If your dog suffers with itchy skin, recurrent ear infections, foot chewing, hot spots, dry flaky skin, rashes, hair loss, yeast infections, loose stools, excessive wind, breathing problems, face rubbing, lethargy or red eyes then you may be dealing with an allergy/sensitivity/intolerance.
Allergies can come from your dog's food & treats or from the environment, & because a dog can be allergic to almost anything, pinning down a more unusual culprit can take time & persistence.
Fortunately, most allergies fall within a fairly small group of contenders & food allergy triggers are pretty easy to avoid once you get in the habit of reading the ingredients list of anything you give to your dog - but it can be almost impossible to avoid some environmental ones (such as pollen, grass, harvest mites etc).
In the case of environmental allergies, the best you can do, alongside vet-meds, is to try to support their immune system with supplements & limit exposure to the triggers when you can.
Our Itchy Dog recipe contains added Itch Eeze - a herbal formulation which helps support the immune system, which may be if interest to owners dealing with environmental triggers.
Allergies, intolerances & sensitivities are terms that are used interchangeably, but they are actually different.
An allergy is an immune system response. Specifically, an IgE response. It is not a digestive issue, so much as a blood issue. Your dog’s body is mounting an over-exaggerated immune response to something it believes is trying to harm him/her. The irony is that it’s the overreaction that ends up causing the problems, not the perceived threat. Allergies tend to start most often in puppyhood or as senior dogs.
A food sensitivity is a different type of immune system response, most typically an IgG response (although there are others) and is often acquired over time. The current thinking is this invariably involves a ‘leaky’ gut (or intestinal permeability) whereby undigested food particles can pass into the bloodstream repeatedly via tiny holes in the gut. Over time, the body mistakes these particles as pathogens and begins to react to them.
A food intolerance is not an immune response at all, it is simply a functional or mechanical issue the body has with digesting a particular foodstuff, which usually manifests itself as loose stools & wind.
The only effective treatment for any food allergy/sensitivity/intolerance is to remove the trigger from the diet. The best way to do this is via an ‘exclusion’ diet. This involves feeding your dog foods which exclude as many of the ingredients in their current food & treats as possible, thereby removing the culprit from the diet. Over time you can experiment with re-introducing some elements until you have pinned down the exact source of the problem.
Allergy tests are also available but bear in mind that they are not wholly reliable, so the results should be treated with caution.
The foods listed below avoid all of the most common triggers: wheat, prairie meal, ‘cereals’, barley, dairy products, soy, chicken & beef - but be aware that that there are many other possible culprits. You are welcome to email us with details of your current feeding/ treating regime & we’ll suggest some options based on this information.