Do you suspect your dog has allergies?
Some tell tale signs of allergic dogs can be: yeast overgrowth, excessive licking of paws or others body parts, hair loss or declining hair quality, skin rashes, red stinky ears, chronic ear or skin infections, and itchiness & more itchiness!
It’s likely that what you’re dealing with some type of a dietary allergy. This can be sometimes difficult to determine exactly what your dog may be able to tolerate but there’s always some protein source that’s tolerable. Sometimes it is an environmental allergy, but eliminating the possibility of food allergens is a good place to start. You will need to put your observation skills to the test. Although it is upsetting to see your dog in discomfort, rest assured you can get to the bottom of it.
There are three top allergens for dogs they are chicken, beef and actually fruits, vegetables and other carbohydrates. That third one surprises some people because for some dogs, even the carbs we consider “healthy” like leafy greens or fruits, some dogs are not able to tolerate them at all and that intolerance manifests itself as itchiness, yeasty paws, ears, and even chronic ear and skin infections. We often see dogs after they’ve tried countless kibble brands, none of them able to clear up the itch. This is because of the carbohydrates in their diet like peas, potato’s, sweet potato’s, rice and barley. All these ingredients break down into sugar in the body and feed the yeast causing itchy and smelly ears, paws, skin – worst case scenario your dog would end up on a steroid, and possibly antibiotics because of a skin infection and open wounds from excessive itching.
Allergies and An Elimination Diet
When dealing with unknown allergies that are related to your dog’s dietary, some of our recommendations are to always offer a single protein source with NO fruits and vegetables. No treats, unless they are from the protein source you’re feeding and contain no other ingredients. If you are feeding turkey, you should only offer a single-ingredient turkey treats, examples of these treats are dehydrated turkey liver. You also do not want to add supplements for the time being – it’s always a possibility that either of these additions are creating the allergic response. This will take discipline with the whole family, no sneaking food from under the table.
We recommend to always start with a single pure protein. We recommend the following foods are Pure Turkey, Pure Duck or Pure Pork. Make sure its the Pure and not Dinners as the dinners will contain fruits and vegetables. Feed only this one protein for 6-8 weeks, hopefully you should start to see some of the allergy symptoms lessen within the first 2 weeks. What you don't want to see is worsening of the symptoms. If the symptoms get worse, then switch to another pure protein source. Once you have the allergies under control you can start adding in other proteins and supplements one at a time this is very important to follow these steps. When the next protein is added, give minimum 6 weeks to see if that new one is also tolerated. Keep a journal of what you have introduced and wait at least a week before introducing anything else new. Adding them individually you will be able to determine if there is an allergic response to a new item. Keep in mind that it’s also important to offer no additional foods. The premise of an elimination diet is to know and limit exactly what the dog consumes so the allergy can be determined.
Pets that do suffer from allergies you want to offer as many different proteins as possible its important to not overexpose them to just one. Feeding the same protein day in and day out can be the reason most allergies start in dogs in the first place! We suggest a rotation of 3-5 proteins per month, some poultry/fowl along with some red meats. This variety is how you can guarantee a balanced diet. This will come in time especially when your dog’s allergies are under control. Although weeks (and sometimes months) seems like a long time to feed one single protein without supplements. Don't worry though because the diet contains appropriate portions of Meat, Bone & Organ, it would take a very long time to cause any type of deficiencies.
There are occasions when a dog can only tolerate 1 or 2 proteins. This is when we will recommend supplementation to make up for any deficiencies in the diet. Sometimes you will need to feed Novel proteins like Kangaroo & Rabbit. Because the dog hasn't been fed these proteins in the past, it is highly unlikely they will have an intolerance to them. Kangaroo is a low histamine protein, making it often the best option for highly allergic dogs.For more information on feeding your dog an Elimination diet, feel free to contact Poochie Moochie today