Archive : November

Seborrhea in Dogs

What Is Seborrhea in Dogs?

Seborrhea in dogs is a condition that affects keratin in the skin. Keratin is a protein that gives skin and hair its form.

In canine seborrhea, keratin is produced in the wrong amounts—either too much or not enough. Seborrhea causes dogs to have a coat of hair that’s dry and lackluster or greasy.

Seborrhea in dogs can be what veterinarians call “primary” or “secondary.”

Primary Seborrhea in Dogs

Primary seborrhea is a genetic disease that always causes the dog to produce abnormal keratin.

American Cocker Spaniels, West Highland White Terriers, English Springer Spaniels, and Basset Hounds are the most common breeds to have primary seborrhea, but any dog can have this condition.

Secondary Seborrhea in Dogs

With secondary seborrhea, an underlying issue is causing your dog to make abnormal keratin. 

Health issues that can cause secondary seborrhea include:

Hormonal imbalances


Vitamin deficiencies

Immune-mediated diseases such as lupus 

Lymphoma of the skin

Symptoms of Seborrhea in Dogs

Possible symptoms of seborrhea in dogs are:

Very dry, dull coat


Greasy, oily skin that smells bad

Crusted, plaque-like (rough and scaly) skin lesions

Itching that ranges from mild to severe

Large amount of earwax and ear debris

Generally, all the skin is affected by seborrhea, but the folds of skin between the toes, in the armpits, on the belly and perineum (the area under a dog’s tail), and at the bottom of the neck are usually worse.

Dogs with lots of skin folds, like Basset Hounds, usually experience more affected skin in those folds.

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Causes of Seborrhea in Dogs

The cause of a dog’s seborrhea depends on whether it’s primary or secondary.

Causes of Primary Seborrhea in Dogs

Primary seborrhea is a congenital, genetic disease that typically starts at a young age and gets worse as your dog gets older. West Highland White Terriers, Basset Hounds, American Cocker Spaniels, and English Springer Spaniels are most commonly affected.

Causes of Secondary Seborrhea in Dogs

Diseases and other health issues that can cause secondary seborrhea in dogs include:

Skin allergies to fleas, food, and the environment

Hypothyroidism, caused by an underactive thyroid gland

Cushing’s disease, caused by an overactive adrenal gland

Diabetes mellitus

Mites and lice

Autoimmune diseases like pemphigus foliaceus, sebaceous adenitis, and lupus erythematosus

A type of cancer called cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma

Vitamin deficiencies like zinc-responsive dermatosis and vitamin A-responsive dermatosis

How Vets Diagnose Seborrhea in Dogs

Diagnosis of seborrhea starts with a physical examination by your veterinarian to check your dog’s skin and look for other symptoms.

You will also be asked how long it has been happening, if your dog has been scratching, and if there are any changes in your dog’s food and water intake.

Your veterinarian will perform testing to determine the cause of your dog’s skin condition. The following tests could help:

A skin scraping to test for mites and lice

An impression cytology (collection) of skin and ear debris to test for a yeast or bacterial infection that looks like seborrhea, such as Malassezia yeast

A blood chemistry panel to screen for diabetes or Cushing’s disease (your vet will need further tests to confirm the diagnosis before starting treatment)

A blood test for thyroid hormone levels to determine whether your dog has hypothyroidism

A biopsy to look for autoimmune disease or cancer

Treatment for Seborrhea in Dogs

Based on the test results, your veterinarian will have a better understanding of what is causing your dog’s seborrhea. The most important aspect of seborrhea treatment is treating any underlying conditions.

Treating the Underlying Cause

Hypothyroidism: If your dog has hypothyroidism, they are treated with hormone replacement, an oral medication called levothyroxine that your dog will take for the rest of their life.

Cushing’s disease: Treatment of Cushing’s disease involves lifelong medication called Vetoryl. 

Diabetes: Treatment of diabetes requires daily insulin injections. 

Cancer or autoimmune disease: If a biopsy shows that your dog has autoimmune disease or cancer, they will be started on medication to manage the disease, or your veterinarian may refer you to a specialist. 

Lice or mites: If a skin scraping finds lice or mites, the veterinarian will put your dog on medication to kill the parasites.

Fleas: If your dog has fleas, a monthly flea preventative will curb flea allergies that can cause or worsen seborrhea.

Vitamin deficiency: If your veterinarian suspects vitamin A-responsive dermatitis or zinc-responsive dermatitis, they will recommend additional vitamins in your dog’s diet. 

Food allergy: If your veterinarian suspects a primary food allergy, they may recommend a hypoallergenic food trial.

Infection: If your dog has an infection that developed because of seborrhea, then the infection must be treated. Your dog will require a three- to four-week course of oral antibiotics and/or antifungals. 

Treating the Seborrhea Itself

To treat the seborrhea itself, your dog needs frequent baths with anti-seborrheic shampoos, typically every 2 or 3 days to start with. These shampoos typically contain coal tar and salicylic acid.

Frequent bathing is continued for 2-3 weeks or longer, until the skin improves. The goal of bathing is to remove excess keratin. Depending on how your dog responds to treatment, bathing frequency may decrease to every 1 to 2 weeks, or it may stay at every 2 to 3 days.

Additionally, you will need to clean your dog’s ears with a medicated ear cleaner every 2 to 3 days. If there is an infection in the ears, your veterinarian will prescribe an ear medication as well. 

Your dog may also be started on prednisone to decrease inflammation and debris buildup. Regular rechecks with your veterinarian, typically every one to three weeks, are important to monitor how your dog is responding to treatment.

Recovery and Management of Seborrhea in Dogs

Recovery and management depend on the cause of the seborrhea. If a primary cause of seborrhea can be found, managing the primary disease is key. 

It can take several weeks for the signs of seborrhea to resolve, and the primary disease-causing seborrhea will need to be managed for life.

It is also important to understand that once seborrhea is present, abnormal keratin placement in the skin will continue to occur.

Using anti-seborrheic shampoos and ear cleaners on a schedule recommended by your vet for the rest of your dog’s life helps to decrease keratin buildup and prevent infections. 

