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Choosing your dog's food may not be the super-simple decision you thought it was

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

The dog food ingredients that could be causing allergies might surprise you

If you're anything like most dog owners, you probably spend way too much time in the dog food aisle, pouring over the pros and cons of each choice of kibble. The choices are seemingly endless — and sometimes super confusing — so it's never an easy choice.

But despite your best intentions, the food you choose may not be the right choice, especially if it contains one of the more common dog food allergy triggers.

You see, it's not just people that deal with food allergies.

In fact, food allergies are the third most common allergies in dogs, and they can be tricky to spot because the symptoms are not what you think. The most common symptoms are itchy skin, scratching and hair loss. They may also have gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea and gas.

Dogs can develop food allergies at any age, and allergies can suddenly be triggered by foods they've eaten their entire lives with no issues, making it even trickier to diagnose. Since many symptoms of dog food allergies can also signify other issues, it's important not to diagnose your pup yourself.

If you've noticed these issues with your pup, it might be time to switch up his diet. Talk to your vet first, and with their go-ahead, try a limited-ingredient food that avoids some of these main triggers.

The dog food ingredients that could be causing allergies might surprise you
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

Sources: Pet Education, Modern Dog Magazine, WebMD, VCA Animal Hospitals, Cesar's Way

But why do these allergies occur in the first place? The truth is, no one really knows, though there are many theories floating around that may be at least partially true. Some vets have attributed food allergies in dogs to genetics, overexposure to certain foods, too many food additives, early cases of gastroenteritis and poor health care or nutrition.

All of these possible theories mean that while it may not be possible for you to prevent food allergies in your dog, you can lessen his chances while feeding him a variety of quality, limited-ingredient foods and making sure he has regular checkups with the vet.

This post was sponsored by Blue Buffalo.

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