Labrador Food Allergies

Labrador Food Allergies

The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in the USA and rightly so! This stocky, shiny-coated handsome dog makes a wonderful family petOpens in a new tab. with its happy, jovial ways and eager-to-please attitude.

Along with their oh-so-friendly demeanor, they also have the smarts and high work ethic to be outstanding search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs.

Their eagerness for work comes from being bred for hunting and retrieving games, especially from the icy waters surrounding Labrador, and also being stellar swimmers.

Labrador retrieversOpens in a new tab. are generally a healthy breed, but they can develop certain conditions. One such problem that Labs are prone to are allergies, both environmental and food-related.

Environmental are similar to human allergies where your pup may be allergic to dust, pollen, and grasses, exhibiting sneezing along with skin irritation.

Also, akin to humans, a Labrador retrieverOpens in a new tab. can suffer from food allergies, and sometimes this can be a bit tricky to pinpoint exactly what food or foods they are allergic to.

In the following post, I will inform you about Labrador food allergiesOpens in a new tab.. Also included will be Labrador food allergiesOpens in a new tab. symptoms and to help with the frustration, I’ll answer the question, “what can Labradors eat?

To check your labrador Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new tab.website for all the help you may need.

Labrador Food Allergies
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What Are Allergies?

Allergies occur when a person or dog comes in contact with a substance or ingests food that their immune system deems as dangerous or a threat.

This substance or food is normally harmless but the result is a hypersensitive response that causes antibodies to be produced by the immune system and identifies these allergens as harmful.

This causes a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and in fact, some may be deadly. Many people are highly allergic to bee stings and also foods like nuts and shellfish.

Ingesting even the slightest amount of those allergens can cause anaphylaxis, a swelling and closing of the throat and airways, and a drop in blood pressure that leads to shock and death if not quickly treated.

This is a medical emergency. Although anaphylaxis is more common in people, it can happen in dogs if their allergy is a severe one. This can also occur in allergies to medications and vaccinations.

Labrador Food Allergies Symptoms


If your pup is allergic to an ingredient or ingredients in their dog food, they may exhibit some of the following symptoms.

  • Loose frequent stools
  • Gastrointestinal issues – vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Red, itchy skin – usually on the face, muzzle, nose, and stomach
  • Constant scratching, biting, chewing, and/or licking irritated areas
  • Skin infections – caused by scratching, breaking the skin, and developing oozing sores
  • Loss of fur – bald patches
  • Head shaking
  • Ear infections – often with discharge


Your Lab may eat the same brand of dog food their entire life and never show any signs of allergies. They may also show no signs as a puppy.

Allergies generally don’t develop and show symptoms until your pup is six months or older.

If they begin to show signs of an allergy, they will gradually get worse and symptoms will magnify the more they are exposed to the offending allergen.

Labrador Food Allergies Symptoms
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What Food Your Labrador Is Allergic To – Solving the Mystery

If your Labrador retriever Opens in a new tab.shows symptoms of allergies, trying to figure out what they are allergic to will take some detective work for both you and your veterinarian. Working closely with them will identify allergens quicker and more smoothly.


Commercial pet food today contains so many ingredients and many are fillers, additives, and preservatives and most of these are just not necessary in pet foods.

That is why it’s so important to start your Lab puppy off on high-quality pet food that has all of the essentials but no unnecessary ingredients.

Unfortunately, many times it is not odd ingredients causing the allergy, it is the source of protein in the food causing all of these uncomfortable issues. Many of the most common allergens are listed below.

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Wheat gluten
  • Soy

To determine exactly what your pup is allergic to, your veterinarian may perform a saliva or blood test.

These tests, however, are not always accurate and can even be a bit sketchy. You may find they are allergic to a food they aren’t really allergic to and vice versa.

The best way to determine the allergen source is by using an elimination diet, which is time-consuming but gives better more definitive results.

In the elimination diet, you will be feeding your pup limited foods but also foods that they have never eaten before. This trial usually lasts about three months and after that time previous ingredients can be introduced back into their diet.

If your Lab has a relapse then that particular food or ingredient was the allergen and should be avoided.

Another consideration to be aware of is that some dogs may not have a true food allergy,Opens in a new tab. but a food sensitivity or intolerance. The symptoms of food intolerance can mimic many of the same symptoms of a food allergy.

Usually, food intolerance can be caused by too much fiber in your pup’s diet or too much fat. If you feed your pup table scraps or junk food this may be the source of the fat. When these things are eliminated, symptoms generally abate.

What Food Your Labrador Is Allergic To
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What Can Labradors Eat?


Once you and your veterinarian have identified what the allergen or allergens are, avoiding them is the first step in resolving the symptoms and getting them on the right track.

Dog food with limited ingredients is best and your veterinarian will have recommendations, perhaps suggesting a “hypoallergenic” dog food or even a prescription food that they would need to order for you.

Since protein may be the culprit of allergies, the new food may contain venison, rabbit, or duck as its main protein component.

This food will likely be more expensive than their old food but will safeguard them from any reactions and be a good healthy choice.

You can opt for a homemade or even raw diet, but discuss this with your Lab’s veterinarian before venturing into this area.

Your pup needs all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for energy and to be healthy and this can be difficult if you are preparing the food yourself, not to mention time-consuming.

If you like, you can give your pup some variety and spice up their meals or snacks with human food.

Listed below are some acceptable foods your retriever can eat. Speak with your veterinarian first and only try one new item at a time to avoid gastrointestinal issues.

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