It is common for animals to develop different types of reactions to food, often leading to having to take measures to avoid adverse situations that arise on the health of the pet. Here we talk a little about the intolerance to certain foods in dogs.
It is usually heard that pet sitters talk about food intolerance as if it were an allergy, so it is worth making a distinction before continuing:
Intolerance and allergy are not the same
Intolerance and allergy are presented by different causes and, sometimes, they usually have different symptomatic symptoms. While the allergy, depending on the violence with which it occurs, manifests itself with inflammation, itching or problems in the skin and fur of the animal, intolerance will occur with vomiting, gas or diarrhea at the least contact with food.
The allergies are triggered by a predisposition to developing the organism to allergens that are present in food. In general, every part of the food is a potential allergen. Some of the foods that are most common for allergies are dairy, red meat, some cereals, chicken, and eggs. Its clinical picture is detected because it mainly attacks the skin and digestive tract.
On the other hand, intolerance is presented as a rapid and violent reaction to the body’s inability to digest certain types of food. Among the most common is lactose intolerance, producing accumulation of gases in the intestine, abdominal pain, and vomiting. The body will repel these foods and the mood of the animal will be affected, as it will be irritable and hyperactive. Likewise, a loss of weight can be observed if the consumption of the food to which it has intolerance is constant.
Although allergies and food intolerance in dogs are presented for different reasons, the treatment of both situations remains the same: Remove harmful food through an elimination diet.
Elimination diets are aimed at finding a new food base that allows you to replace your pet’s diet with another kind of food. This requires a total commitment on the part of the dog’s caretaker, as it will require full dedication, at least, for 8 weeks, to provide the dog with new foods (preferably, with which he has not had contact before).
These diets can be based on both hypoallergenic feed and a homemade diet, although you should keep in mind that many of the products you find freely in supermarkets are not entirely reliable.
Many of the products they sell in supermarkets and claim to be hypoallergenic have been found to contain beef or poultry (which is a great risk for an animal with a history of allergies or intolerance), they also contain soy or, in some cases, rice. Therefore, if you decide to use a feed-based diet, we suggest you buy it at your veterinarian or a brand recommended by him.
Elimination diets are usually made up of a carbohydrate and a protein. Protein is very important to give your dog proper nutrition, but remember that this should always be from the same source. Normally, meat from an animal that is not common (that is, beef, poultry or pork) is not used for this purpose, since pets usually have reactions to their components. In general terms, deer meat is used as a source of protein for dogs that have adverse reactions to other sources.
Something that is also prohibited during the eight weeks of elimination is the use of prizes or treats, as these bring in their components beef or pork, or in their absence, flavorings with that type of element. If the elimination phase goes beyond eight weeks and the dog shows no improvement, you should supplement your diet with vitamins to avoid a nutritional imbalance.
The vet, your best ally
Before submitting your dog to any change in your diet you should consult your veterinarian. The best thing is that you do it with one who is aware of your pet’s medical history, as this can give you a better orientation on how to organize the phase of elimination and nutritional supplementation that you should continue giving once that phase is over.