Bear, an 8-year-old, terrier mix stands up on his back feet with his front paws swinging in the air. His eyes are fixated on your turkey sandwich. He is snorting with his chin up trying to sniff the fine aroma of cold cut turkey.
"Sorry, Bear. I can't give it to you anymore."
Bear was diagnosed with food allergy last year. Like all other dogs, Bear lived for treats and table scraps. Little bits of left-over pizza, pasta, steak used to brighten up Bear's world.
One day, you noticed Bear was scratching his ears and they were inflamed. His vet visits would fix the problem temporarily, but it never went away. Bear's veterinarian discussed a possibility of food allergy in cases of chronic ear infection and recommended hypoallergenic diet.
Bears skin problem continued to worsen each day. He started to get scabs all over on his belly and back. Fur around his eyes started to fall out. He was busy scratching his body with his back feet and rubbing his face on carpet. When Bear was having a difficult time even sleeping at night due to itching, you decided something had to be done to relieve him from misery.
Based on the vet's recommendation, Bear has been on limited ingredient diet with duck and potato for the past couple months. Also, he has been off of his favorite treats and table scraps. It was initially difficult to get all family members on the same page to stop giving treats to Bear. Whenever Bear got a different food other than his hypoallergenic food, he would have a flare-up of his skin condition. Bear's family slowly came to understand the importance of feeding him strictly hypoallergenic diet for his food allergy.
Over the past couple month, Bear's skin condition finally took a turn and started to improve. His smooth, shiny hair coat has returned and he is not itchy anymore.
If your dog has chronic ear infection or skin condition like Bear, food allergy may be a contributing factor. Please make sure to discuss a diet and medical plan with your veterinarian to improve your dog's skin condition. The toughest part of the plan is changing your habit of feeding your dog, but it will be ultimately better for your dog's health.