If your dog gets itchier or develops skin lesions, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Management of seborrhea often requires a lifelong routine of bathing and ear cleaning, but with consistent treatment, your dog can enjoy a good quality of life.

Seborrhea in Dogs FAQs

How can I treat my dog’s seborrhea at home?

After seeing a vet to confirm your dog’s diagnosis, you can treat seborrhea at home by using an anti-seborrheic shampoo containing coal tar and salicylic acid.

Home treatment also includes bathing your dog every 2 to 7 days on a schedule set by your vet. You will also clean your dog’s ears with a medicated ear cleaner every 2 to 3 days.

If an underlying health issue is causing your dog’s seborrhea, you’ll need to follow all treatment protocols for that illness to ensure the seborrhea is properly managed.

If your dog’s seborrhea is not improving, however, take them to the veterinarian. They might have developed bacterial and yeast infections of the skin and ears that require a prescription medication.

Does seborrhea in dogs cause hair loss?

Yes, it can cause hair loss.

What does seborrhea smell like on dogs?

Seborrhea can smell very badly, like grease, corn chips, or a strong doggy scent.

Is seborrhea in dogs contagious?

No, seborrhea is not contagious to other dogs or humans.


Image Credit:

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Emily A. Fassbaugh, DVM


Dr. Emily Fassbaugh grew up in San Diego. She attended the University of California, Davis for both her undergraduate studies in Animal…


Bred to live in palaces with the royal classes of ancient China, the affectionate Pekingese has a long and noble history. The toy breed was created around the same time as other flat-faced breeds like the Pug and Shih Tzu, according to the Pekingese Club of America. The first Pekingese were brought to the West as loot in 1860.

Pekingese have a distinctive coat that is longest around the neck, giving it the appearance of a lion’s mane. Today, they make affectionate and loyal companions who appear proud of their lineage. Pekingese are dense little dogs that stand 6–9 inches high and weigh up to 14 pounds.

Caring for a Pekingese

Most Pekingese dogs are affectionate, outgoing, and especially loyal to the ones they love most. While they require moderate exercise, Pekingese are short-faced dogs (a brachycephalic breed). This means they are more prone to overheating, so exercise in hot weather should be avoided. 

Along with making sure their pup stays cool, Pekingese pet parents need to spend a lot of time brushing the breed’s thick double coat to prevent matting.

Pekingese Health Issues

The typical Pekingese lifespan is 12–14 years. While mostly healthy, Pekingese are predisposed to a few health conditions. Investing in pet health insurance prior to the diagnosis of any health concern could help make treatment more accessible.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

While the Pekingese’s smooshed face is cute, its structural abnormalities cause these dogs to have brachycephalic airway syndrome. This affects the dog’s ability to breathe normally and cool down, and it may lead to lower-respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. Many dogs with this condition will breathe loudly and snore, and they are also at higher risk of complications when under anesthesia.

Mildly affected dogs can be managed by limiting exercise, avoiding stress, and staying away from hot and humid conditions. Obesity can make the condition worse, so maintaining a healthy body weight is important. In dogs that have more difficulty breathing, surgery is recommended to fix some of the upper airway abnormalities.

Dry Eye

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), commonly called dry eye, occurs when a dog does not make enough tears. The lack of lubrication causes the surface of the eye and the inside of the eyelid to rub against each other, leading to inflammation. A thick mucus may also develop instead of normal tears.

Most dogs with dry eye will have painful, red eyes, which leads to squinting or rubbing the eye. Ulcers on the cornea are common with dry eye and require immediate treatment. Dry eye is treated with topical eye medication.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of diseases that causes breakdown of the photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Initially, the dog may have difficulty seeing in the dark, but over time complete blindness occurs. In most cases PRA is an inherited disease, and there are currently no effective treatments.

Patellar Luxation

In dogs with patellar luxation, the kneecap slips out of its proper groove. This causes discomfort and can lead to arthritis. Many dogs will skip or “bunny hop” on three legs when the kneecap is out of place. In some cases, the knee returns to proper alignment on its own. But sometimes joint supplements or anti-inflammatory medications are required. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen in dogs as they age, especially in small breeds such as the Pekingese. This occurs when bacterial tartar and plaque lead to inflammation of the tissues around the teeth—and, eventually, to tooth and bone decay. The best way to prevent dental disease is with daily tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste.

Routine dental cleanings are recommended to evaluate the mouth, remove plaque and tartar, polish teeth to prevent future buildup, and treat or extract teeth that are significantly unhealthy. As with humans, dental disease can be a painful condition and may even affect internal organ health.

What To Feed a Pekingese

Feeding a commercial kibble or wet food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a good way to make sure your Pekingese receives a complete and balanced diet. 

Pekingese puppies should be fed a food formulated specifically for puppies or designated for all life stages. For adult dogs, your veterinarian may recommend a dental-focused diet to help prevent dental disease. 

How To Feed a Pekingese

Adult Pekingese should be fed a measured amount twice a day. Pekingese puppies should be fed at least three meals a day on a consistent schedule to prevent low blood sugar levels.

How Much Should You Feed a Pekingese?

Just like humans, the recommended caloric intake for a Pekingese varies among individuals; each dog’s size, metabolism, neuter status, and activity level all affect how much food they need. The best way to determine portions is to talk with your veterinarian, who can calculate caloric needs for your dog. Labels on dog food packaging also provide guidance.

Nutritional Tips for Pekingese

Pekingese may benefit from adding omega-3 fatty acids (DHA/EPA) into their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in skin and joint supplements, fish oil, and even in some specially formulated dog foods. These fatty acids act as natural anti-inflammatories that help support the skin, coat, kidneys, joints, and heart.

Behavior and Training Tips for a Pekingese

Pekingese Personality and Temperament

The Pekingese is an affectionate companion that’s loyal to a select group of people. They are generally confident and opinionated, but a happy Pekingese is pretty laid-back at home. But because they’re so loving toward their family, some Pekingese can develop separation anxiety when their favorite humans aren’t around.

Pekingese Behavior

Pekingese are alert dogs and have a strong bark for such a small pup. They might use this insistent bark when they think something is a threat—even if it’s just a neighbor grabbing their mail. Exposing a Pekingese to lots of new people, animals, and experiences from an early age can help reduce their tendency to bark at novel exposures.

