is itching like crazy and shaking his head constantly.
Your vet just told you it could be a food
allergy. What does that mean? To find out, we talked to Susan Wynn, an
internationally known expert on holistic pet care. Wynn is former president of
the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, a clinical resident in
nutrition at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine and
author of four textbooks on integrative practice, focusing on dietary
supplements such as nutraceuticals and herbs.
A: Ten percent of all allergy cases in dogs are food
allergies. Dogs also can suffer from food intolerance, which is different from
a food allergy.
Q: What are the common signs of a food allergy?
A: Anything from chronic ear inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, and chronic
diarrhea to chronic gas, licking their feet, or an itchy rear end.
Q: What are the most common things that could trigger a food
allergy in my dog?
A: It’s a genetic problem, and when it’s triggered, it’s by exposure to
whatever they’re allergic to. The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat,
egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually
allergic to more than one thing.
Q: What causes these allergies?
A: It’s a multi-factorial thing, but certainly you have to have a genetic
predisposition to develop allergies. The environment can affect it, too.
There’s a lot of research going on right now to determine what, in early
puppyhood or early kittenhood, makes the immune system more likely to express
that trait. There’s an immune education process happening in the first few
weeks of life. Young animals treated with antibiotics could potentially be predisposed to
problems later in life because antibiotics change the environment inside the
gut, which is the largest immune organ in the body. That could be a
predisposing cause, but then the trigger would be being exposed to the