Food Allergy Signs in Dogs
How to Make Allergy Food for Dogs
If your dog's skin has become sensitive, red, itchy, and inflamed, but you can't seem to find a cause, your dog may be intolerant to something he's eating. In severe cases or if your dog is allergic (which isn't as common as an intolerance), your dog may scratch the sensitive skin to the point that it causes skin infections. Talk with your veterinarian to develop a dietary plan and learn how to make specialized food for your dog.
Considering Diet Options
Have your dog examined for a food allergy.If you notice your dog scratching his irritated or sensitive skin, or if his ears and skin are greasy and smelly, take your dog to the vet. The veterinarian will check for causes of itchiness and irritation, such as parasites, and may suggest testing for environmental allergens or putting the dog on a trial elimination diet.Allergies are usually caused by the proteins in your dog's food, although common causes are beef, chicken, dairy, wheat, corn and soy.These also happen to be the most common ingredients that make up commercial dog foods.
- Preservatives and filler ingredients can also irritate your dog's digestion.
Consider an elimination diet.Since so many ingredients, fillers, and preservatives make up commercial dog food, the vet will probably recommend a food elimination trial. To do this, you'll choose a food sensitivity diet to exclusively feed your dog.Avoid feeding any foods that aren't part of the chosen diet. This will help you determine what substance is bothering your dog.
- Remember not to feed treats or rawhide bones during the elimination diet. While this may seem harsh, it will take up to 6 weeks for your dog's body to “clear” the offending allergens from the body. Any other food during this time could potentially cause the diet to fail.
Choose a food sensitivity diet to try.When you're ready to closely monitor a strict diet for your dog, you'll need to select a food sensitivity diet. This way, you know exactly what your dog is eating. After several weeks, you should notice an improvement in your dog's allergies or you may realize that something in that particular diet is causing the problem. Some food sensitivity diets to try include:
- Novel protein: With this diet, you'll choose a single source of a non-typical meat that your dog has never had before. This might include salmon, venison, buffalo, or duck, but only give your dog 1 of these proteins, not all 3. Since your dog hasn't been exposed to the protein, there's less of a chance that he's developed an allergy to it.
- Hydrolyzed protein: This diet is made up of proteins that are broken down into small component amino acids (which make up the protein). Since they're so small, your dog's body shouldn't notice the protein, preventing an allergic reaction.
- Therapeutic: These diets which use a novel or hydrolyzed protein are made with higher levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can reduce the symptoms of food allergies.
Work with the veterinarian to create a balanced diet.Once you and your veterinarian have determined the cause of your dog's allergies, choose a nutritious diet. The vet may recommend purchasing a specific commercial product or may prescribe a detailed diet for you to make for your dog. If you do decide to make your own food, you'll need to consult a certified nutritionist or dietitian who has spoken to your vet about your dog's dietary needs.
- A specialized diet is important for your dog since dogs have different mineral and vitamin requirements than humans. Most dogs do well on a diet made up of 40 percent meat, 50 percent vegetables and 10 percent carbohydrates.
Creating a Homemade Diet
Prepare to make your dog's food.Once you have a rough idea of the diet your veterinarian and nutritionist recommend, decide if you'd like to make a cooked or raw diet. This is a matter of personal preference, although dogs with certain medical conditions like an overactive immune system or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should probably avoid a raw allergy diet.
- Regardless of whether you choose to prepare a cooked or raw food, buy the best quality ingredients you can afford. Once you decide on a novel protein and carbohydrate, you need to stick with that meat and not give any other.
Prepare the meat.Wash your hands before handling the food and chop the meat into small pieces suitable for the size of your dog. If cooking, place the meat in a large cooking pot. To make a large batch, choose 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of a protein like:
Mix in oil and cook.If cooking your dog's food, stir 4 fluid ounces (120 mL) of olive oil to the pot with the meat. Cook the mixture until the meat is almost completely cooked through.
