Much the same as people, your dog’s belly does not always settle with the ingredients in the food they eat. If your dog is consistently experiencing poor itchy skin, or poor digestion, it could likely be caused by a sensitivity to food, or a food allergy.
Most commonly the ingredients associated with food sensitivity are proteins which include gluten in grain-based proteins (barley, rye and wheat). As well as animal-based proteins (dairy, egg, chicken and beef). To reduce the likelihood of food sensitivities, Feed your dog food with simple ingredients and single-source proteins –– like grain-free or gluten-free dog food.
Dogs with a food sensitivities have an immune system that misinterprets the food protein as a harmful pathogen. With ongoing exposure, this can cause skin and digestive issues as the body fights to mount its defense. As a result, dogs may show any of the following symptoms: Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, itching or biting their skin, chronic ear inflammation, licking their paws.
Usually, food sensitivities are diagnosed before dogs reach three years of age; however, there are other conditions that can have similar digestive and skin irritation symptoms. If you notice these kind of changes in your dog, consult your veterinarian to determine whether or not your dog has food sensitivity. If so, he or she may suggest switching to a limited-ingredient formula with a novel protein for your dog.
It can be difficult to isolate the exact protein in your dog’s food that is causing problems. A diet with novel proteins have limited number of ingredients and most often contain fewer protein sources. An animal protein is considered to be novel if it is not commonly consumed by dogs. As an example, dogs that have been fed chicken or beef previously may tolerate a dog food made with lamb.
Animal proteins are not the only constituents that can irritate your dogs skin and upset the digestive. The gluten in grain-based proteins could also be causing these symptoms. If this is the case, your veterinarian might suggest changing to a dog food that is grain-free.