IS IT REALLY ALLERGIES?
Food allergies and sensitivities in pets are VERY common. But more and more raw feeders are having success keeping allergies manageable and at bay.
Why is that? Simply because they are RAW FEEDERS.
Because heating and processing changes the properties of foods, proteins can be destroyed or even branch off and form new proteins. Fats can oxidize or go rancid, forming antigens. This process is called neoallergen formation. Neoallergen means new allergy.
IS IT HYPERSENSITIVITY?
Your pet has antibodies (or immunoglobulins) in his immune system. These antibodies are there to protect him from bacteria or viruses (AKA antigens). When the antibodies sense foreign bodies they attack them and activate the immune system.
This can cause a hypersensitivity reaction… or an exaggerated immune response. These are called Type II and Type III hypersensitivities.
Type II and III sensitivities aren’t like Type I. In a Type I food allergy, your dog would have an immediate reaction. Type II and III can take days to develop. And even then your dog might not show any immediate symptoms. But you might start seeing things like dry skin, irritable bowels, yeast infections and rashes.
Because of the symptoms that these reactions produce, it’s easy to mistake them for something else… like food allergies.
THE REAL PROBLEM
So if these symptoms aren’t related to food allergies… what is it?
Well… chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can cause your pet’s allergy-like symptoms. And long term, it can even lead to conditions like arthritis, diabetes, kidney failure and premature aging.
A Swedish study showed that young animals fed a cooked, processed diet appeared healthy, at first…
But, once they reached maturity, they began to rapidly age and develop degenerative disease symptoms.
Another study out of Belgium collected data from more than 500 domestic dogs over five years. The results showed that dogs fed a homemade diet of high-quality foods used from their owners’ meals had an extra 32 months of life expectancy, compared versus pets fed commercial pet food.
That’s almost 3 years!
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE
When you think of ways to find the difference between food intolerance and allergies an elimination diet is the first thing that comes to mind.
To do this you would take away each food that your pet eats for a period of 12 weeks per food. The downside is it could actually take years to figure out what your dog is reacting to.
There are also saliva tests available that can measure the IgA and IgM levels in your pet. These tests look at a variety of foods and give a report of antibody levels that might indicate a food sensitivity.
But the hard part of this test is, if the food that is causing your pet inflammation isn’t taken out of his diet you’ll keep seeing the symptoms of allergies, joint pain, etc.
People ask me a lot what the best thing to do for their pet is. And without a doubt, it’s feeding a raw, fresh, species-appropriate diet.
If you feed kibble and your dog currently doesn’t have any health issues you’re ahead of the game… for now.
But if he has any signs of chronic disease or if they are eating a processed diet, it might be time to consider feeding him fresh food.