5 Symptoms of Food Allergies in Dogs


Symptoms Of Food Allergies in Dogs 

Some breeds of dogs such as the Dachshund, Boxer, and Cocker Spaniel are more prone to the development of food allergies.

This occurs when large protein molecules are not digested properly in the small intestines, thus exposing them to the various cells of the immune system.

Since 70% of these immune system cells are located in the digestive tract, they can readily mount an inflammatory response in the event that a protein molecule is found within an area where it is not supposed to be found.

Mast cells are activated by the immune system to release histamine as well as other inflammatory substances. It is this release of these substances that these 5 symptoms of food allergies in dogs are manifested.


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1. Intense itching

Itching is almost always related to the release of histamine into the bloodstream. This substance triggers the excitation of a certain type of unmyelinated C-fiber in the peripheral nervous system particularly the nerves that are found on the skin.

The electrical signals generated by the coupling of histamine to these receptors are sent to the spinal cord and then to the brain where it is interpreted as ‘itch’. Histamine-induced itching is, thus one of the most classic manifestations of food allergies in dogs. 

With intense itching comes a variety of issues that are centered on the status of your dog’s skin and coat.

Because of the constant itching, your pooch will have to scratch the affected area. This can lead to skin irritation and then inflammation.Nibbling on the itchy part can also lead to thinning of the hair in these areas. 


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2. Frequent and persistent ear infections 

One of the most often overlooked yet very common symptoms of food allergies in dogs is frequent and persistent ear infections. Many believe that the symptom has nothing to do with food allergies in dogs.

These are often a result of the reduction of your dog’s immune system cells since they have been very busy ‘managing’ the ‘foreign material’ that they consider as allergen in your dog’s tummy. Your pooch will be constantly shaking its head and scratching its ear. Even if you frequently clean your dog’s ear, the symptom simply won’t go away. Even otic medications may not actually help because it doesn’t really solve the root of the problem. 

You can try inspecting your dog’s ears for the presence of ear mites, water, or even yeast infection. If none of these are present then there is a strong chance that your pooch is suffering from food allergy.

To help you identify the causative agent you may need to employ a food-elimination diet until such time that you can zero-in on the food allergen. 



3. Changes in your dog’s nail beds 

Normally, your dog’s nail beds should be whitish in color with a pinkish quick.  However, if these turn reddish, reddish brown, brown, or even bloody-looking, it is often an indication of an inflammatory response typically mediated by histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances.

It may be wise to rule out any injury to your dog’s paws as well as for the presence of thyroid disorders as these can also produce the reddish discoloration in the nail beds. 


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4. Bronze discoloration around the dog's lips and other body parts

If you have a dog that has naturally white coat, spotting the bronze discoloration around its lips should be fairly easy. This is often an indication of yeast colonization, one of the surest signs that your dog has food allergy. Fungal species proliferate when the immune system is compromised.

Since food allergies occur because of stimulation of the immune response causing the cells of the immune system to 'destroy' the allergen, not many are left circulating to defend the rest of the dog's body. Hence, you may see brownish to reddish discoloration of your pooch's lips, toes, and jowls.

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5. Watery eyes 

This is typically brought about by the spread of pro-inflammatory substances such as histamine to the lacrimal ducts in the dog’s eyes. Because of inflammation, the lacrimal fluid is not drained in the normal mechanism. Rather, it leaks out through the lacrimal ducts and outside the eyes of the dogs.

This is a lot similar if you have allergic rhinitis or even contact dermatitis. You’ll feel nasal stuffiness that somehow blocks the normal passage of lacrimal fluid. This leads to watery eyes.

These are just 5 of the many different symptoms associated with canine food allergies. The most important thing to remember is to seek veterinary consultation in situations where you notice something ‘different’ with your dog and also buy food specifically designed for dogs with allergies to help support the prevention of unwanted conditions. 



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