Dog Food allergies dogDog allergies from food are the LEAST common cause of dog allergies with about ten percent of dogs suffer who suffer an allergy being directly from a FOOD allergy. It is the third most common cause behind flea bite allergies and atopy (inhalant allergies)

So while not the most common it can be one of the hardest to treat and the most pervasive.

MOST dog food allergies are caused by an allergic reaction to the proteins in the food. And it is the size of the protein particle – usually a molecular weight between 18 to 70 kilidaltons (kD) that is most important.

Allergies seem to be evenly spread among various foods and dogs can have multiple allergies. They can be allergic to meat and grains and some of the main ones seem to be:

The most common sources of dog food allergies

  • beef
  • dairy products
  • wheat

SECONDARY dog food allergy foods: Chicken, lamb, and soy

CATS allergy reactions are mainly to : beef, dairy products, fish

The most common Full range of dog allergic foods include:

  • horse meat
  • eggs
  • Beef
  • fish
  • Pork
  • corn
  • Lamb
  • soy
  • Chicken
  • wheat
  • dairy products
  • rawhide chews
  • dog biscuits/treats


While we know that it is a reaction to the protein molecules. Some suggest that certain breeds are more susceptible and that it could be antibiotics used in the puppy years that change the micro-organism balance and trigger the over reaction of the skin to these proteins.

Be aware that dog food allergies are still a very uncharted discipline and testing for foods (and seeing the body reaction) or abstinence from the foods are the two main blunt tools for diagnosis – no blood or gene tests are sufficiently advanced enough to help.

What reaction to dog food allergies look like

Most of the symptoms of food allergy involve inflammation and scratching of skin or ears, licking their feet, or an itchy rear end. As well as gastrointestinal problems, and chronic diarrhea and chronic gas.

Skin contact allergies with grasses can have similar itching symptoms but this is often the way that the allergy reaction progresses.

The dogs system is unable to digest the food properly leading to diarrhea and gas. When the feet become itchy the dog may itch the ears. When the feet become inflamed and they continue to lick them they will encourage fungal and bacteria growth between the toes. The white blood cells try to come to the rescue in the feet and leave the ears open to attack.

That is why the first sign of a dogs feet (continual licking and discoloration of the feet hair) needs to be resolved before chronic ear problems occur.

Dog Food allergy or dog food intolerance?

Dog Food allergies are different from food intolerance. Food allergies are true allergies and show symptoms of itching and skin problems associated with canine and feline allergies with the traditional antibody over reaction and inflammation associated with all allergies.

Food intolerances however mostly result in diarrhea or vomiting and do not create a typical allergic response (ie itching).

In future articles we discuss prevention and treatments of dogs food allergy problems.