Cocker Spaniel Food Allergies: What you Need to Know

July 17, 2022

Many dogs suffer from food allergies and intolerances. A dog food allergy will impact the dog's immune system and requires extra care from the owner.

Allergic reactions can bring discomfort to the Cocker Spaniel which no pet parent wants to see in their dog's life.

To ensure the Cocker Spaniel is in good health, any symptoms of food allergies need to be investigated. After you know what your dog cannot have, you can focus on finding great dog food to ensure your pup has a healthy diet.

Finding the best dog food might take time, but seeing the Cocker Spaniels happy and healthy will make it all worth it.

What Is A Dog Food Allergy?

Food allergy signs normally appear when the immune system overreacts to ingredients that the body believes can be dangerous to health and harmful. Ten per cent of all allergies in dogs are food allergies.

It is important to be careful with diagnosing dog food allergies yourself. Allergic reaction is not always caused by food as well as can just be a food intolerance, so it is always best to talk to the vet or a veterinary dermatologist.

Adult dogs can also get food allergies from a particular food they have been fine eating before. This is the reason that it is really difficult to self-diagnose a dog's allergies.

If the Cocker Spaniels food allergies are managed well, the dog can live a long and happy life. However, not improving the dog's diet can have a negative reaction on your Cocker Spaniel's health.

Symptoms of Dog Food Allergy

There are many common symptoms of an allergic reaction. However, food allergy symptoms can come and go as well as differ depending on which dog foods have been eaten.

However, the most common signs of food allergies are:

  • Itchy skin or itchy paws or any signs of skin infections like skin rash (red, inflamed skin)
  • Weight loss and poor growth
  • Ear infections
  • Bald patches or hair loss
  • Constant scratching of pet skin
  • Hot spots
  • Diarrhoea and flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Dry skin

While many of these can be seen as symptoms of an allergy, there can also be other reasons why these symptoms occur.

For example, ear infections can also develop due to poor ear hygiene resulting in moisture build-up and bacteria.

Also, dogs can be itching not because of a food allergy, but because of environmental factors like mites.

That being said, skin problems are a good indication that there can be food allergies and you should look into the dog's diet to see if there are particular food ingredients that can be removed and whether the symptoms remain.

Food Allergy or Food Sensitivity?

It can be hard to determine if your Cocker Spaniel has a food allergy or an intolerance. Both can cause reactions in your pup.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can be life-threatening, so if your cocker is having sudden symptoms after eating any specific foods you need to go to the vet immediately.

Rashes and red skin patches are common signs that it might be an allergic reaction.

When you talk to your breeder, ask them what kind of allergies the dog's mum has, as some of these can be genetic.

Food Intolerance

Most of the time when we are speaking of food allergies in dogs, they are in fact food sensitivities or intolerances. They are also more common.

Food intolerances take time to show up and develop over time.

When your dog suddenly throws up after a meal, it could be intolerance.

Environmental Allergies

Your Cocker Spaniel could also be having an allergic reaction due to something in the environment.

Some of the items that can cause a Cocker spaniel this reaction are dust mites, grass, pollen or mould.

Signs can be somewhat similar to human symptoms like runny nose and sneezing.

Contact allergies refer to allergies where symptoms happen due to contact with a substance, chemical or item.

For example, Cocker Spaniels can get allergic reactions and skin rashes from their bedding, carpet, clothing, cleaning supplies as well as medication they have been taking.

If you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel has got a reaction to a chemical, you need to contact an emergency vet. These can lead to life-threatening reactions like seizures.

Foods that Cause The Cocker Spaniel An Allergic Reaction

Many protein sources can contribute to dog food allergies. The most common offending foods are dairy, wheat and beef which cause dog food allergies.

Many commercial dog foods contain these ingredients. It does not matter if these are consumed on their own or as an ingredient of dry food.

  • Dairy products
  • Wheat
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Soy
  • Yeast
  • Fish
  • Egg
  • Lamb
  • Artificial preservatives

When Do Dog Food Allergies Develop?

Allergic reactions can develop at any time. Even if you find the best dog food for your dog breed, an allergy can develop.

Food allergies and intolerances in dogs can take a long time to appear which means they will not be diagnosed immediately.

While in humans, allergic reactions can show up fast, your Cocker Spaniel skin rash or other symptoms can appear even after you have been feeding the same dry food for a while.

How to Help My Allergic Cocker Spaniel?

