Food Allergens and Toxins for Dogs

Food Allergies Common in Dogs

Like humans, our dogs can also suffer from allergies and this can cause concern for pet owners. The most common allergens in dogs, are also fairly common in humans too and include, trees, grass, weeds, pollens, dander, cigarette smoke, mold spores, perfumes, dust, feathers and in a lot of cases, fleas. Although food allergies only account for 10% of pet allergies, there are also many foods that dogs have an intolerance to.

Food allergies in dogs manifest symptoms similar to human allergies, such as skin irritations including dry and itchy skin, rashes, loss of fur, or GI issues including loose stool, constipation, gas, or vomiting.

Once you suspect your dog may have food allergies or intolerances, it is important to consult a qualified veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the allergy and work towards a resolution. It is also important to realize that dogs can develop new allergies or intolerances years later; even after the symptoms seem to be under control.

Most Common Food Allergens in Dogs

Most Common

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

Less Common

  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Lamb
  • Corn

Common symptoms of allergies and Intolerances:

  • Increased scratching
  • Red, inflamed skin or scabbing
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (usually caused by flea allergies)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking, usually paws
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

There are many ways to detect and control food allergy symptoms, so it is important to seek qualified care to determine the cause and take steps to alleviate the symptoms. If you’re concerned about your dog’s potential allergies, we recommend that you consult with a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. The best way to determine the cause of your dog’s allergies is to eliminate the number of ingredients your dog is exposed to. Gradually, ingredients are re-introduced to determine what’s causing the problem. Often a limited ingredient diet or vegetarian formula will be prescribed to avoid portentail allergens.

Though any breed (or mix) can develop food allergies or intolerances, there are a few breeds that may be more prone to them. My Belgian Tervuren has food allergies for example and is not on the list of most prone breeds.

Breeds prone to food allergy

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Bichon Frise
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Bull Terrier
  • German Shepherd
  • Springer Spaniel
  • Maltese
  • Collie
  • Dalmatian
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Shar-Pei
  • Wheaten Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Dachshund

Foods that are Hazardous to Dogs

We all love our dogs and sometimes it’s hard to resist that sweet face looking up at us, while we are eating. Dogs are fine eating most human foods, though it is certainly better to keep your dog on a balanced and consistent diet to prevent any health issues or obesity. Sharing the occasional nibble of food with your dog is fine, but it is important to keep in mind that there are foods that are fine for human consumption, but may pose a danger to your canine friend. Being aware of these foods and avoiding them in your dog’s diet is very important for the care and well-being of your dog. Below is a list of potentially hazardous food items that should be avoided. Please visit the ASPCA for a complete description of the toxins present and possible side effects. ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Hazardous Foods:

  • Avocado
  • Bread Dough
  • Chocolate
  • Candy & Gum
  • Coffee/Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Corn Cobs
  • Hops
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Milk or milk based products
  • Moldy Foods
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Raw/undercooked meat or fish
  • Fat trimmings and bones
  • Raw eggs
  • Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums
  • Xylitol
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Mushrooms
  • Cat food (too high in fat and protein)


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 The information contained in this post is not meant as a substitute for veterinary care. Please consult a qualified veterinarian with any concerns or advice for your particular situation.