Meat Protein Allergies Average Cost

From 463 quotes ranging from $200 - 800

Average Cost


First Walk is on Us!

✓ GPS tracked walks
✓ Activity reports
✓ On-demand walkers
Book FREE Walk

Jump to Section

What are Meat Protein Allergies?

The most commonly reported symptom of allergies in dogs is dermatitis, which is a skin disorder that varies from dog to dog, but almost always includes itching and redness of the skin. Just like humans, the skin of dogs is the largest organ in their body and is 15% to 25% of the body weight. There are seven layers of skin, which are called the subcutaneous muscles and fat, appendageal system, dermis, basement membrane zone, and epidermis. The skin protects your dog’s body from outside contaminants and allergens, which is why it is usually the first sign of any kind of allergy in your dog. In the case of meat protein allergies in dogs, the first sign may be vomiting rather than itching, and it is best to observe your dog the first few times you feed them a new food. Even if your dog really seems to like the food, the body may not agree, and can quickly lead to anaphylactic shock, which is a life-threatening emergency. If your dog seems to be having trouble breathing (coughing, gagging, vomiting), you need to get your dog to an animal hospital immediately.

Meat proteins are exactly like their name implies, proteins derived from meat, such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and duck. The novel pet foods include bison, venison, buffalo, rabbit, alligator, and kangaroo. These are proteins that are not commonly used in foods so there is less chance of an allergic reaction. Meat proteins allergies in dogs may occur from feeding your dog a new food, treats, chews, or table scraps. In some cases, you may not even realize what the allergen was. This can be a serious condition in some dogs, with inflammation that can lead to anaphylactic shock, which triggers contraction of the smooth muscles of the throat, leading to asphyxiation and death. However, in the majority of cases, the reaction is not as serious and includes itching, redness of skin, hives, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.

Book First Walk Free!

Symptoms of Meat Protein Allergies in Dogs

Symptoms of meat protein allergy may vary, but the most common are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bald spots (alopecia)
  • Breathing trouble
  • Collapse
  • Convulsions
  • Cyanosis
  • Death
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive licking
  • Excitement
  • Facial swelling
  • Hives
  • Incoordination
  • Itching (anus, ears, eyes, groin, muzzle, paws, underarms)
  • Lesions on the skin (usually the face, feet, and groin area)
  • Nausea
  • Paw biting
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Salivation
  • Shock
  • Skin rash
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes


Almost all dog foods include meat protein in their ingredients. It is best to look at the ingredients list carefully to see if any of these are listed:

  • Animal fats and oils
  • Animal proteins
  • Bone meal
  • Fresh meat
  • Meat
  • Meat and animal derivatives
  • Meat meal
  • Poultry
  • Poultry fats

Causes of Meat Protein Allergies in Dogs

There are two ways to describe a dog’s abnormal reaction to food. One is allergy, which affects the immune system, and the other is intolerance, which affects the digestive system. Meat protein allergy is usually triggered after your dog has eaten food with meat protein in the ingredients before, because it is the previous exposure that produces the allergic reaction. Meat protein intolerance happens the first time (and every time) your dog eats the food with meat protein ingredients because the body cannot tolerate any product including meat protein.

Diagnosis of Meat Protein Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs are even harder to diagnose than allergies in people because dogs cannot tell you what they ate when you were not looking. The best way for the veterinarian to determine the diagnosis is to eliminate other illnesses or injuries that are being overlooked.

A physical examination will be done right away, checking your dog’s overall condition and demeanor. The veterinarian will check body weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate, breath sounds, reflexes, skin condition, and will include a thorough examination of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Laboratory tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, electrolyte panel, glucose levels, urinalysis, and fecal examination will be done to rule out any underlying disease or illness. The veterinarian may also take a skin scraping to sample in order to rule out bacterial or fungal infection.

Treatment of Meat Protein Allergies in Dogs

In order to determine the protocol for solving your dog’s skin or ear infections, and to give advice on conditions like alopecia or extreme itching, determining the allergen is required. To test for allergies, the most effective way is to use the elimination diet. The veterinarian will instruct you on what to do in detail, but it is usually done by taking away all foods and then starting over again with one food at a time to determine the culprit.  The suspected meat protein will be removed from the diet and reintroduced when the veterinarian feels the time is right. Each food, when added back in, should be tried for several weeks to see if any of the symptoms return. Your veterinarian will be able to instruct you on which foods to try and may have a hypoallergenic food on hand in the clinic that you can start with.

Treatment will depend on your dog’s symptoms and the results of the food trial. A goal of the veterinary team will be to alleviate the itching and inflammation in your dog’s skin for his comfort, and because the skin mirrors what is going on inside the body. In order to do a food trial or elimination diet, your dog’s skin has to be treated first.

Treating the Skin

Your dog’s skin is the best way to determine allergies, so it is important to get the skin back to normal as soon as possible. A hypoallergenic shampoo and cortizone cream for the rash and inflammation will help relieve the itching within a few days.

Food Trial/Elimination Diet

It may take several months to find the right food. Most dog food brands now have limited ingredient food for sensitive dogs. These have just a few ingredients, thereby minimizing the chance of allergic reaction. There are also dog foods with novel meats, meaning the protein in the food is uncommon so your dog will not have had any exposure to that protein. It is the previous exposure that causes the allergic reaction. Some of the novel protein foods on the market have venison, bison, rabbit, and even kangaroo meat. They are usually paired with a novel carbohydrate as well, such as peas, carrots, or potatoes.

