What are Potato Allergies?
When the immune system responds forcefully to a perceived threat, in this case, potatoes, an allergic reaction occurs. Potatoes are a common canine allergen due to the preponderance of allergen types that are contained within the potato, and they are frequently used as a carbohydrate source in foods and treats. Canines who develop food allergies, like allergies to potatoes, will experience inflamed and itchy skin and are prone to developing chronic conditions such as indigestion, ear infections, and wheezing. Although rare with canines, anaphylactic shock may also occur with food allergies. Dogs who have been diagnosed with allergies to other types of foods are more likely to develop allergies to new food sources.
An allergy to potatoes is an over-reaction of your dog's immune system to an unwelcome protein that is present in the tubers themselves.
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Symptoms of Potato Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies are more common in adult dogs, but can happen at any age. Signs that your dog is allergic potatoes might include:
- Bald patches
- Biting of paws
- Chronic ear infections
- Chronic gas
- Difficulty walking
- Face rubbing
- Inflamed feet
- Obsessive licking
- Poor growth
- Skin infections
- Skin rashes
Dogs do not often develop anaphylactic shock due to food allergy, but it does happen. The anaphylactic shock should be treated as an emergency, and your pet should be rushed for treatment to the nearest veterinary hospital if the following signs develop. These symptoms could include:
- Cold limbs
- Difficulty breathing
- Elevated heart rate
- Excessive drooling
- Low blood pressure
- Pale gums
- Sudden diarrhea
- Sudden vomiting
Potato plants, like many other plants in the Solanaceae family, produce a type of neurotoxin known as glycoalkaloids. These toxins are generally restricted to the green portions of the plant, particularly the stems and shoots, but can also be found in potatoes that have turned green, usually due to sun damage during their growth. Any green portions of potatoes should be removed before cooking.
Causes of Potato Allergies in Dogs
Allergies to potatoes are due to an unwarranted defensive response to a protein in the potato that your dog’s immune cells view as an intruder. 60-70% of the immune system cells are estimated to reside within the digestive system of mammals, mostly as white blood cells called enterocytes. The digestive system breaks down the food we eat into their smallest parts, called amino acids, which are then absorbed by the enterocytes. When the proteins from the potato are not entirely broken down during the digestive process, the enterocytes then view these particles as intruders instead of as nutrients and attack them. The response of the white blood cells to the proteins in the potato will, over time, become more aggressive which causes the symptoms to become more intense.
An allergy to one or more of the amino acids found in potatoes can also cause localized itchy rashes when the juice from the potato contacts the skin.
Diagnosis of Potato Allergies in Dogs
Due to the skin related symptoms of an allergic reaction, your veterinarian will collect skin sample by scraping the cells off the surface of the affected skin. A microscopic evaluation of the collected skin cells, called cutaneous cytology, will be done to search for signs of mites, yeast infections, or other diseases. If no other underlying causes are brought to light, a food allergy may be suspected. An elimination diet is usually utilized to confirm the diagnosis of a food based allergy. An elimination diet is done by replacing the food your dog is currently eating with either a new diet of limited-ingredient or hypoallergenic commercial dog food or a diet of bland human food. This process usually takes several weeks, and it is essential that your dog does not ingest anything other than the food that has been chosen as the replacement food during the elimination trial. A single treat that includes the allergen can cause the allergy to resurface and derail the entire process.
All of the ingredients that constitute the dog’s current diet should be avoided when choosing the replacement food source as the symptoms may be triggered by multiple allergens. It is also possible that your pet is allergic to the entire food family, so avoiding food that is similar to past foods may prove to be more efficient. Other foods in the plant family that potatoes belong to, Solanaceae, also includes plants like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco. If your pet has a predisposition for food allergies multiple allergens may be involved. A properly executed elimination trial will cause the signs of allergy to cease until the allergen is reintroduced.
Treatment of Potato Allergies in Dogs
Elimination diets take several weeks to confirm that an allergy exists, and may take even longer to expose that the allergy is to potatoes or in the Solanaceae family. Your dog may continue to experience symptoms until the food antigens that are causing the reaction have been expelled from his system. Veterinarians will often choose to complete the diagnosis through the elimination diet before applying symptomatic medications such as antihistamines or corticosteroids to relieve itching and swelling. Although these preparations can be highly efficient at easing dermal symptoms, they are also capable of obscuring the ultimate source of the allergic reaction by masking the allergic reactions.
Secondary skin infections are common due to the damage to the epidermis and antibiotics are often prescribed to eliminate these conditions. Once the source of the allergy has been identified as potato, you will need to avoid feeding that ingredient to your dog in the future. Potatoes belong to the same family of plants as eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers, so a dog that is allergic to potatoes may be prone to developing these allergies as well.
