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Dairy Allergy in Dogs

Dog and Dairy Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

Dog dairy allergy occurs when a dog's immune system reacts negatively to the proteins found in milk and other dairy products. Dairy allergy leads to various symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, itching, and ear infections. Recognize the signs of dog dairy allergy and adjust their diet to keep a dog healthy.Β 

Diagnosing dog dairy allergy includes a detailed medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as blood or skin allergy tests to determine the specific allergens causing the reaction. A food elimination trial, including all commercial milk for dog and dairy-related products, is often necessary.Β 

The treatment for dairy allergy includes an elimination diet that removes milk for dogs and prescription medications such as antihistamines or steroids to help manage the symptoms and provide relief.

What is a Dog Dairy Allergy?

A dog dairy allergy is an adverse immune reaction to dairy products involving symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation. A dairy allergy occurs when a dog's immune system reacts negatively to the proteins in milk and other dairy products. β€œDog dairy allergy is an immunological response to allergens present in dairy products, commonly occurring in dogs and cats,” according to the study by Bhagat, R., Sheikh, A., Wazir, V., Mishra, A., & Maibam, U titled β€œFood allergy in canines: A review,” 2017.Β 

Dogs with a dairy allergy consume these proteins, and their immune systems recognize them as foreign invaders, producing antibodies to eliminate them. Allergy in dogs mount an immune response that leads to symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

Are Dogs Allergic to Milk?

Yes, some dogs are allergic to milk. β€œCommon allergens in dogs include soy, wheat, and cow's milk,” according to the study by Frick, O. titled β€œFood allergy in atopic dogs,” 1996. Milk is a common allergen for dog dairy allergy due to the presence of specific proteins that can trigger immune responses in sensitive individuals.

Two specific proteins in milk that commonly cause allergic reactions in dogs are casein and whey, which are challenging for some dogs to digest. Dogs allergic to milk exhibit a range of symptoms, such as itching, digestive issues, skin rashes, and respiratory problems.

The immune system plays a crucial role in recognizing these milk allergens as harmful invaders, producing antibodies and inflammatory responses to combat what the body perceives as threats. The immune reaction triggers the various manifestations of milk allergies observed in dogs.

Are Dogs Allergic to Cheese?

Yes, some dogs are allergic to cheese. Cheese is a dairy product capable of triggering allergic reactions in dogs sensitive to dairy proteins. There are dogs allergic to milk, and β€œCommon allergens associated with milk allergy in dogs include cow milk, dairy products, and egg products,” according to the study by Bhagat, R., Sheikh, A., Wazir, V., Mishra, A., & Maibam, U. titled β€œFood allergy in canines: A review,” 2017.

Cheese comprises various proteins, including casein and whey, which is problematic for sensitized dogs. Casein is a major protein in cheese and causes allergic responses in certain canines.

What are Dog Dairy Allergy Symptoms?

The dog dairy allergy symptoms are listed below.

  • Skin problems: Allergic reactions to dairy manifest on the skin, causing itching, redness, rashes, hives, or hot spots. Dogs excessively scratch, lick, or chew at affected areas.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Digestive problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloating, or abdominal discomfort occur in dogs with a dairy allergy.
  • Ear infections: Dog dairy allergies contribute to ear infections in dogs, leading to symptoms like redness, itching, odor, or discharge from the ears.
  • Respiratory issues: Dogs experience respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing due to an allergic reaction in severe cases.
  • Behavioral changes: Dogs exhibit changes in behavior or mood, such as restlessness, irritability, or lethargy, due to discomfort from their allergic symptoms.

Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment if the dog presents dairy allergy symptoms.Β 

How do You Know if Your Dog Is Lactose Intolerant?

You know if your dog is lactose intolerant based on similar reactions to a dairy allergy. Symptoms appear after consuming lactose-containing products like milk or certain cheeses. ”Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant amounts of lactose, caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase,” according to the study by Bayless, T., Paige, D., & Bedine, M. titled β€œLactose intolerance,” 1995. A lactose-intolerant dog consuming dairy has undigested lactose ferments in the gut, leading to digestive problems like diarrhea, bloating, and gas. The key difference between a dog milk allergy and lactose intolerance is the immune system's involvement.Β 

Dogs with lactose intolerance show behavioral changes such as restlessness, pacing, whining, or seeking out secluded areas to cope with discomfort. Dogs exhibit changes in appetite, seeking out grass, increased water intake, and excessively licking their lips, nose, or other body parts as a sign of nausea or discomfort.

Is Dairy Allergy and Lactose Intolerance the Same?

No, dairy allergy and lactose intolerance are not the same. The conditions result in adverse reactions to dairy products, with differing triggers. β€œDairy allergy is an immunologically mediated reaction, while lactose intolerance is a general, nonspecific term meaning inability to withstand,” according to the study by Bahna, S. titled β€œIs it Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance,” 1996.Β 

Dairy allergy in dogs is an immune system reaction to dairy proteins, while lactose intolerance is a digestive issue due to a lack of lactase enzyme. Dairy allergy symptoms in dogs include itching, rash, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. Lactose intolerance leads to dog digestive problems such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.

