Food intolerances - how to protect your dog from bloating and diarrhoea

Unfortunately, dogs don’t talk about their digestive problems. So, how can you recognise a food intolerance and how can you counteract it?

If your dog has bloating or diarrhoea, food intolerance can be the reason. But since dogs don’t talk about their digestive problems, how can you recognise it? And what tips are there for dealing with a food intolerance? Read this article to find out which nutritional components your dog may be allergic to and what you can do about it:

Signs of food intolerance in dogs

When you buy a dog, you find out in advance what healthy nutrition for a dog means. You know how much a dog should eat and maybe even feed him according to a precise plan from the vet. But something still isn’t right? For example, your dog is vomiting or shows other symptoms of a food allergy:

Redness and itching

Your dog is always nibbling on himself? See if there’s any unusual redness on his skin.

Bloating and flatulence

You can often recognise flatulence in dogs not only by the unpleasant smells, but also by gurgling stomach noises and loss of appetite, an unusual urge to move and a changed posture. When dogs have flatulence, they often curl up. If the symptoms worsen, this can lead to colic which manifests itself in cramps due to severe pain.


A dog with diarrhoea is not an appetising thought. Your dog then spreads his runny excrement all over the place. Diarrhoea is often accompanied by other gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating. Not only will you find your dog’s fluid excrement, but you may also notice that he appears limp and has little appetite.


Dogs afflicted by diarrhoea often also suffer from fever and chills. In such cases, going to the vet is especially important as fever in dogs can be life-threatening if left untreated.  


If your dog vomits, this can be a sign of food intolerance. His natural self-preservation reflex wants to rid his body of the irritating substance. Perhaps you can already recognise the harbingers of vomiting when your dog becomes restless, licks his lips, or makes conspicuous smacking and swallowing noises. This is usually followed by choking; you’ll see your dog’s back arch in an effort to get the food out again. 

In principle, all of these symptoms could indicate a serious illness or other triggers like poisoning or poor nutrition. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly what a food allergy is and how you can diagnose it:

Possible reasons for your dog’s food intolerance

As a dog owner, you should be able to tell the difference between food intolerance and a food allergy. If your dog is allergic to a particular substance in his food, his body will react immediately. In the case of intolerance, antibodies will form, which react the next time the food is eaten and trigger the symptoms described above. For example, a fever can develop in the dog or diarrhoea can weaken him greatly.

Common causes of food intolerances:

Certain flavourings, colours and preservatives in dog food

Proteins from cereals

Proteins from animal ingredients

Examples would be fructose intolerance, gluten intolerance, milk protein allergies or lactose intolerance in dogs.

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Tips for food intolerances

What can you do if you suspect a food intolerance?

1. The right diagnosis is everything

You’re not a vet and can’t be sure if your dog’s bloating and diarrhoea really are indications of a food allergy. Therefore, the first step is seeking the help of a medical professional so you can rule out serious illnesses or other triggers. The vet can determine a food intolerance or allergy with a blood test.

2. Combatting acute symptoms

Dogs with diarrhoea or flatulence are suffering. If you’re sure that the cause is a food intolerance, you can give your dog some relief. With flatulence, it helps to massage the dog’s stomach. If the dog is vomiting, unfortunately only strict fasting for 12 – 24 hours helps. Your vet can tell you what further measures are advisable.

3. Exclusion diet as a diagnostic tool

In addition to the blood test, an exclusion diet is also necessary. This means that you temporarily give your dog only food that comes exclusively from a specific carbohydrate source and protein source. You should follow the diet for 8 weeks and preferably use food that your dog has never eaten before. If he becomes symptom-free, but later has an allergic reaction again when you add a new protein source, this confirms the food intolerance to the corresponding substance.

4. A muzzle as a temporary aid

So that you always know what your dog is really eating, consider muzzling him when going for walks during the exclusion diet.

5. Consider long-term food conversions

You’ve found out your dog’s food intolerances, but you have a hard time with the dog food available in the store? Then converting to BARF or cooking the food yourself could make sense. Then you always know exactly what your dog is eating.

6. Biological remedies as support

The road to a carefree life for a dog with a food intolerance is long, but possible. Your vet can recommend medication that provides additional support for your dog so that it does not lose strength unnecessarily and can cope well with the challenge of a possible change in diet.

An additional snag with food intolerances

Food intolerances often lead to unpleasant side effects of a very practical nature: your dog throws up in your colleague’s new car or spreads his diarrhoea around his room in the kennel. Cleaning measures are a typical case for dog liability insurance. Find out now which package you can take out with Luko, for example, to make advance provisions for financial claims.

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