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How to know if your Chihuahua suffers from food intolerance or allergy?

How to know if your Chihuahua suffers from food intolerance or allergy?

Welcoming a new dog to the home or even having one for a while has its challenges, the greatest of which can be discovering the diet that best suits them. That's because not all pet foods are made identical. Due to this, your pup will not be able to tolerate all food types.

You may need to experiment at first to find which dog food works well and which one your dog will like to eat. However, there's one vital thing you should know - the distinction between a food allergy and food intolerance.


What is the Difference Between Food Intolerance and Allergies in Chihuahuas?

When it comes to food allergies and intolerance, the most common misconception is that they are considered the same. The straightforward answer is no. A pet food allergy affects the immune system and is usually triggered by a response to a protein. A pet food intolerance is an irregular reaction to an ingredient, but the immune system is not affected.

The symptoms of both reactions can be very similar. Allergies involve immune responses, and tests are often inconsistent, so providing an elimination diet is the only accurate way to determine an adverse food reaction. When it comes to Chihuahuas, symptoms of adverse food reactions impacting the digestive system include vomiting or diarrhea, abdominal pain or bloating, occasional diarrhea, flatulence, and soft stools. They affect the skin as well, with different symptoms being present.

An allergy is a harmful immune reaction by the body to a substance, specifically a particular food, fur, pollen, or dust, to which it has become oversensitive. Oversensitive means having extreme physical sensitivity to specific substances or infections.

Difference Between Food Intolerance and Allergies in Chihuahuas

An allergy is an uncommon reaction, an illness condition. We cannot avoid contact with the environment and seasonal allergies, but we can adjust the system and restore normal function. The key to this is the diet. A natural, healthy diet fed in the correct quantity can allow the system to retrieve normal health, whatever the disorder condition.

While a diet can be a possible cause, if your pet is itching, flea allergy dermatitis may be a cause, which is widespread in dogs and is driven by sensitiveness to flea saliva – just a couple of flea bites can be the cause of this.

Owners may not see fleas on their pets because excessive grooming by hypersensitive pets often removes evidence. Environmental allergens like pollen may be the cause. This type of allergy can also be inherited. Breeders should not breed dogs and cats suffering from an allergy. 

If your pet has problems with the digestive tract, this can happen by scavenging, overeating or fatty food, parasites, or infection. Food intolerance or allergy should be considered once these things have been ruled out.


Can we Avoid Adverse Reactions to Food?


Adverse food reactions can develop over time in most cases. Hence if you have a dog or cat predisposed to developing any kind of reactions, you may consider alternating between different food types to evade your Chihuahua being exposed to the same ingredients all the time. However, if your Chi already had problems with one variety of food and is currently doing well, it may be the best option to continue with the current diet. Please speak to your vet before changing diets.

The most common food allergies are beef (dogs and cats), dairy (dogs and cats), fish (cat), and wheat (dogs).

Some breeds are more susceptible to food sensitivity, and Chihuahuas are one of them. The most affected areas are the face, paws, lower legs, and groin, with ears and eyes being affected less often. Dogs often chew or lick the impacted areas or scratch their face or ears along the carpet while also scratching themselves with their back feet.

Can we Avoid Adverse Reactions to Food

Initially, there are no apparent skin irregularities, except perhaps slight reddening, even though the dog is itchy. (This is important because there is often a rash or visible lesion).

In time, due to scratching and self-trauma, lesions can develop, alongside bacterial or yeast infections and seborrhea, all of which can add to the 'smelly dog' odor. The skin becomes reddened and eventually hyperpigmented (too dark), scratched, thickened, and wrinkled, with hair loss and fur color change caused by staining from the saliva.

Gastrointestinal symptoms may include diarrhea, increased passing motions, increased stool volume, highly unpleasant-smelling stools, vomiting, bad breath, flatulence, and inappetence.

Don't forget treats, dental chews, supplements, and even certain medicines all have ingredients that your Chi could react to. When trying to avoid some parts of the main diet, you will need to look at these items' ingredients and composition.


What are the Various Types of Adverse Food Reactions in Chihuahuas?


While Chis don't necessarily have to have an adverse food reaction to any type of food, some can occur and are the most common. We will name a few most important ones. 

Food poisoning is a negative reaction caused by the dog reacting directly to its ingested food. Gastrointestinal disease in dogs can be caused by food poisoning and may include the following:


  • over ingestion of vitamins A and D
  • searching and consuming spoiled food
  • ingestion of chocolate, which is considered a typical problematic type of food
  • consumption of rhubarb, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation


 Food additives (food coloring, flavor enhancers, etc.) - People often report damaging reactions to food additives, including compounds like sulfites, monosodium glutamate, and certain spices. Despite the belief that food additives can cause problems in dogs, evidence to back this is lacking. The disulfide is one of the food additives that can cause problems - because of this. It can cause damage to red blood cells and is commonly found in onions. 

Reactions to food that mimick a Drug-like influence - Histamine, which can occasionally induce intense clinical responses in humans - flushing, diarrhea, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and facial swelling - do not have to present a problem for dogs in general, except for the rare individual reaction.

Carbohydrates - Acknowledged carbohydrate intolerance in dogs is not very common. One typical carbohydrate reaction that can be found in dogs is lactose intolerance. The symptoms include diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort after ingesting another animal's milk.


Myths and Misconceptions related to Pet Food Allergies.

While food allergies might be frustrating for both you and your Chi, on occasion, it doesn't have to be an allergy at all, even if the symptoms are present such as itchy skin or an upset stomach. Or it can be a completely different allergy not related to food in any way.

We will dive into the three most common misconceptions and myths regarding your Chihuahuas food allergy.


