Does your dog have food allergies?

Does your dog have food allergies?

In case you didn’t already know, your dog can suffer from food allergies, in the same way as a human can. Food allergies in dogs occur when the dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food substance as being harmful. Antibodies are released to neutralize the allergen. When the food is eaten again, the antibodies sense this, and release histamine into the animal’s bloodstream. This can cause a wide range of allergy symptoms.

An allergy can manifest itself in various ways. One common symptom is itching – it can be simple or extreme. The skin irritation can cause the dog to lick, scratch or chew himself to relieve the itch. The most common areas are his ears, muzzle, paws, underarms, groin and rear end; they may constantly be licking at their paws. He may suffer from diarrhoea, and may also have painful gas. As with humans, his nose may drip and eyes water. He may also suffer from raised red bumps and pustules.

Food allergies in dogs can occur at any age; they may occur when he is a puppy, or not appear until adulthood. Most typically, they appear between 2 and 6 years of age. There can be a genetic predisposition to allergies, and the environment can also be a causative factor.

Twenty percent of allergies in dogs are due to food. Dogs may also have a food intolerance, which differs from an allergy in that it is a digestive problem rather than an immune one. A food intolerance involves mostly digestive distress… gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. One of the most common of these is lactose intolerance, in which the dog is not able to break down lactose, the sugar that is found in milk.

Although almost any food can cause a food allergy, certain ones are known to be the most common triggers. These include:
• Beef
• Dairy products
• Wheat
• Eggs
• Chicken
• Pork
• Rabbit
• fish

Most dogs are allergic to more than one food substance. They can eat these foods for many years prior to showing an allergic reaction.

Keep in mind that it may not food they are allergic to.  Check what you are using to wash their bedding or even what you put on your carpets and floors.  Also a dog may have fleas or ticks, or alternatively they could be suffering from an allergic reaction to chemical flea treatments or other medicines.  If you think that your flea treatment is causing problems then I recommend you take read more about natural flea and tick prevention for dogs.

No one particular breed is known to be pre-disposed to allergies, although a breeder who has several animals with allergies is probably going to produce more of the same.

Determining whether your dog has food allergies, and what foods trigger these allergies, is a simple but time consuming process. The first step is to eliminate all of the foods he is presently consuming, and introduce him to a food he has not eaten before. When the dog’s symptoms improve, we can begin to reintroduce other foods that may have been the trigger, one at a time. If he suffers from a reaction to a specific food, you know that he has an allergy to it, and remove it permanently from his diet. This process is continued for other foods, until you are certain which foods are causing the symptoms.

If you use commercial dog food, there are many good hypoallergenic dog foods available, including:
• Acana Dog Food
• Addiction Dog Food
• Blue Buffalo Basics
• Bravo Balance Dog Food (Raw Frozen)
• Brothers Complete Advanced Allergy
• Some organic dog food brands

…Among many others

These will generally contain limited ingredients (these make it easier to pin down the suspected allergen), novel ingredients (contain ingredients which the animal probably has not been previously exposed to — and is less likely to be sensitive to, such as buffalo, pheasant, or kangaroo), and hypoallergenic recipes (which avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction).

Seeing your dog compulsively itching, scratching and biting can be almost as upsetting to you as to your dog. Finding out what food allergies in dogs may be causing it is the first step to curing it. No one food is appropriate for every stage in your dog’s life, and changing it can mean a happier, healthier lifestyle for your favorite pet.

Read more about food allergies in dogs

Dangerous Foods for Dogs

Dangerous Foods for Dogs

We love our dogs – they are like members of our family – and we do everything we can to care for them to the best of our ability. We would never do anything to harm them if we could avoid it. We spend exorbitant amounts on the best pet foods, and carefully examine their ingredient label to be sure that they receive the right amount of protein. We buy vitamins to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, we run up against one major pitfall when it comes to feeding them properly – that pathetic puppy eye stare!

There are many human foods that are dangerous foods for dogs, and we simply don’t realize it! When your puppy gives you that sad eyed, “I’m so hungry and that looks so good” look when you are munching on popcorn or a candy bar, who can resist?

Before you give in to the urge to share, consider what you might really be doing for your dog’s health! That little piece of chocolate may make him happy for a few minutes – but chocolate is a harmful food to dogs. The caffeine in the chocolate can cause caffeine poisoning, and there is not an antidote. Eating even a small amount can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and can even cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, bleeding and death.

Even when the candy is not chocolate, sugar causes the same problems in dogs that it does in humans – dental issues, obesity, and even in some cases diabetes.

You say that you are eating sugar free candy, and it isn’t chocolate, so it shouldn’t be a problem? The Xylitol used in some of these can cause a drop in the dogs blood sugar, as well as vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. It is best to leave the candy and other sweets for human consumption, and instead provide your dog with a suitable treat designed just for him.

When you are preparing dinner, does your dog stand at your feet waiting for a few little treats, like a piece of raw fish or meat when you are cutting it? These are another example of dangerous foods for dogs. It seems only natural to toss a trimming to hi, and after all, aren’t dogs supposed to eat raw meat?  Actually, raw meat and fish often contain bacteria which can lead to food poisoning in pets as well as humans. These bacteria can cause vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes, and lead to death. Cooking the meat before presenting it to your dog can kill these parasites. In the same way that we trim the fat from our own meat, it should be trimmed from the dogs as well. Whether it is fed to him raw or cooked, it can cause pancreatitis.

Also remember that the chemicals you use on your home and even on your dog may be unsafe.  Check what is in your chemical flea treatments and consider if it is a good idea or not.  The skin absorbs things almost the same as eating does so if you wouldn’t eat it don’t put it on yours or your dogs skin. Another important thing to remember is that if you use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean the floor make sure your dog doesn’t lick anything off of it. Read more here.

Fruits are great and healthy for humans, so why not for dogs? Some fruits can safely be given to your dog as a treat – slices of apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon are tasty and won’t harm your dog. Others should never be fed to him. An Avocado contains persin, which can be toxic in dogs. Not only the fruit itself, but also the plants, can be harmful. Persimmons, peaches and plums are also on the “to avoid” list. The pits contain cyanide – poisonous to dogs as well as humans. A human will avoid the pit – the dog doesn’t know any better and will munch away. Grapes and raisins should also be avoided, even in small amounts, as they can cause kidney failure in dogs.

Onions and garlic are another human food which is considered one of the dangerous foods for dogs. Too much can cause poisoning and/or anemia, and since the issue of “how much is too much” can be hard to judge, it is best to simply avoid the issue. Weakness, vomiting, showing little interest in food, and breathlessness can all arise as symptoms.

Common salt is another thing to avoid. Those potato chips or pretzels that they beg for can result in excessive thirst and urination. An excess of salt can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, and seizures, and can even result in cause death.

When you love your dog, you want him to be happy and healthy. Even though a quick snack may seem like a good idea, you want to be certain that what you are giving him the proper type of treats, and not dangerous foods for dogs!

Read more here

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