Recovery of Meat Protein Allergies in Dogs

After you determine the allergen and eliminate it from your dog’s diet, the prognosis for recovery is excellent. However, you will need to be vigilant in sticking to the diet all the time and make sure your family and any other caretakers know about your dog’s allergy. You will have to start reading the ingredients on food and treats to make sure there is no meat protein added to the mix. As a matter of fact, you should do this every time you buy dog food or treats because some manufacturers have a tendency to change ingredients without advertising it

It is important to maintain this diet for a lifetime because if you feed your dog an allergen just once, it can be fatal if anaphylaxis occurs. Be sure to follow-up with your veterinarian if there is a problem and take your dog for a checkup at least once per year.

Meat Protein Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Dalmation lab
12 Weeks
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Chewing front pads, red skin.

I have a 12 yr lab dalmation. Diagnosed with cancer in December. Now cooking him a isotonic diet. Was doing hamburger,chicken,Turkey and eggs. The
Last 3 weeks he chews the front 2 large pads bloody. Also his skin appears really red. Tried to narrow in down by just feeding one meat. Nothing seems to clear up the redness or the chewing. I can't feed him regular dog food since he needs sugar free. Any other way of getting him high protein in his diet besides meat or is there a sugar free high protein dog food?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2981 Recommendations
In a case like this, elimination of ingredients may take weeks to test each one as it needs time for an allergen to leave the body and for a dog’s paws to stop being irritated; allergy testing would be a faster method of identifying an allergen. However, for a suitable diet for Barney you should consider consulting with PetDiets as they will be able to recommend a diet and may formulate one specifically for him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Barney's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Miniature Pinscher
6 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My dog is allergic to any meat, my Vet prescribed hydrolized protein, however they are usually soy protein, or corn starch which are horrendous, so unhealthy! I’m very holistic so I would love to give him holistic, hydrolized real good food options! So please don’t say Royal Canin or etc companies, they use ton of unheard of materials in dog food, and so many chemicals, preservatives to keep food fresh, and carcasas. What can you suggest?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2981 Recommendations
Many people are against soy, corn and others; but in reality they are not as bad as people think and are a much better option than a dog starving. Please read the extract and the article below from Tufts University regarding diets and the use of grains etc… “What surprises many pet owners is that grains are actually uncommon causes of food allergies – most pets are allergic to animal proteins! Yes, the occasional pet is allergic to a specific grain, or even another plant-sourced ingredient such as potato, or even carrot, but this is less common than an allergy to an animal protein. Unfortunately, this information doesn’t prevent hundreds of companies from advertising their grain-free diets as being good for pets with allergies. Many companies also advertise gluten-free diets for pets. Gluten allergies seem to be extremely rare in pets, having been clearly documented only in Irish Setter dogs, possibly in Border Terrier dogs, and never in cats.” Be as ‘holistic’ as you would like, but ensure that your dog is getting an adequate balanced diet. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Dex's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Retriever mix
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms


My dog doesn't have any itching or any other symptoms of meat protein allergies except he just has little pencil eraser size bald spots on his back. We put him on grain free food thinking maybe that was the issue but he is still loosing hair. Could this be due to a protein allergy?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2981 Recommendations
There are various causes of hair loss in dogs, but most causes cause some type of itching or irritation; causes may include parasites (particularly Demodex which may not itch), infections, hormonal conditions, autoimmune disease among other issues. Food allergies are normally accompanied by intense itching, I would suggest visiting your Veterinarian for a skin scraping to help determine an underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Hades's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Labrador Retriever
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


If the dog is intolerant, does this mean they cannot eat ANY form of meat protein at all, or just the sources they've been exposed to.
And if it's intolerance versus allergy would it happen over time?
She was put on hydrolyzed food and the vomiting stopped, although she's starting to balk at her food again. I'm trying to prove to my Mom that she needs to try a novel source. That hydrolyzed may not be necessary.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2981 Recommendations

Allergies are usually sudden and severe whereas intolerance can vary and may allow for some consumption before symptoms appear. Normally read meat is an offender and white meat is usually safe (in general); you can try the good old tested boiled chicken and rice to see if you notice any improvements. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

The doctor did not answer your question: "does this mean they cannot eat ANY form of meat protein at all, or just the sources they've been exposed to". I have the same question.

Read more at:

Even time my dog eats anything she sneezes and then rubs her head on her blankets. What do i do? I have tried gluten free, grain free. Also boiled her meat which she hates meat. What do i feed her, even tried fish.

Add a comment to Maddie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Shih Tzu
12 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 12 years old shih tzu is allergy to pork and chicken. For years I have been adding cooked pork to her daily diet / dog food resulting she refuse to eat any if I don't add pork. What should I do?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2981 Recommendations
It can be difficult to get a dog to change their diet if they have been eating the same food every day for a number of years; whilst the pork diet is not good for her, you should try to gently wean her across to the new food by mixing it in varying proportions over time (90%:10%; 80%:20% etc…) until she is on the new food. The alternative is the leave the new food there and once she is hungry enough she will go to eat it; once a dog reaches a point they will eat any food in a bowl, but I would recommend the slow wean method first. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Add a comment to Zai's experience

Was this experience helpful?