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9 Common Dog Allergies and Symptoms

Dog Allergies and Symptoms

Dogs, like humans are also susceptible to allergies. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, and insect allergies are as common on dogs than they are on humans.

So we really shouldn’t be all that surprised if your dog’s nose and lips suddenly start to swell up after a day at the park. Chances are that it got stung by a bee or wasp.

When the allergy is discovered, the body reacts by creating antibodies to attack the allergen, sometimes endangering the dog. So it is extremely important for all dog owners to be familiar of symptoms of an allergic reaction, particularly the more dangerous ones.

Common Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction

  1. Intense itching and scratching
  2. Skin rash, or hives
  3. Biting of the paws, or nails
  4. Excessive licking
  5. Excessive mucus, or saliva
  6. Inflammation of the ears, nose, mouth, or eyes
  7. Labored breathing, coughing, or wheezing
  8. Vomiting, diarrhea, or chronic gas
  9. Nausea

If any of these symptoms persist with you dog, you need to take action immediately and consult with a veterinarian. Retrace your steps (or your dog’s steps) and try to identify the trigger. If you’ve never seen these symptoms before, then you may be able to cut it down to as single food or environment.

Common Food Allergens

The following are some of the more common food allergens for dogs. However, this list is not exhaustive, as dogs can display allergies to nearly any ingredient, grain or protein.

  • Lamb, beef, pork, chicken, fish
  • Eggs and dairy
  • Soy, corn and wheat

If you’re unable to pinpoint the exact allergen, then try an elimination diet. Feed the dog single ingredient foods, in order to identify which ingredient is causing the issue. If the dog doesn’t have an issue, change it up. Keep changing it until you’ve tested all the typical foods that your dog is normally fed. Once the dog has reaction, you’ll know what is causing the symptoms and eliminate the allergen from their diet.

Grain, particularly wheat has proven to be a major cause for concern in most dog diets. So much so, that many commercial food producers have monetized on this special diet need and started marketing a “Grain-Free” line of food. Some others have protein specific lines of food. In case your dog is allergic to fish, or chicken, you can feed them lamb.

Although difficult, caring for a dog with allergies has certainly become easier thanks to the marketplace. Dog formulated antihistamines are also an option for recurring allergies, or seasonal allergies. So when all else fails, medication is always an option.

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8 Super Easy Ways to Prevent Doggie Breath

Doggie Breath

What Causes Bad Dog Breath?

There are many reasons why your dog has doggie breath.

For each reason, there is a cure to help get rid of bad breath. The cause behind bad breath can be divided into two categories. Dietary habits and hygiene related. The following are the main reasons behind bad breath in dogs and how to best address it.

  • Bacterial issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Eating the wrong type of food
  • Poor oral hygiene

Cures for Dietary related Bad Breath

  1. Herbs are not only good for humans but animals also. There are several herbs that can be used to fight doggie breath. Parsley is a herb that has been used for thousands of years by humans. The good news is that dogs can be given it also. A few pinches in its food will help get rid of bad breath causing bacteria.
  2. The next two herbs on the list are coriander and dill. A great way to give this is by putting a little bit in the water it drinks. Dill and coriander are great to help with oral bacteria. Coriander, on the other hand, is also a good mosquito repellent.
  3. Next up on the food related cure is to give the dog probiotic food. This could be given in a pill form or just straight yogurt. Sometimes bad breath in dogs is caused by digestive issues. However, it’s a good idea to check with the vet before doing this.
  4. Sometimes just watching what my dog eats can go a long way. A change of the usual diet of canned food to real home cooked food can go a long way to help with things. Also, avoid giving leftover food from the table. Giving veggies can help, both cooked and raw vegetables. In general, try to keep an eye on what the dog is eating.
  5. So far I have been talking about diet and related issues. Next items on the list would be hygiene related. Make sure the water and food bowl are always clean. These areas are great breeding grounds for bacteria.

Ways to addres Hygiene related Bad Breath

  1. Regular trims of fur should be done. This is especially true of the mouth area. Food tends to get stuck there and everyone knows that dry old food is an excellent source of bacteria. Even if it is not trimmed, it should be washed regularly.
  2. Brushing dog teeth seem like an obvious way to help with doggie breath. Just as humans use toothpaste, there is dog toothpaste and there are even dog tooth brush available also. Ideally, I would be into brushing dog teeth daily. But not all dogs will respond to it immediately. Ask the vet about popular dog toothpaste flavors and an ideal dog toothbrush for the pooch. Brushing dog teeth is especially recommended for dogs that have teeth and gum issues. Taking it to be cleaned by a professional occasionally is a good idea also.
  3. Choosing the right dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste is very important. Never give the dog human toothpaste, although using a toothbrush designed for humans is all right, as long as it is a soft one. There are even homemade toothpaste recipes available.

The bottom line is that proper oral hygiene is very important for canines. If not dealt with properly, it can lead to all sorts of health problems, not just bad breath. If it’s the first time dealing with this, always better to consult with the vet beforehand.

