Dog allergies are a lot more common than you may think, particularly dog food allergies. A very common reaction and indication of dog food allergies is a very itchy dog. If you notice that your dog is scratching constantly, you may initially believe that your dog has a flea infestation. You should first examine your dog’s skin. What you will be looking for are small black dots close to the skin. This is a definite indicator of fleas. This is flea “scat” or dried blood and excrement from the fleas.
If you have searched for some kind of evidence of fleas, but don’t find any, then you can be sure that your dog is afflicted with a skin issue, in particular, an allergy. Dog food allergies can manifest as itchy skin, and sometimes as ear infections. Since your dog is an omnivore, he should have a diet comprised of around 70% protein (meat) and about 30% vegetable/fruit and essential oils. Dogs have been known to build up a specific intolerance to some of the ingredients which are contained in commercially produced dog foods. Some of these ingredients include: dairy, corn, rice, soy and even proteins, such as chicken and beef.
So what are specific ingredients that dog foods contain which should be avoided? Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients. When you are shopping for dog food, take the time to examine the label and avoid these ingredients, in particular:
Meat “by-products”. Don’t even try to guess what this means, let’s just say it is not nutritional.
Corn meal or rice meal – especially if it is listed as the first ingredient or near the top five. This filler provides no nutritional value to your dog.
Gluten or soy. These can make your dog’s stomach very upset.
Coloring of any kind
Non specified fat sources
“Middlings” or “Mill runs, hulls, pomace, citrus pulp or anything that is “rendered”
Simulated flavorings, sweeteners or onions.
Chemical preservatives, including BHA (Butylated Hydroxysanisole), BHT (Butylated Hydroytoluene), Ethoxyguen, Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) or Sodium Metabisulphite. Many of these can promote cancer.
Dog foods that specifically list ingredients are a better choice. If there is something you can’t pronounce or you don’t know what it is, specifically, it is a very bad choice. The food should contain a solid source of protein, not a “by product” or highly processed ingredient. Processing in general, removes all nutritional value from a food, whether it is for human consumption or for your dog. Dogs also require a certain amount of carbohydrates, but these should come from vegetable and fruit sources, not rice or cornmeal. Avoid, entirely, foods that contain high amounts of gluten including wheat, rye, oats or barley.
Better quality dog food will cost you more, but your investment will definitely be returned to you in cost savings on vet bills. A new food should be fed to your dog for at least four weeks to determine if they will tolerate it or not or if they have dog food allergies to that particular food.
The results will be like night and day. Once you discontinue feeding your dog a substandard food, their droppings will be reduced in size because they are absorbing more nutritional value from the food. They will appear more healthy, with a shinier coat, less shedding and less itching, if any. It really is worth it to feed your dog a quality food, and there are plenty of really great options