Pekingese Training

The Pekingese is a smart dog, which makes them very trainable. But how enthusiastic they are about following your signals can vary; they might just not see the point in sitting on cue. These strong-willed dogs will learn best with training games and positive reinforcement.

Fun Activities for Pekingese

Obedience training


Nose work

Scent walks

Pekingese Grooming Guide

The Pekingese dog has a beautiful, thick, and shiny double coat that’s found in an array of colors: There are cream, fawn, red, gray, white, and black Pekingese, to name a few. Because the coat naturally grows long, frequent brushing is required from all pet parents, though some elect to trim their pup’s coat short for easier care.

Skin Care

The Pekingese has facial folds around the eyes and mouth that require regular cleaning. Wiping with a moist washcloth or dog-specific wipe helps prevent skin-fold dermatitis (yeast and bacterial infections in the facial folds).

Routine bathing is recommended as needed to maintain healthy skin. Bathing your Pekingese more than twice a month, however, may strip their skin of healthy oils that act as a barrier against allergens. When you do give your pup a bath, use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo.

Coat Care

Brushing your Pekingese at least one hour each week will help remove tangles and knots from the dog’s long coat. If you run into pesky tangles, use a detangling and de-matting spray-on conditioner. Most Pekingese with a long coat require professional grooming every six to eight weeks.

Eye Care

A Pekingese’s big eyes need a little extra attention. Wiping the eyes daily with a soft, moist cloth or face wipe will help remove any accumulated debris. Also, the hair around the dog’s eyes should be carefully trimmed to keep it from causing irritation.

Because they don’t have a long nose to protect their eyes from injury, flat-faced dogs are at increased risk for ulcers and abrasions on the eyeball. If you notice your Pekingese squinting or emitting any eye discharge, a trip to the veterinarian is recommended. These can be signs of injury or more serious eye conditions.

Ear Infections

To prevent ear infections, pet parents should clean their Pekingese’s ears every week or two with a dog-specific ear cleaner. If redness, odor, or debris is noted, take your dog to the veterinarian.

Considerations for Pet Parents

The Pekingese is a wonderful and loyal companion. The same characteristics that make them great pets may lead to excessive barking, however, so early socialization and positive (and patient!) training are essential for Pekingese puppies.

Pet parents need to know that grooming a Pekingese is no easy feat. To maintain their beautiful, shiny coat, frequent at-home brushing and trips to the groomer are necessary.

Pekingese FAQs

How long do Pekingese live?

The Pekingese lifespan is usually 12–14 years.

Are Pekingese dogs good pets?

Pekingese have been bred to serve as companions since ancient China, so they make wonderful family pets and often attach themselves to a select group of people. They are affectionate, if strong-willed.

Do Pekingese bark a lot?

Pekingese were also historically used as watchdogs, so many continue to be vigilant and will bark to warn their family of anything they deem suspicious. Early exposure to different experiences and individuals may reduce barking in unfamiliar situations.

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Virginia LaMon, DVM


Dr. Virginia LaMon graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. She completed her clinical year at Auburn…

Blood in the Urine in Dogs


Hematuria in Dogs

Hematuria is a condition which causes blood to fall into the urine, and which may indicate a serious underlying disease process. Familial hematuria (a condition in which blood in the urine runs in certain families of animals) is usually implicated in young dogs, while cancer is the usual cause in older dogs. Females are at greater risk for urinary tract infections that lead to blood in the urine than are males.


Symptoms of hematuria include blood in the urine, a sign in itself. Red-tinged urine, with or without abnormal frequent passage of urine will be evident. In patients with cancer, a mass may be palpated during physical examination. In male dogs an enlarged and/or painful prostate gland may be felt during physical examination, and abdominal pain will be evident in some patients.

Patients with a blood-clotting disorder may present with subdermal skin hemorrhages, conditions known as petechiae and ecchymoses, which appear as bruises. These discolored spots will be indicated by round, purplish, non-raised patches on the skin.


Systemic causes are generally due to coagulopathy (clotting)Low number of platelets or thrombocytes in the blood (a condition known as thrombocytopenia)Diseases of the upper urinary tract are caused by inflammation of the blood vessels (known as vasculitis)Upper urinary tract – the kidneys and ureters:Structural or anatomic disease, such as cystic kidney disease and familial kidney diseaseMetabolic diseases, such as kidney stonesNeoplasiaInfectious diseasesNephritisIdiopathic causesTraumaIn the lower urinary tract:Infectious diseaseInflammatory disease in the kidneyUnknown causeTraumaLower Urinary Tract ‒ bladder and urethra:Structural or anatomic issues such as bladder malformations are implicated in bringing on hematuriaMetabolic causes, such as stones, are possibleNeoplasiaInfectious disease (such as bacterial, fungal, and viral disease):Idiopathic causesTraumaChemotherapy can elicit hematuriaUnknown causeTraumaIssues involving the genitalia include metabolic conditions:Heat cycle, or estrusNeoplasiaCancer or tumorsIinfectious disease such as from bacteria and fungusInflammatory diseaseTrauma


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are causing secondary symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, with a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. In male dogs, examination of an ejaculate sample will help to identify prostatic disease.

Differential diagnoses for blood-tinged urine will include other causes for discolored urine. The common urine reagent strip tests for blood are designed to detect red blood cells, hemoglobin, or protein. Diet will also be considered. If you are supplementing your dog’s diet with vitamins or anything different from a regular kibble diet, you will need to share this with your veterinarian, since substantial doses of vitamin C (ascorbic aid) may cause false-negative reagent test strip results.

Ultrasonography, radiography, and contrast radiography may be useful in obtaining a diagnosis. If any mass lesions are indicated, a biopsy may be necessary for a definitive diagnosis. A vaginoscopy in female dogs, or a cystoscopy in male dogs will rule out neoplasia and lower urinary tract issues.


Treatment of the hematuria will be dependent on the primary or associated diseases that are the underlying cause for the condition. Urinary tract infection may be associated with another disease involving the urinary tract, such as cancer, or urinary tract stones (urolithiasis). Or, hematuria may be caused by a condition that involves the body in general, such as with an excessive production of steroids by the adrenal glands, or diabetes. A systemic generalized condition will need to be treated before the hematuria can be resolved.

