How to Help Dogs with Food Intolerances
Dogs with food intolerances are a term used to describe several conditions that have one common feature, inflammation in the digestive system of the dog.
This reduces the efficiency of the intestines in processing food.
Primary Versions of Dogs with Food Intolerances
Dietary Mismatches - Inflammation can result from a specific ingredient in the dog's diet, such as proteins or carbohydrates, or it could result from a broader mismatch between the dog's digestive needs and its food.
Dogs may not exhibit diet mismatches until later in life.
Week Digestive System - Poor digestive health may impair a dog‘s ability to digest his food.
Irritable Bowel disease (IBD) - Symptoms of IBD include nausea, intermittent diarrhea, and weight loss.
When diet is changed appropriately, many of these symptoms disappear, but only a veterinarian can establish a definitive diagnosis.
IBD can occur in dogs, so should be treated by a veterinarian if you suspect it.
True Food Allergies - Only a veterinarian conducting an elimination trial using a diet made with hydrolyzed protein can positively diagnose a food allergy.
But it is sometimes possible for owners to eliminate the symptoms of a food allergy and avoid the need for a definitive diagnosis with limited ingredients diets.
True food allergies are rare in dogs. Only 1% to 6% of dogs have true food allergies.
If you suspect your dog has a true food allergy, consider consulting in veterinary and for a day infinitive diagnosis.
Some Solutions for Dogs with Food Intolerances
Some dogs may benefit from just one, or two of the approaches listed below. Other dogs may need more changes.
Increase the digestibility of your dogs diet - most dogs can digest diets that are like those of their wild ancestors, diets containing a lot of meat, moderate to high levels of protein and fat, low levels of carbohydrates and minimal processing.
Increasing your dog's digestibility is the simplest and most direct way to improve digestion.
Transition to a more digestible diet - It can have dramatic effects on the digestion, overall health, and temperament of a dog if you switch all or part of its diet from kibble to a high-quality raw diet.
It is easiest for most dogs to digest foods that contain moderate to high amounts of protein and fat, with minimal carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate free raw diets are closest in form to a dog’s ancestral diet.
Include Canned Food - For part of the kibble, try using high-quality natural canned food instead of freeze-dried, dehydrated and frozen options.
Canned diets to consider include:
Switch to denser kibble - If your dog is destined to eat nothing but kibble, try transitioning slowly to a nutritionally dense kibble.
Denser kibble options include:
How to Improve your Dogs Digestive System
If you want to run faster, you improve the strength and health of your muscles. If you want to improve your dog’s digestion, you improve the strength and health of his digestive system.
Supplement with digestive enzymes - Dietary enzymes, which are naturally found in raw foods, are beneficial for breaking down food into tiny pieces that are easier for the body to absorb.
As a result, your dog's food will contain more nutrients. Look for products with Protease, Amylase, Cellulase, or Lipase.
Digestive enzymes to consider are:
- In Clover OptaGest
- Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes and Probiotics
- Herbsmith Mircroflora Plus
- The Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom Goats Milk
Add probiotics - Probiotic supplements put good bacteria into your dog’s digestive track, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobaceterium longum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius and Streptococcus thermphiles.
Probiotic supplements to consider include:
Add Tripe - Tripe is an excellent natural source of healthy pride probiotics. Most humans find the smell unappetizing, but most dogs love the taste!
Foods and treats that contain tripe include:
- Vital Essentials Frozen and freeze-dried toppers
- K9 Natural freeze dried, frozen and canned foods
- ZiwiPeak Air Dried and canned foods.
Add prebiotics - Pre-biotics feed the good bacteria already in your dogs digestive track. Choose a diet that includes prebiots or add them as a supplement.
Prebiotics include fructooligosaccharides ( FOS), inulin, oligofructose, chicory root, dandelion, burdock, wild yarm, jicama, and agave.
Prebiotic supplements to consider include:
- In Clover OptaGest
- Ark Naturals Gentle Digest treats
- The Honest Kitchen Perfect Form
- HerbSmith Microflora Plus
Try a limited ingredient diet
Aim for foods containing a single, novel meat, one that your dog is never had before, such as duck or venison and a single novel protein, such as brown rice, peas or tapioca.
Raw diets can be an excellent choice as they usually naturally limited to a single proteins source and often have no carbohydrates at all.
Some brand suggestions for these diets are:
For a limited ingredient diet to succeed all the food your dog eats, including canned foods, treats, chews and table scraps, must be limited to the same protein and grain for at least 12 weeks.
If the first attempt doesn’t work, consider trying again with a different meat and a different carbohydrate source, but if it does not improve your dog after one or two 12 week trials, consider asking your veterinarian to conduct an elimination trial.
If you suspect your dog may have a true food allergy, we recommend limiting the number of limited ingredient diet to try.
Exposing your dog to all or most of the exotic protein and carbohydrates sources used in dog food may reduce the elimination diet options available to your veterinarians.
Calm the Inflammation in your Dogs Digestive Track
Reduce inflammation with herbs. Many herbs reduce intestinal inflammation or calm down the digestive tract.
Some of these include: slippery elm, plantain, marshmallow, raspberry leaf, goldenseal, nettle, licorice and yucca.
Herbal remedies to consider include:
When to Contact your Veterinarian
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is suffering from irritable bowel disease or a trigger for food allergy.
- If it anytime you feel your dog is not improving, the condition is getting worse or other symptoms develop.
- If you try to limit the greedy and diet and continue to have digestive upset.
Having dogs with food intolerances can be frustrating. There can be multiple causes, and these causes can be hard to pinpoint.
While improvement comes slowly, persistence and making changes one at a time usually pays off. Improving digestibility, substituting raw or canned for some or all kibble, is likely to produce results within a couple of weeks.
Strengthening the health of dogs digestive system may take 4 to 6 weeks to show results.
And with limited ingredient diet it may take up to 12 weeks before the inflammation is sufficiently resolved to see significant improvement.