Put Your Dog On An Elimination Diet
Many pet parents go through this process and get satisfactory results. a elimination diet is tedious, but it is the most accurate way to find out about common food allergies, for both dogs and humans. The effort put into an elimination diet pays off in the long run because you will have a clear idea of what your dog can and cannot eat.
It starts by stopping all the food that you are currently feeding your dog. For the next 12 weeks, you will be feeding them a single source of protein and carbohydrates. It should be something new to them. You can refer to this list for the most commonly used ingredients in elimination diets.
If they dont show any signs of allergy after 12 weeks, you can start going back to their original food groups. Do this by item, not all together. Once youve spotted an allergic reaction, remove the most recent addition and add that food allergy to the list.
What Exactly Is A Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Technically, the term hypoallergenic dog food is a bit misleading.
There really is no such thing as a universal hypoallergenic dog food its mainly a marketing term. This is because, due to the nature of allergies, one type of dog food could be considered hypoallergenic for an individual dog, but not another.
For a dog allergic to chicken, any food that does not contain chicken would be considered hypoallergenic for that individual canine.
However, another dog may be allergic to rice, not chicken, and therefore will have different needs, changing what would be classified as hypoallergenic for that specific dog.
Hypoallergenic dog food generally refers to a type of dog food that avoids common allergens although what is truly hypoallergenic depends on your dog and her specific situation. Since common allergens can be avoided through a variety of different methods, there several types of hypoallergenic dog foods.
The main forms of hypoallergenic dog foods include:
Note that a dog food can fit into more than one of these categories. For example, a hypoallergenic dog food relying on a novel protein source can also have limited ingredients.
Remember that you should look for single-source novel proteins and single-source carbohydrates .
Common combinations include:
- Salmon & Sweet Potato
- Kangaroo & Brown Rice
Healthy For Humans Not For Fido
Avocados are considered healthy for humans but that’s not the case for dogs. All parts of the avocado plant can cause stomach upset but of greatest concern is the pit, which can cause serious digestive obstruction. Bread dough can result in stomach upset causing reduced blood flow to the stomach and respiratory distress as the dough expands. Onions and garlic — all members of this shallot family — can cause damage to red blood cells, lethargy and weakness.
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Does Your Dog Really Need Lamb Bison And Other ‘hypoallergenic’ Dog Food Proteins
In order to identify what is the best dog food for dogs with food allergies you must first understand what are food allergies and what causes them.
Many different terms are used to describe abnormal reactions to food. The terms allergy and hypersensitivity describe an immunologic reaction to food allergens and requires previous exposure to the allergen to bring about symptoms. In contrast, a food intolerance does not involve the immune system and can occur with the first exposure to a certain food. Both reactions produce similar symptoms and may be difficult to tell apart without veterinary guidance.
In fact, according to Dr. Adam Patterson, clinical assistant professor and Chief of Dermatology at the Texas A& M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Small Animal Clinic, Food allergies in dogs present themselves quite differently than food allergies in humans. For instance, a person who is allergic to shellfish may experience throat swelling and possibly a critical or fatal reaction, but in dogs, the allergy is expressed through the skin and seen most often as itch.
Dog Food Allergy Test And Other Diagnosis Methods
So, how can you tell if your dog is allergic to food? First, it’s helpful to know how you might distinguish a food allergy from an environmental one. “Environmental or flea allergies are far more common,” explains Shmalberg. If you suspect either of those, consult your vet, who can help identify and treat fleas, or do a combination of blood tests and/or intradermal allergy testing to assess environmental allergies.
But if your dog has the following signs, talk to your vet about setting up a dog food allergy test or elimination diet.
Telltale Signs Your Dog May Have a Food Allergy :
- If the symptoms occur at a very young agetypically, puppies younger than age 1 don’t experience environmental allergies
- If the symptoms aren’t tied to a seasonal change or don’t change in different parts of the country
- If the reaction doesn’t respond to steroids
- If your dog has both skin and gastrointestinal symptoms
Dog Food Elimination Diet
It’s also important you refrain from feeding treats, table scraps, snacks, and flavored medications and supplements of any kind that don’t match the specific ingredient combo you’re using for the trial. After eight weeks, to truly prove the food allergy, you must then feed the original foodthe suspected allergic protein or proteinsagain. If there’s a reaction or breakout at that point, that’s a pretty good indication of an allergy.
Other Types of Dog Food Allergy Testing
Aside from elimination diets, there are a couple of other test options worth a look.
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Bronzing Around The Lips
This is most noticeable, again, in breeds with white coats. You will notice their lips, feet, or skin are pink and inflamed. This can indicate a yeast colonization, often triggered by an allergy.
