|The most common food
allergens are beef, chicken, pork, fish, milk, whey, eggs,
corn and |
soy. All these foods are high in protein.
The reason that proteins are so often involved is
that they are
very large molecules, each component of which can combine with
or immune system T-cell receptor to
produce an allergic reaction.
Food allergies will show
up within 4 to 24 hours of eating the allergenic food, at
least in the
early stages. Later on, the dog will show
symptoms constantly. As in other types of allergies,
skin problems are the common signs, but
some dogs also vomit, and have diarrhea or gas.
If your dog has a year-round
itch that doesn't seem affected by weather, I
a food allergy.
cause more than itching. In response to the allergen, the
sebaceous glands of
the skin may become over-productive,
altering the normal condition of the skin. This leaves
the skin open to infection (pyoderma).
Pyoderma causes not only MORE itching, but also pain
and inflammation, ear infections, or even
abscesses beneath the skin.
If you suspect your dog
has a food allergy, you'll have to put your dog on a special
DVM Pharmaceuticals has developed a
hypoallergenic test diet composed of hydrolized liver,
casein (milk protein) oats, and pinto
beans. Still, the precise substance to which your dog is
allergic can be hard to pin down. You can
even try a homemade hypo-allergenic diet, if you
only way to test a food allergy is by elimination of suspect
foods. The animal must
be placed on
a strict elimination diet, which forbids even treats. Your dog
could be allergic
to any dietary
ingredient, including the dye on medicine or the
flavor in treats.
The new diet must contain a protein
to which the dog has not previously been exposed like
venison, fish or rabbit. The simplest way
to do this is to feed a dog a restricted diet of
protein. You may add something like rice
to which very few dogs are allergic. You must also
use a supplement.
Further, the dog
must stay on that diet for at least eight weeks. Gradually
suspect foods are
added back one at a time, and the dog must
stay on that food for at
least eight weeks.
The best way to keep your dog
from developing a food allergy is to switch your dog's
food frequently to challenge
the immune system.
In general, it's best
to feed your dog a diet that does not include artificial
flavors, dyes, or
preservatives. Luckily, food allergies do
not seem to be inherited. A good way to help prevent
your Basset from becoming food allergic is
to provide him a varied diet from puppyhood. This
challenge his immune system and make him stronger. The idea
that feeding a dog only
one food is
wrong-headed, un-natural, and boring.