Just like in people, allergens can cause a dog's immune system to over-react when a common substance is recognized as harmful. Allergies can cause a variety of skin, digestive, or respiratory issues in your dog. Switching to a raw diet of real food can end unnecessary suffering and provide welcome relief for your dog.
Yes! Dog's immune systems react in the same way as ours when something is perceived as harmful in the environment. As a protection measure, the body fights against the allergen which manifests in a variety of symptoms.
Typically, an allergy develops over time and is often due to genetics. Whether environmental or food-based, exposure to the allergen sensitizes the immune system, and the symptoms may shift from causing mild discomfort to extreme suffering for your dog. For dogs who are allergic to flea saliva, it may take no time at all for allergy symptoms to appear. They will often suffer from itchy skin and break out in a rash very quickly after the first encounter.
There are two basic kinds of dog allergies– environmental and food, with the most common being flea saliva. The other common substances that cause issues for dogs are:
Trees, grass, weeds, and pollen
Dust and house dust Mites
Food ingredients, often corn, wheat and/or soy
Household products (perfumes, cleaning products, fabrics, plastics)
Of course, just like in humans, dogs can experience multiple kinds of allergies at the same time, which makes using the process of elimination to figure out the root allergen extremely difficult.
You will mostly likely notice something irritating is happening for your dog. Allergy symptoms usually exhibit as itchy skin conditions. Your dog may start scratching, itching, or licking himself more than usual. He may even dig or gnaw at his skin so intensely there are raw wounds.
Chronic ear infections are another common symptom. Food allergies can also cause skin irritations or you may see the more common signs such aschronic ear inflammation and gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhea and gas. Less common in dogs are respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a nasal or ocular discharge.
It's important to keep watch over your dog's behavior so you know when to intervene. Time of year is important to note when assessing your dog’s allergies. Do the allergy symptoms appear every Spring, for example? This could indicate seasonal pollen allergies. How frequent are your dog's reactions? Are they becoming constant? This could mean he's become allergic to something in his food or there's something always present in his environment that is irritating him.
The symptoms of both kinds of allergies can be quite similar, making it difficult to determine if an allergy is food based or environmental based.
Ideally, your vet will understand the external symptoms are just an outwardly, physical display of something that's wrong inside your dog's body. Holistic vets tend toward this view and will work with you to identify the root cause and not merely treat the outside effects.
A strong and healthy immune system should be the base of your dog's defense against fighting any allergic reaction. Feeding a variety of meals made from fresh, whole foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory creates a foundation of good health, and is critical in helping your dog get relief from allergies.
Similar to an environmental allergy, if you can pinpoint what's causing the issue and are able to eliminate it, then great! However, we know that can be especially difficult with foods. It can take many weeks, months or even years to truly figure it out. Skin and blood tests are often inaccurate. It’s estimated that only 10% of allergies in dogs are food based.
A good way to address food allergies if you're unable to find the culprit, is to provide all natural raw food made with a variety of meats and vegetables. Our food is simple and pure. There are no additives or fillers that could cause allergic reactions. There are just a few ingredients and just one protein source.
It's important to give your dog's immune and digestion systems as much support as possible so your dog's body has the strength to heal itself. The best way to do that is through feeding the highest quality real food. A raw diet provides the most bio-available nutrition in the form dogs' bodies were designed to absorb. It will improve your dog’s overall health and relieve allergy symptoms with anti-inflammatory benefits. The stronger the immune system, the better chance your dog has fighting off allergies without medication.