What are the general signs that my dog has a food allergy?

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Just like humans, dogs can get allergies—and, like us, they can be caused by a multitude of things, ranging from environmental problems (like pollutants) to food.

Of course, any fast change in diet is going to cause a GI upset in your dog, and that’s considered to be more a food intolerance than an allergy. Typically, allergies show up within the ages two to six—but, again like us, they can show up at any time; for instance, your dog might be eating the same food for years and be just fine. Then, all of a sudden, she develops an allergy to it. It’s the same for us!

True food allergies have the following symptoms:
Skin Irritation
• It can be simple itching or more extreme–the dog is excessively scratching, biting, and chewing to relieve the itch, resulting in hair loss, hot spots and infections. Common locations include the ears, eyes, muzzle, paws, underarms, groin, and anus. It’s not unusual for the dog to be completely bald within a half hour—that’s how fast and frantic the scratching can be!
Yeast infections also tend to be good indicators of a food allergy, so chances are also pretty good that if your dog has a food allergy if she’s diagnosed with a yeast infection.
Gastrointestinal
• Vomiting is a common sign of a food allergy in a dog, sometimes accompanied by diarrhea. If you see her stretching a lot, it might be because she’s trying to get some for relief for painful gas, which can be another symptom.
A visit to the veterinarian is warranted if you think your dog has a food allergy. The vet will administer tests to discern a food allergy from another medical issue, such as atopy, flea-bite allergies, yeast infection, bacterial infection, sarcoptal mange, or intestinal parasites. Then the veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate treatment, whether it be antibiotics, supplements or special diets.

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