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4 Dog Food Allergy Myths

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4 Dog Food Allergy Myths

Allergies are a common problem for dogs. Typical symptoms include itchiness resulting in excess scratching, biting, or licking, and sometimes chronic or recurrent skin/ear infections. While dogs most frequently suffer from allergies to environmental triggers (e.g., pollen, molds, and dust mites or flea bites), allergic reactions to food are possible, and are frequently a source of greater controversy.

Diagnosing canine food allergies is not easy. It typically requires a food trial during which a dog eats ABSOLUTELY NOTHING other than a food containing protein and carbohydrate sources to which he has never been exposed before. Another option is to only allow your dog to eat food that has been processed in such a way as to make it hypoallergenic. A food trial needs to continue for at least eight weeks before its success or failure can be evaluated. This is easier said than done!

I think the difficulty we have in definitively diagnosing food allergies in dogs is at least partially responsible for some of the myths that have developed around the condition. Letís look at a few, along with the truths behind them.

Myth: Dogs are typically allergic to corn, wheat, soy, and other plant-based ingredients.

Truth: In a study of 278 cases of food allergies in dogs where the problem ingredient was clearly identified, beef was by far the biggest culprit (95 cases). Dairy was number two at 55 cases. Wheat came in third with 42 cases. Soy and corn were actually minimal offenders, coming in at 13 and 7 cases, respectively.

In fact, protein sources are more often to blame than grains. Beef, dairy, chicken, egg, lamb, soy, pork and fish were responsible for 231 of the food allergies, while wheat, corn and rice combined accounted for only 54. (Some dogs were allergic to more than one ingredient, which is why these numbers total more than 278.)

Myth: “Iíve changed my dogís diet several times and heís still itchy, so he canít have a food allergy.”

Truth: Dogs are allergic to particular ingredients, not to brands or types of food. So if your dog is allergic to chicken, and each of the foods you have tried contains chicken, he will still be itchy. Look very closely at the ingredient list; it will usually contain multiple protein and carbohydrate sources. It is not unusual for a food that is labeled “lamb and rice,” for example, to contain chicken or other potential allergens as well.

It is difficult to guess correctly as to what your dog might be allergic to, which is why veterinarians typically reach for foods with novel ingredients like venison and potato (your dogís dietary history is important for picking out the right one), or specially processed, hypoallergenic foods.

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. For more information, visit petMD.com.

341 comments

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11:47PM PDT on Jul 10, 2014

Its very hard to figure out to what your dog is allergic to, it takes a long time.
And no treats during this time- explain that to them.
One of my dogs has allergies. First he had diarrhea and a lot of gas-that was wheat and corn, then a bad rash-from beef.
Leaving these out of his food he is healthy and happy dog.

9:07AM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

.
Many Pet Parents move their DOGs to special diets with the “Belief” that its Paw Chewing, Itchy, Gunky Ears are FOOD Allergy Driven.

When in fact, 85% of our Itchy Allergy DOGs = Allergy to the Same Pollens Mites ( not Skin ) & Molds that We suffer From.

To address Enviro allergy TroubleMakers, many Pet Parent have successfully moved their animals to Doggy GOO which builds Tolerance to major Enviro Allergy TroubleMakers.

BUT the above does not mean that FOODs are not troublemakers for our DOGs often they are. But it is not a true medically defined Food Allergy, but rather a GUT that is out of balance typically caused by Antibiotic Flora devastation.

In this case, because 75% of our DOGs Immune System is GUT Mediated Immunity, GOO Gut Rescue “Rescues” your Dogs Gut from Pathogenic Bad Bug Dominance.

Additionally, addressing the top 7 Provocative FOODs, GOO Gut Rescue also builds tolerance to Beef, Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Soy Wheat & Corn.

7:47AM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

I would like to see a list of the top 10 or 25 dog food allergies in order from most cases to least. And, it would be nice to see % of dogs (estimated, of course) affected; for example if Barley was .001%, even if top 25, it would be extremely rare that dogs would have an issue with it. Anyway, I see discussions about this allergy or that allergy, but no data or listed orders or percentage of dogs affected. How about a more detailed follow-up article?

2:52PM PDT on Aug 19, 2013

PEACE PLEASE

5:50PM PDT on Aug 18, 2013

Thank you for sharing

6:34AM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

8:35AM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

I still think some animals parents think there dogs should eat the way they do.

6:23AM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

*to pretty much tell me whether I have the right to comment (or not)*

I do believe I said, *Diane, address the topic as you will*.

Did you misconstrue such a simple statement?

6:16AM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Yes, indeed, Diane. Feel free to have a wonderful discussion here with yourself ~ just be careful not to insult or talk down to yourself.
Adieu, Adios, Auf Weidersehen, Ciao baby!

5:13AM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Barbara, where did I say you and Kimberlee can't have a civil discussion? As you've noticed, yes, few others are sticking around, and maybe it's because you have continued to talk down to everyone with your expertise? Kimberlee's situation with her dog is not what the article was about, actually, and she brought it up to state that what her veterinarians had advised her was not working and in fact, was counter-productive to her dog's health. Her original posts were that she agreed that what was sold in grocery stores as well as what most vets advise are not the ones she'd use or advise others to use. Her dog's condition was not "just" allergies, which is the topic here, actually. Yes, Barbara, you are arguing since your last 4 posts have been to pretty much tell me whether I have the right to comment (or not) since you were addressing issues pertaining to kidney diseases. Kim's last post was 5 days ago. If you want to have a private discussion with her about her dog's situation or KD, why not use the "P.M." option? So, if it's so important for you to "have the last word", feel free

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