What It Looks Like: Lips, jowls, and toes may be red, pink, and inflamed. Dog will itch often.
What It Means: Yeast-based infection or food allergy.
But First! Rule Out Yeast infection or sunburn
- Wipe the area with a 50/50 mix of purified water and organic apple cider vinegar.
- You can also add apple cider vinegar to your dogs water or food to reduce acidity and discourage yeast.
- Avoid many veterinary-grade solutions such as benzoyl peroxide-based products, which can dry out the skin, increasing irritation.
How Are Food Allergies In Dogs Diagnosed
The only way to reliably diagnose a food allergy in your dog is through a food trial using a hypoallergenic dog food. You can do this by using a novel protein source or a hydrolyzed protein.
A hydrolyzed diet is made when these animal proteins are not recognized in the body as allergens. A starch, such as potatoes, or rice will typically be used as the carbohydrate since they are very infrequently associated with an allergic reaction.
During this testing period, the food combo should be given to your dog for a minimum of eight to 10 weeks. This gives proper time to adequately test your dogs response since allergic reactions take time to develop. You should notice an improvement within the first four to six weeks after the new diet as begun, but some breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers or Cocker Spaniels, have been known to take a longer time to respond to the new diet.
During the testing period, it is imperative that you only feed your dog the new hypoallergenic diet and avoid all other foods, including treats and flavored medications.
After you have identified the food allergy using the hypoallergenic diet, you should conduct a second challenge to confirm the diagnosis. Going back to the dogs original diet should make symptoms reoccur within a couple of weeks. When the food allergy is confirmed, you can add in single ingredients to the hypoallergenic diet to see what exact food or foods is causing the reaction and avoid this ingredient moving forward.
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Is My Dog Allergic To Food
Does your dog show signs of regular vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramping, skin rashes or ear infections? If so, your dog may be allergic to something in its diet.
We see a number of dogs with any of the above symptoms and if they are caused by a diet allergy, they can quite often be resolved.
Food allergies commonly develop at a young age, but can develop at any time. Food reactions can occur suddenly, even if your dog has been eating the same diet for years. The foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction include beef, dairy or chicken. The component that usually causes the allergy is one or more of the animal proteins in the food.
If your dog is showing any of the signs listed above please contact us here at 4 Paws as soon as possible for an appointment. The vets can review your dog so a treatment strategy can be devised and a food trial commenced if necessary. Many of our patients with food allergies live a happy and healthy life once they have been diagnosed and managed on the appropriate diet.
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Dog Food Allergy Myths And Facts
Does your dog chew at his tail or feet? Does your cat have a dry, dull coat and always seems to be itchy? Are you constantly at the vet for ear infections or digestive issues? Food allergies or insensitivities may be to blame! While grain allergies are the most common seen in dogs, they can, and often do, develop allergies to specific proteins in their diets.
Dogs and cats are not born with allergies to specific proteins they are developed over time by feeding the same ingredients over and over. If a dog is given chicken every day of his life, for example, over time his body may become less equipped to break down those proteins. The body begins to mistakenly identify chicken as a harmful ingredient, and creates defensive antibodies to fight against the food. This is what causes the symptoms that many of us have become familiar with.
How can you prevent these allergies from developing? The best way is through a rotational diet, much like our own. Each day, we eat a different assortment of foods than the day before. This helps us to receive a wide variety of nutrients, and of course, prevents boredom from eating the same thing over and over. Dogs and cats also benefit from a varied diet, and switching foods can prove to save a lot of money on veterinary care over the course of a dogs life.
So remember: a diet with a wide variety of proteins makes for a happy and HEALTHY pet, and can prevent dietary insensitivities down the road!
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Elimination Diet For Dogs With Food Allergies
If an elimination diet is recommended for your dog, a specially formulated hypoallergenic food will be prescribed. For 8-10 weeks you will only feed your dog the prescribed food, completely eliminating all other food sources from your pet’s diet.
If one or more of the ingredients in your dog’s regular food is the source of the symptoms, the elimination of the regular dog food should help to improve your dog’s condition.
It’s important to note that, for the elimination diet to work you must stop giving your dog treats during this period as well as their regular food. Only the hypoallergenic food should be fed to your dog while they are on the elimination diet.
Being on the elimination diet for 10 weeks will allow your dog’s body to adjust to the new prescription food, and give your vet the opportunity to assess your dog’s overall health.
If the allergy symptoms clear up while your dog is on the elimination diet, your vet may request that you return to feeding your dog their original diet to see if the allergy symptoms reappear.
While an elimination diet can be helpful in determining food allergies in dogs, other tests can also be useful, and provide quick results. Here at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital our in-house lab allows our vets to test for the root of your pets problem and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.
