TOC & Jumplinks »
It is common knowledge that one needs to watch out for the signs of life-threatening food allergies in young children.
Every sane parent is aware of that. However, it is really strange that many dog owners aren’t aware of the fact that their furry companions can suffer from food allergies too.
The principle is almost the same. A food allergy happens when a dog’s immune system mistakenly believes that a specific food is harmful.
The immune system responds with antibodies that trigger various symptoms. Let’s see how you can spot that something is wrong with your dog and what you can do about it.
Before we begin, we’d like to point out that it is of utmost importance that you take your pooch to your vet for regular check-ups. Puppy doctors will most certainly be the first to notice those small details that can signal something bad. But there are also symptoms that are easy to recognize. If your dog experiences something of the following, there is a good chance that it is suffering from a food allergy:
- Poor coat quality
- Ear inflammation
- Chronic diarrhea
What you should watch out for
Dogs can be allergic to nearly any specific ingredient found in food. But, more importantly, bad dog foods contain awful additives that really wreak havoc allergy-wise. You can resolve this issue by choosing to buy additive-free all-natural dog food. Bad dog foods are sometimes hard to spot but you should always check the label. If the label doesn’t clearly state what’s in the food, avoid it! The label needs to tell you what kind of meat is in the food along with the percentage. Some brands purposely hide additives but if you spot some fishy ingredient names, that’s a sign that you should avoid buying that specific food. Now, we’ll move on to elaborate on malicious additives.
When buying food for your pooch, you really have to be careful. Various foods and doggy treats contain malicious additives. These include:
This common preservative is used by pear farmers as a pesticide. It’s also used as a hardening agent for rubber. It’s been linked to a number of health concerns and many governmental agencies have recently issued warnings about it.
- Propylene glycol
You’ll find this one in antifreeze and it also found its use in keeping semi-moist kibble from drying out.
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
For years it’s been a common preservative in pet foods. However, it’s now banned in some areas because it’s recognized as a possible carcinogen.
- Propyl Gallate
It is used to stabilize cosmetics and food packaging. This additive is particularly dangerous for your dog’s liver and it also causes cancer.
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
This one is also used as a common preservative. It is found in cosmetics, and even though many can’t believe it, it is also found in jet fuel! That’s just awful.
Did you know that there are additives that serve as preservatives that won’t harm your pet? In addition to being less harmful, natural ones also prevent fats from becoming rancid. However, there is a catch. Unfortunately, natural preservatives don’t last as long as artificial preservatives, which means that naturally preserved foods tend to have a shorter shelf life. That’s why you need to make sure that you buy dog food that has plenty to go before the ‘best by’ date printed on the label. Also, do not buy excessively large amounts of food at one time. Again, we have to emphasize that it is quite important for you to take a good look at the label. That’s where you’ll spot some of the mentioned malicious additives. Be aware of the fact that some dog food brands intentionally put the ‘all natural’ label on the front of the bag even though that is not the truth. Another thing worth mentioning is that one sure way of avoiding artificial additives is to also buy canned food. The canning process is one of the most effective preservation methods available, so no artificial or natural preservatives need to be included in the food itself. Unopened canned food can last for years when stored in a cool, dry environment, although owners should still observe the ‘best by’ dates that are printed on the label. Canned food is significantly more expensive than the dry option (and generates more waste) but is a good option for owners who want to get the artificial preservatives out of their dog’s diet and like to buy it in bulk. And yes, many people claim that canned food isn’t as tasty as the usual bag of dog food and we won’t argue with that. However, it’s far from terrible. And if you are willing to spend a few bucks more, you can find decent tasting canned food.
Problematic food ingredient(s) and food rotation
The main problem with dog food ingredients is that a dog can develop an allergy to proteins. Eggs are rich in protein and if your dog becomes allergic to them, eliminate them. But proteins in dairy, for example, trigger allergic reactions too. This principle can be applied to other ingredients (that contain protein) found in dog food. That’s why you need to avoid feeding your dog one type of food for a long period of time –because it could develop a certain intolerance or allergy to it. Mix up the types of meat you feed to your doggy. For example, give your dog a different kind of meat every day. You don’t have to eliminate any specific ingredient completely but vary it up! Rotate the meats as much as possible. You wouldn’t like to eat the same food every day either, right?
Protecting your pooch from harmful chemicals isn’t an easy a task. But, that’s what you need to do. Your dog would never let anything bad happen to you, so surely, you want to protect your dog from painful food allergies. That’s the right thing to do.