Surgery may be indicated for cases with urinary tract stones, neoplasia, and traumatic injuries to the urinary tract. Blood transfusions may be necessary if your dog has a severely low red blood cell count. Fluids will be used to treat dehydration, and dog antibiotics can be used to treat urinary tract infection and generalized diseases due to bacteria in the blood (bacteremia). Urolithiasis and kidney failure may require diet modification top prevent relapse.

If your dog is suffering from a clotting disorder, the blood thinner Heparin may be used to bring it under control.

Living and Management

Because hematuria may indicate a serious underlying disease process, ongoing treatment will be dependent on the primary or associated diseases that are related to it.


The Akita is a dog breed originally found in Japan. After World War II, there were fewer than 50 Akitas remaining in Japan. In response, a determined group of people worked to bring back and preserve the breed. Their efforts proved successful, and now we see the breed in households across the globe.

Akitas were originally bred for big game hunting and protection. and are now used as police dogs in Japan. The breed can range in weight from 70 to 130 pounds—with male Akitas typically heavier than females. Their average height ranges from 24 to 28 inches, so they are considered to be a large-breed dog.

Caring for an Akita

Akitas are known for their plush, curled tails that often differ from dog to dog. Since they are a large breed, it’s important to be conscious of their feeding amounts to ensure they stay at a healthy weight.

Akitas are very strong-willed and require appropriate training and socialization from a young age in order to thrive.

Akitas can be sensitive to heat because of their thick coat, so they would do best in a cooler climate. Akitas can also be predisposed to joint issues—particularly hip and elbow issues—so they should be routinely monitored by their veterinarian.

Akita Health Issues

Typically, the Akita is a healthy and hardy breed, but there are some health issues to keep in mind.

Hip Dysplasia

As a large-breed-dog, Akitas can be prone to hip dysplasia, an orthopedic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to lameness (limping).

If you are concerned about your Akita’s risk for hip dysplasia, talk with your veterinarian about PennHIP screening. This is a screening method that uses specialized x-rays of the pelvis to detect if a dog is likely to develop hip dysplasia in their lifetime.

If a dog already has or is likely to develop hip dysplasia, it’s very important that they do not become overweight. Your veterinarian will also recommend an appropriate exercise routine, and may suggest general joint support throughout your pet’s life with joint supplements and potentially specialized diets.

If a dog is severely affected by hip dysplasia, your veterinarian may recommend a surgical option to correct this issue and improve your Akita’s mobility and quality of life. 


Akitas can also be diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a health condition in which their body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This condition can be screened for and monitored via routine blood work.

If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they will very likely require lifelong medication, specifically an oral thyroid hormone replacement.

What to Feed an Akita

Akitas do well on a large-breed dog food. This is particularly important when they are puppies as a large-breed-specific puppy diet will ensure that they do not grow too fast and potentially cause orthopedic issues.

An AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)-approved food is a great option because it means that the food meets the standard nutritional requirements and regulations for pet foods.

How to Feed an Akita

Akitas can be fed similarly to any other large-breed dog. Two to three meals spaced throughout the day would suit them well. 

Individual dogs may eat quicker than others, so if your dog is eating too fast, this is something to discuss with your veterinarian. Specific types of dog bowls and feeders are specially made to help dogs eat at a slower pace—these typically come in the form of spiral bowls, puzzle toys, or texturized feeding mats.

How Much You Should Feed an Akita

Determining the right amount of food for an Akita will in part be decided by the type of food you choose and your veterinarian’s recommendation. Since Akitas are prone to hip and joint issues, keeping them at a healthy weight through appropriate meal portions is very important.

If you feel like your Akita is gaining too much weight, be sure to talk with your veterinarian to figure out an appropriate weight management plan.

Nutritional Tips for an Akita

Akitas can benefit from joint support throughout their lives to help maintain their joint health and mobility. Your veterinarian can provide you with recommendations about the best products, as there are varying levels of joint supplements that can cater to your Akita’s age and current joint situation.

Akita Grooming Guide

The Akita is a fairly heavy shedding breed, so you should be prepared for routine grooming.

Skin Care

Akitas do not have any unique skin attributes or sensitivities

Coat Care

Akitas have a thick double coat that sheds seasonally and requires frequent brushing. The frequency of brushing will increase about twice a year as they are shedding.

Akitas normally require frequent brushing, one or more times each week, as well as regular baths.

Eye Care

It is important to make sure your Akita’s eyes are clean and free of discharge.

Also, if an Akita is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it can cause decreased tear production, so be sure to talk with your veterinarian to see if eye drops will be needed.

Ear Care

Akitas can also benefit from occasional ear cleanings to prevent buildup of wax in the outer  ears. 

Akita FAQs

Is an Akita a good family dog?

An Akita can do well in the right family environment. They are very protective and have a prey drive, so they should be watched closely around children and small animals.

An Akita may eventually become very protective of their family members (including children), so it’s important to properly socialize them from an early age and constantly work on their training.

Are Akitas smart dogs?

Yes, Akitas can be very smart. 

What are the drawbacks of an Akita?

Akitas tend to do best as the only dog or one of a pair. They are typically protective of their territory and can be aggressive toward other dogs or animals. Socialization is essential for them early on, so that they learn they do not need to protect against all unfamiliar people.

How much does an Akita cost?

An Akita can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000 on average.

What type of Akita dogs are there?

There are two types of Akita dogs. The American Akita and the Japanese Akita (Akita Inu).

Should Akitas be outside dogs?

No, Akitas do not do well as primarily outside dogs. They often enjoy playing outside with their family, but they should not be left outside for long periods.

They are sensitive to heat, so being left outside can lead to heat-related issues such as dehydration or heatstroke.

Featured Image:

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Katherine Smith, DVM, CVA, CVSMT


How to Tell if Your Dog Has Food Allergies

Food allergies in dogs can be tricky to identify. The symptoms aren’t what many pet parents expect, and there are a lot of myths out there about food allergies in dogs. True food allergies are not that common in dogs, for one.

