Though not as common, this allergy gets a lot of attention as it is commonly a misdiagnosis of atopic allergic dermatitis. Often people believe their dog has a food allergy when in fact it is an environmental skin issue instead. Food allergies can however occur, and are usually accompanied with some gastrointestinal issues. The allergy could be towards many different foods such as red meat or grains. When a pet has food allergies it can appear as a skin inflammation, which can be why is It commonly misdiagnosed as atopic dermatitis. However, food allergies can also result in gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea which can indicate the issue is food related. To determine the cause of the dog’s food allergy can be difficult, and it involves cutting out ingredients over time and monitoring response.
Another common misconception is that a pet is allergic to grains, and many food distributors have ‘hopped’ onto the fad diet of grain-free. Once again, it is possible for a dog to have a grain allergy, but it is much more likely that the dog has an allergy to a certain type of meat, such as red meat varieties. If you force your dog onto a grain free diet when there is no real medical need you run the risk of increasing your dogs’ chance of heart disease. Many studies and clinical trials have proven that on these grain free diets pets have decreased levels of taurine and lessened ability to produce the amino acid that is so vital to heart health. It has long been known that when there is a deficiency in taurine it can lead to a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. As a substitute for grains often peas, lentils or potatoes are used as main ingredients, and they do not provide enough taurine for a healthy animal’s diet. To combat this some diets, use taurine additives, though these are not digested and absorbed as well and can just mask the underlining heart disease issue that can be occurring. If you are concerned about your pet’s heart contact the clinic immediately or alternatively, after hours contact WAVES on 9412 5700
A great diet to try to help improve your dogs’ diet while determining if a food allergy is present is the Hills Z/d skin diet. This diet is extremely specific and helps control the factors that can be causing the issue.
In summary it is important to remember that diet changes can have a sudden impact on your pet’s health that you may not know about, therefore it is always best to discuss diet changes with your vet. Your vet can advise on any testing required and how to proceed forward without compromising other aspects of your pet’s health.