beagle eating dog food from a green bowl

Common Dog Food Allergies You Should Know About

Just like humans, dogs can have food allergies. If you're wondering whether your own dog is experiencing a food allergy, you're not alone. Many pet parents worry that certain foods may trigger a food allergy, which can be frightening and frustrating. Not only can food allergies in dogs cause digestive issues like diarrhea and vomiting, but they can also lead to skin issues and behavioral problems.

While many ingredients have the potential to cause an allergic reaction in dogs, some foods are more common than others. Identifying your dog's food sensitivities makes it possible to manage your dog's diet so that it feels its best.

Read on to discover the most common dog food allergies and what you can do to manage food allergies in dogs safely.

Signs Your Dog Has Food Allergies

Identifying if your dog has a true food allergy can be challenging. While many may assume gastrointestinal issues indicate a food allergy, that isn't always true. Instead, the most common dog food allergy symptoms appear as reactions in their skin. Here are some common symptoms of food allergies in dogs.

Itchy Skin

While many dogs tend to itch their ears, lick their paws, scratch the sides, and scoot their rear on the ground from time to time, if they are doing this frequently, it could mean they are experiencing chronic itchiness. The same with humans; itching is a common symptom of an underlying food allergy.


Hives may start popping up over your dog's body if they are experiencing food allergies. Hives are raised red patches that can cause itching and irritation on your dog's skin. Hives may be noticeable on their stomach if your dog has shorter hair. If your dog has longer hair, you may need to part the fur to see whether they have them. Most likely, your dog will scratch at their hives which can cause bacterial infections if the skin breaks and bacteria enter.

Skin and ear infections

Chronic ear infections are commonly associated with dog food allergies.


If your dog suddenly shows less interest in their usual activities, a food allergy may be the problem.

Gastrointestinal problems

Dog allergies to food can also be linked to vomiting, excessive gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Because many things can cause diarrhea, your veterinary nutritionist can help you with diagnosing food allergies vs other conditions.

Eye drainage

Rust-colored tears are a sign your pup may be eating something that doesn't agree with him. 

Common Food Allergies in Dogs

An immune reaction to a particular ingredient causes food allergies. In contrast, a dog food intolerance results from your dog's digestive system being unable to process a certain ingredient properly. Here are some of the common dog foods that can cause adverse food reactions:

  • Beef-34%
  • Dairy Products-17%
  • Chicken-15%
  • Wheat-13%
  • Soy-6%
  • Lamb-5%
  • Corn-4%
  • Egg-4%
  • Pork-2%
  • Fish-2%
  • Rice-2%

    Dog Food Allergy Testing

    If you suspect your dog has a food intolerance or allergy, your vet can help you determine whether food affects their immune response. To do this, they can guide you on conducting an elimination diet trial. A dog food elimination diet involves feeding your dog a new protein and carbohydrate for eight weeks. You cannot give your dog any other foods during the food trial, including table scraps and treats. Once you've completed the 8-week elimination diet, you can reintroduce the nutrition your dog was eating before to see if they have an allergic reaction. If they do, you can quickly pinpoint the offending food.

    Allergen Free Feeding

    Homemade Dog Food

    While homemade dog food may be more time-consuming for pet owners, they are a great alternative for dogs with food allergies or sensitivities. The main reason is that you get to control the proteins that go into the food, therefore avoiding any known allergens. With commercial dog food, there’s always the risk that you don’t know exactly what goes into the making of it. For example, many manufacturers use cheap fillers or low-quality ingredients. Homemade dog food allows you to alter the recipe to fit your dog’s needs using high-quality ingredients that are safe. That said, be sure to work with your veterinary nutritionist to ensure your dog is still meeting all nutritional requirements. 

    This Canine Premix by Holistic Vet Blend makes homemade cooking easy. Made with human-grade ingredients, it ensures your dog gets the nutrients it needs to truly thrive. The best part is, you are in complete control of the ingredients in the recipes you choose. 

    Allergen Free Dog Food & Treats

    Since the majority of food allergens for dogs are protein based, try an alternative protein source instead. Proteins like kangaroo, bison, crickets and black flies are becoming emesely popularly, not just because they are novel for dogs and they tend to react well to them, but also because these proteins all use substantially less water and emit carbon than beef and lamb. These cricket based treats are a sustainable choice and are great for dogs with allergies, so are these single ingredient copi fish treats.


    The Best Skincare for Treating Allergic Reactions

    Natural Paw Balm Stick for Dogs

    This paw balm is made with only five organic ingredients and is perfect for treating allergies. It helps heal irritated skin and cracked dry, irritated paws and is 100% lick-safe. It's also made with 100% compostable packaging, which makes it 100% zero waste.

    Organic Dog Paw Salve

    Containing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties, this balm can be used to treat skin irritations from allergies, minor wounds and secondary skin infections. If your dog is dealing with dry, cracked, or raw paws due to skin allergies, this healing salve can help keep your dog itching under control. 

    Natural Pet Shampoo Bar with Coconut Oil & Milk

    This unscented natural pet shampoo bar features a gentle formula perfect for sensitive skin and noses. It's packed with organic ingredients to help moisturize and nourish your pet's skin following environmental or other food allergies.

    We hope this article was helpful in determining if your dog may have food allergies. If they do, simple dietary changes can be made to ensure they feel their very best.