Here’s how you can figure out if your dog has food allergies and what you can do about them.

Reasons to Suspect Dog Food Allergies

When people think about pet food allergies, they often jump to gastrointestinal issues. However, food allergies in dogs may or may not come with an upset stomach.

The most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs actually show up as reactions in their skin.

Skin and Ear Problems in Dogs With Food Allergies

Skin problems are common in dogs with food allergies. At first glance, this seems kind of odd, but it makes more sense when you think about how people react to food allergies.

Dogs with unchecked food allergies may also have trouble with their ears.

Some of the most common health issues associated with legitimate dog food allergies are:

Chronic itchiness

Skin lesions, especially when a dog is self-harming in an effort to scratch the itch

Frequent ear infections

Similar symptoms may be caused by environmental allergies to triggers like pollen, mold, and house mites, but these, at least to start with, are often seasonal.

For this reason, it’s important to track whether your dog’s symptoms ebb and flow with the changing of the seasons.

When Do Dog Food Allergies Develop?

It’s important to remember that food allergies can develop at any time. A food your dog has consumed for years with no troubles may suddenly cause an allergic reaction, or symptoms may develop soon after you change your dog’s diet.

How Are Dog Food Allergies Diagnosed?

Diagnosing food allergies in dogs isn’t always a straightforward process. It’s not like there’s a simple test that can instantly tell what your dog is allergic to or, if indeed, he has food allergies at all.

You have to start at the beginning, with the help of your veterinarian, to know for sure whether your dog’s skin or ear issues are caused by food allergies.

Rule Out Other Health Issues

Your veterinarian will take a full history on your pet and do a general exam.

Next, they will likely run tests to rule out conditions with similar symptoms like mange, ringworm, yeast infections, bacterial infections, flea infestations, and environmental allergies.

Ruling out those conditions comes first because true food allergies are relatively uncommon.

If there is no other apparent cause for your dog’s symptoms, your veterinarian may begin to suspect that food allergies are behind your dog’s itchy skin or ear infections.

Even if your vet finds a “reason” for your dog’s skin problems, they may still suspect that an adverse food reaction is at least partially responsible since, for example, yeast infections can develop as a result of food allergies.

Once a diagnosis of food allergies seems to be a reasonable possibility, your vet will recommend a food trial.

Starting a Food Trial

Starting your dog on a food trial means your pet will eat a prescription diet and absolutely nothing else for a couple of months to see if symptoms resolve.

If they do, some veterinarians will suggest going back to the dog’s old diet to see if symptoms return to ensure that the dog is truly allergic to one or more ingredients in their “regular” diet.

Evaluating a Food Trial: Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance

Seeing results from the food trial are not a guarantee that your pet has food allergies. In some cases, you may find out that your dog has a food intolerance.

Food Allergies

Food allergies occur when the immune system responds inappropriately to something (usually a protein) found in the diet.

Instead of treating this perfectly innocuous substance as it should, the immune system treats it as a threat—an invader of sorts.

Food Intolerance

A food intolerance is different from an allergy in that the symptoms are not caused by an immune reaction.

In dogs, food intolerances typically cause tummy troubles; they may vomit or have diarrhea, be seriously gassy, or have a poor appetite.

Treating Food Allergies in Dogs

The only effective way to treat a food allergy in dogs is to change their diet.

While grain-free foods are often touted as good for food allergies, science tells us that protein sources are more likely to be the culprit. According to a study published in 2016, the top three most common causes of food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, and chicken.

Diets for Dog Food Allergies

Here are a couple of different approaches to treating food allergies in dogs.

Novel Proteins

This approach involves feeding proteins that your dog has likely never been exposed to in an effort to avoid an allergic reaction. Rabbit, venison, and other novel ingredients are used in place of more common protein sources. Allergy-friendly foods must be completely free of your dog’s triggers.



Hydrolyzed Proteins

Rather than changing which proteins are used, hydrolyzed protein prescription diets break proteins down so that the immune system no longer recognizes them as a threat.

Treating Itchy Skin and Ear Issues Caused by Food Allergies

The only way to treat a food allergy is to remove the offending food from the dog’s diet, but there are options for temporarily treating the symptoms caused by food allergies.

Oral and topical medications are sometimes prescribed to help minimize itching. Any secondary problems, like skin or ear infections, will also have to be addressed.

If you’re concerned about any symptoms your dog is experiencing, or you’re simply wondering whether the food you’re offering is the best choice for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.

By: Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Jennifer Coates, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian, writer, editor, and consultant with years of experience in the fields of veterinary…

Gordon Setter

Originally a bird dog, the Gordon Setter is equally at home as a companion dog, obedience competitor and show dog. This breed of Scottish origin has a distinctive black and tan coat that allows it to be found easily in light fields and early snow.

Physical Characteristics

The Gordon Setter is square-built, with a stylish appearance. It is the heaviest of the setter family, possessing long feathers on its back legs, ears, tail, and underside. The Gordon Setter’s coat is thick, soft, shiny, and black with tan markings. Its hair, meanwhile, can be straight or a bit wave. The Gordon setter also has a smooth and steady gait, wagging its tail constantly. All of these attributes help it to be active in the field, especially when hunting.

Personality and Temperament

The Gordon Setter has a guarding instinct when confronted by strangers, and can even show signs of aggression towards other dogs. An excellent bird dog, it is highly energetic and can prove to be good family companion.


Regular combing, which should be done every two to three days, is a must for the Gordon Setter, though an occasional trimming may also be required. A thorough daily exercise regimen is also essential for the breed. And although it is adaptable to temperate climates outdoors, it should be given plenty of human companionship.


The Gordon Setter, which has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, is prone to major health issues such as gastric torsion and canine hip dysplasia, and minor problems like cerebellar abiotrophy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, and elbow dysplasia. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend regular eye, hip, thyroid, and elbow exams for this breed of dog.

History and Background

The Gordon Setter is popular breed of hunting dog, which was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1892. It happens to be the slowest and bulkiest of the setter family.

There are two types of Gordon Setter: one is the show Gordon, and the other is the field-type Gordon. Robert Chapman organized a show of Gordons in 1875, showcasing them for the first time. Today, the Gordon is considered a more popular hunters than family pet.

