Dogs are man’s best friend, and there is nothing worse than when your lovable pup feels bad and gets sick. Often, dogs get sick from packaged food because they are allergic to the ingredients within. Luckily, detecting the dog’s allergy and replacing the food is relatively easy. If you think that your dog might be allergic to packaged food, here’s what you should do:

 

Signs Your Dog Might Be Allergic to His Dog Food

Just like humans, animals can have food allergens, and your lovable pet is no different. Here are the most common signs that your dog has some sort of food allergy.

  • Itchy skin around the ears, paws, rear end, or stomach
  • Hives
  • Stomach problems
  • Swollen face
  • Chronic ear or paw infections

 

What to Do

If you find that your dog has one or more of the following symptoms, he may have a food allergy. Luckily, there are two simple steps to take in order to address the allergen. These steps are very easy to follow, but they can take a series of several weeks in order to accomplish successfully.

Step 1: Elimination Diet

The first step to finding out what food your dog is allergic to is putting him on an elimination diet. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly what ingredient the dog is allergic to. Elimination diets can be difficult for your pet, though, so it’s recommended that you only do an elimination diet under the care of a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.

How an elimination diet works is that you feed your dog one protein in one carbohydrate for 8 to 12 weeks. You continue switching out the ingredients in order to pinpoint what food is causing your dog to react. If you see symptoms return or go away as you change out the diet, you will be able to see exactly what foods you should and should not feed your dog.

Step 2: Introduce Alternatives

Once you know what your dog is allergic to, it is time to introduce alternatives to his diet.  If your dog has an allergy, chances are you should not use packaged food anymore. The reason for this is that most packaged dog food contains the most common dog allergens.

Fresh Food is Often the Solution

For most dog owners, making fresh food for their pups is the best option for dogs with allergens. The reason for this is that the owners have complete control and knowledge over what is going into the dog system. As a result, the dog is less likely to have a reaction to what they’re being fed.

If you have no experience preparing food for your dog, don’t worry. There are a lot of recipes and tools online that will help you prepare the best food for your pup. In fact, whole books have been written about the subject, often with recipes that you wouldn’t mind eating yourself.

Simply research which recipe is good for your dog’s specific allergen. From there, you will have countless of meal prep ideas for your furry best friend.

 

Final Thoughts

Packaged dog food is often filled with ingredients that many dogs are allergic to. As a result, many dogs get sick from their food and require food alternatives. If this sounds like your dog, put him on the elimination diet and then start making him fresh food. Though making fresh food for your dog may sound like a lot of work, he is worth it and will feel much better as a result.

What Does Your Dog Prefer? A Quick Look at Different Types of Dog Food

Dogs are not just pets but companions. They are a member of the family and their wellbeing and health is of the most importance. Dogs, like humans, have different tastes and preferences, and when it comes to food, they can be fussy eaters just like us. With so many different types of dog food available for our pets, working out which is the best one to choose can be a difficult task.

Some dogs may prefer one flavor over another, so it’s important to be aware of what tastes your dog has a preference for. Over the past decade or so, dog food has evolved greatly from being a simple choice of either canned or bagged food. Now there are various types of dog food, for different dogs at different stages of their lives.

There are also lots of different brands and figuring out the benefits of one over another can take a little time. You can find a lot of information online that can help, and a quick search on Google for something such as Ava dog food review, can bring you up a wide range of results where you can see reviews and experiences about feeding your dog a specific brand.

 

Wet Foods

Wet dog food is the classic meal for our canine friends that is served out of a tin. Actually, today they can be served out of tins, pouches and even special serving trays, as over the years, their packaging has advanced to much more than a basic metallic tin.

As the name suggests, this type of dog food contains a lot more water than you’d find in dry dog food. One disadvantage of this is that you’d need more wet food in comparison to dry food, which has literally no water content, and this could end up being a lot more expensive each month.

Some of the benefits of wet dog food is that it is a lot easier to chew, especially for younger and older dogs. It is also good for puppies and aids their growth as wet food will usually contain more protein than dry foods.