1. Pets are very prone to food allergies, and they are typical.


Food allergies aren't typical in pets, nor are they as common as many people believe them to be. 

Many disorders that may have nothing to do with allergies can cause signs that can mimic those of allergies (typically, itchy skin, skin and ear infections, and digestive issues such as diarrhea). 

One example is skin mites or hormonal disorders that can cause skin issues, intestinal parasites, or dietary issues, which can cause the stomach to become upset.

If your Chi shows any of these symptoms, it may be the best course of action for you to consult with your vet and get your puppy tested. If the vet suspects that your dog has allergies, different types can be the cause, such as flea bites (or flea saliva they produce) and allergies caused by the environment (pollen, smoke, or even dust), and food allergies. 

While your dog might have one or more types of allergy, food allergies are infrequent and are present in only 10% of all pets, including cats.

No matter what's inducing your pet's symptoms, it's vital to gather information and find the root cause, so your dog can receive proper treatment.


2. Testing my dog will tell me what my dog is allergic to.


The most common allergies your dog can have when it comes to food are proteins, including chicken, eggs, beef, dairy, lamb, wheat, or soy.

Pets may be allergic to any food component—so it's crucial to find a diet that suits them the best.

Blood testing for food allergies might give some information, but it is somewhat inaccurate. It is better suited for environmental allergies.

These tests can often show pets as allergic to an ingredient that is not bothering them, making it confusing to decide on a proper diet.


The best way to test food allergies is by doing the elimination diet trial. 

If a specific type of meat is what your dog has an allergic reaction to, you might want to try another protein source new to your Chi, such as duck, salmon, egg, lamb, venison, or fish. If none of these alternative protein sources help, your dog may be allergic to all of these proteins and requires food with specially made proteins. For precise diagnosis and therapy options, always consult your vet and ask them to suggest the best food for your dog's food allergies.


3. My dog shows symptoms while eating a specific type of food or ingredient. Does this mean that my Chi has a food allergy?


If your Chi has physical symptoms in response to certain foods, it may have a food allergy. But, food intolerance may also be the cause. 

As we discussed before, an allergy involves your dog's immune system. The body mistakes the ingredient as an "intruder," and the immune system begins to attack it as a virus or bacteria.

The side effects of this immune reaction are rash and the manifestation of allergies.

However, the immune system is not involved with food intolerance. When the body doesn't process or digest an ingredient very well, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms.

It would be best to consider food intolerance a fundamental problem to your pet's health since it can induce unpleasant physical symptoms. It can cause bloating or stomach pains. The important thing to notate is that your dog may not show that anything is wrong, so you need to be extra observant.

Your dog may have more dietary choices with a food intolerance than those with food allergies.

Many dog owners who suspect their pet has an allergy to a specific ingredient are surprised to see their dog does well on a Fromm diet—even if that particular diet contains the supposed allergen.

The multi-ingredient principle is the reason for this. 

How does the multi-ingredient principle help Chis' with food intolerances?

Different types of dog food include various protein sources, fruits, veggies, and last but not least, carbohydrates.

The vital thing to note is that everything is about balance, meaning that your puppy should be receiving a diverse diet without relying on just one ingredient.

In addition to supplying exceptional nutritional balance, this approach may resolve the issue of pets with dietary intolerance. The component in question will be present in a slighter amount that a pet's body may tolerate better.

To comprehend this principle, compare it to spicy food for us humans.

We can tolerate some amount of spice in our food; however, if a large amount is added, it can cause a stomach ache.

A similar pattern can occur in dogs with food intolerances. So, the multi-ingredient principle supplies nutritious options that usually work wonderfully for dogs with sensitive stomachs or food intolerances.

However, there is no one way of approaching this issue regarding food intolerances and allergies. What might work well for one Chi might not work for others.

Patience is essential. You may need to test several diets before discovering the right one for your dog.

When you discover the food that works well for your Chihuahua, your time invested in discovering that food will be worth it.

This will allow your puppy to flourish and enjoy its best life without irritating food intolerance or allergies.


Dietary Elimination Trials: What are they, and how do they work?

Food allergies or food intolerance can sadly last a lifetime. However, the main goal in handling allergies or adverse reactions to food is to discover and avoid the food ingredient responsible for causing skin or gastrointestinal issues. If your dog has food allergies, it's essential to provide the right dog food to your puppy. 

Dietary elimination trials can help. They work by removing the ingredient from your dog's food. This will help you discover the food allergy your Chi might have and will also be the most accurate. The food you give your dog should be healthy and balanced, without containing too many ingredients, especially additives. Make sure that if you choose this route, avoid giving your puppy any other kinds of food, including treats, while actively trying to isolate the allergen. This approach will require a lot of discipline and patience, so make sure you do not fall for the sad puppy eyes and not allow your dog to eat anything outside. 

This food trial will mean that your puppy can eat only one type of food for 4 to 12 weeks. Anything else is not allowed since it can meddle with the results.



We are all aware of how greedy our furry little friends can be—eating anything from grass, leftover food on the streets, or even our clothes, socks, etc. Consuming these different types of unsanitary items can cause or lead to adverse dietary reactions. 

It is essential to distinguish between a dog's adverse reaction to something he has eaten versus the involvement of the immune system and potential food sensitivity. 

If you are unsure what is happening, we recommend that you consult with your closest vet and ask for assistance in determining the issue that may be ailing your Chi. We realize how important your life companion is and that they are like a family member, so you should treat them as such. If you suspect that your puppy has any of these problems, please do not ignore them because dogs cannot talk nor explain to you in words what is troubling them. A happy and healthy dog means a happy family.

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