Does my dog have a food allergy?

Friday 19th April 2013 @ 1:55 AM. (NZST)

Does my dog have a food allergy?

Friday 19th April 2013 @ 1:55 AM. (NZST)

Doggle HQ articles


Is your dog itching, scratching, or constantly shaking his head in an uncomfortable manner? Do you find yourself at the vet with frequent ear infections, a poor quality coat or rashes on his skin? If so, these are often the common signs of a food allergy.

Inadvertently many dog owners (including myself) unwittingly contribute to their dogs’ discomfort, by feeding them a diet that includes an ingredient(s) that they are allergic to. Sometimes dogs with adverse reactions to foods may have a true food allergy, or they may simply have an intolerance reaction when they eat something that does not agree with them.

Article: What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance.

Traditionally, food allergies are thought to occur as a reaction to a protein in the diet. However, food intolerance reactions can occur to anything the dog ingests, whether it is a protein, carbohydrate, or food additive.

The most accurate method of diagnosing food allergies is to place your dog on a restricted diet. This consists of feeding your dog a single novel (hydrolysed) protein and a single (preferably novel) carbohydrate for a minimum of 8 weeks. Today there are many commercially prepared hypoallergenic foods that you can feed your dog during this time. Most of these products are available from your local vet or you can purchase them at the Doggle Mall, and it will be delivered straight to your door.

After an 8 – 10 week period should you notice an improvement, you can begin introducing your dog to individual food substances. In the absence of any other medical condition, if the symptoms of a food allergy reappear with the introduction of a novel food substance, the food source, or one of the food sources, responsible for your dogs’ allergies have been identified.

Make sure you have ruled out other skin conditions such as flea allergic dermatitis, scabies and mange prior to initiating an elimination diet trial.


While your dog is placed on a restricted diet, your total compliance is necessary. This means no (non-hypoallergenic) treats, no scraps from your plate, no sneaky titbits, if you want this method of diagnosis to work.

For more information about food allergies or food intolerance's Ask the Vet or visit our Health Hub


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