What are Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles?
of the "pupulation", they're becoming more common, with a 12.5% rise in frequency over the past decade. The same goes for environmental allergies, which have become 30.7% common in dogs in the last ten years.
Food allergies can affect any dog breed at any age, but
they generally show up by the age of 6 months. When exposed to an allergen, a
dog's immune system overreacts, causing symptoms not normally
associated with ingesting a non-toxic substance.
Symptoms of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles
Common symptoms of food sensitivity and allergies in Poodles include:
- Itchy or irritated skin
- Weight loss
- Excessive licking
- Excessive gas
Poodles often have skin allergies. When exposed to an allergen, whether it's environmental or ingestible, Poodles commonly suffer from eczema, itchy skin, and infections on their ears, feet, and belly.
Also known as atopy, these allergic reactions usually show up between the age of 1 and 3 years. While usually associated with environmental allergies like dust or fleas, atopy can also occur in Poodles with food allergies.
Causes of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles
If you find your Poodle suffers from ear infections and rashes all year round and your vet can't find another medical reason, they could have a food allergy.
Your Poodle could even be suffering from a mild allergy if you find they regularly have diarrhea or vomit for seemingly no reason. If your Poodle only shows symptoms when in a certain place or during a certain time of year, it's more likely to be an environmental or seasonal allergy.
Poodles are not more likely to be allergic or sensitive to a specific food than any other breed. Poodles inherit allergies genetically and therefore could be allergic to any food. That said, dogs in general are most often allergic to a protein source. Foods that commonly cause allergies in dogs include:
Diagnosis of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles
If your dog is showing symptoms of food allergies, whether it's a rash or diarrhea, consult your vet. They'll ask you questions about your dog's lifestyle and diet to see if they think your dog has an allergy.
Blood and saliva tests are not accurate ways of diagnosing food allergies in dogs. The vet will put your dog on an elimination trial diet to diagnose a food allergy.
Your vet will put your dog on a prescription diet that will need to be strictly followed. Giving your dog treats or scraps is prohibited and will ruin the trial.
These prescribed diets usually consist of a protein source your dog hasn't eaten before, like rabbit or venison, so the vet can tell if your dog's current diet is causing allergies. Your vet may also recommend a change of dog toothpaste and medication to eliminate them as potential allergens.
An elimination trial diet usually lasts 2 to 3 months, but can be shorter. At the end of the trial, your vet may begin slowly adding potential allergens to your dog's diet to pinpoint the exact cause.
Treatment of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles
Poodles commonly suffer from atopy resulting from allergic reactions. Therefore, your vet will likely prescribe corticosteroids to soothe skin inflammation.
Vets also often prescribe antihistamines to treat the symptoms of food allergies. Antibiotics may be necessary to eliminate bacterial infections in the ears and skin folds. In cases where the skin is raw or sensitive, your vet may recommend an Elizabethan collar (cone).
After completion of the elimination diet, your vet will be able to recommend a new diet for your dog that shouldn't cause an allergic reaction.
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Recovery of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in Poodles
If left untreated, food sensitivities and allergies in Poodles can lead to gastrointestinal issues. If your Poodle is suffering from an infection, the bacteria could spread and cause secondary infections, which pose a serious health risk to your dog.
If addressed promptly, your dog should fully recover from an allergic reaction, unless it's life-threatening. If you notice your dog showing any symptoms after changing their diet, contact your vet as soon as possible.
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