Does the Dog with a Dairy Allergy Itch After Consuming Dairy?

Yes, a dog with a dairy allergy itches after consuming dairy. Itching is a symptom of a dairy allergy in dogs. β€œDogs and cats can become sensitive to cow's milk, causing clinical signs such as pruritus,” according to the study by Wills, J., & Harvey, R. titled β€œDiagnosis and management of food allergy and intolerance in dogs and cats,” 1994. When a dog with a dairy allergy consumes dairy products containing allergenic proteins like casein or whey, their immune system reacts by releasing histamines and other chemicals. The immune response manifests in various symptoms, including dog itchy skin, redness, hives, and other irritations.

How is Dairy Allergy Diagnosed in Dogs?

Dairy allergy is diagnosed in dogs through a thorough evaluation by a veterinarian. The examination includes a medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as elimination diets or allergy testing.

Veterinarians identify dairy allergies in dogs with their specialized training and knowledge. The vet carefully assesses symptoms that indicate an adverse reaction to dairy products. β€œSerum and saliva tests could not be used to confirm or rule out adverse food reactions. Elimination diets are the reference standard in the diagnosis of adverse food reactions in dogs,” according to the study by Vovk, L., Watson, A., Dodds, W., Klinger, C., Classen, J., J., & Mueller, R., titled β€œTesting for food-specific antibodies in saliva and blood of food allergic and healthy dogs,” 2019.

What are the Treatments for Dogs with Dairy Allergies?

The treatments for dogs with dairy allergies are listed below.

  • Elimination Diet: An elimination diet involves removing dairy products from a dog's diet to determine if the absence of these foods alleviates allergic symptoms caused by dairy proteins. Pet owners must check for hidden dairy sources in commercial dog foods and treats and exercise caution when feeding human food scraps. Owners observe the dog closely for any improvements in dog dairy allergy symptoms like itching, digestive issues, or ear infections once all dairy sources have been eliminated. A noticeable reduction in symptoms during the elimination period indicates that dairy triggers the dog's allergies. The final step involves reintroducing dairy products individually to confirm which specific allergenic proteins cause the adverse reactions.
  • Medications: Antihistamines or corticosteroids are prescribed to dogs with dairy allergies to alleviate symptoms like itching, inflammation, or gastrointestinal distress.Β 
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy for dog dairy allergies involves desensitizing the immune system to dairy proteins through controlled exposure, aiming to reduce allergic reactions over time.

How Does Dairy Allergy Affect Untreated Dogs?

Dairy allergy affects untreated dogs by worsening allergic reactions over time. Untreated dogs experience chronic gastrointestinal issues, leading to malnutrition and weight loss. The constant itching and scratching caused by the allergy result in skin infections and open wounds. Skin infections range from mild to severe. β€œFood allergy in dogs leads to pruritic skin disease and gastrointestinal signs, such as fecal mucus and blood, tenesmus, and increased fecal frequency,” according to the study by Paterson, S. titledΒ  β€œFood hypersensitivity in 20 dogs with skin and gastrointestinal signs,” 1995.

How Common is Dairy Allergy Among Dogs?

Dairy allergy among dogs is relatively common compared to other food allergies. β€œThe most common food allergens in dogs are beef, dairy products, chicken, and wheat,” according to the study by Mueller, R., Olivry, T., & PrΓ©laud, P. titled β€œCritically appraised topic on adverse food reactions of companion animals (2): common food allergen sources in dogs and cats,” 2016.

Dairy allergies affect some dogs with a genetic predisposition to allergies or sensitivities. Dog dairy allergies are more prevalent in certain breeds or individual dogs with a family history of allergies. Labrador and German shepherd dogs are two breeds prone to food allergies.

What Consumable Ingredients Should You Avoid to Prevent Dog Dairy Allergy?

The consumable ingredients you should avoid to prevent dog dairy allergy are listed below.

  • Milk: Milk includes cow's milk and any other animal milk.
  • Cheese: Any type of cheese, whether cheddar, mozzarella, or any other variety, is to be avoided.
  • Yogurt: Yoghurt contains dairy and must be avoided if a dog has a dairy allergy.
  • Butter: Butter is a dairy product and must not be fed to dogs with dairy allergies.
  • Cream: Heavy cream or sour cream contains dairy and must be avoided.
  • Whey: Whey is a dairy byproduct often found in processed foods, protein supplements, and some dog treats.
  • Casein: Casein is a protein found in milk and dairy products and used in some dog foods and treats.

What to do if The Dog Accidentally Consumes Dairy?

