Does Your Dog Have Food Allergies?

Just like people, dogs can suffer from allergic reactions to a large number of things be they environmental, chemical or food related.  This article deals primarily with food allergies and how feeding a raw natural diet can help you to help your dog.

Single ingredient food like this lamb tripe will help with allergies

First off it is important to note that commercial dog kibble contains many ingredients – not just the ones that you see pictured or written on the front of the bag.  If you have a dog on kibble and you suspect that it is a protein (meat) allergy, don’t be so hasty. 

More likely than not, it is a reaction to or allergy to the grains, starches and myriad of other ingredients that each kibble, no matter how expensive, contains.  Even grain free kibbles aren’t free of carbs and starches.  They may be superior in most cases to other commercial foods but they still contain ingredients that your dog can’t and doesn’t use.  Fillers and waste.

If you suspect a food allergy in your dog, it generally doesn’t do much good to switch them to a different kibble – for the above stated reason – it is usually all of the unnecessary ingredients other than meat that are affecting your dog.  A raw or even cooked diet is the only way to completely eradicate these items in your dog’s diet.

So you switched to a completely carb free raw diet but your dog is STILL suffering.  At this point, it is logical to assume that there is an issue with a particular protein.  This is the time for what is known as an ‘elimination diet’.

An elimination diet means that you feed your dog ONE protein and one protein exclusively.  This means all meals consist of one meat and that all treats consist of that same meat.  An elimination diet is easiest when feeding a raw diet.  It is possible with a home cooked diet but somewhat difficult.  For the purposes of this post, we will only be referring to feeding a raw diet.

To successfully engage in an elimination diet, your first choice is the first protein.  Any protein that you have access to feeding consistently for at least two weeks will work.  For example, if you choose to begin with chicken, than your dog’s meals will consist of chicken only – meat, bones and organ.  For treats you will use only single ingredient treats consisting of chicken.  It is as easy as that.  It is best that all supplementation be stopped during this time so as to not confuse what it is your dog might be reacting to.  Supplements can be added back as you discover what proteins your dog can eat without issue.

Times may vary with each protein, but figure on feeding each one for approximately 2 weeks.  Watch your dog closely for an abatement of symptoms.  If he has been itchy and the itching subsides as the single protein diet continues, it is a good assumption that whatever particular protein you are feeding isn’t the one causing the issue.  Same for other allergy symptoms such as hot spots, goopy eyes and ears, rashes, bumps, etc.  If these problems persist without change, it is a distinct possibility that you have found your culprit – or at least one of them.  After the decided upon time, switch to the next protein and continue to observe.  If your dog’s symptoms had disappeared with the first protein but reappear with the second, it is your likely allergen.  If they had not abated but do upon feeding the second protein, then it becomes even more clear that your first protein is the issue.  If, at any point, your dog’s symptoms go away with a particular meat, use that meat as a method by which to get your dog symptom free before introducing the next choice.  In this manner you can be sure that any reaction you are seeing is from what you are feeding rather than a holdover from the last.

Raw feeding will allow you to completely control your dog’s diet.  For a dog with allergies, this amount of control is necessary and even imperative in order to stop the misery that allergies can and do induce.  Raw is a tool that puts you in the driver’s seat as it is one of the only ways that you can be absolutely certain what foodstuffs your dog eats.  Time to take control for the well-being of your pet!

Have you used an elimination diet to determine your dog’s allergies? How did it work for you?