The 11 most common food allergens for dogs

Over the past few decades, food allergies seem to have become more prevalent in humans, and the same can be said about our dogs. According to WebMD, 10 percent of dogs with allergies are affected by ones that are food-related.

So, how do you know if your pup is suffering from food allergies? According to, symptoms can manifest themselves in several different ways.

Symptoms can include (but are not limited to):

  • Itchy skin (“affecting primarily the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and the area around the anus”)

  • Chronic ear infections

  • Hair loss

  • Hot spots

  • Recurring skin infections

  • Increased bowel movements

You may be shocked to discover which foods most commonly cause allergic reactions in canines. While it’s possible for your pup to be allergic to any single ingredient, according to WebMD and, many of the most common allergens are main ingredients in dog food.

The top food allergens for dogs are:

  • Beef

  • Rabbit

  • Pork

  • Dairy

  • Chicken

  • Lamb

  • Fish

  • Eggs

  • Corn

  • Wheat

  • Soy


How do dogs develop food allergies?

According to holistic pet care expert Dr. Susan Wynn in an interview by WebMD, genetics can play a role in a pooches’ predisposition to developing allergies. She also believes that antibiotics used in young animals could affect the gut, eventually causing the immune system to attack certain foods (which become the allergens).

Dr. Wynn also explains that dogs can become sensitized to certain foods over time, meaning they become sensitive to it after eating it over and over again. Because of this, dogs can develop allergy symptoms to something that they’ve been eating for a long time.

“So, in general, they’re not going to react really dramatically the first time they eat it but a dog that has eaten a food for years could suddenly become allergic to that food,” she explains in the interview. Perhaps this is why the most common food allergens also happen to be some of the most common ingredients in dog food.

How can I determine what my dog is allergic to?

It can be difficult to determine which ingredient is the culprit. Additionally, there’s a good chance that there are multiple allergy-causing foods in your dog’s diet. Though tricky, Dr. Wynn explains that the best way to determine which allergens are affecting your pup is to do an elimination diet, then reintroduce foods one at a time.

If you suspect that your pooch has a food allergy, consult with your vet about the best way to pinpoint the allergen and treat the symptoms. We know you would never want your pup to be suffering in silence!

To find out more about dog food allergies, visit WebMD and PetEducation.

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