Corn Allergies for Dogs

Food allergies in dogs can cause constant scratching and several trips to the veterinarian. Often, food allergies are initially misdiagnosed as flea or pollen allergies. Corn, an extremely common ingredient in many commercial dog foods, can cause significant allergic reactions. Learn why corn can be such an irritant, and how to respond to your dog’s corn allergy.

Why Corn?

Corn is not a natural food source for dogs. Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of darwin Bell

Corn is one of the most common foods that cause allergies in dogs. Although dogs are omnivorous, corn is not a natural food source for dogs. Unfortunately, corn and corn byproducts are two of the most common ingredients in commercial dog food.

Chemicals and Mold in Corn

Corn is susceptible to mold growth during the harvesting and refining processes. Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Brian Forbes

The corn designated for pet consumption has often been treated heavily with chemicals, both in the field and during processing. In addition to the corn itself, these chemicals can also cause allergic reactions in dogs. Finally, corn is highly susceptible to mold, which can often cause allergic reactions in dogs.

Symptoms of Corn Allergies

The main symptom of a corn allergy is skin irritation. The itchy skin appears primarily on the face, feet, ears, and front legs. Dogs with corn allergies may also develop ear infections, patchy skin, and hot spots. Due to the excessive scratching, dogs may develop skin infections that require treatment with antibiotics.

Treatment for Corn Allergies

Green peas are a good source of carbohydrates for dogs, and rarely cause allergic reactions. Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of liz west

The recommended treatment for a dog with a suspected corn allergy is to conduct a 12-week food trial. Feed your dog a food with a unique protein (avoid chicken, beef, and lamb, since these are so common) and a single carbohydrate. Common varieties for dogs with food allergies include duck and salmon, combined with sweet potatoes or green peas. Check your local pet retail store for allergen formulas.

Medications

While medications will not cure the corn allergy, they can give some relief in the short term. Antihistamines and steroids may reduce the skin irritation and inflammation. Consult with your veterinarian for prescriptions and dosage information for these short-term medications.

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