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Are Dog Food Allergies Genetic

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Food allergies in dogs are abnormal immune responses to specific foods.
  • Certain breeds are more prone to food allergies, suggesting a genetic component.
  • Symptoms of dog food allergies include itching, sneezing, skin rashes, and chronic ear infections.
  • There is currently no definitive answer to whether dog food allergies are genetic, but research suggests a genetic component along with environmental factors.
  • Common food allergens for dogs include chicken, beef, dairy products, soy, and wheat.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Wednesday 10 November 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 4 July 2023
genetic dog food allergies
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As a dog owner of a pup with a food allergy, you might be wondering if your furry friend’s allergies are passed down through their genes. This is especially important for breeders who want to improve their line or for new pet parents who want to understand where their pup’s allergies came from. To answer this question, it’s crucial to know what a food allergy is, when it occurs, and which breeds are more likely to have them.

Food allergies happen when the immune system reacts abnormally to certain foods. Some breeds have a higher tendency to develop these responses than others, suggesting that genetic dog food allergies are possible. However, we are still uncertain about how exactly these allergies are inherited. Would you like to learn more? Keep reading to find out what we currently understand about genetic dog food allergies.

What Are Food Allergies In Dogs And The Science Behind It

Similar to people, dogs suffer from food allergies. According to Banfield Pet Hospital, 0.2% of dogs have a food allergy. Other sources, however, claim that the number of dogs is much higher, sitting at anywhere from 10% to 33%. Either way, food allergies in dogs are a growing concern for pet parents, as all types of dog allergies are on the rise.

When a dog has a food allergy, it means that their immune system thinks that a specific food is harmful. In response, the dog’s immune system tells the cells to release an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). The next time that your dog chows down on this food, the IgE antibodies tell the immune system to release histamine into the blood. Histamine, along with other chemicals, is the cause of your dog’s symptoms. For example, histamine regulates itching and causes your dog to scratch after eating the trigger food.

Symptoms of Dog Food Allergy

The symptoms of a food allergy in dogs can be confusing, as they are similar to those of environmental allergies. However, the timing of the symptoms can be the key to telling them apart. If your dog starts sneezing or itching right after eating, it may have a food allergy. Other signs of food allergies can include skin rashes, hair loss, and chronic ear infections. More severe symptoms can include seizures, pus-filled lumps, and bullseye-like rashes. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, it’s important to take it to the vet right away.

In rare cases, severe food allergies in dogs can cause anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening reaction. Look out for symptoms like itching, hives, facial swelling, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. If your dog has trouble breathing, its gums and tongue may turn bluish. If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t wait – take your dog to an emergency vet immediately. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Are Food Allergies In Dogs Genetic

To date, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, current research and anecdotal evidence suggest that food allergies may indeed have a genetic component, alongside environmental factors, too. This is seen in the fact that several dog breeds are more prone to developing allergies than others. These breeds include German Shepherds, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and West Highland White Terriers, among several others. While these breeds are most prone to allergies, any breed, including mixed breeds, can develop allergies. . Because of the potential genetic component to food allergies, though, the best approach is to thoroughly research your breed and prepare to ask the breeder about any allergy problems they have had in the past.

Also, the age of onset is typically between 6 months and 3 years, and research shows that 33% of dogs develop a food allergy at less than one year old. Some studies link dog allergies to living in urban environments, too. The same study suggests that allergies arise when dogs don’t have regular contact with other animals, live in indoor facilities, and live with smaller families. This suggests an environmental component to dog food allergies.

Given the very complex nature of food allergies, future studies should explore the link between environment and genetics in order to better understand the mechanism. Until then, the answer to, “are dog food allergies genetic”, is a resounding “probably!” However, genetics are not the only element at play when it comes to dog food allergies.

allergies that are inherited
If your dog is suffering a specific skin condition, then it is most likely an inherited condition.

Genetic Roots Of Dog Food Allergies – FAQ

Did we answer the question, “are dog food allergies genetic?” Got any more questions or concerns? Feel free to check our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. If in doubt about your dog’s allergies, always ask your vet for advice.

What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

The most common food allergies in dogs include allergies to chicken, beef, dairy products, soy, and wheat. Current research suggests that beef and dairy may be the most common food allergies of all, with beef at 34% and dairy products at 17%. Less common allergens include corn, egg, pork, fish, rice, barley, rabbit, and tomatoes. With this being said, be aware that any food can become an allergen to a dog! No food is off the table when it comes to diagnosing your dog’s allergy – even dental sticks and treats could be responsible.

How long does it take for a dog to react to a food allergy?

The time it takes for allergy symptoms to show varies considerably. According to Pet WebMD, hives may show up 6 to 24 hours after eating the allergen. Similarly, the time it takes for dogs to recover from a food allergy can vary, too. A dog may need weeks or months to show an improvement, depending on how severe their allergic reactions have been.

Can a dog suddenly become allergic to his food?

It is common for dogs to suddenly develop a food allergy that they did not have before. A dog can become allergic to a food that they have eaten their entire lives, which can make it difficult to diagnose the allergy. Similarly, some breeds like the West Highland White Terrier are known to develop allergies as they age, leading to sudden dog food allergies.

What can I give my dog for allergies and itching?

Your vet can prescribe the best medication for your dog’s allergies. Once your vet diagnoses your dog with an allergy, they might recommend antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal steroids. In some cases, it might even be best to use a course of Cytopoint or Apoquel for your itchy pup. Dog allergies can be life-long conditions, so having your vet manage the issues can help to prevent secondary infections from scratching. Be sure to ask your vet for advice if you believe that your furry friend has a food allergy!

How long does it take for dog food allergies to go away?

Once your dog is on a food trial with your vet, it will take several weeks for their symptoms to clear up. Because of this, most dog food trials need to go on for a minimum of 8 to 12 weeks. During this time you must not give your dog any treats, including dental sticks, to ensure that the trial is effective.

common allergens in dogs
It’s important to find out what your dog’s specific allergen is to avoid excessive scratching and discomfort.

So, are dog food allergies genetic? It’s likely, but research has not yet identified the specific genes or how they are passed on just yet. Until then, always thoroughly research your breed and ask plenty of questions if you have concerns about your breed’s allergies. Several dog breeds like German Shepherds and West Highland White Terriers are well-known for being prone to food allergies.

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