If your dog has suddenly started scratching himself, digging at his ears, rubbing his face on the carpet or chewing at his feet and paws chances are he has developed an allergy to something! Before you cart him off to the vet, try to determine what it is that he may be reacting to. In many cases it is what you are feeding him that is bringing on these symptoms. Even if he has been eating the same commercial food for years he may suddenly be allergic to some ingredient in the food. Some additive may be in there that wasn’t there before, there may be more by-products or wheat, corn, gluten or chemicals than previously.
If you suspect the food source the only way to tell for sure is to gradually switch to something else-preferably a food that doesn’t contain any of the above ingredients. Even though all commercial dog foods are deemed ‘safe’ for consumption it does not mean that your dog will not have an allergic reaction to even one added ingredient. Imagine how miserable you would feel if you were forced to eat something that caused you to itch and scratch! He can’t tell you so it is up to you to try to figure it out. Some dogs experience vomiting and/or explosive bouts of diarrhea after eating-and only after eating. This alone should tell you it’s the food.
If you withhold that particular food and feed him something else for a day or two, do the symptoms subside? There is your answer. Although your vet may tell you that what you feed your dog has nothing to do with allergies don’t believe it without doing some research on the subject. You may find that it is not the food itself, but what the manufactures put in it during processing that is causing your pooch to itch himself raw-and that is just what he will do. Dogs with food allergies suffer unduly because owners just can’t figure out why he is ‘suddenly’ doing things he never did before. Can you even begin to imagine how he feels? Probably the same way you would if you ate something you were allergic to-the only difference being you know what you shouldn’t eat and he has no way of telling you.
Although food allergies in dogs are listed as the third reason for allergic reactions by vets in general you can bet your last dollar if you rule out other causes this is going to be at the root of the problem. Certain ‘treats’ can also cause Fido to start scratching uncontrollably. The ears and paws seem to be the main source of agony, but if his eyes are watery or red, if he is sneezing all the time, or he just scratches 24/7… these are all clues to the problem. You can try topical sprays to calm the itching, cool baths with medicated shampoos or even hydrocortisone creams, but if the symptoms persist check the food you are buying. Make sure you are giving a top brand without any added ingredients. Go for something that is labeled ‘all natural ingredients’ but read the label first! Try it for a few days to see if it helps stop the allergic-like symptoms and then decide you have found the problem. Treat his skin as you would your own when it comes to the places he has made raw from scratching. He will be so much more comfortable.