If the dog accidentally consumes dairy, follow the steps below.Β 

  1. Observe for Symptoms. Watch the dog for any signs of an allergic reaction, such as vomiting, diarrhea, itching, swelling (especially around the face or paws), hives, difficulty breathing, or other unusual behavior.
  2. Contact A Veterinarian. Consult a veterinarian immediately if the dog shows any signs of an allergic reaction. The vet guides how to proceed based on the dog's specific situation.
  3. Provide Comfort. Comfort the dog by gently bathing them with lukewarm water or applying a cool compress to any areas of irritation if the dog shows mild symptoms such as itching or discomfort. Avoid administering any medications without consulting a veterinarian first.
  4. Prevent Further Exposure. Remove any remaining dairy products from the dog's environment to prevent further accidental ingestion.
  5. Follow the Veterinarian's Recommendations. A veterinarian advises monitoring the dog at home or bringing them in for an examination, depending on the severity of the reaction. Follow their recommendations closely to ensure the dog receives the appropriate care.
  6. Consider Allergen Testing. The veterinarian recommends allergy testing to identify other potential allergens and develop a management plan for the dog's dietary needs if the dog has experienced an allergic reaction to dairy.

How do You Create a Dairy-Free Diet Plan for Your Dog?

You create a dairy-free diet plan for your dog by selecting alternative protein sources like pork, fish, venison, duck, or rice and choosing commercial pet foods that do not contain dairy ingredients. Avoid yogurt as it contains dairy.

Ensure that high-quality substitutes are included when preparing homemade meals for dogs, such as turkey, chicken, or legumes, to replace dairy products and meet their dietary requirements. β€œGoat milk is a potential substitute for cow milk for those allergic to it, offering hypoallergenic properties and potential therapeutic benefits,” according to the study by Park, Y. titled β€œHypo-allergenic and therapeutic significance of goat milk,” 1994. Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in their meals helps ensure they receive essential vitamins and minerals.

Always consult with a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to ensure that the consumption levels of milk for dogs are balanced and meet their nutritional needs.

Can Dairy Allergies Affect a Dog's Skin and Coat?

Yes, dairy allergies can affect a dog's skin and coat. Dairy allergies adversely affect a dog’s skin. β€œCanine cutaneous adverse food reactions to lamb, beef, and cow's milk can be caused by specific IgE against bovine IgG, which is a major allergen in cow's milk,” according to the study by MartΓ­n, A., Sierra, M., Gonzalez, J., & Arevalo, M. titled β€œIdentification of allergens responsible for canine cutaneous adverse food reactions to lamb, beef and cow's milk,” 2004.

Dairy allergies, including cheese allergies in dogs, manifest as dogs’ skin and coat issues. Similar issues such as itching, redness, hair loss, or dermatitis indicate dietary allergens' impact on dermatological health.

Are Certain Breeds More Prone to Dairy Allergies?

Yes, certain breeds are more prone to dairy allergies. All canine breeds have a tendency for dairy allergy, but breed-specific genetic factors influence individual variations in allergic responses. β€œLabrador and German shepherd dogs are more prone to food allergy, with symptoms similar to pruritic skin diseases,” according to the study by Bhagat, R., Sheikh, A., Wazir, V., Mishra, A., & Maibam, U. titled β€œFood allergy in canines: A review,” 2017. Breeds such as the Dalmatian, Boxer, Collie, and Siberian Husky are noted to have a higher incidence of lactose intolerance or sensitivity to dairy products than other breeds. The sensitivity manifests as gastrointestinal issues. Individual dogs within any breed vary in their tolerance to dairy, so consult with a veterinarian if a dog is suspected to have a dairy allergy or intolerance.

Can Dogs Outgrow Dairy Allergies?

No, dogs cannot outgrow dairy allergies. Allergies are a lifelong condition for dogs. β€œDogs with food allergies or dietary intolerance can respond to a screening diet within three weeks and achieve remission within two weeks of being challenged with dietary components,” according to the study by Harvey, R. titled β€œFood allergy and dietary intolerance in dogs: A report of 25 cases,” 1993. The same study showed the β€œAge of onset of clinical signs for dogs with food allergies ranged from three months to 10 years, with the duration of time between challenge and the onset of clinical signs significantly different for dogs with intolerance to cereal and dairy products.” A dog’s allergy to dairy generally worsens as they age.

How can CBD Oil Help with Dairy Allergy in Dogs?

CBD Oil can help with dairy allergy in dogs by managing dog dairy allergies and alleviating allergic symptoms such as skin irritation, inflammation, or gastrointestinal distress through its anti-inflammatory and calming properties.

Studies indicate that CBD oil helps regulate the immune response in dogs with allergies, reducing the severity of reactions. The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD Oil for dogs aid in soothing irritated skin and promoting healthier coat conditions. β€œCBD enhances antioxidant enzyme activity and reduces inflammation in UV-irradiated keratinocytes, potentially benefiting skin protection,” according to the study by JastrzΔ…b, A., GΔ™gotek, A., & Skrzydlewska, E. titled β€œCannabidiol Regulates the Expression of Keratinocyte Proteins Involved in the Inflammation Process through Transcriptional Regulation,” 2019.

Veterinarians are exploring CBD oil for dogs as a complementary therapy for managing allergic responses in dogs, highlighting its ability to enhance overall well-being. More research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind CBD's impact on allergies, but initial findings indicate promising results in alleviating symptoms and improving allergic dogs' quality of life.