Dogs have grown increasingly intolerant to various ingredients commonly used in commercial pet foods. Because your dog's system can be allergic to more than one at a time, it may take patience to isolate which components are causing such reactions as scratching, hair loss, feet licking, ear infections, diarrhea, gas, vomiting and chronic digestive problems.
Corn, wheat and soy are three main allergenic grains found in commercial dog food. Considered fillers that are not part of a canine's natural diet, these ingredients are often the first considered for a suspected food intolerance. Rice, which has been a long-standing option, has also become an allergen to some degree, according to Modern Dog Magazine, as dogs have slowly developed an intolerance. Alternative foods such as potatoes and oatmeal are more viable alternatives, as are grain-free formulas that remove the potential allergen altogether.
Beef, pork and poultry have been three staples in a companion dog's diet for decades, so it's no wonder they are also the most allergenic foods. Lamb has long been the choice for dogs who cannot tolerate other animal protein, but it too has found its way onto the allergen list due to constant ingestion. Fish, rabbit and venison are currently the least allergenic, according to Modern Dog Magazine, and are readily available at pet supply retailers.
Like their human counterparts, dogs can have a difficult time processing the lactose associated with dairy products. While they may love to nibble cheese or lap a bit of milk, the VetInfo website notes that neither are indigenous to a canine diet and can cause allergic reaction. This also goes for yogurt, which may offer beneficial probiotics for intestinal health but also introduces indigestible milk sugars.
Breeds Most Prone
Certain breeds demonstrate a greater intolerance to these common food allergens, which gives pet parents the opportunity to proactively avoid potential issues. According to Modern Dog Magazine, some of those dogs include boxer, cocker spaniel, springer spaniel, collie, dalmatian, German shepherd, Lhasa apso, miniature schnauzer, retriever, Shar-Pei, soft-coated wheaten terrier, dachshund and West Highland white terrier.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in Arizona, Lori Corrigan is a social media collaborator with more than 25 years of experience in research writing and editing. Her work has appeared in "Ladies' Home Journal," "Woman's Day" and "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul," covering topics such as business, psychology, animal welfare and academia.