Allergies in pets can be quite a severe problem. Allergies can lead to a number of different problems in pets- everything from yeast infections, skin conditions, irritable bowel to even possibly death.
The first step in trying to resolve an allergy is to identify the cause of the allergy. Many allergies are food related, so starting with diet modification may be the best first step in ensuring your pet doesn’t end up in a pet urn before its time. A protein elimination diet is usually the best method of identifying food allergies. You will want to start your dog on a novel protein- a source of food that he has never before tried. You’ll want to ensure that it doesn’t have ingredients that could be causing the allergy- like grains or other additives. Many people will purchase and prepare food for their dogs during this elimination diet, to ensure they have a source of food that is unlikely to contain any of the allergens that may be upsetting the dog. Feed the dog this novel source of protein for several weeks, and monitor your dog’s health. If the dog does not exhibit allergies anymore, then you were most likely dealing with a food allergy, since the condition has stopped once you removed the source of the food allergen.
If the allergy problem does not exist when the dog is eating the novel protein, then you can slowly begin to introduce new food sources to your dog. Introduce food choices one at a time, monitoring your dog’s condition throughout this period. If and when the allergy returns, the last protein you fed your dog was likely the cause of that allergy. Once you have identified the source of the food allergy, you can return to a relatively normal diet for your dog, just ensuring that you avoid the particular cause of the food allergy.
A similar elimination process should be used for environmental allergens if the allergy persists once you change the source of your dog’s food. Attempt to isolate the dog in an environment without potential allergens, and slowly reintroduce fabrics, materials, toys and other things that could be potentially causing the allergy. By controlling what your dog is exposed to, you should be able to identify the particular substance or substances that are causing the allergic reaction.
Consulting with a veterinarian may be useful in helping to determine potential sources of allergens, and in planning your nutrition elimination diet. A change in diet can cause a dog to experience some stomach upset for the first few days, so it is essential to introduce the diet appropriately, and under the guidance of a professional.
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