What is Rice Allergies ?
Rice in dog food adds some nutritional benefits to the foods on the market. It is also a reasonably priced ingredient to have in the food which consumers like. Rice is considered a grain, which some dogs need in their diets, but some do not. If you believe your dog is one of the dogs that don’t need it, discuss it with your veterinarian. If your dog is allergic to rice, he may develop mild symptoms of food related allergies manifesting in multiple ways. Diagnosis of a rice allergy can be tricky, but once it is properly diagnosed, treatment and recovery are very simple.
Rice is a common ingredient in most dog foods on the market today. If you believe your dog has a rice related allergy, discuss it with your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Rice Allergies in Dogs
Rice allergies in dogs may develop immediately or may develop after years of being fed the same diet. Symptoms may include:
- Itchy skin
- Dry, flaky skin
- Hair loss
- Chronic ear infections
- Obsessive licking/chewing of feet
- Inflamed, red paw pads
- Gastrointestinal upset
Rice comes in two different categories: whole grain and white. They vary in nutritional value, cooking requirements, and flavor. Your dog may be allergic to one or both categories. Rice is a common ingredient in most dog foods but may only be listed as a ‘grain’.
Causes of Rice Allergies in Dogs
Every dog’s nutritional requirement of grains, including rice, varies. Some dogs need grains to have a healthy coat and skin, another dog might get an ear infection every time he has grains, or another may require grains in his diet to keep him at a healthy weight. Every dog’s diet requirements are different. If your pet has a sensitivity to rice, his body will form a defense against the ingredient, causing allergic symptoms to commence.
Diagnosis of Rice Allergies in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will start with a physical exam. This will allow her to take note of all your dog’s symptoms upon arrival at the clinic and record his vitals. If your dog’s skin is irritated, the veterinarian may take a skin scraping. She will take a blade and scrape off the top layer of your dog’s skin to view under the microscope. While this sounds uncomfortable, it will allow her to rule out external parasites or bacterial overgrowth as causes of your dog’s symptoms. If your dog’s eye are weepy or has buildup in the corners, the veterinarian may perform fluorescein staining to check for a scratch or ulcer on the eye that could possibly cause the watering.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are responding to the allergen and to rule out other possible causes of your dog’s symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function and to rule out a possible secondary infection of the urinary system from all the licking.
When it comes to diagnosis of rice allergies in dogs, there are very few diagnostic tests you can run. A dietary trial is the most frequently used method. In a dietary trial, you have to feed your dog a novel diet, meaning you feed him a diet without any rice ingredients whatsoever. In this case, this may mean you need to change him to a ‘grain free’ diet since rice can be listed as a ‘grain’ on the ingredients list. During this trial, you cannot give any type of treats or flavored medication containing rice as it can affect the results. Since it takes a while for the rice to leave your dog’s system completely, you have to feed your dog the novel diet for at least 90 days before you can get a reliable result. After the 90 days, if resolution of the allergic signs occurs, you then must reintroduce rice to his diet. If a relapse in allergy symptoms occurs once the rice is reintroduced, then you know the source.
Treatment of Rice Allergies in Dogs
Strict control of the diet is the best treatment of any food related allergies. Trying to figure out the exact food source the allergy is coming from can be a long, discouraging process since there are so many different ingredients in dog foods. However, once you discover the source of the allergen and are able to completely remove it from your pet’s diet, his symptoms should subside and all associated problems should stop.
While waiting for implemented treatments to begin working, such as waiting for the rice to makes its way out of your dog’s symptoms for 90 days, your veterinarian may prescribe a medication to help with the itching your dog may be suffering from. This medication will help for a while, but it is important to remove the source of the allergen as well.
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. If your dog has an ear infection, the veterinarian may prescribe an ear cleaner and medication to be used per her instructions. If your dog has itchy skin, the veterinarian may recommend a bath with mild shampoo to offer him some relief.
Recovery of Rice Allergies in Dogs
When you remove rice from your dog’s diet, his prognosis of a full recovery is good. When the allergen is no longer in your dog’s system, all his symptoms should stop and he should return to his normal self. His immune system will stop over-reacting and return to its normal strength. This will help your dog fight off actual threats instead of false ones.
Rice Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My female boxer pit mix vomited white foam and water, then had a yellow mucus stool with obvious brown rice in it, and a 2nd stool with blood and brown rice. Her energy levels seem fine and her heart rate is normal. Neurologically she seems fine. No tenderness on palpitations or the abdomen. Her gums are normal color and inside her ears are as well so I do not suspect fever. Could this just be a brown rice intolerance?
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My 11 week old puppy has been itching since we changed his food to a chicken and rice. Could he have food allergy at this age? He is itchy all over but mostly in his back end. He also has flakey skin. Should we switch him to a limited ingredient diet or wait it out? No fleas seen by me or the vet and he is on Revolution flea control.
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My dog is having flaky and very itchy skin, he keeps scratching all day long..He's having allergies from the time I've adopted him i.e. June 2016.. He gets fine till he's on meds then it reoccurs.. Vet told us its wheat & egg allergy.. Though he's not having either of these since January 2017.. Recently I have stopped his chicken intake and started giving him rice & wheat with curd or veggies..I personally think it's chicken allergy for sure as all this dog food contained that accompanied with one more allergy.
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