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While this topic is certainly interesting to vegetarians, owners who don’t have issues feeding their dogs meat should also pay attention. Being a lacto-ovo vegetarian does not present many nutritional challenges for people or for dogs. The only issue I’ve seen with dogs being switched to a vegetarian food is one of acceptance. The canine body has the ability to transform certain amino acids, the building blocks or protein, into others, meaning that dogs can get all the amino acids they need while avoiding meat.
Food allergies are the third most common type and cause of allergies in dogs after flea bite and atopic allergies.Any dog or puppy, male and female, neutered or not, can experience food allergies. Ask other canine parents what they use or talk to your vet about your dogs diet- they can recommend types of food!

Recurring infections that don't respond to antibiotics or steroids have been shown to be common sign of a food allergy.Other tell-tale signs of a food allergy are dogs that suffer from allergies all year round or display symptoms when winter begins or younger dogs that suffer from harsh skin conditions. As previously mentioned the symptoms of food allergies are similar to other problems in dogs so it can be hard to pinpoint.If you're unsure visit your vet because it is important to rule out everything else that could be causing allergies before suspecting a food allergy. Time for an elimination diet!Elimination DietsIf you're unfamiliar with the term, an elimination diet (also known as a food trial) is a specified feeding regime that is made up of one source of protein and carbohydrates that your dog hasn't had before.They are used to eliminate all allergy triggers by replacing their food with an allergen free diet. The diet must be fed for a minimum of 12 weeks and must be strictly upheld to be effective.This includes not letting your dog roam around where he could find edible objects, any new foods introduced even accidentally during an elimination diet could render it invalid. This also means the dog can't be given any foods apart from those on his elimination diet so no treats, no rawhide, and no flavoured medication.If the symptoms of the dog's food allergy significantly subside then the dog can be put back onto their normal diet.
If the symptoms return after they're back on their regular diet then they have a food allergy.

This is the only definitive way to confirm a food allergy and it's known as 'provocative testing'.In some cases there can be no change in symptoms but if you still suspect that your dog has a food allergy then you should switch the main ingredient of the elimination diet and try again.
If your dog responds well to an elimination diet and allergic symptoms subside then you can gradually introduce ingredients one at a time to find out which your dog is allergic to.There are commercially available elimination diets to be found but you can always make your own. Bear in mind however that a dog's diet needs to be properly balanced with the essential amount of ingredients, vitamins and minerals.Cooking your dog's food yourself means that you know exactly what's going into their food but it can be time consuming. It can be more trouble than it's worth as it's easy to get it wrong and accidentally leave out essential nutrients.Another annoying thing about food allergies is that dogs can become allergic to most ingredients given enough exposure so try rotating their diet every few months so they can become stable on varying diets.

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