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How to Know if Your Dog Has Food Allergies and What to Do

Updated on July 1, 2017

Dogs and Food Allergies

Dogs can develop allergies to their food, just like humans can. Of all allergies that dogs experience, about 10% are caused by food. 20% of itching is caused by food allergies and another 20% by food allergies with others include eczema, rhinitis or asthma, As you can see, food allergies cause a lot of the itching that dogs experience.


The first sign that you will notice is the dog scratching himself more than usual. All dogs scratch themselves from time to time, but this is scratching much more than normal. Later, you’ll see bare patches from the dog scratching so much.

Some breeds will also develop red eyes and sinus problems. Frequent ear infections or asthma can also indicate a problem.

Be sure to check that your dog’s problem isn’t fleas, mites or ringworm. These can cause itching too.

What You Should Do

Before the situation gets worse, call your vet. You’ll need to explain to him what is going on and he may or may not require a visit. Sometimes, he’ll just prescribe an allergy pill and other times he’ll want the dog to come in, so he can check him over.

Take your dog off his current food. If you’ve just tried something new, you’ll know what the culprit is. Take the dog off the food right away and go back to the dog’s regular food.

What the Vet Will Do

If the vet questions the cause of the itching, he may require a blood or skin test, which he will send to a lab for analysis. He may be able to identify the problem as food allergies just upon his examination.

When the vet verifies that the itching is caused by allergies, he may first try allergy pills. He may also give the dog a prednisone shot and have the dog to take prednisone pills for a period of time.

If the problem continues,  the pet may eventually be put on allergy shots. Don’t despair. The owner will be shown how to give the shots and it really isn’t that hard, but they can cost $200 per year and up.

What You Should Do in the Future

Only feed your pet high quality dog foods. Always check the ingredients. There are special brands on the market for dogs with allergies. If changing your dog’s food, do it slowly. Just add a little to the bowl at a time and increase slowly over a week’s time.

Don’t feed your dog table scraps. These just involve too many ingredients that the dog may have or develop an allergy to.

Watch the ingredients of the treats you buy for your dog too. As a last resort, make your own treats. There are recipes online for both treats and dog food.


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    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      peachpurple, Thanks for reading. I wonder what they are feeding their dogs. They could be allergic to something in their environment such as trees, grass etc or maybe they just need a good bath.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      no wonder i see my neighbor dogs keep scratching, thanks

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      b Malin, I'm happy I could help. I read your hub about Brady.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 7 years ago

      Hi Barbara Kay, I learned a few things from your Hub, which I will pass on to my son and niece, who have dogs...I haven't owned a dog since my "Brady" (Belgium Shepard). I wrote a Hub on him. Anyway, I look forward to following you, and thanks for becoming a follower of mine.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      Pegcole17, I'll have to start remembering to look for corn in the dog food we buy. This may be something our Brittany is allergic to.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I've started checking the main ingredient in the dog food we get for our pups. If it has ground corn or corn by-products as the first on the list, then I don't buy it. Our Malamute suffered from allergies and had to have regular medication. BTW, I love the pic of the black retriever who looks just like my Buckwheat did.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      chinemeremz, Boiled eggs are hard to digest even for humans. I read one time that they burn more calories while you are digesting them than is in the boiled egg.

    • chinemeremz profile image

      chinemeremz 7 years ago

      I've noticed that whenever I feed my dog with boiled eggs it ends up with gastric noise in its stomach which I technically take care of with trisilicate medication.

      Thanks for sharing, atleast I've learnt yet another thing.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 7 years ago from USA

      LillyGrillzit, I'm happy I could help. Thanks for commenting.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      This is very helpful. Thank you!