Q: Does my dog have a food allergy, or just an irritable stomach?

June 26, 2010 | By Mary T. | 1 answer | Expired: 2040 days ago

Mary T.

I think my dog might have irritable bowel syndrome. Or is it inflammatory bowel disease. Or food allergies?

Chosen Answer

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) might be caused, in part, by food intolerance. Which is not the same as food allergy — or the same as inflammatory bowel disease, either.

First please promise to take your dog to the veterinarian, and we’ll throw out some ideas. Irritable bowel syndrome might involve long-term vomiting and diarrhea that seems greasy or filled with mucus and possibly blood. Dogs in the throes of diarrhea may strain to “go” yet produce little or nothing. Be prepared to tell your vet about your dog’s eating habits. And any stress your dog is under, since stress can be one source of irritation. You might be told to feed a “bland” diet like rice or pasta for a couple days, if food intolerance is suspected.

However, food intolerance is not the same as food allergy — which usually shows up in skin problems, not digestive ones. In the case of food allergy, prepare for a 12-week “trial” with novel animal protein (rabbit or venison) to see what your dog might be allergic too.

Inflammatory bowel disease is just as serious. Find out from your veterinarian.

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