Does your dog have an intolerance?
True food allergies are quite rare in dogs, but food intolerances are much more common. You might suspect an intolerance if your dog has had ear infections in the past, has problems with wind, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, or itchy skin, so it’s really important to get to the bottom of these.
What to do if think your pup has an intolerance
If you think your dog has a food allergy or intolerance, it’s important to consider a 12-week feed elimination trial. This involves feeding your pet novel food, with ingredients they’ve never had before, and monitoring as to whether or not the symptoms improve or stay the same across the 12-week period. Then, on a fortnightly basis, start to slowly reintroduce foods, one by one, recording whether or not symptoms reoccur.
There is also saliva testing that can be discussed with experienced vets, and although useful, it isn’t 100% accurate, so should not be the first place to start when trying to get to the bottom of your pup’s intolerance.
When to see the vet
If your pup is still suffering from symptoms, no matter what food you feed or eliminate, it’s important to see your vet, as there could be an underlying issue with their microbiome, gut-wall lining or a serious disease.
Dog intolerances: Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between a food allergy and an intolerance?
A food allergy is triggered when your pup’s immune system misjudges a safe ingredient and triggers an adverse reaction. This can happen at any time – even if your pup has eaten that ingredient for years. True food allergies are rare, but once an allergic reaction takes place, it’s likely that it will continue to occur whenever your pup eats that particular ingredient.
A food intolerance however, is a negative response to certain ingredients, and does not involve the immune system.
- What are some potential intolerants or allergens?
- What signs to look for when your pup is intolerant or suffering from an intolerance?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of a food allergy and a food intolerance, but the key reactions to look out for include:
– Itchy skin
– Ear infections
IBD has very similar symptoms, so we advise seeing your vet to rule this out.