What can I do to help my dog with food allergies?

Your dog can develop food allergies, just like humans can. Here, our Greensboro vets explain what symptoms and signs might indicate a food allergy and what your 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.

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?

Getting a proper diagnosis for food allergies can be a lengthy process and involves an 'elimination' food trial using hypoallergenic dog foods. Your dog should be fed the new food exclusively for at least 8-10 weeks — sometimes longer for breeds like Cocker Spaniels or Labrador Retrievers.

After symptoms improve, you'll need to switch back to the original diet to confirm the diagnosis. If accurate, the original symptoms should reappear within two weeks.

What diet options are available?

These days, there are many different 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 Greensboro veterinarians today to book an appointment.

Best Diet Options for Dogs with Food Allergies | Greensboro Vet

Looking for a vet in Greensboro?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Related Articles View All

Dog Skin Problems: Dog Scratching, Itching, & Other Issues

In dogs, itching, scratching and licking are common signs of a skin condition called dermatitis. Our Greensboro vets list potential causes for your pup's skin problem and how you can help your pet feel better. 

Why is my dog constipated? What should I do?

Dogs of any breed, size, age or lifestyle can become constipated. In fact, one of the most common digestive issues we see in pets is constipation. Here, our Greensboro vets share some advice on which actions to take if you think your dog might be constipated. 

What is the best diet for a dog with kidney failure?

If your dog is experiencing kidney failure, feeding them the right diet will be a key element of treating and managing their symptoms. For dogs with kidney failure and kidney disease, our Greensboro vets may recommend a therapeutic diet.

Acute Kidney Failure in Dogs

Dogs suffering from acute kidney failure may experience sudden, rapid decline in kidney function that will need urgent veterinary care. Here, our Greensboro vets list signs of acute kidney failure in dogs, and what to do if your dog displays symptoms.

Clients Share the Love

  • Friendly Animal Clinic and all its staff have ALWAYS taken AMAZING care of all of my babies. They definitely go above and beyond. Love them and will never take my babies to another vet as long as I live in Greensboro or a city nearby. I trust them 150% with my furbabies' health and wellbeing. I couldn't ask for a better vet to take my animals to. Thank you Friendly Animal Clinic for all you do. And always so nice, they make me feel right at home.
    - Brandi B.

(336) 299-6011