their digestive tract: diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of appetite, losing weight or a reaction in their eyes: weeping, infections, inflammation. There may also be chronic runny noses and ear infections, or even more serious reactions too.
If you suspect your dog has allergies then you must take them to see the vet. They may do tests or suggest you try eliminating certain foods from your dog’s diet. This is essentially a process where you remove a certain possible allergen from their diet such as wheat for a few days, if there is an improvement in your dog’s condition you can then permanently remove this allergen from their diet.
However it may be that you need to remove a number of allergens from your dog’s diet before any improvement in their condition is seen.
As with humans, a common intolerance in dogs can be gluten and dairy as well as, believe it or not, certain meats.
Another way to try and manage your allergic dog’s condition is by trying a pure hypoallergenic dog food.
There are a number of cheap hypoallergenic dog foods on the market as well as some more expensive options these types of allergenic dog food are specifically designed and manufactured to be free from common allergens but are also nutritionally complete. Price is not always an indicator of quality and what suits your dog will vary, so it is worth experimenting with a few options.
You could make your own food for your allergic dog. There are a number of websites that have recipes but be careful to not contaminate the ingredients with allergens that may commonly be around your house and consult with your vet to ensure you are giving your dog the correct nutrition.
If you are starting your dog on an allergy free diet remember to be careful about treats. Dog treats will more than likely contain allergens, so you will need to source some hypoallergenic dog treats too. Again, you can make your own but as with making your allergic dog’s feed you need to be vigilant to prevent the accidental inclusion of the allergens you are trying to avoid.