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Dog Food Allergies and The Raw Diet Solution

April 20, 2019 4 min read

A Raw Diet Can Help Reduce Allergies In Your Dog

If you polled pet parents, most would say that their animal suffers from allergies. And, those pet parents would be right! Around 10-40% of dogs suffer from allergies. This is a big problem!

Below are some of the most common symptoms of allergies in dogs: 

  • Hot spots
  • Itchy skin
  • Inflamed nail beds (red, brown, or bronze)
  • Chewing/licking of their feet
  • Watery eyes
  • Bronzing around the lips
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Hair loss
  • Hives

Now, these seemingly small symptoms can sometimes point to an unaddressed allergy issue. And, moving from a processed diet to a natural- raw diet is in the best interest for our dogs. A raw diet reduces the number of additives, grains, and artificial components that your dog is consuming on a daily basis. Fortunately, this can only move things in a better direction. 

However, going raw isn’t always a silver bullet. If your dog is allergic to certain vegetation or nuts/seeds, no amount of a whole/raw version will help.

Common Food Allergens

Typically, many of the following items are commonly found in both commercial foods and in home-made raw diets.It is important to note that while many allergies are associated with proteins, most often these “allergies” are not truly protein related. Rather, they are associated with something else in the food.

  • Grains: corn, wheat, and rice
  • Proteins: Chicken, beef, and eggs
  • Root Vegetables: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams
  • Legumes: peanuts, lentils, beans, peas, and soy
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • GMO Foods: Soy, alfalfa, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, canola, beets, milk, papaya

Testing for Allergies

One of the best investments that you can make for your allergy-prone dog is to have an allergy test done. You can go to the Vet’s office or pick up a self-test kit. Self-tests are available over the internet or at your local independent pet shop. These test kits commonly use a combination of saliva and hair follicles. We have had great success with Glacier Peak Holistic (LINK).

Thankfully, an allergy test kit will provide you with an analysis of both food-based and environmental sensitivities. We recommend picking up two kits. One for now and one for later. 

Now,as you proceed to change yourdog’s diet based on the results of the first test kit, things will also be changing inside your dog. It’s a good idea to test again after 3-6 months to see what kind of sensitivities you’ve eliminated. You and your dog will see the best results if you move to a raw diet. Changing your dog’s kibbles/ or canned food to another brand or protein does not have the same impact.

Food Elimination Diet

Another effective tool to help determine where an allergy might stem from is to use an elimination diet. Start by eliminating some or all of the common allergens outlined above for a 4-6 month period. After this period, you will start to get a better picture of what your dog may be sensitive to. 

After a week or two on this diet, slowly start to reintroduce new foods. Ideally, this is done at one foodeliminatedper week, so that you may accurately track sensitivities (if any) as they occur. Markdown any observations, and remember to keep them out of your dog’s diet. Taking the time to rule out food allergies can save you time/money and your dog a great deal of discomfort in the long-run.

Admittedly, this can be a very time-consuming process. For those looking for results right away, it may be best to invest in one of the allergy test kits that we described above.

Strong immune system of a dog

Allergen Identification

It would be very easy for us to assume that if your dog only itches seasonally, that you could rule out any food-related allergies. But, what most fail to consider is that there is a balance at play. Your dog may very well be allergic to corn, sweet potatoes, or some other food that he consumes regularly. However, it won’t be enough to push them out of balance. 

When you add in environmental irritants such as pollens and molds in the spring, for example, this might be just enough to push your dog out of balance. Once out of balance, they will begin to exhibit symptoms of allergies. Because of this common misconception, many pet parents ignore the underlying food allergies. However, it was these underlying issues that brought your dog to the brink of imbalance in the first place. If it weren’t for these seasonal occurrences, it’s possible that your dog would not exhibit any allergy symptoms.

Another tool that pet parents can use to help their animals in minimizing food-based sensitivities is to rotate their diets. We recommend changing the proteins and other ingredients regularly. Often we become allergic to what we are routinely exposed to.

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