About Allergies and Intolerances
Our furry companions, like their human owners, can experience “food intolerance” and “food allergy”. Food intolerance refers to a gastrointestinal response triggered by certain ingredients. For instance, a dog with a sensitive stomach may not be able to tolerate certain ingredients that then lead to diarrhea, vomiting or irritable bowel. The reasons for food intolerance are unknown. A food allergy refers to an immune response to a particular ingredient in food that can cause itching, scratching, hot spots, hair loss, ear and eye secretions, or excessive licking. A dog may be born with specific allergies, or they may build over time from prolonged exposure to certain ingredients.
Scratch, Scratch: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
Just because your pets aren’t coughing and sneezing, as we do when confronted by some allergens, that doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering all the same. Pets with food allergies tend to experience skin irritation when exposed to known allergens, which in turn causes varied scratching behaviors. Dogs (and sometimes cats) that scratch their ears, vigorously shake themselves, and lick or bite at their paws or coats may be suffering from an allergic reaction. They are experiencing a skin irritation that, if left untreated, may result in infection. Many pets are also intolerant of certain food components, leaving them unable to fully metabolize the food and experiencing various GI problems. Unusual fecal color or consistency, excessive GI gurgling sounds and the passing of gas are typical symptoms to look for when trying to identify a food allergy or food intolerance.
Identifying and Removing the Offending Foods
Some of the most common offenders are common ingredients found in dog foods. The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy products, eggs, chicken, corn, wheat and soy – among others. The key is to determine which one or more of these ingredients are responsible for your pet’s distress. To make that determination, a food elimination trial should be performed. In the elimination trial, you should choose a wholesome, complete and balanced diet that avoids ingredients to which the pet has previously been exposed, then feed this recipe, and this recipe only, for six to eight weeks.
Once you make a determination that ingredients in your pet’s food may be causing distress, look for a diet that features only a limited number of ingredients, such as Wellness® Simple Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food with complementary Wellness® Simple Grain-Free Whitefish & Potato Formula Canned Dog Food as a topper or mix in. This delicious limited ingredient diet is formulated for food sensitivities and food allergies and is an ideal way to assist with ruling out allergens. If clinical signs subside by the end of that period, you will know it was a particular ingredient that was consumed earlier but excluded in the elimination diet that was responsible for your pet’s adverse reaction. Wellness Simple offers dry and canned dog food with limited ingredients and four novel protein sources to choose from. All of our Simple formulas are 100% complete & balanced nutrition for dogs with food allergies and food sensitivities and are formulated with ingredients that are naturally gluten-free and wheat-free.