Could Raw Feeding be Triggering Your Dog’s Allergies?
While some dogs thrive on raw diets, others can develop allergic reactions. Yes, we're addressing the controversial topic of raw feeding and why it could be more problematic for your dog's allergies than you think.
Unmasking the Link Between Raw Feeding and Dog Allergies
Raw feeding has gained popularity in recent years due and it's heavily promoted as a healthier and 'more natural' alternative to commercial dog food. Advocates will argue their case that a raw feeding meat, bones, and organs mirrors what dogs would have eaten in the wild.
However, the wild dog days are long gone (when was the last time you saw a dog take down a cow?) and attempting to feed a pet the same way that you would do a wild counterpart can lead to a range of potential allergens that could trigger adverse reactions.
While some dogs thrive on raw diets, many pet owners have reported seeing adverse or worsened skin and digestion issues when feeding their dog raw.
Just as humans react differently to various foods, dogs will also exhibit individual responses to the diets we offer them. What works well for one dog may not be suitable for another. Monitoring your dog’s health and behaviour closely will really help you to identify any signs of food allergies or sensitivities to meat.
Look out for symptoms such as:
- Skin rashes and itching (especially itchy paws)
- Hair loss caused by scratching
- Red eyes and/or discharge from the eyes
- Sore skin such as scaly and/or oily skin, pigmented skin or a leathery skin texture
- Ear infections and secondary yeast or bacterial infections (aka pyoderma) of the skin or ears
- Poor bowel habits such as diarrhoea or difficulty going for a poo
If you see these symptoms appear or get worse after switching to a raw food diet you may well have a clear answer.
Potential Allergens in Raw Food Diets
As we gradually begin to see an increase in the number of dogs with allergies (up to a fifth worldwide) it may surprise you to hear that the most common food allergens are reported as traditional meat proteins such chicken, beef and lamb and dairy products such as eggs - all key components in a raw food diet.
Meat Protein Sources:
Raw diets typically include protein sources such as beef, chicken and fish. While these proteins are usually seen as essential for a dog’s diet, they can also become allergens due to the way in which a dog’s body absorbs and deals with these proteins. If it struggles to process it an immune response takes place which is when you begin to see the listed symptoms above.
Raw meat can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli. While dogs do have a higher tolerance for these bacteria than humans, exposure can still lead to gastrointestinal issues and allergic reactions. This poses a risk for both the dog and you.
Incomplete and Unbalanced Diets:
Crafting a balanced raw diet requires careful consideration of nutritional requirements. If not properly formulated, raw diets can lack essential nutrients, leading to deficiencies that could compromise a dog’s immune system and therefore increase the risk of allergies.
Alternatives to Raw Feeding
If raw feeding isn’t causing your dog tummy and skin troubles there are plenty of alternatives available. Look out for the following labels:
- Nutritionally Complete: This ensures that your dog receives a balanced and complete diet with everything they need to thrive and survive (no tackling wild animals required)... Ensuring your dog has a complete diet reduces and often completely eliminates the risk of allergic reactions.
- Novel Protein: Novel proteins (such as the black soldier fly larvae) are the most digestible and nutritious forms of protein on the planet and have proven to settle down allergens and poor gut health whilst providing a high dose of that much-needed protein.
- Prebiotics: Prebiotics play a huge role in good gut health. These added plant-based fibres allow healthy bacteria to grow in the gut and help to support a healthy immune system keeping everything well-balanced.
- Grain free: The vast majority of dogs can eat grains as part of a healthy balanced diet. however some dogs cannot process grains effectively which can lead to symptoms such as a sensitive tummy and skin, weight loss and a lack of energy.
When it comes to your dog’s diet it is essential that you take the right steps for their health. If you’ve tried raw food and it hasn’t worked, you aren’t alone. Finding that perfect dog food that will provide them with the balance they need can take time but once you get there you will be both be grateful.
Ready to try something new?
If your dog's allergies don't improve with 6-8 weeks of their new diet, we'll refund you the cost of your first order.