My Shih Tzu George was always a fidgety dog. He would often scratch at night, keeping us awake. I spoke to someone at my pet food store who suspected that George had food allergies.
This clerk suspected that George had a food allergy and was allergic to chicken and grain and recommended that I try a different dog food. I switched to the new dog food and did not even notice the changes that were happening until I ran out of food and was in need of a different protein source. I like to rotate my dog’s protein sources. It was not easy to find a dog food without chicken and grain over the counter, I was also a little skeptical of the unofficial dog allergy diagnosis, so I grabbed a bag of one of his old brands and took it home.
Within a few days I noticed that George tossed and turned all night. He also started licking and scratching and could not get comfortable. Being a relatively new dog owner at the time, I guess I just thought that was normal dog behavior. That dogs just licked and fidgeted and scratched at night. I didn’t realize how much of his “dog” behavior was actually food related. I can’t believe the unnecessary discomfort he must have gone through while I figured it out but I’m so glad that I did.
I immediately switched back to the recommended food and he is back to sleeping comfortably through the night.
I have yet to find a dog treat that agrees with him and I have found it best to skip dog treats entirely. Even treats without chicken and grain. Odds are he probably has other allergies that I don’t know about. There are about 4 different dog foods that I rotate that he is fine with.
I am now familiar with typical dog behavior and it does not include restlessness all night, or discovering wet spots on his fur when I pet him, from excessive licking.
According to Pets Web MD the most common dog food allergies are: beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing.
Excessive Licking (feet and rear end)
Chronic Ear Inflammation
If your dog exhibits these behaviors you’ll want to talk to your vet about allergies and see what s/he recommends. There are different ways to treat allergies in pets. Some need medication and for others it’s a simple food change. Your vet will be able to advise you better than I.
The only to determine if your dog has food allergies is to try an elimination diet. Change your dog’s food to one s/he has never had before. Once the dog’s symptoms dissipate, you start to introduce the old food items back into their diet, the ones that you think may have caused the allergy in the first place. This takes time since it may take a few days or even weeks for the allergic symptoms to dissipate and then a few days or weeks for the introduced food to trigger their allergic reaction in the first place. This is best done with the guidance of a vet or make sure to do lots of research on your own so you know what you’re doing.
You may want to try foods with exotic ingredients your dog has never had before like Taste of the Wild Dog Food with bison and venison. There are so many dog foods out there with all sorts of ingredients so you should be able to find something your dog has never had before.
Hope your puppies are happy and healthy and if they are keeping you up at night, they might have food allergies.