If a pet dog starts uncharacteristically itching and scratching, or it develops a poor quality of coat or begins to have regular ear infections, it is possible that the dog has some sort of food allergy that needs to be addressed.
Food allergies have become a growing concern in recent years and it seems that increasing numbers of dogs are suffering from these disorders.
On eBay there are various types of dog foods available that can be used to tackle food allergies by isolating the proteins responsible.
What are Food Allergies?
A food allergy is not the same thing as food intolerance. Food intolerance results from shortcomings in the digestive system of the dog, such as a failure to tolerate the presence of lactose in dog food. This often happens in humans as well, and in both the problem comes down to a shortage of the lactase enzyme in the body, responsible for digesting milk.
With food allergies, the immune system of the dog overcompensates and overreacts to the invading protein. With a food allergy, the problem lies in the food, which contains the protein responsible for the reaction. This can be a problem, because most of the types of dog food a dog eats will contain varying amounts of protein.
Protein is present in other foodstuffs as well as in meat, such as vegetables and grains, and any of these proteins could be responsible for the dog’s allergy.
The problem cannot be ignored because every time the dog is exposed to the food that contains the protein responsible for the allergy the immune system’s over-response will be greater and the situation will rapidly deteriorate and get out of control.
Once this hypersensitive reaction has become entrenched due to repeated exposure to the protein, hertamine will be regularly released by the immune system. The effect of this biochemical, if present in high amounts, will be to cause characteristic symptoms such as itchy skin and diarrhoea.
Tackling Food allergies
Before diving in to isolate the problem and deal with it, it is always a good idea to check with the vet first and see whether a food allergy really is the cause. If it is, then normally the vet will recommend trying out an ‘elimination diet’. This will first of all substitute a different protein and a different carbohydrate source into the dog food from the ones that are normally eaten.
Novel protein sources can also be used in helping to isolate the problem. These meats can come from animals such as kangaroos. Venison dog food from eBay is also a novel protein source that the dog will not normally have been exposed to, and on the carbohydrate side oatmeal and potatoes are commonly used substitutes. The effect of switching to these novel dog foods will be to stop the immune system from being automatically triggered and the symptoms should in that case disappear fairly rapidly.
Hypoallergenic dog foods from eBay may also be usefully tried out to address the allergy problems in the dog. Hypoallergenic dog foods are made using hydrolysed proteins, proteins whose molecules have been ground down to such an extent that the immune system lets them pass without triggering itself and causing the characteristic symptoms.
At the time when the vast majority of commercial dog foods were made from beef, chicken, corn and wheat, rice and lamb were considered to be hypoallergenic dog foods. This was simply because at that time the majority of dogs had never consumed rice or lamb in their lives, and they made a good choice for dogs that had allergic reactions from their normal food.
Now, somewhat predictably, many dogs are exhibiting allergic reactions to dog foods that contain rice and lamb. As allergies can develop from all sorts of recipes to which dogs and indeed humans are regularly exposed, this is just to be expected.
If a dog is allergic to lamb or rice then other novel foodstuffs have to be tried out in an attempt to distance the dog from the offending ingredient. Novel foods include:
- Sweet potato
These can all be bought on eBay and are often found to solve the problem when substituted for the regular diet.
It is very important that when a dog has been placed on a special diet such as a hypoallergenic one it does not get any other foods into its system. Extras such as treats, cookies, table scraps and rawhide snacks from eBay are all very well for the dog under normal circumstances but introduce a random element into a carefully formulated food regime.
The problem with these snacks, treats and snacks is that because it is not known precisely what the animal is allergic to there may be something in such treats that will trigger the unwanted reaction.
Once the dog is eating nutritious food that is not causing an allergic reaction, then other types of dog food from eBay can be started to be introduced into the dog’s dietary regime. Once the dog starts to have an allergic reaction again, the new food that has just been added into the growing mix must be the one that is at the root of the problem.
Prevention of Food Allergies
There are several steps that dog owners can take to help prevent food allergies from developing in the first place. For a start, a healthy diet and good health care will help foster a dog’s natural bodily functions such as a robust and effective mucosal barrier.
Signs of gastroenteritis should be looked out for, as early occurrence of these in puppies and young dogs may lead to food allergies developing in the future. The best way to eliminate gastroenteritis is to restrict the dog’s diet to only properly formulated dog food and treats from eBay, and not allow it to have table scraps or go through the contents of bins.
If a dog has been eating unsuitable food and has developed an upset stomach, the best thing is to put it onto a low-protein diet, such as one rich in sweet potatoes or boiled white rice. A vet should be consulted if symptoms such as diarrhoea continue for more than about 72 hours, as this may indicate a serious problem.
Using only exclusive sources of protein from eBay dog foods can be helpful just in case an allergy problem develops later on in the dog’s life. If a dog is on a rich protein diet then should an allergy problem arise it will be difficult to track down and isolate the culprit protein. If on the other hand the dog’s diet is restricted to only one or two proteins in an exclusive food in the first place, the solution will be that much easier.
Dog foods that contain chicken, duck, turkey, tuna and salmon are examples of multiple protein sources, and an allergy development will involve the owner in finding foods that contain none of these. If however the dog only ever gets fed chicken from eBay, then a foodstuff that just does not contain this could solve the problem.
Multiple protein sources
Chicken + Duck
Chicken + Turkey
Salmon + Tuna
Turkey + Duck
Limited protein sources
In the case of dogs that are naturally prone to developing food allergies, prevention may simply be impossible. It may in fact be a genetic trait in some breeds, and the only solution in that case would be to stop breeding them.
There are probably a number of causes for food allergies and sensitivities in dogs, which may include feeding the dog on the same food over a long period of time. Additives, preservatives and other inappropriate ingredients found in many lower quality dog foods may also be to blame, along with numerous other causes.
Having a pet with a food allergy need not be a particular cause for alarm, however, if the points mentioned above are taken on board and the proper measures taken to tackle the causes of diarrhoea, itching and other related symptoms.
The best first step is to change the diet to one with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate and slowly build the intake from there, looking out for a return of the allergic reaction at every step along the way.