Just like humans, dogs get allergies too. And also like humans, some aren't always obvious, and they develop over time.
Chicken, dairy, beef, lamb, wheat and grains are some common canine allergies. Roughly 20% of dogs have a chicken allergy, 15% wheat, 7% beef and 5% lamb. The good news is most dogs don’t have allergies, but it’s still important to pay attention to what your dog’s eating.
And the symptoms can show in a few different ways:
- General itching is the most common sign
- Infections to the ears and skin
- Vomiting or diarrhea soon after consuming a particular ingredient
To mitigate these issues, it's a great idea to consult your veterinarian about a food trial, where a proteins are gradually eliminated to find out the exact cause. Alternatively, you could explore an addition diet, where you feed your dog just one thing, and introduce one extra ingredient with each meal — this way you’ll get a clearer understanding of a potential allergic reaction. To save time, it’s helpful to think about what the most likely cause is, and start with that ingredient.
In many cases, finding an uncommon replacement protein is the best long-term solution — like venison or rabbit. Your immediate reaction might be that these niche proteins could become very expensive. But actually, they’re priced similarly to other more common protein like chicken and turkey.
This way, your dog can likely live a normal life, although it’s important to note than even dogs without allergies sometimes go off their food — in this instance you could look at changing the protein or food type, switching from dry to wet. In any case, we’d always recommend consulting your veterinarian for the best advice.
And as a final tip — it’s a good idea to let people know if your dog has allergies. Just in case (despite being well intentioned) they decide to offer a treat containing something your dog is allergic to!