Important Information About Allergies & Food Sensitivity Issues:
Food allergies are one of the top reasons why people contact me for consulting. True food allergies in dogs is uncommon.
What most dogs are really dealing with is food sensitivities. Legitimate food allergies differ from sensitivities. An allergic response occurs when dogs encounter certain ingredients and their body launches an immediate immunological response.
For example, the first day I brought my new pug puppy Ronan home I gave him organic duck canned puppy food to help him transition from a kibble diet to a fresh food diet.
Ten minutes after feeding him, his face began to swell.
I rushed him to the emergency veterinarian and he received a shot of anti-histamine. Fortunately that was the extent of it.
In the majority of dogs, food ingredients don’t cause this type of response. However, true allergy can happen. If you are allergic to shellfish, whenever you eat anywhere other than your home, you must put out the alert because you are “allergic” to shellfish not sensitive to it.
You could die of anaphylaxis which is the most extreme allergic response requiring emergency medical assistance. Anaphylaxis is usually caused by medications, food or insect bites.
Like my dog Ronan, less severe allergic reactions include swelling, rashes, fluctuations in blood pressure and hives. Allergy symptoms tend to show up within seconds, minutes or up to a few hours from the time of exposure.
A few years ago my dog Frances ate another dog’s treats and with minutes, she was covered in hives. Since her breathing didn’t seem to be affected, I gave her a dose of antihistamine and waited.
It took over six hours for the hives to clear up. Francis had a true allergic response.
Food sensitivity is usually the reason for what most people call “food allergies”.
Differentiating between sensitivity and allergy is important for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Conventional veterinary treatment of “food allergies” usually results in the prescribing of antibiotics and steroids for the manifestation of skin eruptions and itching.
You’ll want to avoid these drugs when possible less your dog ends up in a cycle of sickness that is hard to stop.
Symptoms of food sensitivities include hair loss, paw licking, ear infections, skin sores, crusts, incessant itching and biting of the skin, eye discharge, stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea and bladder infections.
After going on an elimination diet and analyzing their symptoms, many times it's just a sensitivity to a single food item. After the ingredient has been removed from their diet, the itching and scratching ceases.
This is a example of true food sensitivity.
Food sensitivity can build over time or be the result of feeding the same foods over and over again.
If any of us would take the time to look closely at the foods that we eat each day, you might notice that after you stop consuming certain foods, symptoms like skin blotching, headaches and joint pain disappear. We all need a variety of foods in our diets this includes your dog.
When the body starts to react to stimuli by causing skin irritations like destructive biting and scratching, you must rule out the environmental causes systematically.
Start with the most obvious culprits like harsh detergents, flea and tick medications, and any other substance that goes in or on your dog’s body. Thyroid imbalance, yeast overgrowth and flea dermatitis must also be ruled out before moving on to food testing.
Feeding a repetitive diet full of poor quality proteins, fillers and by-products can set your dog’s body up for dysfunction, immune system overload and nutritional deficiency.
"Treating food sensitivity can be as simple as eliminating a specific ingredient or it can be a little more difficult."
Quick solutions include filtering your dogs water, adding digestive enzymes and probiotics to their food and if feeding a dry dog food, limit the ingredients as much as you can.
Another tip for kibble feeders is look for holistic foods that don’t mix land and sea proteins. For example a chicken and fish food.
I’ve found that fish protein with land proteins can cause some dogs distress while they tolerate those same proteins when fed separately.
The easiest way to avoid sensitivity and add variety if feeding a natural - raw diet.
There are also certain tests that you can give your dog to help serve as a guideline for feeding and sensitivities.
The main test for this is called the IgG antibody test. Your veterinarian draws your dog’s blood and sends it to a specialty lab for testing.
Some labs test for proteins, a variety of vegetables and different common allergens.
I always tell people to begin with testing and combine the results with a food trial. Food trials limit ingredient choices over a period of 12 weeks, gradually adding one ingredient at a time.
Many vets in Australia recommend using Kangaroo Meat and treats as a base ingredient.
Because Kangaroo meat is wild, Kangaroo meat is organic, natural, it contains no allergens and has all the protein, omega 3’s, and vitamins and minerals they need.
Just check out the benefits of our wild Kangaroo meat Pet Treats:
No Additives – Pet Snacks treats are 100% natural and organic. You don't need to worry about dangerous additives here because they are single ingredient. No fillers, no additives.
High in Essential Nutrients – Things like protein, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and Iron are essential for maintaining healthy skin, joints, coat and strong immune system. My treats can improve cell and brain function while lowering inflammation.
Allergen Free – Our Roo treats do not contain common allergens found in store bought treats like grains, soy and preservatives which cause itching and infections. Out treats can even reverse environmental allergy symptoms and stop your dog itching and scratching.
Dental Health – Our natural dental chews help bring back those pearly white teeth in days, and keeps bad breath at bay saving you time and money with vet bills.
Highly Digestable – Roo treats are highly palatable, and easily digested by dogs which is perfect for dogs with sensitive stomaches. No more worries about upset tummies.
It’s an amazing way to find out what is causing your dog’s symptoms and how to avoid the causative substance in the future. All that is required is patience. Patience indeed.
You must be an active participant in your dog’s health in order for them to thrive in this life. Testing and elimination diets can help provide relief for dogs experiencing extreme sensitivity, but ensuring the health and happiness of dogs ultimately comes down to us.
Pet Parents throughout Australia are now becoming far more aware about these issues, and are not only willing but eager to give their dogs the best...
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