Deciding what to feed your dog is an important but complex process. Most of us probably pick the commercial route because it’s convenient and easy. Just like us, dogs have nutritional needs, preferences, and food allergies.
As humans, our food choices depend on these factors. It should be the same when we choose our dog’s food. Choosing the right diet is one of the major factors in longevity and quality of life.
Allergies in dogs are more common than you think.
According to Pet Education, food allergies are 10 percent of all allergies in dogs. It’s also about 20 percent of the causes of the scratching and itching. Each dog may react differently to certain foods, but studies show that some ingredients are more likely to cause allergies than others.
Among the common allergy-causing ingredient are beef, chicken, lamb, eggs, corn, wheat, and fish. Ironically, these are common ingredients in commercial dog foods. The solution to your dog’s allergy is simply to eliminate the allergen.
How do you know it is an allergy?
The symptoms of a food allergy are similar to other allergies seen in dogs. The common symptom is the itching of the skin, primarily on the face, the ears, the armpits, forelegs, and around the anus. Other symptoms are hair loss, excessive scratching, skin infections, and increased bowel movements.
It’s not easy to tell if your pet is suffering from a food allergy or something else. This is because a lot of conditions present the same symptoms as food allergies. You will need to rule out other conditions like flea and tick bites, atopy, yeast, and bacterial infections and intestinal parasites. Afterwards, you can do a food trial to diagnose any food allergy.
Tips on choosing dog food
There is much debate on what food is best for dogs, particularly between raw food and commercial food. However, every dog is different and might react differently to certain foods. Here are some tips for you, especially when choosing commercial food:
- Carefully select commercial dog food. Read labels, ingredients and ratings and brand. You should also check if the food went through nutrient testing. Nutrient for your dog is very important.
- The more transparent a brand is, the better. Check their ingredient sources, any history of recall, and quality control.
- Observe your dog’s reaction to what you feed. This is probably one of the key indicators if the dog food is good. Take note of any skin reactions, bowel movement, and your dog’s energy level.
One of the types of diet that is becoming popular for dogs is BARF, or biologically available raw food. It stands on the basis that before these animals became household pets, they only ate what they saw. They ate raw meat from rats, rabbits and other animals, and maybe fruits. None of which are canned or processed.
Raw dog food for allergies in dogs has become a subject of debate. There isn’t really any proof that there are benefits in this diet. It does sometimes reduce food allergies, but not because there is any magic in raw food. It’s simply because the allergenic ingredients are not present.
Having a dog is a lot of work. Some of the responsibilities include selecting the best shampoo, walking, bathing, among many others. One of the hardest initial steps for a dog parent is selecting dog food that promotes optimum health.
There is a wide variety of dog food you can choose from. You can go commercial, you can go raw, and you can even cook up your own recipes. It’s hard to say what dog food is best because each dog reacts differently to different foods.
There may be special brands and special formulas for different cases. Special Dog food for pitbulls or poodles, dog food for puppies, wet and dry, etc. As a dog parent, you have to do your research. Afterwards, your closest bet to finding the best food might be to do some trial and error. You can also ask your vet to help you find out what nutrients your dog needs and what to avoid.
About the author: My name is Lauren. I am the founder of lovablepawsandclaws.com. I’m a young woman with a real passion for animals. I have kept many pets over the years and have intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. My dogs keep me active and satisfy my desire to spend lots of time in nature.