 

Dry Foods

Dried dog foods come in a variety of styles from simple circular biscuits to large bone shaped snacks for your dogs to munch on at dinnertime. This type of food has a much longer life span than wet food, which needs to be consumed within a couple of days of opening the tin or container. With dry foods, they can last for months providing they are kept in a dry and airtight container.

There are a number of different ways that dried dog food are produced, with production methods such as baking, air drying and extrusion, which is the most common method for preparing dry food. Some people suggest that dry foods that go through a number of different preparation methods can start losing the natural nutrients and vitamins that they originally contain.

Benefits of dry dog food are it is a lot cleaner than wet food, is easier to measure so you can make sure you are giving your pet the correct amount and are not over or underfeeding them. It is also usually cheaper than other types of dog foods. Dry dog foods also have most of the nutrients and vitamins that a dog needs for good health.

 

Raw Foods

This type of dog food has become more and more popular over the years, and lots of people all around the world are now feeding their dogs a diet of raw foods. Most dog owners will prepare their own foods for their pets, as many see this form of dog food as the most natural in terms of what a dog should eat.

However, there are many dog food companies that are now also producing raw foods for dogs, and you’ll most likely have come across these in freezer units you may have seen at your local pet store. Some dog owners prefer the convenience of purchasing raw foods in packs, as it can save time and effort if you make it yourself.

Some animal professionals do not agree completely with the concept of raw foods for dogs, as there are a number of health issues associated with it, but in small amounts, accompanied by either dry or wet foods, it can be a combination that your pet enjoys.

There is no right food to feed your dog. It all depends on what your canine friend prefers to eat. Some dogs may only eat dry foods, while others only wet. You’ll also find a number of pet owners who feed their dogs a combination of both types. The best way to see what your dog prefers is trial and error. Only then will you have a better understanding of the type of food your dog prefers, as well as the flavors. If you are concerned about your dog’s eating habits, then you should take them to your local pet clinic to be checked up.

 

When you have dogs around your home, it can be very easy to think and feel that you can feed them anything. It’s often the misconception that for as long as it’s healthy for human beings, then your four-legged friend can have it, too. However, a dog isn’t like human beings, and their bodies are also created differently. This early on, it’s important to set the record straight that there are some fruits that may only do more harm than good to your dog. In fact, it can poison and kill them.

If your dog is anything like mine, it will eat anything that smells or looks tasty. My dog has a love for barbecued sausages but isn’t picky – sandwiches, jam donuts, ice cream and toppings, whatever he can get his teeth into…

When I sometimes have my nephews over at the weekend, I like to serve them some ice cream with fruits as dessert. The problem is that one of these fruits is extremely toxic to dogs.

How this can cause problems is my nephews tend to prefer the ice cream to the fruit and could end up unloading the fruit into my dogs’ mouth.

Usually this wouldn’t be a problem but if you feed your dog this fruit it could be fatal. The point being is it’s an easy mistake to make that anyone could make and it’s important for you and all friends and family to be aware of this fruit. If this happens to me, then it could to you, too. After all, this is an all-too-familiar scenario that may be present in almost every home.

Believe it or not that fruit is grapes, yes you read that correctly grapes are toxic to dogs – let me explain exactly why now.

Grapes and Their Effect on Your Dog

Grapes fall on top of the list of fruits that aren’t healthy for your dogs. The problem is that even small amounts of grapes are toxic to dogs and can cause acute renal failure.

It’s not exactly known why grapes are toxic to dogs. Researchers think the toxicity is in the flesh rather than the skin or seeds. So, peeling your pooches’ grapes or buying seedless grapes won’t help.

The issue came to the forefront in the late 1990’s when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) became aware of several otherwise healthy dogs suffering kidney failure after eating grapes (or raisins).

