Dog Food Intolerance vs Dog Food Allergy

The signs of dog food allergies and food intolerances are something every dog owner should know. Tracking down the allergen culprit in your dog's diet can be time-consuming, but learning to pay attention to the signs of an allergy or food intolerance can make a big difference in your dog's long term health.

Learning the signs of food intolerance or allergy to an ingredient can make a big difference in your dog's long term health.

dog food related allergies

The Rise In Dog Food-Related Allergies

The amount of grains used in dog food has risen quite significantly over time. Grain has now supplanted meat as the primary dog food ingredient in many of the leading brands. In fact, most dry dog foods now contain a large amount of cereal grain or starchy vegetables to provide texture and an inexpensive source of “energy.”

Since we know that dogs are not able to produce the necessary enzymes to break down complex carbohydrates, these elements cause all kinds of damage to the intestinal lining. Over time, this inefficient digestive process leads to a host of health problems, namely, allergies.

Grain and Allergy Correlation

To make matters even worse, an often-incorporated strategy has emerged to use proteins (gluten) from these grains (i.e. wheat and corn), to boost the overall protein content. The result is not only a food that may be hard to digest for dogs, but has poor quality proteins in it as well. A negative double-whammy when it comes to providing a quality dog food.

In time, poor quality dog food ingredients takes its toll on your dog's heatlh.

The dog digestive system is not equipped to digest the complex proteins in grain, so the result can be a food intolerance or food allergy. The canine body will see those complex proteins as an enemy invader and counter with a negative inflammatory response.

This causes intestinal inflammation and the resulting allergic response and it symptoms.

Signs of Dog Food Allergy

The signs of a dog food allergy results in an immune response. These symptoms include:

  • Skin rash
  • Excessive itching or licking
  • Paw biting, obsessive licking
  • Nausea or vomiting

Signs of Dog Food Intolerance

Intolerance occurs when the digestive system is unable to digest a specific ingredient. The absence of the immune response (above) differentiates it from an allergy.

  • Signs and symptoms of food intolerance:
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea or Loose stool

If your dog is experiencing any of the above and they are eating a food with grains, get them off of it and on to a grain-free food.

Cites and References

  1. J Anim Sci. 2007 Dec;85(12):3285-93. Epub 2007 Jul 3. Protein quality of various raw and rendered by-product meals commonly incorporated into companion animal diets. Cramer KR, Greenwood MW, Moritz JS, Beyer RS, Parsons CM.
  2. Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Nov;64(4):458-64. The canine model of dietary hypersensitivity. Day MJ.
  3. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2003 May 12;92(3-4):113-24. Serum IgE and IgG responses to food antigens in normal and atopic dogs, and dogs with gastrointestinal disease. Foster AP, Knowles TG, Moore AH, Cousins PD, Day MJ, Hall EJ.
  4. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2001 Sep 20;81(3-4):227-31. The ACVD task force on canine atopic dermatitis (X): is there a relationship between canine atopic dermatitis and cutaneous adverse food reactions? Hillier A, Griffin CE.