Your dog has started vomiting up some of his meals and scratches his ears frequently. Canine food allergies are an immunologic reaction to food. Not all dogs with skin or intestinal problems have a food allergy.
Most dogs have been eating the offending food for two years before signs of food allergies appear. A few dogs can develop signs as early as two months of eating the offending food. Food allergic reactions do not normally appear immediately after introducing a new food. When they begin to show, the onset is often sudden and serious.
When your dog ingests a small amount of an allergic substance it can provoke a reaction within hours. The dog allergic reaction may be vomiting, diarrhea, itchy or redden skin in the ear canal or ear flaps. The dog may shake or rub it’s head, scoot, scratch their ears or develop a food allergy rash. The dog can develop secondary skin and ear infections with bacteria or yeast. Ear disease is common in dogs with food allergies.
Food allergic reactions can start at any age, but most dogs show symptoms before they turn one year of age. They are seen in all breeds. Around 15% of dogs that have these allergies have both skin and gastrointestinal signs and 30% of dogs will have itchy skin from fleas and other allergies in dogs.
The primary cause of food allergy is meat sources such as poultry, beef, lamb and fish. Two thirds are caused by beef, dairy products, what and chicken. Chicken, lamb, soy and eggs account for one third of allergies. Pork, rabbit, cow’s milk, mutton, horse meat, oatmeal, corn, rice, wheat, flour, potatoes, kidney beans, and dog biscuits can cause allergies too.
Most cases of common food allergies can take months to diagnose. You can’t cure a dog allergy and most dogs have to take shots for life. You can learn to manage your dog’s allergies over time. Sixty to seventy percent of dogs show a big reduction in symptoms after taking steroid shots.
Treatment for dog allergies involves antihistamines, antibiotics for infections, medicated shampoos, topical medicines and in extreme skin reaction cases steroids. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between food allergies and food intolerance.