This piqued the ASPCA’s interest and lead to a study that tracked the outcomes of 43 dogs who ate grapes and / or raisins. The study, Acute Renal Failure in Dogs After the Ingestion of Grapes or Raisins: A Retrospective Evaluation of 43 Dogs, was published in 2005 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

These are some of the metrics included in the study:

  • Now, to clear some things up. It wasn’t just one or two grapes. These dogs ate an average of 496 grams of grapes with an intake range between 8 grams and nearly 900 grams.
  • The average weight of the dogs when they got sick was 25 kilograms. The weight range was between 8kg and 48kg.
  • Golden Labradors made up 30% of those 43 dogs although they only make up only one of 360 dogs breeds worldwide.
  • The average age of the 43 dogs was 4.0 years, but the dogs ranged between 6 months and 13 years.
  • All the dogs vomited. In decreasing order the other symptoms were lethargy (77% of dogs), anorexia (72% of dogs), diarrhea (51% of dogs), reduced urine output (49% of dogs), abdominal pain (29% of dogs), ataxia (23% of dogs), and general weakness (19% of dogs).
  • Most dogs experienced multiple symptoms. Symptoms typically began 24 hours after eating the grapes.

The most common symptom of grape poisoning is vomiting. This, then, leads to kidney failure, with symptoms including drinking frequent urination.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Grapes

Like humans, a dog’s digestive system recoils against any toxic foods and tries to expel them. This explains the universal rate of vomiting and high rate of diarrhea.

If you think your dog has just eaten grapes or raisins, the official advice is to get your dog to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. The veterinarian will induce vomiting, pump your dog’s stomach, and administer charcoal.

If no veterinarian is at hand, you can induce vomiting in your dog yourself. 5ml (or one teaspoon) of hydrogen peroxide for every 5 kilograms of your dog’s body weight administered orally to your dog should induce vomiting. But ideally, it is a job for the veterinarian.

Often you won’t become aware of the problem until your dog is vomiting or voiding their bowels. Grape residue in vomit and fecal matter is a tell-tale sign of poisoning.

However, there are also instances when it isn’t safe to induce vomiting, such as when the following situations occur:

  • When you’re unsure of what it is that your dog has eaten
  • When your dog is unconscious
  • When your dog is showing signs of shock
  • When your dog has difficulty breathing
  • When the diarrhea isn’t yet to a high rate

In the first bullet, this is precisely the reason why it’s very important to be careful with what you feed your dogs. Never feed anything that you’re unsure of. If there are specialized food for the breed of your dog, like the best dog food for Shih Tzu and other breeds, stick to it. You’d rather be safe than sorry.

Be on the lookout also for other symptoms, like the following:

  • If your dog isn’t eating, is having difficulty urinating, is unusually lethargic, these are all symptoms to be aware of.
  • If you suspect a problem – get your dog to the veterinarian, they can run biochemistry tests quickly which will help determine what the problem is.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures and tremors in your dog, particularly when this has never happened before
  • Lethargy, weakness, and quietness
  • Foul breath and oral ulcers
  • Dehydration

 

What Happens When Dogs Eat Grapes

When dogs eat grapes, the outcomes can be catastrophic. Only 53% of the 43 dogs survived in that study. Some of those dogs were so sick they had to be euthanized.

Grapes are one fruit you should never feed you dog.

Outcomes for Dogs After Eating Grapes

Of those 43 dogs in the research sample, 15 made a complete recovery. That’s good news for them and their owners.

20 of the dogs died after eating grapes.

That leaves 8 dogs who did not make a full recovery, suffering ongoing kidney issues.

A dog that suffers a particularly adverse reaction to eating grapes may be required to have ongoing hemo-dialysis until the kidneys recover.

Some dogs may need a kidney transplant to survive.

What’s My Advice?

We’ve talked about what to do after your dog has eaten grapes.

Pro-activity is far preferable to reactivity and the best possible solution is to keep grapes away from your dog.

If you have guests around your table, as I often do, and a dog that likes to scrounge snacks, make sure your guests know what they can and cannot feed him/her.

It’s not just grapes, lots of tasty lunchtime foods like avocado and tiramisu can makes dogs very sick. For a more complete list of foods you shouldn’t feed your dog check out this article.

Just as you watch what small children eat and keep dangerous foodstuffs well out of reach, so too you should with your dog!

 

Final Word / Conclusion

Generally, it’s safe to feed your dog with fruits. These are rich in minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants that prove to be nothing less than healthy for yourself, hence also for your four-legged family members. But, in reading this, you’re now more enlightened that not all fruits have this effect on dogs. Grapes, in particular, can be very toxic for dogs.