Just like humans, dogs and cats can be allergic to certain food substances. When the immune system of your pet reacts hypersensitive to one or more substances, this is called a food allergy. Food allergies in dogs or cats are not always easy to detect and it is usually not immediately clear which food substance is the cause of an allergy. It is therefore always advisable to consult your vet if your dog is not feeling well or is showing certain symptoms of a food allergy.
How do you recognize a food allergy in dogs?
The symptoms of food allergy in dogs are most often manifested as itching and skin irritation around the ears and paws. Dogs will also sometimes scratch and bite the areas that are most irritated, which can lead to wounds. In addition, your dog’s coat may not smell fresh or your four-legged friend may continue to lick certain body parts frequently. Less common are symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, hives and skin rashes.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF A FOOD ALLERGY?
The vast majority of food allergies in dogs are caused by animal protein. The most common allergies are linked to chicken, beef, lamb, dairy products and wheat. So these are ingredients to watch out for if an allergy is suspected in your dog. You could also have an allergy test done, which can show which ingredients your pet is sensitive to. Unfortunately, this is not always reliable, so it is often recommended to determine what your dog is allergic or not by eliminating certain nutrients. All Imby recipes are free of the allergens listed in the top 5.
WHAT FOOD SHOULD I GIVE A DOG WITH FOOD ALLERGY?
The most convenient solution to an allergy is to switch your dog to a healthy hypoallergenic diet. Hypoallergenic dog food generally contains few allergens and, in any case, excludes the most common allergens that we listed in the article above. We always recommend to gradually switch to a new food and to take 10 days for this. Each day, you can add 10% of the hypoallergenic food and reduce the previous food by the same percentage.
CAN PLANT-BASED OR INSECT-BASED DOG FOOD OFFER A SOLUTION?
Plant-based food for dogs can be a very good solution to a food allergy, as it does not contain any animal protein. It is also easily digestible, and therefore also good for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Dog food with insect proteins is also a good alternative for dogs with food allergies. Insect proteins are particularly nutritious (containing almost three times more protein than a fresh chicken breast) and have a very low risk of causing allergic reactions.
WHAT IS A GLUTEN ALLERGY IN DOGS?
Your dog may suffer from a gluten allergy. Gluten is a protein found in cereals. Some cereals, such as maize and rice, do not contain gluten allergens for dogs and can therefore easily be consumed. Other ingredients may be slightly more sensitive. We always recommend that you consult your vet to get the necessary tests for a gluten allergy. He/she can then immediately recommend the right food.