What To Know About Skin Allergies And Dog Food
Just like people, dogs can develop allergies to a variety of foods. In many cases, dog allergies are caused by the proteins in certain meats and/or the naturally occurring proteins found in some plants, such as wheat. In people, food allergies often manifest in the form of gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea (think shellfish allergy). In dogs, however, allergy symptoms tend to be skin-related, such as persistent itching or recurrent ear infections or skin infections.
Dogs’ Immune Systems And Allergies
Immune systems in people and dogs operate similarly, in that they’re able to distinguish between “self-proteins” (things that are supposed to be in the body) and foreign proteins (things that aren’t supposed to be in the body). Typically, the body is very good at telling the difference between the two, and it uses its ability to detect foreign proteins as a marker of infection caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite. Occasionally, though, the immune system goes haywire, fails to appropriately recognize naturally occurring proteins, and begins to attack its own tissues (this is an auto-immune disease). Or, the immune system interprets certain food items as dangerous foreign invaders (this is an allergy).
How Do Allergies Develop In Dogs?
Allergies develop over time in dogs as their immune systems begin to recognize benign proteins that they’ve been exposed to in the past as dangerous foreign invaders. It often takes repeated exposure to a food – over many weeks or months – in order for an allergy in a dog to develop. This is because the immune system is developing a response to the “dangerous” protein it’s encountering. That’s why some dogs will happily eat the same food without issue, for an extended period of time, then suddenly seem to develop an allergy to it.
As the immune system prepares its response to the protein, it slowly becomes more potent, until it results in allergy symptoms. This is a natural course of events, but could, understandably, be confusing you haven’t changed anything in your dog’s diet, yet one day, allergy symptoms appear.
If You Think Your Dog Has An Allergy To Food
If you suspect that your dog has an allergy, the first step you should take is to consult your veterinarian. After ruling out other health issues, your vet will likely recommend a hypoallergenic dog food. These are dog foods that contain “novel” proteins – ideally proteins that your dog has never encountered before. If your dog’s allergy symptoms subside, you can begin to add back sources of allergen in order to determine the exact culprit. For example, if you think that your dog is allergic to chicken, you can add a small amount of chicken back into their hypoallergenic food and then observe whether the allergy symptoms reappear. By continuing this process one protein at a time, you can eventually determine the exact cause of your dog’s allergy.
Portland Pet Food Is Different
At Portland Pet Food Company, we make all of our dog food toppings and dog treats out of natural, healthy, human-grade ingredients. Take a look at one of our labels, and you’ll see that the ingredient list is short, with no fillers or additives. This can not only give you peace of mind that you’re feeding your dog healthy food, but it can also make it easier to track down the source of an allergy, should one crop up. With other types of commercial dog food, you’re likely to see a long list of additives on the label, which makes it complicated (and time-consuming) to determine what’s causing your dog’s allergy symptoms.
Chicken-Free, Gluten-Free, and Grain-Free
Many dogs develop an allergy to chicken or chicken by-products, and we offer a variety of chicken-free flavors of dog food toppings and treats. We also have gluten-free and grain-free flavors of our dog food toppings and dog biscuits for dogs who are allergic to or have an intolerance for wheat.
Portland Pet Food Company offers subscriptions for our dog food toppings and treats, which make it easy to have what you need delivered to your door, on your timetable.