When you suspect that your Cocker Spaniel has a food allergy, it is necessary to look at the Cocker Spaniel's diet and find the best dog food based on your dog breed.

A doctor can even help with a prescription diet if required to improve your dog's skin from the offending food and food ingredients.

There are many things a pet parent can do to help their allergic Cocker Spaniel to get better, you just need to pick the one that works for you.

Determine The Type of Allergy

Before you can help your Cocker Spaniel and make any changes to the dog food, you need to determine the type of allergy.

Discuss the symptoms with your veterinarian to establish if your Cocker Spaniel has a food allergy or food sensitivity.

When we establish the cause of the dog's issues it's easier to find the right food.

Could it be an environmental allergy? Try switching the bedding as well as examining your dog's skin for any mites.

Food Elimination Diet

You can try to swap your cocker's food and eliminate all common allergens to see if your dog's condition improves.

Your dog should eat a prescribed home-cooked food containing one protein source and one carbohydrate. For Example, lamb and rice.

Then you can start re-introducing items to the diet and see if any of these bring the allergy back.

While this exclusion diet can be successful, you might risk not giving your pup all the required nutrients.

Also, the exclusion diet can take between six to twelve weeks, and if you do not get rid of allergies, this method can get very frustrating for the dog lover and the pet.

Test Kits for A Cocker Spaniel

There are some test kits available to help you establish reasons for your dog's food allergies at home, however, these can be expensive as well as their validity can be questioned.

Most home kits will require a sample of the dog's blood that be sent for testing.

A veterinarian can also do an intradermal skin test when they inject a small amount of the potential allergic item to see if there are any reactions.

These tests can help to establish environmental allergies, but cannot be fully accurate with food allergies.

Food Rotation

It can also be recommended to occasionally swap the dog's food as allergies can take time to develop.

So even a Cocker Spaniel who has had no issues with a certain food can become allergic.

Thus, it is worth also trying other foods.

Special Diet For An Allergic Cocker Spaniel

The easiest way to get rid of allergies will be to pick a Cocker Spaniel food specially made for an allergic dog. These are often approved by a veterinary nutritionist.

Hypoallergenic dog food is specially prepared with foods less likely to cause allergies as well as they are easily available in most pet stores.

Another option would be a raw food diet, however, it is best to consult with the vet before.

It is worth avoiding highly processed dog foods as these take longer to digest.

What Should I Feed My Cocker Spaniel?

It is important to read the labels when picking the best dog food for your Cocker Spaniel.

If you know your Cocker Spaniels are allergic to a specific ingredient, you need to ensure this is not in the dog food.

Labels can also indicate if the dog food is specially made to avoid common allergens.

Hypoallergenic Diet For A Cocker Spaniel

Good hypoallergenic dog food is made to include only high-quality ingredients and contains fewer preservatives. They often are wheat and gluten-free.

They may also cost more than standard dog food and you need to get them from a pet store rather than from a supermarket.

Even if the package says it is hypoallergenic, you need to read the label to ensure there are no harmful ingredients that can impact your dog's health.

Some brands even do dog food specially made for Cocker Spaniels.

Can Cocker Spaniels Have Dog Treats?

Most dogs love treats in addition to their normal dog food.

However, it is important to follow the same rules as with dog food and ensure the dog treats are suitable for your cocker's allergies.

Also, ensure your family and friends know that the Cocker Spaniel is allergic so they will not accidentally give the pup foods that can cause a negative reaction.

Simple Tips With An Allergic Cocker Spaniels

You are certain that your spaniel has an allergic reaction to certain foods. It can be frustrating at times having to plan their food to ensure they don't have a reaction.

Below are some tips that can help on a daily bases.

  • Food supplements can help with allergies, but always ask your vet for recommendations.
  • Check your Cocker Spaniel's skin regularly for fleas and abnormal skin. Even if it is minor, get it checked out.
  • Pick the right food- not every hypoallergenic food will suit your cocker. Do not give up after one food is not working.

Dealing With Allergic Cocker Spaniels

If your Cocker Spaniel definitely has a food allergy, it is important that you find the cause of it. Some of the reactions can be due to allergies, whereas some can be due to food intolerances and sensitivities.

An allergic dog can get skin rashes that will make their skin itchy as well as they can get issues with their digestive system. This will cause a lot of discomfort for the sweet loving Cocker Spaniel.

By finding the cause of the allergy as well as picking suitable dog food and treats, a Cocker Spaniel can have a better diet and be a healthier dog that lives a long happy life.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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