Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Food Allergies in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Just like humans, your dog can develop food allergies. Here, our Orange vets explain what symptoms might indicate a food allergy and what the best diet options are to help your pet.

Understanding Your Dog's Food Allergies

Food allergies or hypersensitivities can lead to unpleasantness for you and your dog. As a pet owner, it's important to understand what possible symptoms can look like and what to do if your dog is suffering from allergies.

What signs should I watch out for?

Unlike a human's reaction to, say, a shellfish allergy, a dog's food allergies are generally expressed as out-of-season itching. Common symptoms include red skin or rashes, particularly on the ears and feet. In some cases, allergies may cause a dog to develop gassiness, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Other signs to look out for are runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, respiratory congestion, hair loss, and head shaking/scratching.

Most commonly, these signs will appear before the dog's first birthday, but a food allergy can develop at any point in an animal's life. 

How is a food allergy diagnosed?

Our allergist specialists in Orange can pinpoint the cause of allergies through diagnostic testing to develop an effective, customized plan that is right for your dog's needs.  Often, the dog is put on an 'elimination' food trial using hypoallergenic foods in order to avoid whatever ingredient they are reacting to. Your dog should be fed the new food exclusively for at least 8-10 weeks.

After symptoms improve, the vet may request that you switch back to the original diet to confirm the diagnosis. If accurate, the original symptoms should reappear within two weeks.

What treatments are available?

These days, there are many different diet options on the market, both over-the-counter and from your vet. Here are some of the most popular types of diet foods available:

Grain-Free Dog Food: Just like the name suggests, grain-free foods and treats are ideal if your dog has a sensitivity to corn, wheat and other grains. These foods are also gluten-free, though be careful — gluten-free dog foods aren't necessarily grain-free. 

Limited Ingredient Dog Food: These foods address the presence of allergens by reducing to just one protein source, such as beef, lamb or chicken. Sometimes, these are also reduced to a single carbohydrate source. If you are shopping for a limited ingredient dog food, you should be looking for a seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control (AAFCO), as well as a "complete and balanced" claim from the manufacturer.

Novel Ingredient Dog Food: A novel ingredient dog food is one that scraps common proteins that can cause your pet's allergies to flare up — beef, chicken, etc. — and replaces them with duck, salmon or other less-common proteins that are new to your dog's system. Many limited ingredient foods will often use novel carbohydrates, leading to combinations like venison and potato.

What's the right one for my pet?

Ultimately, your dog's best diet option is going to be specific to his or her allergy and needs. Your veterinarian is going to be able to correctly diagnose if your dog's symptoms are indeed a result of an allergy and make the best recommendations for your pet's health, including prescription dog food if need be.

If you think your dog might have a food allergy, contact one of our Orange veterinarians today to book an appointment.

Now Welcoming New Patients

If you are looking for a veterinarian in Orange contact us at Vet4HealthyPet Animal Hospital today, to schedule your cat or dog's first appointment! Our vets are passionate about what they do and always provide the best possible veterinary care.

Contact Us

Book Online (714) 289-9400

Open Modal