Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergies and food intolerance and most owners unfortunately wouldn’t even realise. If your dog is constantly having irregular poo, or skin irritation caused scratching and biting itself without actual skin infections, you may want to consider the possibility that they are suffering from allergies or food intolerance.
Food allergies often comes from protein in the food which triggers an adverse immune response, which then causes cells in the body to release histamines, or compounds that lead to itching and many other allergic signs.
I remember one of our client’s dog Guusje is an old girl, white fluffy thing, who suffers greatly from food allergies. Her symptoms include sneezing, coughing, watering eyes, skin rash, drowsiness, constant scratching here and there, and low spirit. Then the owner took Guusje to a vet and get a thorough allergy test. (Sample was collected at the vet and sent to Germany, so far, canine allergy tests can only be done in German and American labs). The results show that Guusje is literally allergic to all animal proteins, and corn and soy; which is why it doesn’t matter what brand of kibble she was on, she would always have an allergy reaction. With this information at hand, Guusje was then switched to a homemade vegetarian food with added peanut protein, and she was much much better.
Food Intolerance, doesn’t involve an immune response—but the signs of dog food intolerance can look pretty similar to the signs of a food allergy. But food intolerance is much common than food allergy.
Another client of ours who has a malinois boy called Carl is a suitable example. Carl didn’t like his kibbles but had to get by with it. The owner was very specific on how to feed him. The kibbles must be soaked in water beforehand and mixed with yogurt which is a source of probiotics. The reason was Carl had been having very irregular poo for a very long time, without added yogurt and pre-soaking, it would be inevitable diarrhoea. We suggested the parents of switching to a grain free kibble and Carl’s poo had an immediate improvement. Then it turned out that Carl has a corn intolerance.
It’s funny if you look at it this way: You are lactose intolerance and yet your parents insisted on giving you milk everyday because it’s good for you, but you are having diarrhea everyday, and your parents couldn’t make the connection.
The purpose of this post is that if your dog is showing allergy or intolerance symptoms, and your vet couldn’t pin point an infection on the skin or in the belly, you may want to reconsider their diet.
Most Common Signs of Food Allergies in Dogs
- Itching (aka pruritus)
- Itchy paws
- Hot spots
- Skin rashes
- Scaly and/or oily skin
- Pigmented skin
- Leathery skin texture
- Eye discharge
- Red eyes
- Hair loss
- Ear infections
- Secondary yeast or bacterial infections (aka pyoderma) of the skin or ears
Gastrointestinal Food Allergy Symptoms in Dogs
- Diarrhea with or without blood and/or mucus in stool
- Straining to pass stool
- Abdominal pain
Rarer Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs
- Nasal discharge
- Breathing issues
- Seizures (food allergies could trigger them in predisposed dogs)
- Secondary urinary tract infections (due to overgrowth of skin bacteria)
- Frequent scratching of self on furniture, owner’s legs, etc.
- Frequent shaking ears or scratching ears
- Biting at paws, rear end, and/or tail