12 Facts about Homemade Dog Food Allergies and Intolerance
Does your dog always itching or licking her feet? Does your pooch suffering vomiting and soft stool? Dog food allergies may be the cause of these problems. Dog Food allergies should be a great concern to you as number of dogs suffering allergies from foods are increasing from time to time. About 31% of dogs in United State suffer from allergies. And it is evaluated that 6% to 11% of allergic canine companions in US have food allergies.
What is Dog Food Allergy?
Dog food allergy (also called dog dietary hypersensitivity) is an exaggerated response of dog’s immune system to a new, unfamiliar protein, provoking a harmful reaction in a healthy dog.
Food allergy is not the same as food intolerance. Dog food intolerance is inability of a dog to effectively digest a food. This is mostly due to the lack of a particular enzyme needed for the digestion of such food. For instance, an enzyme called lactase is required for milk digestion. Dogs (and even men) lacking or not having enough lactase will have problem digesting milk and they are said to be having lactose intolerance.
Here are the facts you must know about homemade dog food allergies. And they are the information you must learn before you start feeding your dog home-prepared food.
1. Proteins are the Allergens in Dog Foods
As mentioned in the definition of allergies of dog food above, proteins are the substances behind the allergic reactions of dogs to food. Depending on your dog’s heredity, she can develop allergy to any protein in her diet.
When it comes to dog food allergies, there is no such thing as ‘bad’ protein or ‘good’ protein.
2. Most Implicated Foods with Allergens
The foods most connected to dietary hypersensitivity in dogs are meat (like chicken, beef, and lamb), dairy products, eggs, and soy. Any dietary protein is potentially allergenic!
While majority of people believe that meats are the only source of proteins, there are also proteins present in vegetables and grains. Any one of these proteins has the potential to cause a food allergy.
3. Least Implicated Foods with Allergens
Fish and rabbit are known meat with least allergens.
4. Manifestation of Dog Food Allergies
Clinical manifestations of dietary allergies in dogs are greatly diverse and include
- Gastrointestinal reactions: vomiting, frequent defecation, soft stools and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Respiratory reactions: seizures and difficulty in breathing.
- Cutaneous reactions: dermatitis, hives and otitis.
- Generalized body reactions: malnutrition (low body weight, poor hair coat) and poor appetite.
5. Dermatoses are the Most Common Dog Food Allergy
Dermatosis is the most common adverse reaction to food allergy in dog. It is any disease affecting the skin. It may be either whole body pruritus (itching), or limited to scratching at the ears or licking the feet. And it is advisable you consult your vet doctor on this. At the time you take your dog to your veterinarian there may be a secondary staph or yeast infection.
6. Allergy and Infection are Different
Allergy and infection exhibit similar signs and symptoms. They can only be differentiated by microscopic examination of samples from your dog’s skin.
If you are to take your dog for skin examination, do not bathe her for at least 3 days before the diagnosis.
7. Food Allergies are not the Only Canine Allergies
Apart from food allergies, dogs may also suffer from the following types of allergy:
I. Inhalant allergies: These are distressed reactions triggered by airborne environmental pollutants like dust and pollen. They occur when dog breathes in vapor, gas or suspended particles that are foreign to her body system.
II. Contact allergies: They occur when a dog is in external or internal contact with an allergen. This includes:
- Insect Bite (external contact): It occurs when dog is bitten by insect like flea. Repel fleas, ticks and other insect from your dog with Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs .
- Helminths Feeding (internal contact): Helminth is another name for parasitic worms like nematodes, flukes and tapeworms.
- Medication (internal contact): Like human, dog reacts adversely to some medication.
8. All forms of allergies are hereditary
Adverse responses of dogs to food are in their genes formation. It is passed from one generation to another in breeding dogs.
9. Some Dog Breeds are More Disposed to Food Allergies than Others
The following are dog breeds most prone to food allergy:
- American Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Bull Terrier Jack Russell Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- English Setters
- Fox Terrier
- German Shepherd
- Irish Setters
- Labrador Retriever
- Lhasa Apso
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Shar Pei
- Shi Tzu
- Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Springer Spaniel
- West Highland White Terrier
10. No Absolute Test for Dog Food Allergies
Allergies often present with parallel signs, are usually chronic, and often have secondary diseases by the time they are observed. Intradermal skin diagnosis or blood allergy testing are accurate for atopic allergies but have no link with food allergy!
The following studies show that laboratory tests to identify the allergen-carrier food lack reliability in this capacity:
11. Food Elimination Trial is the Only Definitive Test for Dog Food Allergies
Do you want to know the food that gives your dog allergies? No medical test can show you that. And you may not even need a vet for it. All you need is food elimination trial. It is the only accurate way to identify the food responsible your dog’s allergies.
First, you need to be sure and eliminate other causes of dermatosis – itchiness (especially parasites and infections) by microscopic examination as mentioned in #6 fact.
A food elimination trial is carried out by feeding your dog a new protein for 12 weeks. Again, use protein and carbohydrates sources that your dog has never taken before. So you can use white fish, duck, venison or rabbit as your protein source.
Changing your dog’s diet quickly could give her stomach upset, leading to diarrhea and stomachache. So. It is advisable you let transition to new food last for about two weeks.
Since allergic reactions will usually be seen within 48 hours of the introduction of an allergen and may last for up to 5 days. Therefore, let the transition be as follow:
- Days 1–4: Feed 75% of the old food and 25% of the new food.
- Days 5–8: Feed 50% each of old and new food.
- Days 9–12: Feed 25% of the old food and 75% of the new food.
- Day 13 and on: Feed all new food.
NOTHING except for the selected diet and water should be given to your dog during the food trial. It is important that an elimination diet be strictly followed.
12. Overcooked or Low Quality Food Contributes to Allergies
Overcooking of food will modify it as a result of Maillard reactions and reduces its digestibility. Also low quality food has low digestibility. And low digestibility of proteins may favors dietary hypersensitivity in dog.
Dog Food Allergies – Conclusion
- Protein is the allergen that gives healthy dog adverse reactions to some foods.
- The most common allergic reactions to food dogs manifest is skin problems.
- Besides food allergies, there are Inhalant and contact allergies with dogs.
- Some infections symptoms are similar to food allergies symptoms, so your dog needs laboratory examination to be sure which one she is having.
- Some dog breeds are more disposed to food allergens than others.
- All forms of allergies are hereditary.
- No sure lab test to identify allergen-carrier food for dog.
- Food elimination trial is the best mean to identify allergy-causing food.
- Over-cooked food and low quality food make allergic reaction worse.
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