While most people know that dogs can be allergic to things like pollen and dust, many are surprised to learn that dogs can also be allergic to chicken. In fact, chicken is one of the most common allergens for dogs. Symptoms of a chicken allergy can include itchiness, excessive licking, and hot spots.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it must be taken to the vet for a diagnosis. While there are many other potential causes of these symptoms, an allergy is one of the most common. Therefore, it’s important to rule out an allergy before beginning any other treatment. If your dog is diagnosed with a chicken allergy, there are a few options for managing the condition.
Your vet can prescribe medication to help control the allergy, and you may need to change your dog’s diet. For example, you may need to avoid feeding them chicken-based food or switch to a hypoallergenic diet. However, with proper management, your dog can still lead a great life despite their allergies.
Four Types Of Allergies In Dogs
Just like humans, canines can suffer from allergies. In fact, they are susceptible to four different types of allergies: food, dust mites, fleas, and environmental. While the symptoms of these allergies are very similar in humans and dogs, there is one key difference. Dogs typically don’t experience the sneezing and runny nose that are common in human allergies.
Instead, they tend to have skin problems, such as excessive licking, scratching, and hot spots. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult a veterinarian to determine the cause.
Symptoms Of Chicken Allergy In Dogs
- Skin is reddish: If you notice your dog’s skin is red and irritated, you should bring them to the vet to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. In the meantime, you can try to keep your dog calm and comfortable by applying a cool compress to the affected area.
- Frequent ear infections: If your dog is constantly shaking his head or scratching his ears, it could be an indication that he has allergies. Allergies can cause a build-up of wax and debris in the ears, which provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. In addition, allergies can irritate the skin inside the ears, making your dog more susceptible to infection.
- Paw chewing: When a dog is allergic to something, his immune system overreacts to the allergen and produces histamines. Histamines cause symptoms like itchiness, redness, and swelling. Paw chewing is one way that dogs try to relieve their itchiness.
- Hot spots: If your dog is constantly scratching, licking, or chewing at one particular spot on its body, it likely has a hot spot. Hot spots are a form of an allergic reaction, and though various things can cause them, the most common culprit is fleas.
- Itching: Itchy skin is one of the most common signs that a dog has an allergy. Allergies can be triggered by anything from pollen to food ingredients, and they can cause various symptoms, including itchiness, redness, and swelling.
- Diarrhea and vomiting: If your dog has diarrhea or vomits after eating, it could indicate that they are allergic to something in their food. This is especially true if diarrhea and vomiting are accompanied by other symptoms like itchiness, excessive licking, or swollen paws.
How Does The Vet Diagnose A Dog’s Allergy?
If you suspect your dog may be allergic to something, the first step is to make an appointment with your vet. They will likely ask you a series of questions about your dog’s symptoms and frequency, as well as whether or not there are any other health concerns.
They will also perform a physical examination. Based on all this information, the vet can determine if allergies are the likely cause of your dog’s symptoms and, if so, what may be causing the allergies.
There are three main ways that your vet can diagnose allergies in dogs: skin tests, blood tests, and elimination diets.
- Skin Tests: A skin test is usually done by taking a small sample of your dog’s skin and exposing it to potential allergens one at a time. If your dog is allergic to a particular substance, it will develop bumps or hives on its skin within 15-20 minutes. While this test can help identify specific allergies, it is not always accurate, and false positives are not uncommon. In addition, skin tests can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
- Blood Tests: A blood test works similarly to a skin test, but a small blood sample is taken and tested for antibodies to common allergens instead of exposing the skin to potential allergens. The advantage of a blood test over a skin test is that it is generally more accurate. However, it is also more expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
- Elimination Diets: An elimination diet is often used when skin and blood tests are inconclusive or when multiple possible allergens are involved. The idea behind an elimination diet is to remove all possible allergens from your pup’s food for 8-12 weeks and then gradually reintroduce them one at a time while monitoring your dog’s reaction. This diet can be very effective, but it can also be time-consuming and require patience.
Why Do So Many Dogs Have A Chicken Allergy?
There are various theories about why many dogs have a chicken allergy.
- One possibility is that it is simply because chicken is such a popular component in dog food. Recently, the number of pet food brands marketed as “grain-free” or “natural” has increased. However, just because these foods don’t contain grains doesn’t mean they are healthy for your dog. In fact, many of these grain-free formulas contain high levels of chicken protein, which can trigger allergies in some dogs.
- Another possibility is that the way chickens are raised these days could be to blame. Chickens raised for their meat are often kept in close confines and given antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick. Unfortunately, these antibiotics can lead to an overgrowth of yeast in the chicken’s gut, which can then be passed on to your dog when they eat it. This overgrowth of yeast can cause skin irritation and other allergic reactions in canines.
- The final possibility is that your dog could be allergic to something else entirely that just happens to be found in chicken meat. For example, many commercial chicken feeds contain soybean or corn products. So if your dog is allergic to soybeans or corn, they may also be allergic to chicken.
Can A Dog Be Allergic To Turkey If They Are Allergic To Chicken?
If your dog is allergic to chicken, you may wonder if it can also be allergic to turkey. After all, both chicken and turkey are poultry. Fortunately, the answer is usually no. Dogs who have a chicken allergy are not necessarily allergic to turkey.
However, there is a small chance that your dog may be allergic to both poultry products. If your dog has never had an allergy test, the only way to know for sure if they are allergic to turkey is to feed them some and see if they react.
Best Types Of Dog Food For Dogs With A Chicken Allergy
You’ll want to keep a few things in mind when shopping for dog food for your chicken-allergic dog. First, check the ingredients list and make sure that chicken (or any poultry) is not listed. You’ll also want to avoid foods that contain corn, wheat, soy, or artificial colors and flavors, as these are common allergens. Instead, look for foods made with novel proteins like lamb or duck and containing natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables.
You may also want to consider switching to a grain-free diet, as grains are often culprits in food allergies. Grain-free diets are becoming increasingly popular for dogs of all breeds and sizes, so you should have no trouble finding quality food that meets your dog’s needs.
If you think your dog may have allergic reactions to chicken, you should consult your vet. They will likely recommend an elimination diet to determine which allergen is causing your dog’s allergic reaction. Unfortunately, there are no cures for allergies, but there are ways to manage your dog’s symptoms and make its life more comfortable.
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