For two months all my friends have heard me talk about is dogs and sinuses. It’s the middle of Spring in Melbourne and I’ve been struck down by allergies for the first time in my life. As pollen fills the air and bits drop off all sorts of plants, my head seems to swell, my ears fill and my face randomly hurts!
Dogs get struck down by allergies too, but luckily we can control their feeding and make sure that their environment is looking after them. Read on to learn about dog food for allergies and how you can get your woofers allergies under control.
There are three common types of dog allergies and sensitivities:
1. Environmental Allergies
Think grass and pollen.
These often clear up in winter.
2. Food Allergies
Where their body mistakes ingredients as harmful, causing their immune systems to go into overdrive.
3. Food intolerances
Where they lack the digestive enzyme to properly digest certain ingredients.
What do dog allergies cause?
Dog allergies result in skin problems, itching or hair loss. Often dog owners will first notice runny eyes, itchy ears or paws and sneezing. Allergies tend to worsen over time as the immune response strengthens with every trigger.
Food intolerance is more likely to cause digestive upsets, resulting in lots of bad smells and diarrhoea.
Is there dog food for allergies?
If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, owners have seen benefit from moving to a grain-free, lower carbohydrate diet to control inflammation.
If your dog suffers from food allergies:
- Choose a dog food for allergies with transparent labeling and specific ingredients listed. With transparent labeling, your vet can work out what ingredient has caused it.
- Avoid common allergy triggers. Most likely, it’s the protein causing the issue. Of dogs with reactions, the most common causes are beef (34%), dairy (17%), chicken (15%) and wheat (13%).
- Try to avoid broken down ingredients, seeking whole ingredients that have had less processing.
(e.g. choose ‘peas’, not ‘pea protein’)
- Use a dog food higher in omega-3 fatty acids to decrease inflammation.
What if you think your dog has allergies or an intolerance?
See your vet who will likely have you change your dogs food to something with different ingredients to see whether the problem persists, or if it was something in the existing food.
If this does not help they may put your pup on an elimination diet.
For sufferers of environmental allergies, weekly bathing and sponging your dog down after time in the grass can be a big help, but the bottom line is to see your vet.