A food allergy is an adverse response by the immune system, commonly associated with a protein in the diet.
It is significant to remember that dog food allergies are not typically linked with a sudden diet change.
Approximately 70 % of affected dogs develop allergies to food ingredients that they have been fed for a long time.
It takes more than one contact with the problematic ingredient to produce an allergic reaction.
It habitually takes some detective work to find out what ingredient is initiating the allergic reaction.
A dog’s body requires learning to respond to allergens.
It is a learned phenomenon of the immune system that is genetically encoded and passed from generation to generation in numerous breeds.
Negligent breeders repeatedly breed dogs who have this predisposition.
Thus poor breeding may be responsible for a genetic predisposition to allergies in dogs.
There are some breeds that look to be particularly prone to food allergies. Among these are:
- Terriers (Jack Russell, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier)
- Bulldogs (French Bulldog, English Bulldog)
- Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever
- Cocker Spaniel
- Irish Setter
- Lhasa Apso
- Shih Tzu
- West Highland White Terrier
- Chinese Shar-Pei
- Bichon Frise
- German Shepherd
Other predisposing factors:
No sex-predisposition is found between male and female dogs. Also no variance is found whether the dog is neutered or intact.
Age of beginning of allergy symptoms is very variable ranging from 5 months to 12 years of age.
Many dogs that present food-induced allergy are also allergic to other allergens (inhalant or contact allergies).
It seems their immune system is in “fight” mode and is then likely to react excessively to different kinds of allergens.
Some adverse food reactions are mediated by the immune system (true allergy) whereas others are not (food intolerance).
Food intolerance and true allergy cannot be reliably distinguished on a clinical basis, but they are different clinical scenarios that require a different therapeutic plan.
In conclusion, little is acknowledged about the precise predisposing factors in dog food allergies.
Research studies aren’t at all times conclusive but so far it seems certain breeds are actually susceptible to develop allergies in general, including dog food-induced allergies.
You can find some dog food reviews appropriate to dogs presenting a food allergy in our Dog Food Selector: