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Food allergies in dogs are common. Most food allergies are caused by proteins. Protein rich foods such as soy, diary, peanuts, chicken, turkey and eggs are said to bring about an allergic reaction. The usual symptoms of a food allergy include:
- Rashes and itching
- Paw biting
- Licking excessively
- Nausea and vomiting
What is the difference between food allergy and intolerance?
Allergies are caused by the immune system response that recognizes a particular food ingredient as a foreign substance, and mounts an all-out attack against it. Allergic reactions normally cause wheezing, hives, trouble breathing and if untreated, can be fatal. Food sensitivity or intolerance are not immune system responses, but rather due to irritation of the digestive system.
Food sensitivities can be related to the amount of the problem food eaten. If less of the food is eaten, the response may be milder. With food allergy, even minute dose of the problem food can trigger severe reactions.
Certain foods can cause severe reactions in dogs that can be terrifying. Knowing what these foods can do to your pet will help in taking care to avoid them.
Chocolate: The much loved treat can be deadly for your pet dog. Chocolates contain a toxin called theobromine that humans can easily digest, but dogs cannot process it as quickly. The toxin does not get cleared from the blood and causes severe reactions like excessive thirst, diarrhea, restlessness and pacing up and down, panting and shivering, seizures and severe shaking. Caffeine and dairy products in chocolate add to the problem.
Sweeteners: Sugar substitutes such as xylitol can cause extreme reactions in your pet canine. Sweeteners are used in low calorie diet foods, candies, gums and mouth fresheners. Vomiting, lethargy and staggered movements may be the initial symptoms. After a few days, if not treated, this can progress to liver failure and seizures.
Onions and garlic: Although your pet may tolerate small amounts of onion and garlic, large portions may cause serious problems. Onions and garlic contain substances that can destroy the red blood cells that carry oxygen in the dogs. Anemia and breathing difficulty due to less oxygen are some of the severe symptoms.
Macademia nuts: Dogs cannot digest macademia nuts unlike humans. Within 12 hours of eating these nuts, dogs can experience weakness, depression, vomiting, shaking tremors and high body temperatures.
Salt: Be careful about giving salty treats to your pet such as chips or pretzels. Salt can cause diarrhea, depression, seizures, high temperature and shaking.
The best treatment for food allergies is avoiding the problem foods. If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of food allergy, consult the vet as soon as possible.