Certain ingredients or their metabolites can cause allergic skin reactions in dogs. Such a condition may occur in all dogs of any given age.
The symptoms mostly develop shortly after the ingestion of the food, particularly in case the animal feed has been replaced recently. In most cases, strong itchiness and reddened skin appear, sometimes also papules or wheals (both are rounded, defined skin swelling which can be reddened on their surface). The paws and the underbelly are frequently affected regions. In case the provoking food is not continued to be fed, mostly the symptoms disappear. Should the dog remain in contact with the allergy trigger, a chronic dermatitis with recurring itchiness will evolve which is mostly followed after intensive scratching by a bacterial infection of the skin. Chronic inflammations of the ears may also be associated with food intolerance. Partly, the allergic reactions are also caused in the gastrointestinal tract. Typical symptoms would here be vomiting, diarrhea, increased defecation and other symptoms of this region.
Different components of the food, such as proteins or colorants and preservatives may provoke allergies. The allergens get into the skin through intestine and blood, and there provoke the allergic reaction.
The diagnosis of a feeding stuff allergy is very difficult. The best diagnostic measure is the replacement diet which is however quite complex. It is described in more detail in the category Advices. In case the suspicion of a feeding stuff allergy exists, then feeding should be changed to a mild diet made of rice and boiled chicken or cottage cheese. That diet shall strictly be adhered to and no other additional dog biscuits, etc. shall be given. If the symptoms disappear afterwards, you may slowly start feeding again mixed feed of another brand - preferably a product which is suitable for allergic subjects. Feed of this type can be purchased in most veterinary practices.
In case of animals which suffer from different allergic diseases keeping the previously given feed may even aggravate the situation. Many chronic ear inflammations can also be attributed to certain components of feed. In such cases, a replacement and provocation diet can be appropriate.