Food Allergyor Food Intolerance
Food allergies and food intolerances are 2 different issues.
A food allergy occurs when a dogs immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food ingredient as harmful.
And then creates defensive antibodies to fight the invading enemy .
On the other hand
A food intolerance is a digestive problem rather than an immune response.
An intolerance occurs when a dogs digestive system is unable to digest a specific ingredient.
For example, lactose intolerance is a common condition in which a dog is unable to break down lactose .
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Types Of Hypoallergenic Dog Food
Hypoallergenic dog food could be misleading since an ingredient that triggers food allergies in dogs varies from one dog to another.
For example, for a dog that’s allergic to chicken, any food that does not contain this common allergen can be considered hypoallergenic dog food.
But that’s not the case for dogs that are allergic to various ingredients other than chicken, like rice or beef, pork, and others.
A vet typically recommends this type of dog food once your dog’s food allergies are determined. Though hypoallergenic dog foods are often regarded as prescription dog foods, some are readily available over-the-counter and online.
Here are the common types of hypoallergenic food for dogs: Limited Ingredient Diet, Hydrolyzed Dog Food, and Grain-Free Diet.
Limited Ingredient Diet
Limited ingredient dog food, otherwise known as limited ingredient diets , refers to dog foods with fewer ingredients. This diet helps eliminate and identify food ingredients that trigger dog food allergies.
Generally, limited ingredient diets include a novel protein and a different carbohydrate source.
A novel protein is a new protein that is not usually present in common dog foods. Examples of sources include kangaroo, venison, duck, venison, turkey, and ostrich.
Usual novel carbohydrate sources for limited ingredients diet are brown rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal.
When Do Dogs Develop Allergies
No matter the case, dog food allergies can manifest at any point in your pups life.
You may, for example, feed your dog chicken-based food for most of her life, only to discover that at some point, she begins exhibiting signs of an allergy to the food. And because the proteins contained in chicken are very similar to those in turkey, she may become allergic to all varieties of poultry!
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Starting A Food Trial
Starting your dog on a food trial means your pet will eat a prescription diet and absolutely nothing else for a couple of months to see if symptoms resolve.
If they do, some veterinarians will suggest going back to the dogs old diet to see if symptoms return to ensure that the dog is truly allergic to one or more ingredients in their regular diet.
Common Dietary Allergens For Dogs
Allergies are caused by proteins that over-stimulate the immune system.
The most common meat allergies for dogs are:
Beef, chicken, lamb, fish, and pork are all dog food meat ingredients that have been known to cause allergic reactions in dogs.
Youll notice that theyre some of the most popular ingredients in dog food, and since exposure to these ingredients is common, theyve become common allergens.
Other common dog food allergens that are not meat-based include:
As you can see from this list, allergens arent only caused by foods humans think of as protein sources. In reality, most foods even vegetables and grains contain some proteins. Accordingly, the proteins in things like wheat, soy and corn can also elicit allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, these are all common ingredients in commercial foods, and unless you actively work to avoid these ingredients, your pooch will likely be chomping them up in her kibble.
When your dog has a food allergy, your dogs digestive system fails to digest some of the proteins in the allergy-inducing food. When these whole proteins contact specialized receptors in the intestines, the body treats them as dangerous invaders.
This causes the immune system to launch a disproportionate response, which causes the side effects associated with a food allergy.
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What Foods Constipate Dogs
Adding a bit of water to your dog’s kibble may help, and a fiber source like canned pumpkin can help soften things up.
The more complex grains such as oats, peas, barley, and sorghum tend to have more fiber and can help with constipation as well.
Sometimes probiotics are a great solution to gut health in your dog.
Yorkie Allergy Symptoms.
The Yorkshire Terrier is known for its hypoallergenic coat, meaning it doesn’t shed and is a good breed for people allergic to pet dander.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Yorkies don’t have allergies of their own.
Food Allergies In Dogs
If you believe that your dog is suffering from food allergies, or a sensitivity to an ingredient in their usual food it’s important to find out what the problematic ingredient is in order to remove it from their diet, but still maintain optimum nutrition.
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When To Contact Your Vet
Make an appointment with your vet if you notice any of the symptoms above or you think your dog may have a food allergy. There are many other conditions that can cause these symptoms as well as a food allergy.
You know your dog best. If they dont have the symptoms listed above but you are still concerned its always best to contact your vet.
Can Dog’s Eat Cooked Lamb
Yes! Cooking lamb for dogs is an excellent choice because lamb is often a protein source that a lot of dogs may not have encountered before. That makes this simple homemade dog food for allergies recipe a great option for pet parents who are looking for a healthy dog food recipe with very few ingredients.
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