Our clinic is exclusively dedicated to canine nutrition, we do not attend any other consultation that is not the nutrition of dogs (and the odd cat). We can say that this is one of the most common cases, patients with allergies come to us every day, not all food allergies, and that is a key point, determining whether it is food or not. We want to give you some tips on homemade food for allergic dogs, natural diets, recipes, what foods to avoid … We will not go into the topic of intolerances, because it is something totally different that deserves a separate article.
Causes and symptoms of food allergy in dogs
One of the most common mistakes is not having a diagnosis, the owner believes that because his dog scratches he has a food allergy, when in fact he has a skin infection, fleas, fungi, an environmental allergy, an allergy to mites … or Otherwise, as the dog scratches excessively, the owner thinks he has fleas or an allergy to mites, pyoderma … and it has never crossed his mind to think that this dog is allergic to any food, the vast majority of these dogs They are fed with feed, something totally insane and unnatural by all means, dogs and cats, like all animals in nature, eat fresh and natural food, not dry balls that do not spoil.
So diagnosis is key. As many of these patients come to our clinic without a diagnosis, we have a phrase that helps the owner to see the chances of success with adequate nutritional therapy for these cases. We tell him that since there is no definitive diagnosis “If your dog is NOT allergic to food, with our nutritional advice he will improve by 30 to 50%; if your dog IS food allergic, with our advice it will improve 80 to 100% “
We can say that practically all food allergies are caused by proteins. Why? Due to the high molecular weight of these, they are giant molecules compared to fats and carbohydrates, being so gigantic they do not go unnoticed by the immune system of the digestive system (GALT). Conclusion? In food allergies the key is in the proteins.
Why do we have so many food allergies in dogs? As the name implies, they are associated with food, more than 95% of dogs are eating in a totally unnatural way. Canids in nature (wolves, coyotes, wild dogs), like all carnivores, including cats, eat about 10-15% carbohydrates, feed, on average, 45-75%, this brings many problems, among them digestive and allergy sufferers. It is not surprising that these foods contain gluten, a highly allergenic protein. No matter how premium or super premium the food is.
Diagnosis and treatment
As we said above, the diagnosis is essential. To arrive at the definitive diagnosis you have to go step by step. People believe that allergy tests solve the problem, it is not like that, in addition to being expensive, they are not reliable, they are a last resort, first the doctor must take an anamnesis (Set of data that is collected in the medical history of a patient with a diagnostic objective), physical examination … and if you begin to suspect a food allergy, you can proceed to start with a discard diet.
On the diet, which would be, partially, the treatment, the vast majority of veterinarians will opt for commercial diets (dry balls that do not spoil) What is the problem? As veterinary experts in canine nutrition and dedicated exclusively to this specialty we must say a few things about these diets: they are very expensive, they are made with very low quality ingredients (cereals such as corn, bird feathers …), it is a totally unnatural food, it contains 10% water when mammals, such as dogs, eat food with 80 – 90% water … although it must be recognized that its great merit is that these proteins are hydrolyzed, that is, they are “broken” and have a low weight molecular, go unnoticed by the immune system, and therefore the chances of causing allergy are reduced,
But there is hope, there are hypoallergenic homemade diets ! The owner can prepare them, they are a thousand times cheaper and the dog will prefer them a thousand times more than a dry ball.
Natural homemade food recipes for allergic dogs
The keys to increasing the chances of success when creating a hypoallergenic recipe for a dog suspected of having a food allergy are the following:
- Use few ingredients, no more than 3-4.
- Using an unusual protein, or that the owner has the intuition that the dog does not cause allergies.
- Stick to the diet and do not give any other food.
- Supplements can be used to reduce the immune response, under the supervision of a veterinarian with experience in canine nutrition.
We explain these points succinctly. It is important to use few ingredients, if we put 10 elements in the diet and the dog starts scratching, it is easier to investigate and discard 3 or 4 than 10 or 15 elements. As the key is in the proteins, we must try to use an unusual protein in the area, if we were in Japan, a very common protein would be fish, it should be avoided, on the other hand, in the western world, chicken, Beef are the most common proteins, perhaps for these places it would be convenient to use: rabbit, horse, pork … it depends on the patient’s history. It is very important to give the diet and only the diet, because if someone in the family “secretly” gives the dog treats, these can cause the allergy, and the diet is working, but we think not because of this little detail.
When you do one of these diets, people see them very simple and wonder “Does it contain all the nutrients my dog needs?” The answer is, no, it does not contain all the ingredients, but that does NOT matter now, the important thing is to identify nutrients that do NOT cause allergies to the patient, once this is achieved, then we proceed to improve and enrich the diet.
From our own experience we can say that the response time to the diet can be from 2 to 20 days, both positive and negative.
We put two examples of diets for young dogs of 20 kilos. We clarify something very important, the quantities that we mention are APPROXIMATE, we are working with living organisms, they may require more or less, not paying attention to the quantities but to the response of the patient, if we see that they are very hungry, very nervous, because increases trying to preserve the proportions. A dog with the characteristics described is eating approximately 500-600 grams of natural food, weighed raw, per day. Let’s do the math with 500 grams.
300 grams well cooked pork
100 grams of well cooked green beans
75 grams of chopped apple
25 grams of well boiled potato
300 grams of well-boiled fish
100 grams of well-boiled broccoli
65 grams of chopped pear
25 grams of well-boiled sweet potato
If we see that the patient does not improve, it is not advisable to change the entire diet, only the protein and start over.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that we can find on the internet. It seems that now everyone is an expert in this natural diet and they always have something to say.
If you want to learn about natural dog food , it is best to do it with a real expert. A veterinarian who has been feeding his dogs homemade food for more than 20 years.