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Food Allergies in Dogs

One of the most common health topics for dogs these days is food allergies and food intolerance.  Some of the symptoms of food allergies can be ear infections, skin rash, hives, itching and paw biting. Vomiting or diarrhea can be a symptom of either food allergies or food intolerance.

Food Allergies is one ailment that you can treat yourself.  By understanding what food your dog is allergic to, you can adjust her diet and improve their health significantly.  If you don’t see an improvement in a few weeks, you should check with your Vet to make sure there is not a more serious problem.

To get a good understanding of food allergies, Elizabeth Pask and Laura Scott of Modern Dog Magazine, wrote a great article on Food Allergies 101.

Is your dog itching and scratching? Does she have frequent ear infections or poor coat quality? You could be contributing to your dog’s distress without knowing it if she’s allergic to what you’re feeding her. Food allergies are a rising concern with dog owners and it seems like more and more dogs are suffering from them.

But what exactly is a food allergy?

Food allergies are different from food intolerance. Food intolerance is the result of poor digestion, such as lactose intolerance. People and dogs with lactose intolerance are either missing or have low levels of the milk digesting enzyme lactase.

Food allergies are the over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein. In the case of a food allergy, this protein is contained in your dog’s food. Proteins are present in most of the foods your dog eats. While most people recognize that meats are a source of proteins, there are also proteins present in grains and vegetables. Any one of these proteins has the potential to cause a food allergy.

Your dog’s gastrointestinal system (mouth, stomach, intestines) protects her from potential allergens each day. Approximately 70 percent of the body’s entire immune system is centered in the gastrointestinal tract. When your dog eats a meal, the food is first digested in the stomach. The large pieces of food are broken down into smaller pieces by stomach acid and then enzymes and stomach acid work together to break the complex protein structures down into smaller structures. The partially digested food then moves into the small intestine. The food is further digested until the proteins are broken down into their smallest parts, amino acids, which can then be absorbed into the body through special cells called enterocytes. Enterocytes act as both a welcoming hostess to amino acids that they like and want, and as bouncers (door guards) for amino acids they don’t like. When a whole protein is absorbed in the intestines instead of being broken down first, the immune system reacts and your dog shows symptoms of a food allergy………

Click here for the entire article on Food Allergies 101 from Modern Dog Magazine

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