Dog food allergies occurs more often than you may think. That’s why feeding your Chihuahua properly is very important. An improper diet could affect your dog’s health, behavior and nervous system, possibly making a normal dog aggressive.
The result of a good or bad diet is most visible in a dog’s skin and coat, but internal organs are affected, too.
Dogs can be allergic to many foods that are popular and even recommended by breeders and veterinarians. Changing the brand of food may not eliminate the problem if the ingredient to which your dog is allergic to is in the new brand.
Recognizing dog food allergies can be quite difficult. Humans often have rashes or swelling of the lips or eyes when they eat foods they are allergic to. Dogs do not usually develop rashes, but they react the same way they do to an airborne allergy or insect bite; they itch, scratch and bite. While pollen allergies and parasite bites are usually seasonal, food allergies are continual problems.
Diagnosis of a food allergy is based on a 2- to 4-week dietary trial with a diet of home-cooked food, excluding all other foods. The diet should consist of boiled rice or potato with a protein source your Chihuahua has never eaten before, such as fresh or frozen fish, lamb or even something as exotic as pheasant. Water has to be the only drink, and it is important that no other foods are fed during this trial.
If your dog’s condition improves, try the original diet again to see if the itching resumes. If it does, then your dog is allergic to his original diet. You must find a diet that does not distress your Chi’s skin. Start with a commercially available hypoallergenic diet or the home made diet that you created for the allergy trial.
Food intolerance is your dog’s inability to completely digest certain foods. This occurs because the dog does not have the enzymes necessary to digest some foodstuffs. All puppies have the enzymes necessary to digest canine milk, but some dogs do not have the enzymes to digest cow milk, resulting in loose bowels, stomach pains and flatulence.
Food allergies in dogs can occur quite often, when you include soy or other beans in their menu. These foods should be excluded from your Chihuahua’s diet.
Auto Immune Illness
An auto-immune illness is one in which the immune system overacts and does not recognize parts of the affected dog. Instead, the immune system starts to react and turns against the body’s cells as if they were foreign cells and therefore must be destroyed.
An example is the rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the body does not recognize the joints, which leads to a very painful and damaging reaction in the joints. This has nothing to do with age, so it can occur in puppies. The wear-and-tear arthritis in elderly people or dogs is called osteoarthritis.
Lupus is another auto-immune disease that affects dogs as well as people. It can take various forms, affecting the kidneys, bones and skin. It can be fatal, but is treated with steroids, which can unfortunately trigger very harsh side effects. Steroids calm down the allergic reaction to the body’s tissues, which helps the lupus, but also calms down the body’s reaction to actual foreign substances such as bacteria-making your dog vulnerable to other illnesses. Steroids also weakens the skin and bones.