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Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

can dogs eat raw meat

BARF (bones and raw food) & Raw Food Diets

Raw food diets, like BARF (short for bones and raw food), continue to be popular among dog owners, trainers, and breeders. However, there continues to be little to no evidence, other than anecdotal, of its effectiveness in replacing formulated dog food. There have been no level 1 or level 2 scientific studies conducted to support the benefits of a strict raw food diet on dogs. The scientific community is still very much divided on the question of “Can dogs eat raw meat?”, as shown by the letter “In support of bones and raw food diets” (Stogdale and Diehl 783). This discord among the experts only adds to the confusion on the topic of the nutritional value of raw foods versus conventional foods. Additionally, a recent study has shown that slapdash raw food and bone diet resulted in serious deficiencies in key minerals, and hypervitaminosis (an oversupply) in others which can be very harmful to a dog’s health. The reader must understand the risks and consult their intentions with their veterinarian before transitioning your dog into a raw food, or BARF diet.

The Evidence

There is little evidence to support the alleged health benefits of a raw food diet. According to Schlesinger and Joffe (50), only level 4 and 5 research has been conducted on the question of whether a raw diet could effectively replace commercially available dog food. Levels 1 through 3 are scientific studies with peer reviewed research. Levels 4 and 5 amount to low quality case-control studies, and expert opinion. One level 4 publication made use of anecdotal accounts of dog and cat owners using surveys, which resulted no solid conclusion, other than over 98% of them perceived their dog or cat to look healthy. In this study, only 16% of the dogs in this study were fed bones to supplement calcium requirements. Another level 4 anecdotal study found reports of illness in dogs and cats due to an oversupply of Vitamin A from eating pork liver; pansteatitis from cooked oily fish, and hyperparathyroidism in a litter of GSD from eating rice and raw meat. Although, the evidence in these two studies are inconclusive, both suggest an inherent reliability problem in BARF and raw food diets.

Nutrient Balancing

Nutrient balancing in raw foods can be eluding to the average dog owner, resulting in nutrient deficiencies or oversupplies. According to another study, over 60% of the participants in a raw food study were feeding an imbalanced diet to their dogs, with the rest demonstrating minor imbalances or an excess of calcium (Dillitzer et al.). 10% of the dogs sampled in this study consumed less than 25% of the recommended calcium allowance. Conversely, 10% of the dogs consumed 300% more calcium than the recommended allowance. More than half of the dogs received less than 50% of the recommended iodine intake, with one case receiving more than 80 times the required dose. The nutritional quality of raw food varies greatly between owners, sometimes reaching dangerous levels of oversupply, and undersupply of crucial vitamins.

Food borne bacteria

can dogs eat raw meat salmonellaWith raw food diets, unlike others, food handling hygiene becomes vitally important to the health of the dogs, and your family members. For instance, according to Schlesinger and Joffe (51), in a sample of commercially prepared raw dog food, 6% tested positive for Salmonella, compared to none in conventional dog food (dry or canned). Additionally, over 50% of the raw food samples tested positive for E.coli, compared to 33% and 6% for dry and canned foods respectively. One study in Canada tested locally sourced commercially prepared raw dog food, finding a drug resistant strain of salmonella in over 21% of the samples, of which 67% contained chicken. Comparatively, food safety becomes a major concern in food preparation for dogs, particularly but not exclusively in dealing with chicken as an ingredient.

Risk of salmonella, or E.coli infection from dogs to humans becomes concerning when keeping indoor pets, or in proximity to children. According to a study, at least 3 different animal companion facilities and 1 animal shelter have reported outbreaks of drug resistant salmonella (Schlesinger and Joffe 52). Over 18 humans and 36 animals tested positive for salmonella in fecal cultures in this study. Additionally, those affected by this outbreak included veterinary staff, owners and their children, and other pets in the households that came in contact with the facilities. Independent of your dog’s diet, these accounts demonstrate that salmonella can be easily transmitted from pets to humans.


Although appealing, a raw food dog diet can be dangerous and detrimental to your and your pet’s health. However, some veterinarians claim that microbial gut support in raw food diets is unmatched, and can help alleviate many chronic digestive problems (Stogdale and Diehl 783). However, there is simply not enough evidence to support these claims. Additionally, a formulated, and properly balanced diet can be difficult to achieve with homemade and raw dog food ingredients, and variations in diet and ingredients can easily lead to deficiencies and oversupplies in key nutrients. If sustained for long enough, these variations could easily lead to long-term health issues. Additionally, the risks involved in salmonella and E.coli contamination and transference are very real, and dangerous, particularly to indoor pets, and children. However, if you are concerned with the quality of the food you feed your pets, then there are many choices of varying qualities and grades to choose from in the canned and dry food variety. Many of these manufacturers now provide verified ingredient and inspection reports from independent laboratories.

For an in-depth review of most major dog food brands and varieties, check out this website: Dog Food Advisor.

Works Cited:

Schlesinger, Daniel P., and Daniel J. Joffe. “Raw Food Diets in Companion Animals: A Critical Review.” The Canadian Veterinary Journal 52.1 (2011): 50–54. Print.

Stogdale, Lea, and Garcea Diehl. “In Support of Bones and Raw Food Diets.” The Canadian Veterinary Journal 44.10 (2003): 783. Print.

Dillitzer, Natalie, Nicola Becker, and Ellen Kienzle. “Intake of Minerals, Trace Elements and Vitamins in Bone and Raw Food Rations in Adult Dogs.” British Journal of Nutrition 106.S1 (2011): S53–S56. Web.