As our family enters yet another food sensitivity phase with our dog, Gator, this seems like a good time to discuss a few diet-related issues that affect many dogs. A little research showed me that the most common food allergens for canines are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. I noticed that corn is not on the list, though 2 of my dogs were specifically allergic to that grain.
While most allergic dogs display such symptoms as digestive issues, itchy skin, red eyes, or nasal discharge, some become even more ill, lose their fur or suffer with severe hot spots. You may want to try an elimination diet to isolate the source of the allergy. Talk to your veterinarian for the best method to detox your dog and introduce new foods. The important part is to allow your pet to completely rid itself of the offending food. Detoxification is necessary to rule out the other food-related conditions.
What your dog eats can determine his overall health. Many diseases, as well as allergies, occur because of something the animal eats. It’s up to you to determine the offending food.
Yeast infections. Our Gator developed yeast infections in his ears as a puppy. His ears itched deep inside, and he constantly shook his head. Antibiotics didn’t do much to help him. The vet finally put him on antibiotic ear drops and a liquid ear cleaner and the itching would cease, only to begin again a couple weeks later. Gator’s ears smelled and he was miserable.
When we brought Gator home as a small puppy, the breeder told us to feed him Ole Roy puppy food. I knew very little about dog nutrition in those days and followed her advice for 2 months. The problems with his ears helped me to begin looking at other dog foods. I don’t remember the brand we chose, but it was a lamb-based puppy food. Lo and behold! After 2 weeks, we had a healthy puppy. He stopped shaking his head and scratching his ears and was a much calmer pet. It became obvious that the food was the problem.
Signs of a yeast infection include smelly, itchy ears or skin; head shaking; incessant feet chewing; loss of fur or skin changes. Your veterinarian can correctly diagnose the problem.
Pancreatitis. This inflammation of the pancreas causes the pancreas to literally “digest itself.” (www.nutriment.com/common-diet-related-health-problems/). This condition can be life-threatening. Dogs that eat commercial dry food are most likely to suffer from pancreatitis because the heavily-processed, grain-based dry diet causes the pancreas to become inflamed.
Diabetes. Diabetes prevents the body from regulating the blood sugar levels. Diets high in carbohydrates cause an increase in blood sugar. Many lower-priced, commercial dry dog foods are high in carbs because of the grains in them.
Bloat. We used to own Great Danes and my biggest fear was the threat of bloat. Any dog is subject to bloat but it is more common in large, deep-chested canines. No one knows the real cause of bloat, but one thought is that dogs drinking a large amount of water right after eating a meal of dry food are susceptible. Never exercise your dog heavily right after eating.
These 4 conditions, plus allergies are directly-related to what a dog eats. Feed your pet a grain-free, low carbohydrate diet whenever possible to avoid the likelihood of such problems.