Peanut allergies in dogs? Who ever heard of such a thing? This is definitely something most pet owners would probably never think about, but if a dog is allergic to peanuts it can make an animal truly miserable when it contracts the allergy.
Like other canine food allergies, peanut allergy in a dog demonstrates itself by causing itching, redness and bald spots. Some dogs will also chew on their feet and legs attempting to stop the itching.
Food allergies may seem to develop without warning but actually take a long time to develop. A food that has caused no problems in the past for a pet, can suddenly cause an allergic reaction the next time it is consumed, and the dog’s body will create histamine to fight the offending allergen.
Histamine is the chemical that causes the physical signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs, and also in people.
Histamine reactions when left untreated can cause anaphylactic shock, which can affect an animal’s breathing, heart rate or ability to maintain consciousness. In extreme cases, an animal or person in anaphylactic shock can die.
All food products consumed by humans must be labeled with a warning if the food contains peanuts or has been processed in a facility where peanuts or other nuts are also processed. Unfortunately, this warning requirement does not apply to manufactured dog food.
If you suspect your dog may have a peanut allergy, first try to eliminate any other possible substance that could cause the same reactions as peanut allergies, including environmental causes like mold and dust. Also check the labels of your dog’s food for any ingredients that don’t sound familiar, especially if you’ve started feeding your pet a new brand or type of dog food.
To help determine whether a diagnosis of peanut allergies in a dog is a viable one, a vet will do skin tests on a dog to rule out any environmental causes. In these tests, small amounts of an allergen are injected under a dog’s skin to see if it produces an allergic response from its body. If there are any positive results to the skin test, the dog may be allergic to something else in addition to peanuts.
Blood tests can also help eliminate environmental causes by combining small amounts of different allergens with samples of a dog’s blood. If an allergic reaction occurs during the test, an environmental allergy is probably the cause.
Once a veterinarian has examined and rejected any environmental probabilities, food allergies are the next tests to be conducted. To diagnose a food allergy, a veterinarian usually recommends a diet that contains only protein and carbohydrates for your dog, minus the numerous (and sometimes unhealthy) added ingredients found in manufactured dog foods. Both the protein and the carbohydrate will be derived from foods the dog has never eaten before to help determine what the dog may be allergic to. This diet will probably need to be fed to a dog for about 12 weeks.
During the special diet trial period, the veterinarian will evaluate the dog’s clinical signs. If they improve, a food allergy is likely the cause. The veterinarian will then begin to re-introduce certain ingredients of the dog’s former diet in an effort to recreate the allergic response. When an allergic response is produced, the natural assumption is that the last ingredient re-introduced to the diet is the cause of the allergic response.
Peanut allergy in dogs is not a trivial matter to a dog who develops allergic reactions that include itching, redness and bald spots on its skin. Avoiding peanuts is the best way to prevent reocurrences of this allergy which means you’ll need to read all the ingredient labels on manufactured dog foods you buy, including treats and medications, to prevent accidental consumption of peanuts.