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How to Test Your Dog for Food Allergies

Does your dog suffer from skin problems and/or scratch constantly? Does he have hot spots or recurring skin infections? He may suffer from dog food allergies. Food allergies can appear in dogs any time in their lifespan, from puppyhood to senior. There are certain food ingredients that tend to be problematic. Among them are dairy products, chicken and chicken eggs, soy, corn, wheat, and even beef.

Conduct a Food Trial
To diagnose your dogís potential food allergies you can conduct a food trial, which means feeding your dog a unique diet for up to 3 months. You will need to feed your dog new foods it has never eaten before, such as venison and oats. Lamb and rice diets used to be prescribed for dogs with potential allergies, but they are no longer considered unique foods. Many commercial lamb and rice dog foods also contain soy, eggs and other allergens.

Special foods are available through your vet or you can make your dogís special diet at home using your vetís recommendations. The special diet must be followed consistently, no other foods allowed including treats or rawhides. Continue with the diet until you see marked improvement in your dogís symptoms. Then go back to his regular diet. If symptoms return, then you know your dog is allergic to one or more ingredients in his regular food.

Food Allergy Treatment
Once you have confirmed your dog has a food allergy, you will need to continue with the special diet. If you are not sure which ingredient of the old food is causing the allergy, you could try a home made diet and add back in one of the potential allergens, such as soy. Until you narrow down the exact foods your dog is a allergic to. Then you can either keep your dog on the special diet or try a commercial dog food that does not contain the problem ingredients.

Because symptoms can be similar with airborne allergies such as dust and mold as well as flea-bite allergies, it is important to test and eliminate them as suspects first.

Valerie Goettsch is web master of a website featuring dozens of articles and information on dog names and breeds and where to find the best of everything for your dog, from flea meds to beds and crates, training books and videos and dog clothes.