If your Cocker Spaniel suffers from food allergies, a hypoallergenic dog food diet, specially formulated to help fight allergies, might just do the trick!
Even if your Cocker Spaniel doesn't suffer from food allergies now, he could develop an allergy to a certain food (or foods) at some point in his lifetime.
If this should happen, there are two options: a hypoallergenic diet or an exclusion diet, which will determine the cause of the allergy.
In many cases of food allergies, vets are recommending owners consider changing their dogs onto a diet of hypoallergenic food as it's often a simpler way to combat the allergy.
Dog food allergies are often linked to many of the chemicals contained in manufactured dog foods such as artificial preservatives and colourings, or fillers such as corn or wheat.
Alternatively, your dog may simply develop an allergy or intolerance to a particular food (for example, beef or chicken).
Hypoallergenic dog food contains only natural, high-grade, food that has been processed to a minimum and also contains natural preservatives and colourings - you won't find any harmful chemicals or artificial preservatives and flavourings in this type of nourishment.
Nor will it contain other allergy triggering fillers such as corn or wheat, but may contain rice instead as it's less likely to trigger an allergy.
Before deciding which hypoallergenic food is best for your dog, check the dog food ingredients label to confirm that it doesn't contain any harmful chemical preservatives and that it includes a good ratio of quality protein and good carbohydrates, including vegetables and rice.
Your vet will be able to advise you on the relevant nutritional values.
Your veterinary surgery may sell good quality hypoallergenic pet food, but it's also available in most good pet stores or via reputable on-line pet stores.
If your pet's symptoms don't show signs of easing after 3-4 weeks of being on a hypoallergenic diet, try changing to a different flavour, perhaps lamb instead of beef, before trying the exclusion diet, explained below.
If hypoallergenic food doesn't do the trick, your vet may recommend an exclusion diet.
This is where all food is removed from your dog's diet with the exception of perhaps lamb and rice. No other food is given to him for 3 weeks - no treats, no tit-bits, nothing!
If the symptoms stop and don't return after 3 weeks, other foods may be gradually added to his diet, allowing 3 weeks between introducing each new food item.
If and when the symptoms return, it's likely that the food last returned to his diet is causing the allergy.
Typical symptoms of a food allergy can include:
All dogs are different, and what causes an allergy in one dog won't necessarily cause an allergy in another.
If your dog is suffering from any of the above symptoms we recommend you visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis.
Food allergies can make your dog's life miserable. If you believe your Cocker Spaniel may have an allergy, take him to your vet to get it confirmed - the sooner, the better!
By switching to a hypoallergenic dog food and following our advice (and, of course, your vet's advice) you should see an improvement in your dog's well-being within a few weeks.
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