What are food intolerances and food allergies in dogs?

As many as one in ten dogs may suffer from either a food intolerance or a food allergy at some point in their lives. So, what is the difference? An allergy effects the entire body and may be seen physiologically, a rash or repeated ear infections for example. Intolerances are slightly different. Rather than being allergic to a given ingredient, if your dog suffers from an intolerance, they simply cannot process their food. The result of persistently feeding an intolerant dog on the wrong diet can be catastrophic! Ranging from mild diarrhoea to more serious gastrointestinal issues, so getting your dog’s diet right is essential to their health and wellbeing. If your dog is intolerant, it could be that they are lacking in the digestive enzymes required to break down and utilise their food, but what can you do to help them? What other options do you have? And why does your dog have a food allergy? 

Well, first of all, it’s not your fault! It is most likely a genetic issue that is only revealed when the dog is exposed to whatever ingredients they are allergic to. There are some ingredients that are commonly aligned with dog food allergies. These include: Grains, Dairy, Soy and even Eggs, as well as some of our more common (and widely used) proteins: Chicken, Beef, Lamb and Pork are among the most frequent offenders.

What dog breeds are most likely to have allergies or intolerances?

The short answer is any breed. You will hear many opinions on this and it is certainly true that there seems to be more cases in certain breeds or specific bloodlines, but this is not the whole story. A weakened immune system or early exposure to antibiotics have also been linked to allergies and intolerances, just as environmental factors have. Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules; you cannot avoid it according to dog breed, dog gender or any other variable. 

How do you know that your dog has an intolerance or food allergy?

Well, this may seem like a ridiculous question, but not all dogs vomit or leave you little runny puddles all over the house, in most cases food issues are much more subtle – at least in the beginning. Intolerances can take years to surface and it is often the case that dogs develop an allergy or an intolerance after having eaten the same food for a very long period of time. This is not a reflection of the food but of a particular ingredient, no matter how good the quality. Your dog could be eating the same Beef supper for years and suddenly develop an intolerance. However, swap to Duck or another untried protein and existing symptoms may all but disappear.

How can you do to find out what your dog is allergic to?

Blood tests are an obvious go-to but they are not always accurate. The most common course of action is to change your dogs diet entirely. Put simply, give them something ‘novel’ or ‘alternative’, something they have never been exposed to before. Unfortunately, far too many humans do not understand their dogs food label, so eliminating ingredients can be challenging. Commonly, those that face these issues move to a raw diet consisting of proteins that their dog has never eaten before, but this is not always necessary. As your dog’s condition settles and all symptoms have disappeared, you can start reintroducing old food types back until you find the culprit, then you can avoid that particular ingredient in the future.

Are novel and alternative proteins the answer?

Not always, but for many – yes! All dietary changes should be discussed with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist. Here at Jackson’s UK, we believe in doing what is absolutely right for your dog. With proper support and guidance all dogs should have access to the very best in balanced and appropriate nutrition taking into account their individual needs and life stage.

How can Jackson’s UK help?

With so many wonderful customers in our community, we often talk to those who would love to feed our freshly prepared, wholesome kibbles but their dogs cannot have any traditional, common proteins such as Beef, Chicken or Turkey. In the most severe cases, we know of dog community members with dogs who suffer from acute IBD and alike, so not only eat alternative proteins, but are limited within these too. These special pups can only really have what are known as exotics: Kangaroo, Ostrich and Wild Boar etc. We take all of your dog’s needs on board and want every member of the Jackson’s UK community to have access to the very best nutrition, so we have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a new, complimentary range. This is a raw range. It is not your standard raw range. No completes. No 80/10/10. Our alternative proteins are designed to be used as part of a balanced DIY diet in consultation with a qualified vet or nutritionist. For pups that have very specific needs, we give you the option to build an equally specific diet. This range is also suitable for experienced DIY raw feeders. Jackson’s UK: Derived from nature…Developed by experts…Delivered to you!


*Raw alternative range launching summer 2021

1 comment

  • Very interesting article. I will certainly looking out for the launch of this new range.


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