Scotland had Tan and Black Setters as early as the 15th century. As a result, this breed came to be known as the Gordon Castle Setter in the late 16th Century. A large number of Gordon Setters were maintained at the castle of the Fourth Duke of Gordon. After his death, it was the Duke of Richmond who continued breeding the best of these setters at Gordon Castle.

The Gordon Setter came to the United States in the mid-17th century. It got its earlier name of Tan and Black in the late 18th century, and it was only when the English Kennel Club registered it that the Gordon Setter received its current name.

Pneumonia Due to Overactive Immune Response in Dogs

Eosinophilic Pneumonia in Dogs

The term pneumonia refers to an inflammation of the lungs. The lungs can become inflamed as the result of many conditions. One of these is antigens — foreign substances that generate an immune response in the body, leading to an abnormal accumulation of a type of white-blood cells called an eosinophil. They also become more active in response to parasites in the body. Ideally, eosinophils help the body to fight against the antigens or parasites that the body is attempting to eliminate or neutralize. An antigen may enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or other known pathways into the system (e.g., bite wounds, injuries).

In eosinophilic pneumonia, an increased number of eosinophils and fluid accumulates in the lung tissue, as well as in the various airway channels and tiny sacs within the lung tissue where the oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged, resulting in swelling of the lung tissues, inflammation, and decreased breathing capacity.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms related to this disease are extremely variable in different animals depending on the severity of the disease. The most common symptoms include:

Cough that is not responding to antibiotic therapy Difficult breathing Exercise intolerance Fever Lack of appetite Lethargy Weight loss Yellow or green pus in the nasal discharge


This type of pneumonia is more commonly seen in dusty or moldy environments, or in areas with high air pollution. Other underling factors include:

Pollen allergy Insects Parasites (heartworm) Infection


You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of the symptoms and when they became apparent. After taking a detailed history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination on your dog. Laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Stool testing is also performed to determine whether a parasitic infection is present. The complete blood count test will reveal inflammation with an increased number of white blood cells, including neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils and monocytes (all of which are types of white blood cells). More advanced testing will include measuring the blood gases to evaluate the functioning ability of the respiratory system.

Your veterinarian will also take the fluid samples from the lungs, which can provide a definitive diagnosis by revealing the presence of inflammation along with a large number of eosinophils. Heartworm disease testing is also important, as this common disease can lead to eosinophilic pneumonia.

Diagnostic imaging of the lungs can be especially helpful in determining the extent and severity of the inflammation so that a prognosis can be made. Chest X-rays will show characteristic changes in the lungs related to this disease, including fluid that has collected in the lung tissue.

If your doctor suspects an allergen, skin testing may be done to determine the allergen, but it is often of little value and may only be ordered if all else has failed.


In case of severe disease, your dog will need to be hospitalized to stabilize its system. Intravenous fluids will be given to compensate for lost body fluids levels — to reverse or prevent dehydration, which can quickly become life-threatening. In case of severe respiratory discomfort, oxygen will be given to relieve the dog from struggling. Medications can then be given to open the narrowed airways in order to facilitate normal breathing.

Drugs, such as steroids, are commonly used to reduce symptoms of inflammation. In severe cases, long-term therapy may be required over a few months. In some dogs with overactive immune reactions, immune-suppressive drugs may also be required.

In cases of heartworm disease, specific drugs are used to treat and eradicate the heartworms from the body. Heartworm treatment can be very dangerous for some dogs, so heartworm elimination should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian.

In cases of fungal infections, antifungal drugs can be used to treat the disease. In more advanced cases with permanent damage or scarring of the lungs, surgery may be required to remove the affected part of the lung.

Living and Management

Complete rest is recommended for your dog while it is under treatment. Good caloric intake is of paramount importance for the recovery of your dog; your veterinarian can guide you on crafting a good diet for recovery and immune system health.

Breathlessness is the most common problem in these animals, and good home-care should be ensured to minimize the stress, with a quiet space to rest that is out of the way of daily foot traffic and away from main entryways. Your veterinarian will schedule a follow-up examination, with chest X-rays and laboratory testing to monitor your dog’s physical response to the medications.

The prognosis for this this disease depends on the identification of the primary cause or allergen. However, if the allergen can not be identified, long-term palliative treatment may be required to control the symptoms. In case of progressive and chronic disease, the overall prognosis is often not very good.

Adenovirus 1 in Dogs

Infectious Canine Hepatitis in Dogs

Infectious canine hepatitis is a viral disease of that is caused by the canine adenovirus CAV-1, a type of DNA virus that causes upper respiratory tract infections. This virus targets the parenchymal (functional) parts of the organs, notably the liver, kidneys, eyes and endothelial cells (the cells that line the interior surface of the blood vessels).

The virus begins by localizing in the tonsils around 4 to 8 days after nose and mouth exposure. It then spreads into the bloodstream — a condition know as viremia (in the blood stream) — and localizes in the Kupffer cells (specialized white blood cells located in the liver) and endothelium of the liver. Ideally, these white cells, called macrophages, defend the body against infectious invaders, but some viruses  have the ability to macropahages as vehicles for replication and spread. CAV-1 is one such virus, taking advantage of the Kupffer cells to replicate and spread, in the process damaging the adjacent hepatocytes (liver cells that are involved in protein synthesis and storage, and transformation of carbohydrates). During this stage of the infection, the virus is shed into the feces and saliva, making both infectious to other dogs.

In a healthy dog with an adequate antibody response, the viral cells will clear the organs in 10 to 14 days, but will remain localized in the kidneys, where the virus will continue to be shed in the urine for 6 to 9 months.

In dogs with only partial neutralizing antibody response, chronic hepatitis takes place. This severe condition often results in cytotoxic ocular injury due to inflammation and death of the cells in the eye with inflammation of the front of the eye (anterior uveitis). This condition leads to one of the more outwardly visible and  classic signs of infectious hepatitis: “hepatitis blue eye.”

There are no breed, genetic, or gender associations for acquiring the CAV-1 virus, but  but it is primarily seen in dogs that are less than one year of age.


