How to Deal with Dog Food Intolerance
When it comes to nutrition and diet, common questions asked by many dog owners include ‘Does my dog have food allergies?’ and ‘How do I deal with my dog food intolerances?’. However, to fully understand this topic, we must differentiate between food allergies and food intolerance. For one, allergies are linked to a dog’s immune system. Here, the immune system treats a few ingredients in the pup’s diet as harmful and must be released out of the body in any way possible and the symptoms include; dermatitis, sneezing, coughing, otitis, paw chewing or swelling, vomiting, and diarrhea. On the other hand, food intolerance is independent of a dog’s immune system but rather targets its digestive system directly. The root cause for the two conditions may be the same – a particular or more than one offending ingredient in the diet. Since intolerance and allergies are identical, similar treatment may suffice for both. We will now dive into the possible ways to combat food sensitivity in dogs, as well as the best ways to deal with dog food intolerance symptoms.
Identify the Culprit
The basis of a workable treatment plan is to first identify the particular offending dietary component. If they are more than one, you must get them identified individually. Once you are able to place your finger on the culprit/s, promptly eliminate them from your dog’s diet. But if you fail to achieve a confirmed diagnosis, a trial and error plan can suffice. However, you must seek the assistance of a professional who will then work out a plan to exclude or include one particular ingredient and monitor your pup’s reactions.
Consult Your Vet Before Effecting any Change in Diet
On the flip side, food allergies are a whole other case. Nevertheless, your first point of action should still involve you calling the vet. This is especially crucial after a change in diet or the introduction of a new component. In this case, everything down to the food scraps you sneak your pup under the table has to be stopped until you have heard from the veterinarian. Once a diet is recommended it is your duty to adhere to it completely.
Try the Elimination Diet Plan
This is one great way to figure out which food items are bringing discomfort to your canine companion. For an effective plan, you must start with the plain and simple food components, and gradually introduce more ingredients until you’ve properly vetted all the suspected ingredients.
Always wait for a couple of days to elapse before adding a new food component (remember, you can only add one at a time). Once a new ingredient is introduced, the ensuing two days will be used to monitor and perhaps diagnose. Furthermore, any ingredient that’s a suspect must be removed upon the observation of symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and gas. In fact, watch out for evidence of symptom reduction after that. If you record a significant decrease in symptoms at that point, then you have succeeded in making a prognosis.
Also, at the starting point of your plan, it is best to go for something basic such as chicken or vet quality pellets. As you gradually work your way up, things like eggs, veggies, and other forms of meat can be included. The reason why it is recommended that we only add a single ingredient at a time is that you are likely to be confused with the addition of more than one food component. Moreover, your ability to really sniff out the culprit will be compromised.
The two (or more) days interval before introducing an additional ingredient here ensures that the dog has ample time to properly digest the dietary component and also that it has completely left its system.
Opt for Homemade Canine Diets
Food intolerance in dogs can be checked using homemade diets. However, if your canine friend is already eating homemade meals, then it must be included as one of the diets in the elimination food trial. On the other hand, you can decide to go for this pup DIY food after you have succeeded in identifying the root cause of food intolerance. This way, you have absolute control over what goes into the making of your furball’s diet. It goes without saying that the culprit will be completely taken out of the picture here. The only issue with homemade canine food is that it may be deficient in specific vital nutrients; thus, you must try formulating yours with the assistance of a veterinary nutritionist who will offer useful advice on what is right and vice versa. There’s also the fact that you may find the preparation process a bit labor-intensive.
Opt for Vegan Canine Diets
Vegetarians and vegans alike may prefer to use vegan canine food diets both for the food trials and afterward. However, note that there is no proof supporting claims that veggies are better than a meticulously selected food plan with just a single protein (remember, a vegan diet involves a plethora of vegetable proteins). But, a dog that reacts to multiple types of meat will be better off living on veggies.
And just like any other DIY diet, vegan diets need to be formulated carefully. Also, be sure to note that many brands of commercially prepared vegan dog foods were discovered to be lacking in essential nutrients, and the rate at which pet parents use nutrient-deficient dog diets are on the increase. As such, this remedy is not top of the list for treating canine food intolerance.
Only Give Your Dog Fresh Food
If the aim is to keep the food fresh until your mutt is ready to eat, it has to be prepared in smaller batches. This way, the result will most likely be a clean plate. Going for this formula gives pet parents the advantage of having total control over what their fur babies ingest. No doubt, you can rest assured that artificial fillers will be kept at bay, while healthy human-grade ingredients can be added. DIYing the fresh food batches is just one option; another is to engage the services of a made-from-scratch, small-batch canine food delivery service since they tend to emphasize purity and quality.
Change Things Up
Often, the most simple remedies end up being the way out when it comes to food intolerance. For the most part, it switching to any diet with a different source of protein, different fat levels, and varied ingredients do the trick. The ingredients involved may not always be simple but can be effective in certain situations. Your dog may even end up enjoying the variety.
Keep Your Dog Constantly Hydrated
If your dog starts displaying symptoms of food intolerance they should definitely be examined by the vet, that’s a no-brainer. In the case that food intolerance is the culprit, the veterinarian will surely recommend keeping the dog hydrated. This is because vomiting and diarrhea lead to the loss of electrolytes and essential fluid. Human or canine, one thing is for sure, dehydration is highly unhealthy. For serious cases, the vet may put the ailing dog on a drip, which ensures that the needed fluids go in intravenously, keeping dehydration at bay.
Don’t Allow Strangers to Feed Your Dog
So, you’ve been to the vet’s but for some reason, your pup isn’t getting better. In that case, you need to look inwards. It is advisable to adhere to any given instructions as strictly as possible. So, no treats or deviations from the diet should be administered during this period.
Here’s an important thing to note; there must be prior permission before someone else can feed your furball. That includes, but is not limited to neighbors, children, or visitors. And as long as you don’t deviate from the path, you and your pup will be fine.
Administer Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes
Identifying the type of diet that goes down well with your pooch is only one side of the coin. It’s more important to stick to that particular diet. Even though it means DIY-ing the dog’s meals or going for a specific vet-approved brand, do what’s best for your fur baby. So, it is now on you to make sure that you always have a sufficient quantity of condiments. Moreover, adding a digestive enzyme and probiotic to their diet wouldn’t be such a bad idea, for one, it promotes good bacteria, and secondly, it enhances the heat of your dog’s gut.
Probiotics are great at restoring balance in the gut and come in powdered, capsule, and liquid forms. When the gut is healthy, your fur baby’s immune system will be strengthened, and they’ll feel at their best. In the same way, gut health can be boosted by digestive enzymes, which also ensures that your pup gets the most out of their meals.
Opt for a Raw Food Diet
A raw food diet is a combination of meat, bones, fruits, veggies, and in several cases, supplement for both minerals and vitamins. Many pet parents prefer this type of food because it takes the pup back to the type of diet they would naturally be exposed to in the wild. In this case, nothing will be processed, just feed it to them raw.
Hospitalization is Always the Last Resort
On getting to the clinic, the vet might see the need to run some tests with both urine and blood samples. These tests are targeted at ruling out more serious problems and in some cases, an ultrasound may be needed to be sure. An all-clear result from the clinic points to a case of food intolerance.
Hospitalization is only necessary when the pup in question has suffered severe dehydration from prolonged diarrhea and vomiting. While there they will get supportive care, antibiotics, and intravenous fluid.