The first place to look when you suspect your dog has an allergy is your dog’s food. It is estimated that around fifteen percent of all skin allergies are caused by dog food. The good news is you can prevent this by following a few easy steps.
Your Shih Tzu may have a food allergy when he shows any of the following symptoms:
Common allergy symptoms: Itching skin, head shaking, face rubbing, licking his front paws and itching of the anal area.
Less common allergy symptoms may include flatulence, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea and hair loss.
Look at the dog food label for problem ingredients
Some ingredients in dog foods are more likely to cause allergies than other.These include the following:
- Corn, Lamb or Beef
- Milk, Whey or Eggs
Five tips to follow if you suspect your dog has a food allergy
1. Only buy top quality food.
The more expensive brands generally contain better ingredients and this means your dog can digest the food better. You may also notice that your dog’s shit less if you only buy high quality food. A good choice is a food specifically formulated for small toy breeds like the Shih Tzu. Look for food that only contains basic ingredients and are allergy free.
2. Follow a process of elimination.
Begin with a food that contains only one base ingredient like beef. Only feed your dog this specific food for about one to two weeks. If the allergy remains switch to a food with another base ingredient for the next two weeks. If the allergy symptoms stop you can gradually add more ingredients to his food. Once the symptoms start again, you have found the ingredient that causes the problem.
It is important not to feed your dog any dog biscuits, treats, bones, human food or table scraps during this period. This may very well be the reason for the allergy.
3. Try A Raw Diet
Raw food includes raw meat, raw bones and fresh vegetables and fruits. A lot of dog owners and vets believe that a dog must not eat processed food, especially not if it has been heated, as heating kills the natural enzymes in food. Other vets are of the opinion that your dog can get food poisoning as a result of the pathogens in the raw meat. The problem is that raw meat
purchased in a store is not as fresh as meat from a freshly killed animal, so they may have a point.
However this have worked for many dog owners and may be worth a try if everything else fails.
4. Prepare your dog’s food at home.
This may be a little bit more time consuming, but the advantage is that you can determine exactly what goes into your dog’s food. As a general rule , include two parts starch and one part protein in the diet.
5. Take the dog to the vet for a full allergy test.
If all else fails take your Shih Tzu to the vet to run an allergy test on the dog. This may be the more expensive option, but a serious of test can normally determine the cause.
If none of the above helps the causes for the allergy may be external. To read more visit our page on External Shih Tzu Allergies.