Symptoms will depend on the immunologic status of the host and degree of initial injury to the cells (cytotoxic):

Peracute (very severe) stage will have symptoms of fever, central nervous system signs, collapse of blood vessels, coagulation disorder (DIC); death frequently occurs within hoursAcute (severe) stage will show symptoms of fever, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged liver, abdominal pain, abdominal fluid, inflammation of the vessels (vasculitis), pinpoint red dots, bruising of skin (petechia), DIC, swollen, enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rarely, inflammation of the brain (nonsuppurative encephalitis)Uncomplicated infection will have symptoms of lethargy, anorexia, transient fever, tonsillitis, vomiting, diarrhea, lymphadenopathy, enlarged liver, abdominal painLate stage infection will result in 20 percent of cases developing eye inflammation and corneal swelling four to six days postinfection; recovery often within 21 days, but may progress to glaucoma and corneal ulceration


Contact with infectious CAV-1 adenovirusUnvaccinated dogs are at highest risk


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, previous illnesses, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. Contact with other dogs, such as in kennels, or frequency of contact with feces, such as in open spaces where dogs are permitted to defecate, may play a role in acquiring this virus.

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, with standard laboratory work. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. Other laboratory work that will need to be done to confirm a diagnosis of infectious hepatitis include coagulation tests to check for the clotting function of the blood, serology for antibodies to CAV-1, viral isolation of the virus cells, and viral culture. Your doctor will be checking for other common diseases as well, including parvovirus and distemper.

Imaging techniques will include an abdominal radiography to look for enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly) and fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity, and abdominal ultrasonography, which can give a more detailed view of the liver and whether it is enlarged of is suffering from necrosis (cell death). The latter technique is especially necessary if there is abdominal swelling, as the radiography will show a reduced image detail if there is fluid blocking the view to the liver, where ultrasound imaging will return information based on the depth of frequency of the echo, based on the structure of the tissues. That is, cellular/tissue death in the liver will show decreased echo (hypoechoeic), and severe fluid build up in the abdomen will not return any echoes (anechoic).

A liver biopsy may also need to be performed to make a conclusive diagnosis.


If the infection is in the very early stage and is uncomplicated, treatment may be given on an outpatient basis. However, treatment is usually given inpatient. Fluid therapy will be given for electrolyte imbalances that result from vomiting and diarrhea. Potassium and magnesium are often very low and need to be supplement immediately. Blood component therapy will be given for coagulopathy (disorders in the blood’s ability to clot). With overt DIC, fresh blood products and low molecular weight heparin will need to be sued to stabilize your dog’s condition.

Nutritional support will include giving frequent small meals as tolerated, optimizing nitrogen intake, and feeding the dog according to protein needs. The amount of protein will depend entirely on your dog’s individual condition, as some dogs will have high protein in the body and some will have low. Inappropriate protein restriction may impair tissue repair and regeneration. Nitrogen will be restricted if your dog is showing obvious signs of hepatic encephalopathy (a neuropsychiatric abnormality that causes inflammation of the brain and is related to liver failure).

Partial intravenous nutrition will be given for a maximum of five days, or preferably, total intravenous nutrition if oral feeding is not tolerated by the dog. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and/or fluid reducers as necessary.

Living and Management

The veterinarian will schedule follow up visits to monitor fluid, electrolyte, acid-base, and coagulation status, and to adjust supportive measures. Sudden kidney failure will also need to be monitored for. A highly digestible diet will need to be fed to your dog during recovery, and a safe place set aside to rest and recover from the illness. Restrict your dog’s activity during the recovery period, as well as access to other pets. be especially mindful about cleaning up after your dog, as the virus can continue to be shed long after the recovery period.

Prevention of this infection requires a a modified live virus vaccination for this disease at six to eight weeks of age. The initial vaccination is followed by two booster shots given at three to four weeks apart until the dog reaches 16 weeks of age, with an additional booster given at one year. This is a highly effective vaccine. 

Heart Impulse Block in Dogs

Cardiac Electrical Failure in Dogs

The sinoatrial node (SA Node, or SAN), also called the sinus node, is the initiator of electrical impulses within the heart, triggering the heart to beat, or contract, by firing off electrical surges. Sinus arrest is a disorder of heart beat impulse formation caused by a slowing down, or cessation of spontaneous sinus nodal automaticity – the automatic behavior of the tissues that set the pace for the heart’s rhythm. It is the failure of the sinoatrial (SA) node to initiate an impulse at the expected time that leads to sinus arrest. Persistent sinus arrest that is not due to the use of a drug is often indicative of sick sinus syndrome (SSS) – a disorder of the heart’s electrical impulse formation within the sinus node.

Sinoatrial block is a disorder of impulse conduction. This is when an impulse formed within the sinus node fails to be conducted through the atria (the interior of the heart), or when it does so with delay. Most commonly, the basic rhythm of the sinus node is not disturbed when the impulses fail to conduct properly.

Symptoms and Types

Usually asymptomatic (without symptoms) Weakness Fainting Pale gums Very slow heart rate may be possible to detect

Sinoatrial block is classified into first, second, and third-degree SA block (similar to degrees of atrioventricular [AV] block). It is difficult to diagnose first and third-degree SA block from an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading only.

Second-degree SA block is the most common type of SA block, and the only degree that can be recognized on a surface ECG. In addition, there are two types of second-degree SA blocks: Mobitz type I (also called Wenckebach periodicity) and Mobitz type II.

First-degree sinoatrial block

Slowed conduction 

Second-degree sinoatrial block

Failure to conduct is intermittent Two types of second-degree SA block occur: Mobitz type I/Wenckebach periodicity – speed of conduction slows gradually until failure of impulses to reach the atria occurs Mobitz type II – block is all, or none, until complete conduction failure takes place The two types cannot be differentiated on a surface ECG 

Third-degree sinoatrial block

Complete failure to conduct



Vagal stimulation (i.e., stimulation of the vagus nerves of the pharynx), caused by coughing, and irritation of the pharynx (back of the mouth/beginning of throat) High pressure in the eye, or carotid artery sinus (carries blood from the heart to the brain) Surgical manipulation


Degenerative heart disease: heart grows tougher and less flexible Dilatory heart disease: heart enlarges, and fails Sudden inflammation of the heart Cancer of the heart Sick sinus syndrome (SSS): intermittent rapid and slow supraventricular arrhythmias Irritation of vagus nerve, secondary to neck or chest cancer Electrolyte imbalance: abnormal levels of potassium in blood Drug toxicity (e.g., digoxin)



Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, with a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis. The electrolyte panel may show hyperkalemia, abnormal levels of potassium in the blood, which can lead to arrhythmias. You will need to give a thorough history of your pet’s health, including a history of symptoms, and their onset.

