Uh oh! Has your pooch ever suffered an outbreak of itchy skin and paws, hives, ear infections, a swollen face, developed a poor coat, and/or is experiencing some stinky gastrointestinal issues (vomiting, diarrhoea or chronic gas)? They may be allergic to something they’re chomping on.
Just like for humans, allergens occur in dogs when their bodies’ immune systems suddenly consider a substance as harmful and triggers a response to attack it, leading to the above-mentioned symptoms. This can happen when a new food has been introduced to your pooch recently and they develop these symptoms soon after or can begin suddenly with the food they’ve been enjoying for the past couple of months or years!
Unlike a food intolerance—which is an abnormal response to an ingredient immediately after eating it that can trigger some of the same symptoms as a food allergy (including vomiting and diarrhea)—a food allergy involves the immune system and is developed over time. While any ingredient can become an allergen for your pooch, the ingredient in traditional dog food known for provoking doggie allergens is typically the protein source. The most common offenders include:
- Wheat gluten
Each time a dog with allergies eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens and symptoms occur. The above listed culprits can also lead to a pup developing (or worsening their) IBD—a syndrome in which your dog is experiencing chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea and a loss of appetite. For dogs with IBD, their gastrointestinal (GI) system is so consistently inflamed that their GI tract has become damaged, causing difficulty in digesting and absorbing nutrients from their food. In severe cases of IBD, your dog is experiencing pain, feeling lethargic, losing weight and may have blood in their stools. If your dog is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, be sure to take them to their vet to get a series of diagnostic tests conducted to rule out any other possible causes for them feeling unwell.
Ok, so from looking at that list, it seems like we just have a bone to pick with the traditional dog food industry. But hear us (and the science) out! What happens, according to Jennifer Coates, DVM, is that “[t]he proteins are broken down into molecules that the immune system misidentifies as a potential threat”. Since chicken and beef are some of the most common ingredients in traditional dog food and pooches are typically given the same protein-intense kibble every day, their bodies can begin to develop these abnormal immune responses. This is why veterinarians suggest getting your dog tested for which protein is provoking their allergic reaction through a food elimination trial, which would also rule out other causes for them feeling under the weather. While this test is important, it should be kept in all pawrents’ minds that if it is found out that their pooch is allergic to, for example, chicken, switching them over to lamb or beef-based meals may just result in your pup developing a lamb or beef allergy sometime in the future.
So, what can you do to help your pup?
No pawrent wants to think of their pooch in pain, irritated by having a severe case of the itchies or possibly losing essential nutrients that their body needs for them to be the waggy pup that they are! To ensure that our dogs are living their most pawsome life, it may be wise to change their diet to one that is plant-based and free of those allergen-provoking, meat-based proteins—another reason to treat your pooch to hearty meals like those from THE PACK!
THE PACK prides itself on being cruelty free—by not harming any animals for the production or following the consumption of their products by being meat-free, dairy-free, wheat-free and soy-free—meaning THE PACK meals are allergen friendly in terms of the most common allergens. Each of THE PACK’s three drool-inducing flavours were scientifically developed with the wellbeing of all animals in mind, which is why they are made with a mix of pulses, plant-based proteins, seeds, fruits and veg that even the most sensitive pup gut can handle.