What causes a food allergy in a dog?
A lot of times people don’t even realize their dog has a food allergy and just assume it’s from something like dust mites or pollution. Things like reoccurring ear infections, hair loss, excessive itchiness or chewing on feet, however, could be caused by a food allergy.
Following are some things to keep in mind when trying to determine the cause of an allergy:
• Commercial foods: Many of these contain the same common protein components and some are known allergens. These include: beef, chicken, dairy, lamb, fish and eggs. As dogs are frequently exposed to them, antigens build up and the immune system is stimulated and, before you know it, a food allergy occurs.
The biggest example is lamb, because it was once considered the “go to” protein for those canines with allergies. As recently as ten years ago, lamb was considered to be a “novel” protein, a protein that dogs hadn’t typically had before. As lamb became more popular in diets for those other than those that were hypoallergenic, dogs started to develop lamb allergies.
• Carbohydrates: Dogs are often allergic to corn, wheat and soy and most dog food diets contain corn, because it’s used as filler. Be mindful of ingredient splitting: What that means if that “fragments” from one ingredient on the dog food label can be a way to hide a large amount of a low-value ingredient, since those “fragments” will appear far down on the ingredient list. But all them add up and it results in a whopping amount of one ingredient; corn seems to be the most prevalent when it comes to “splitting.” It’s done most often with corn products.
In fact, some say dogs don’t need carbohydrates at all, but that’s something you should discuss with your vet.
• Preservatives and sweeteners: Most dog foods contain preservatives, and mostly artificial. Even foods that claim to be all natural can actually contain artificial preservatives, and some dogs can be allergic to these. Same with sweeteners. Stay away from foods that contain sugar, fructose, glucose, cane molasses, propylene glycol and corn syrup.