Thoracic (chest) x-rays and/or a cardiac ultrasound imaging may be taken by your veterinarian to confirm or rule out heart disease and abnormal tissue growth (neoplasia).

A provocative atropine response test may be done to assess sinus node function. This test uses the drug atropine to stimulate the firing action of the SA Node. Dogs with SSS generally will have no response, or will have an incomplete response to the atropine.


Most patients will be treated on an outpatient basis. Only patients showing clinical signs of illness should be hospitalized. Fluid therapy will be given to patients in need of it. Very ill patients that are not responding to medical therapy may require implantation of an artificial pacemaker, and will be hospitalized prior to surgery in preparation of it. If your pet becomes excessively weak, or is showing signs of losing consciousness, or fainting, it will need to have its activity restricted.

Living and Management

After care will be dependent on whether your pet has an underlying disease, along with the SA block. Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments as necessary, and an ECG reading will be done at each visit to follow your pet’s progress. If your pet becomes weak, or loses consciousness, contact your veterinarian immediately for advisement.

The Best Foods for Dogs With Allergies

Humans aren’t the only ones with allergies—our dogs can get them, too. Canine allergies can lead to numerous skin conditions that can be frustrating to manage. These allergies can be due to environmental causes or from the food our dogs eat. 

Dog Food Allergy Symptoms

Generally, allergens are proteins that, once absorbed in the intestinal tract, can trigger an immune response that leads to problems in the skin. Occasionally, dogs can also develop inflammatory bowel disease-type symptoms, such as chronic diarrhea, chronic vomiting, and a prolonged decrease in appetite. 

The most common symptoms of dog food allergies include:

Redness of the skin of the inner ears

Itchiness of the ears (or shaking of the head)

Ear hematomas

Chronic scratching of the ears

Chronic thickening of the ears

Redness and itchiness of the feet or in between toes (foot chewing)

Patchy hair loss along the neck and trunk

Chronic skin infections (with bacteria or yeast) that never seem to clear up

Skin issues are the most common dog food allergy symptoms. These are mostly seen as an allergic reaction to the proteins absorbed in food. That reaction leads to the release of immune cells, which can cause weakening of the bonds between the skin cells, resulting in a weakening of the skin “barrier.” This change in the skin barrier leads to redness and itchiness, and it makes the skin more susceptible to infection with normal bacteria and yeast. The most affected areas are the ears, paws, around the eyes, and sometimes the trunk and limbs.

What Are Common Dog Food Allergens?

The most common proteins dogs are allergic to are beef, chicken, lamb, and wheat. Other less common causes of dog food allergies include soy, eggs, corn, and nuts.

Dogs cannot be tested for food allergies like people can. The only proven way to tell what your dog is allergic to is to change their protein source or perform an elimination diet trial, where for 2-3 months you eliminate all proteins your dog has been exposed to from their diet. This gives the body enough time to completely eliminate the old protein sources and heal from the chronic allergy stimulation. 

How to Help a Dog With Food Allergies

An elimination diet trial with hydrolyzed food is the best way to treat and diagnose a dog food allergy. It’s easiest to start with a prescription diet, such as Hill’s z/d or Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein. These veterinary diets have proteins that are too small to be recognized by the immune system. 

An elimination diet trial takes approximately 2-3 months to complete. This time is necessary for the old proteins to leave the dog’s system. Additionally, the dog must be on the diet long enough to see a difference from the previous food. The most common mistake pet parents make is not waiting long enough before calling it quits on the diet trial. Changing what your dog is eating for just 1-2 weeks will not give you complete results, so taking the proper amount of time to test food and treats is crucial.

If the symptoms do not resolve after 2-3 months on the hydrolyzed elimination diet trial, your dog most likely has some type of environmental allergen. Or something else is causing the problem, such as an autoimmune condition or another undiagnosed condition, such as a skin infection. 

If you get a good response from the trial, try to feed your dog a new protein source, such as venison, fish, or kangaroo. If they are going to react to these proteins, you should notice a mild reaction starting within 1-2 weeks. If their allergy symptoms return, stop the new protein source and go back to the hydrolyzed food.

Try adding one protein at a time every 2-4 weeks. If your dog reacts, stop and keep things steady for another two weeks before trying a different protein.

Contact your veterinarian before starting any diet trial to get a prescription for a hydrolyzed diet. It’s also important to see your veterinarian to make sure that your pet does not have any concurrent infections, which can be common because of the disturbed skin barrier caused by the allergic reaction. Infections can look the same as dog food allergy symptoms, so you must make sure to clear all infections during the food elimination trial.

During the trial, remember:

Make sure the prescription treats and food are all that you are feeding your pet. You can’t feed human food or regular pet treats with a food trial, as it can introduce the allergens you’re trying to eliminate.

Always introduce a dog to a new diet slowly to avoid stomach upset or diarrhea.

The Best Dog Food for Allergies

Hydrolyzed foods are the best dog food for allergies because the proteins are broken down into pieces that are so small the body can’t recognize them. Some of these foods include:

Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein

Royal Canin Ultamino

Purina HA

Novel protein diets include proteins that your dog has not been introduced to before, such as duck, fish, venison, and kangaroo. Some examples of novel protein diets are:

Hills Prescription Diet d/d

Royal Canin Skin Support

Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin

While it’s rare for puppies to have food allergies, there are some documented cases in pups as young as 6 months old. If you think your puppy may have a food allergy, lamb and rice formulas, such as Purina Puppy Lamb & Rice Formula, would be a good place to start for a novel protein.

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Robyn Gallucci, DVM


Dr. Gallucci started her career in veterinary medicine as a kennel assistant in high school and began training as a technician in college….