Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. If the dog is allergic to something in the food, it can make him itchy. To help, I would need to know more about the age and breed, medical history, time course of the clinical signs, more description of what you’re seeing, and any tests that have been done or things you’ve tried so far.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

In a true dog food allergy, you will notice that certain foods will cause an adverse reaction in your dog. The ingredient will trigger your dog to release histamines, which can cause many symptoms, including: Hives. Irritated skin.
Just like people, cats and dogs can have food allergies, too. And like humans, those allergic responses can range from itchy and irritating to severe and dangerous. Food allergies in pets can begin at any age. They can start even if your cat or dog has been eating the same food for months or years.
Even in dogs not experiencing an adverse reaction to food, the skin and haircoat can be affected by many nutritional factors. A nutritional deficiency can have a huge effect on a dog`s skin and haircoat. This often happens when a dog is fed a homemade diet over a long period of time.
Beef, dairy, wheat, and chicken are the most common culprits of food allergies in dogs.
The most common food allergens in dogs are proteins, especially those from dairy, beef, chicken, chicken eggs, soy, or wheat gluten. Each time a pet eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens, and symptoms occur. Virtually any food ingredient can produce an allergy, however.
Hot spots (lesions on the skin that are hot, moist and inflamed from the dog`s repeated licking, chewing and scratching. They generally occur on the head, hips or chest area and become very painful to the touch.)
Often in dogs with food sensitivities, proteins from animal or plant-based ingredients in the diet are the cause. Beef, corn, dairy, and wheat are some of the most problematic ingredients. It may seem counterintuitive, but it can take a long time for symptoms of food allergies to become apparent.
In more severe cases, your dog may have an immediate reaction, breaking out in hives, swelling, and vomiting shortly after ingesting the allergen. In many cases, however, it can take several minutes or hours, or as many as 14 days for your dog to start presenting symptoms.
Flea allergy dermatitis, seasonal allergies or atopy, food allergies, contact dermatitis (e.g., soaps and perfumes), and sarcoptic mange (mites) are some of the most common causes of pruritus in dogs.
Soothing shampoos (aloe or oatmeal based). Wiping off your dog`s paws and belly after a walk, to remove pollen and other potential allergens. Hydrocortisone cream is usually okay to apply for a few days directly on the rash. Just be sure your dog doesn`t lick and ingest it (an Elizabethan collar can help).
Seasonal changes – some dogs have skin that is very sensitive to changes in the weather (typically, dry skin symptoms occur in the winter, while allergic reactions flare up in the spring and summer). Parasites – bites from fleas or parasites can irritate dogs` skin, while mites can cause dry or scaly skin.
There are several types of novel proteins that can minimize your dog`s sensitive skin issues. These not-so-common novel proteins include rabbit, herring, venison, bison, duck, salmon, kangaroo, and crocodile meat.
Dry dog food allergies in dogs are a result of the hypersensitive immune system of the dog to a particular ingredient within the dry dog food. Dry dog food allergies may not occur immediately; they usually develop over time after being fed the same ingredients on a regular basis.
Just like us, canines can suffer from food allergies and intolerances. Food allergies in dogs can be very serious and cause not only digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea, but also skin issues, and even behavioral problems.
Some of the most common allergens in dog food include beef, dairy, wheat, eggs, chicken, lamb, and soy. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy or intolerance, it`s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can perform testing to confirm the diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Rice is considered a grain, which some dogs need in their diets, but some do not. If you believe your dog is one of the dogs that don`t need it, discuss it with your veterinarian. If your dog is allergic to rice, he may develop mild symptoms of food related allergies manifesting in multiple ways.
Outgrowing allergies to animals is possible but not probable. Also, even those allergies can go away; they can come back again later in life. Keeping pets will not help to acclimate to allergies either. For some people, allergy symptoms can be worse in some seasons, especially in the heat when animals shed more.
Very extreme allergic reactions are called an anaphylactic or allergic shock, or sometimes just anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening condition when left untreated; however most dogs will recover if they receive medication in time.
Brushing the fur daily will remove dander and dandruff. Bathing once a week with a gentle shampoo can also help to eliminate allergens on the skin. In addition to bathing, frequently cleaning the areas in which your dog occupies will remove excess hair, dirt, and dust.
Poultry can include meats like chicken, one of the most common food allergens for dogs, as well as options like duck which has lower incidences of allergic reactions. Food allergies can cause distressing skin conditions in dogs as well as chronic disorders such as indigestion, ear infections, and breathing troubles.
Certain foods, including nuts, milk, and wheat, can trigger the release of inflammation-causing T cells and immunoglobulin-E. Other foods that commonly cause eczema flare ups include eggs, dairy, soy, citrus, tomatoes, gluten, and even some spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Most of the time red and itchy skin in dogs is caused by allergies. However, external parasites like fleas and mites can also cause excessive scratching in dogs, and skin infections or dermatitis can occasionally be the cause as well.
For dogs, these allergies often present themselves as itch and red skin, rather than sneezing or a runny nose and eyes. Seasonal itch happens periodically throughout the year — typically anywhere from a couple of weeks to a 2 to 3-month period of time. Your dog will usually experience itch at the same time each year.
Yes, eggs are good for dogs with itchy skin. In fact, they are a very nutritious treat for your dog. Eggs are a source of protein that is full of fatty acids that work to keep your dog`s skin and coat healthy. It is also full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and vitamin B, iron, selenium and folate.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Which common foods are poisonous to pets?
ANSWER : A. That’s a great question. As responsible pet owners we need to be aware of food items that can be harmful to our canine or feline companions. Here are some of the most common foods proven to cause illness in our animals at home:

Chocolate: A favorite and irresistible treat amongst most humans, chocolate is considered toxic to dogs. In very small amounts it is usually not a huge issue, but with larger volumes and with darker chocolates pet owners should be concerned. Chocolate contains methylxanthine theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. Chocolate ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, issues with normal heartbeats, seizures, and in some severe cases, death. It is best to keep your favorite chocolate treats in a good hiding spot and out of reach of your dog or cat.

Grapes and raisins: Dogs should not consume grapes and raisins because of the risk of acute kidney failure. Most dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicity will begin to have vomiting and/or diarrhea within 6-12 hours of ingestion. Other abnormal clinical signs include lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, and tremors. Kidney failure develops within 24-72 hours of the initial ingestion. There are some dogs that do not experience these devastating side effects. It is best to contact your veterinarian or veterinary emergency facility if you believe your pet has ingested grapes or raisins.

Garlic and onions: We often forget that our meals contain these two popular ingredients and will allow our furry companions a few bites or licks. Onion and garlic both can cause a type of poisoning that results in damage to red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture. They can also cause stomach upset and mouth irritation. Look for pale gums, increased breathing or drooling or any vomiting or diarrhea.

Bread dough: Unbaked bread dough is considered poisonous to our pets. The bread dough, when ingested, expands in the stomach because of the warm and moist environment. This can lead to a bloated or even twisted stomach. In addition yeast is often added to our baking products to help get bread to rise, and when this yeast is fermented it produces both carbon dioxide and alcohol. The alcohol produced can be absorbed into the bloodstream and causes dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Common clinical signs include vomiting or retching, distension of the stomach, weakness and collapse.

Macadamia nuts: Ingestion of these nuts are not proven to be fatal in dogs but can cause them to experience uncomfortable clinical sings, including fever, joint stiffness, vomiting, tremors and difficulty walking, especially in their hind legs. Often your pet will start to feel better after about 48 hours, but supportive veterinary care (such as pain medication) may help ease their discomfort.

Xylitol: The most common ingredient used in sugar-free gum is xylitol, which is a non-caloric sweetener. It is also found in some oral rinses, toothpastes and vitamins. Xylitol and dogs do not mix – it can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugars levels. Dogs will often display signs of disorientation, black tarry stool, tremors and seizures. If severe enough some dogs have developed liver failure. Keep your gum away from your canine companion.

Avocados: Avocados are not actually poisonous to dogs or cats but as many veterinarians can tell you the avocado pits can cause a foreign body obstruction. Avocados contain persin, which is actually toxic to the majority of pet birds. The abnormal clinical signs associated with avocado ingestion in birds include, respiratory distress, inability to perch, liver and kidney failure and sudden death.

Go forth and enjoy your favorite foods, but keep in mind which foods you should avoid sharing with your furry family members. Whenever in doubt, contact your veterinarian for healthy and safe food suggestions.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My dog has no fleas, but is scratching and licking continually. He has been through a round of prednisone and it hasn’t helped. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. Itching can be caused by more than just external parasites, and if your dog is already on a flea medication, then it is possibly not the case. Itching can indicate anything from allergies to even minor skin infections causing problems. If your dog has been treated with prednisone (a steroid that inhibits the immune system) and it did not help, then looking at other options may help.

Food allergies are very common in dogs and can present with itching and licking all over the body rather than on just one spot. Common food allergens include ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy products, however dogs can be allergic to almost anything! Starting a food trial of an allergen-friendly diet from your vet or pet store that avoids these common ingredients may help. The food should be switched over a period of 7-9 days and then given about a month to decide if it is helping.

Small skin infections or yeast in the skin can also cause itching, however this itching is often more specific to a certain area of the body (such as the toes, or base of the tail). Your vet can perform a skin scraping of the area to be cultured at a lab to look for any yeast or bacteria. If they are present, a medication given either orally or placed on the affected area can clear up the infection.

In some cases, licking and chewing can actually be due to a boredom or anxiety behavior. Dogs may lick one spot obsessively to the point of creating sores or wounds in the area. Stopping your dog from licking and chewing either through the use of dog booties, no lick strips, T-shirts or even Elizabethan collars can break the habit and give the area time to heal. Licking and chewing can also cause the spread of bacterial infections so should be deterred even if not behaviorally caused.

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers

Q. What could be causing my dogs hair to fall out causing bald spots?
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. My dogs skin has become red the vet said its an allergy to fleas yet he has none could it be an allergic reaction to my new carpet.
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. Seven pound shiutzu. Constantly scratching. Main food Bil-Jac. Treats pup-per-oni, chicken jerky, very choosy to all foods. Had shots and benadryl
ANSWER : A. Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.