Dog Elimination Diet

by tessa

Annie had been scratching like crazy. She was trying so hard to get to the base of her tail that she was spinning around in circles!

We had heard that there was a process called an elimination diet that would help determine if the food she was eating currently would be causing her allergies. During our research we learned that one of the problems with trying to determine if food allergies are present is that dogs are usually allergic to only one ingredient, or to a small number of ingredients and not to the whole diet.

This means that the real challenge becomes isolating the food that is really causing the problem.

Historically the way to determine the root cause, which ingredient, was to move to a simple diet that would not often be found in traditional dog food. The reason is you need to make sure your dog has not already been sensitized to a particular food. The most frequent choice was lamb and rice. Unfortunately these two ingredients are now found in common dog food so the combination is less likely to help determine an allergy.

Alternately there are more exotic choices like ostrich meat, duck, venison, rabbit, alligator used in combination with potato and peas. Note that use of these diet components over the long term without supplemental calcium or vitamins is not a wise idea. Short term use in adult dogs should be OK.

If signs of allergies disappear while your dog is on the diet, which can take 8 weeks or more, then it can be assumed that a food allergy is likely present.

Over time you can add back in one ingredient into the diet to see of the symptoms reappear. These would include beef, chicken, milk, corn, wheat, etc.
Future diets should exclude these ingredients if after having been added back they are found to cause a return of symptoms.

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