Recovery of Potato Allergies in Dogs
Potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals for the average dog, however for canines who are allergic to potatoes they can cause a great deal of discomfort. Food allergies are not a curable disorder, but the allergy related symptoms are easily dispersed by cutting the allergens from your dog’s diet. If your dog has exhibited an allergic response to one kind of food, they are more likely to acquire new food-related allergies, particularly foods similar to the one they are allergic to.
The approach to preventing new allergies due to this tendency varies within the veterinary profession, with some veterinary professionals maintaining that a steady rotation of three of four novel protein foods is optimal and other advocating that your pet remains on a single source of food as long as new allergies do not develop.
Potato Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi! My English bulldog, Tank, is now 9 months old. When I got him, he was eating royal canine which I do not like. He had horrible watery eyes and threw up often. After his prolapse surgery in November, I transitioned him over to organix pristine beef and chickpea. No issues other than it is $80 for 15 pounds!!! He’s eating 3 1/2 cups a day. In addition to that, his behavior changed a bit and thought the high levels of protein were the culprit. Switched to taste of the wild salmon and instantly it was bad. Facial wrinkles were yeasty. Went back to organix and it was better. Wanted to try something else and went taste of the wild high prairie which is beef etc. He is currently on that, facial folds fine, did a little head shake for a couple of days like his ear was bothering him so I cleaned with malacetic and those seem okay but I noticed redness between pads on bottom of his feet. Each day they are redder. Not between the toes yet, but I fear they will get worse. I used malacetic wipes on his feet but it seemed as though I irritated them. I researched this morning all the foods he’s been on and I noticed a commonality between the two I found he had some allergy to.... sweet potatoes!!! Could this be?? We never had a skin issue until we tried taste of the wild but I’m becoming more and more discouraged. I forgot to add that he also is on Nupro as a dietary supplement which has been for several weeks now and also has been been taking extra virgin coconut oil with his feedings. The vet said it’s very expensive to do allergy testing. It can’t be the beef or chicken or salmon because there are either traces or oils of those things in ALL the foods he’s been on so far.
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My dog is allergic to Potatoes (4 out of 5), Rice (4 out of 5), Yeast 3 out of 5, Salmon, Pea, Egg, milk (1 out of 5 which is not bad enough to switch).... I am trying to find a food that fits her.. If she eats those food, she often diarrhea uncontrollable... I really cant find any good treats (crunchy) or good food... (Shes Lab mix 70 lbs 1 year old rescused last september)... Currently feeding her Zignature Pork/Turkey/Duck.
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My dog has been tested for allergies and he has both inhalant and food allergies his 2 highest allergies are White Rice and White Potato. I am having a hard time finding foods that eliminate both of these ingredients. He was on Wellness Lamb and Barley but they recently added rice to their formula causing him lots of digestive problems. Temporarily I have switched him to a canned food that has settled his stomach but need to switch him back to dry kibble. In reading labels I am seeing Potato Starch listed should I avoid this or will this not cause an allergic reaction?
White potato and white rice allergies are very uncommon; however many dogs which are allergic to white potatoes are safe to eat diets containing sweet potato. I would be cautious of diets containing potato starch as this may cause a reaction. There are commercial diets containing sweet potatoes with either chicken or salmon that many dog seem to get on with well; speak with your Veterinarian about sweet potatoes to see if they were checked on the allergy panel. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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4 month old Bluenose pit bully with red underbelly, scans on his underbelly, constant bitting his fur and licking his paws, ear infections...what’s the cause ? Vet originally said it was a bacterial infection and gave me an antibiotic. He’s been off it for about 2 weeks now and all the above symptoms are still current. He is on acana dry food (beef pork and lamb) he also has sweet potatoe treats he eats and I have been giving him cocunt oil and and Alaskan salmon oil.
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I think my dog is allergic to potatoes, shes also allergic to chicken and beef, I have been feeding 4 heath grain free duck and sweet potato and whitefish and potato. last time i stocked up on food, they were out of the duck and sweet potato , so I had to buy 4 bags of the whitefish and potato, she ended up having two different ear infections and her paws were also inflamed, which i have been rotating these 2 foods for over a year. If a dog has a reaction to regular potato, would sweet potato's also do the same ? As I've stated she has been n these 2 flaovrs for over a year, rotating the 2 different flavors of each bag, but not until I had to do the 4 bags of the Whitefish with regular potato have I had an issue, I also make them treats out of sweet potato for over a year with coconut oil and haven"t had an issue
Dogs (like humans) may become allergic to something they have eaten or have come into contact with over a long period of time. Allergies may be caused by food or environmental allergens; move over to a sensitive diet (grain free not necessary unless diagnosed by your Veterinarian) and give it a few weeks as it takes time for allergens to exit the system; if the problem persists, visit your Veterinarian for allergy testing. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
My dog have anal gland problems. I put on blue buffalo freedom weight management grain free and she is on glandex. How come she still have anal gland problems. I heard potatoes cause anal gland problems is that true ? Please help thx
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