Add vegetables and carbohydrates.If feeding your dog a raw diet, make sure the vegetables and carbohydrates you choose are cut small enough and are soft enough for you dog to eat without requiring cooking. If you're cooking the food, add 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of vegetables and 1 pound (0.45 kg) of carbohydrates. The vegetables can be fresh or frozen, but try to include a mix of at least 2 vegetables. Cook the meat, vegetable, and carbohydrate mixture until completely cooked. Some good vegetables and carbohydrates include:
- Green beans
- Sweet potato
- Lima beans
- Garbanzo beans
Portion the food and give supplements.If cooked, let the food cool before mixing in any recommended nutritional supplements. Mix it well and divide the food into individual servings before freezing them. If giving a supplement, you can also give the recommended amount to the top of your dog's food just before serving it.
- Your veterinarian may recommend a complete dog vitamin that includes all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. Other supplements include probiotics and omega fatty acids.
QuestionCan I give my dog an antihistamine?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThe majority of antihistamines are safe for dogs but always check with a vet before giving it to a dog, especially if they are on other medications. Also, never given an antihistamine that contains xylitol as an added ingredient, as this is toxic to dogs.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you know if your dog is allergic to something?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerA dog with a food allergy may be itchy, get regular ear infections, or have tummy upsets. Signs of an allergy to something in the environment include itchiness, typically affecting the paws, face, or belly.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I give my dog for allergies?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerSadly, antihistamines are little help in dogs. Giving an Omega 3 & 6 supplement helps to condition the skin and make it a better barrier to allergens, plus it has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Keeping the dog's skin clean and washing immediately after contact with an allergen will reduce the urge to itch.Thanks!
QuestionCan I cook chicken instead of turkey?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can try, but keep in mind that chicken is one of the more common proteins that dogs tend to have undesirable reactions to. It might be better to just stick with turkey.Thanks!
QuestionWhy not turnips or yams?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDogs can have turnips, but they shouldn't have candied yams because of the sugar. Sweet potatoes are a better option.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a homemade diet that is preferred by dogs with IBD?Sierra CheyenneCommunity AnswerAdding pumpkin to your dog's diet is a great way to make your dog's bowel movements more regular. You can also feed them yogurt. It has beneficial probiotics and is a staple for owners whose dogs needs help with firming up their stool.Thanks!
QuestionMy boxer has the following allergies, barley, carrot, corn, flax, green beans, oats, peanut, rice, soybean, sweet potatoes, wheat grain, and white potato. What can I feed him?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMy dog had similar allergies and I'd say give him raw meats and that is about it. Cheese is another thing dogs like, but they can't have too much of it. Dogs really shouldn't have any starches or grains anyway so this is the best for any dog.Thanks!
QuestionCan I give them raw hamburger meat?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes you can, but try to make it lean so they don't get all the fat. Dogs do still need to chew on something hard so with a diet of soft food make sure to give them dog-safe bones to chew on so that their teeth will not rot.Thanks!
QuestionIs white or brown rice okay for allergies?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhite rice is best for dogs, and most dogs will not be allergic to it.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog is allergic to chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, soy, corn, rice, wheat and peas. What can I feed him?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou will probably have to make your own dog food. Potatoes make a good alternative starch as well as apples and bananas and pumpkin. You can also try barley. You can try to feed your dog fish, duck, goat, rabbit, or pork as a meat source. Also eggs. You will need to make sure their diet is balanced. Speak to an animal nutritionist, different than a vet.Thanks!
My vet has recommended a hydrolyzed diet but after buying a 25# bag at I can't afford this. She weighs 90#s and a 25 lb bag won't even last a month. Is there a diet I can make from home?
Does anyone have recipes specifically designed for adult small breed dogs with special diets and multiple allergies?
If I choose duck for the protein, can I give my dog duck jerky as a snack?
- Dogs are susceptible to the same food allergens as humans. The most common are wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, fish and shellfish.
- You may have to visit a butcher shop to find novel meats.
Sources and Citations
- Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology. W. H. Miller Jr., C. E. Griffin, K. L. Campbell. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2013
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