Why Does My Pet Have Food Allergies And What Can I Do About It?
Food allergies are a rising concern with pet owners and it seems like more and more pets on poor diets are suffering from them. Switching to a balanced, varied, species-appropriate raw diet is certainly an important part in combating your pet’s food allergies. A raw diet ensures that our pets, and especially the growing ones, have adequate nutrition and the health care that they need for a healthy immune system.
Why Does My Pet Have Food Allergies?
Food allergies occur when an animal’s immune system misidentifies a source from their food as an invader rather than a food item and mounts an immune response. In it’s weakened state, the immune system then overreacts to what it perceives are foreign substances and releases histamines and antibodies normally used by the body to fight microbial invaders. Often, the triggers for this reaction (the foreign substances) are inappropriate foods (such as kibble).
Common Signs Your Pet Has Food Allergies
Besides the more obvious signs including gastrointestinal problems,vomiting, diarrhea or chronic gas, here are some common indicators that your pet is dealing with a food allergy.
- Chronic Ear Infections – Frequent ear infections meaning more than 2 or 3 treatments per year are an indication that something is not right and your pet could have a food allergy. While yeast infections, ear mites, and “swimmer’s ear” can all be common causes of ear infections, ear infections that persist throughout the year can indicate a food allergy.
- Red, Brown Or Bronze Nail Beds – This is easiest to observe in dogs with white nails. If you notice that the base of your dog’s nails are red, even bloody-looking this is the sign of an inflammatory immune response. Your dog’s white nails should be white, with a pink quick. A red, brown, or red-brown nail bed base indicates that something is up. Nails may be sensitive and your dog may itch or lick them often.
- 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 and your dog will itch often. This can indicate a yeast colonization, often triggered by an allergy.
- Itchy Skin, Red Underbelly And Dull Coat – Together, these signs can indicate an allergy. If you notice the skin underneath the hair is red or pink, dry, and inflamed with excessive scratching and there is no relief with baths, conditioners, or over-the-counter allergy medications this could be a sign your pet is suffering from food allergies.
- Watery eyes – Dogs who are scratching at their eyes often, have goopy discharge or a clogged tear duct can have excess tear production. This causes staining and irritation. Just like people, dogs can have allergies. Some of us with hay fever experience itching, contact dermatitis, watery eyes, and stuffy noses. This can be a sign of food or environmental allergies.
Common Food Allergens
Many of these foods are found in both commercial dog foods and are possibly used in home-made raw diets.
- Grains – corn, wheat, rice
- Proteins – chicken, beef, eggs
- Root Vegetables – potatoes, carrot, sweet potatoes, yams
- Legumes – peanuts, lentils, beans, peas, soy
- Dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
- Genetically Modified Foods – alfalfa, zucchini, yellow squash, canola, beets, milk, papaya
Testing For Allergies
It’s a good idea to run an environmental allergy test, food allergy test or a food allergy elimination diet. Contact your holistic veterinarian for more information. They can also run a saliva test to measure antibodies to common food allergens to help you quickly identify the source of your dog’s irritation. This is a non-invasive, effective way to determine food allergies.
- Food Elimination Diet – A food elimination diet is another non-invasive way to test for your dog’s trigger food. This takes time (4 to 6 months) as you take your dog’s diet back down to bare essentials, removing all the common allergens listed in the Common Food Allergens section above. After a week or two on this basic diet, slowly reintroduce new foods (one per week), observing for changes in behavior or skin.
Taking the time to rule out food allergies can ultimately save you and your dog time, money and discomfort.
A Raw Diet Can Help
Switching from a processed kibble diet to a raw pet food diet will help your pet suffering from food allergies. Fresh, high quality raw pet food reduces the amount of additives, grains, and artificial components in your dog’s diet and therefore reduces the common food allergens that are causing them distress. So ensuring your pet is on a balanced, varied, species-appropriate raw diet is an important step in eliminating your pets food allergies.
What If My Pet Has A Protein Allergy?
We recommend that care should be taken when keeping your companion on just one protein, for pet food, as over time they may build up allergies to the protein. It is always advisable to have a mix of the different poultries or mix it up with some red meat if your companion is not allergic, this allows for diversity of pet food in the raw diet and may also keep your companion from being a ‘picky’ eater.
At Instincto we have developed Holistic Hypoallergenic Blends that provide pets allergic to certain proteins with alternative blends that still provide our furry friends with the same support they require to have a balanced and nutritious raw diet.
Allergic to chicken? Why not try your pet on the RMD Mix of the Month…
Allergic to chicken but on the lookout for something tasty and nutrient? Our Roo Mullet Duck mince mix is made to provide your fur friend with all the omegas and essential vitamins they need but with low to no allergy meats.
This mix is made with:
- Chunky roo
- Ground mullet
- Duck frame bone
- Bone content of around 10%
This is a fantastic all-round mix that has been designed for dogs who are allergic to chicken. It uses human consumption A graded duck. Duck is used less in meals and tends to have fewer animals having allergies to this protein making it a great addition to a raw meaty diet.
RMD Mix Benefits
The RMD mix provides your pet with the great benefits of kangaroo, duck and mullet some of which includes:
- CLA (Omega 6 group)
- B-group vitamins
Duck frame bone
- Good fats
- Vitamins B and D
- Low-fat content
- High protein levels
This mix with its superstar ingredients is a rich source of vitamins and minerals promoting healthy skin and coat in a great hypoallergenic mix. Available in fresh Cryovac bag’s in 1kg bag, 5kg bag and 10kg bags shop online here.
To browse the full Instincto range visit our online shop.