Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Raw Food Allergies in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Raw Food Allergies in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Raw Food Allergies?

As is true with any type of food, there are some dogs that are allergic to a raw food diet. If you believe your dog is allergic to the raw food diet they are on, there are very few ways to test this other than removing the food items. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and once your dog is properly diagnosed, there are a few treatment options your veterinarian can offer. Even pets who suffer from severe allergies can be provided relief once the source of the problem is identified.

Raw food is a type of food you can offer your dog as their diet. While this can be a source of nutrition for some dogs, it may not be the best for yours. If you are considering feeding a raw food for your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian.

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Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

  • Runny nose
  • Runny eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Poor skin conditions
  • Poor hair coat
  • Hair loss
  • Bumps/rash 
  • Hives
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Obsessive licking/chewing of feet
  • Inflamed, red paw pads
  • Gastrointestinal upset

Types 

Raw food comes in a wide variety for dogs. There are foods with different protein sources and foods with and without grains. Even if all of the ingredients are of the best quality, your dog may still be allergic to one of them. Depending on which ingredient your dog is allergic to, your dog may or may not be allergic to one, some, or all of the raw food products.

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Causes of Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

If your pet's system reacts to the raw food, it is because his body is protecting itself from something it thinks will harm it. The body might find it dangerous and mount a protective response to the threat. Your dog’s body produces an immune response to the ingredients found in the raw food mix. This allergic response may develop quickly or may develop over a period of years, and sometimes after an infection involving the stomach or intestines.

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Diagnosis of Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

When you first arrive at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will collect a thorough history from you asking questions related to what your dog eats in his raw diet, what he snacks on, and takes for medications. She will then exam your dog to assess him symptoms fully and ensure his vitals are normal. If your dog’s skin is irritated or showing any symptom that may be caused by something other than a food allergy, the veterinarian may take a skin scraping to check for external parasites or bacterial overgrowth. If your dog has watery eyes, the veterinarian may perform fluorescein staining to check for a scratch on the eye that could possibly cause the watering. If your dog has build up in his eyes, she may check tear production levels to rule out dry eye.

She will perform blood work to get some needed information as to what is causing your dog’s body to react the way it is. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with results for proper assessment.  If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function. 

Bicom testing is another method of determining a food related allergy in your dog. This method believes every being and substance in the world emits its own electromagnetic wave. The veterinarian takes a blood sample from your dog and tests different food items and substances to see if it has a ‘good’, ‘neutral’ or ‘bad’ response. If the item is compatible with your dog, the electromagnetic waves will be in sync and make the wave even stronger when together causing a ‘good’ result. If it is ‘neutral’, the item being tested does not put out a wavelength to alter that of your dog. If the response is ‘bad’, the item being tested causes your dog’s blood wavelength to become stressed. Stressed blood leads to a stressed body and therefore a response from the immune system. If it is not good for your dog, then you simply remove that food from his diet and the allergic symptoms should stop. The main downside to the Bicom testing for a premade diet like raw food, it does not tell you what specific ingredient your dog is allergic to, just that something in the food reacts poorly with your dog. Bicom testing is not commonly seen in veterinary practices because it is considered an ‘alternative’ medicine. Many holistic veterinarians use the Bicom testing with an extremely high success rate, but other veterinarians believe this method does not work. It is up to you to decide if you would like this test for your dog or not. 

Diagnosing allergies can be a long process with very few diagnostic tests available. A dietary trial is the most frequently used method because it is typically the most accurate. In a dietary trial, you feed your dog a novel diet, meaning you feed him a diet without any suspected allergen ingredient whatsoever. You have to feed your dog the novel diet for at least 90 days before you can get a reliable result. After the 90 days, if resolution of the allergic symptoms occurs, you then you reintroduce the food to his diet. If a relapse in allergy symptoms occurs once the raw food is reintroduced, then you know the source. If symptoms do not return with the reintroduction of the raw food, then it was a source other than the food your dog was reacting to. 

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Treatment of Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

Many veterinarians will prescribe a medication to get your dog to stop scratching. While this is beneficial so that he may avoid causing a secondary infection, the medication is a temporary solution for the skin irritation. If you do not remove the source of the itching, you will have to continue to give the prescription and possibly continuously increase his dose as time goes on. Instead, it may also be beneficial for you to find a natural balm or anti-itch ointment to use with or as a substitute for a prescription medication.

Removing the allergen from your dog’s diet completely will offer him relief from all his food allergy related symptoms. If the allergen remains in your dog’s diet, it will continue cause recurring issues. While it may be a long process, if you are able to discover the actual ingredient your dog is allergic to, you may or may not be able to keep him on a raw food diet. Plus, once you know the actual allergen, you are then able to have strict control over your dog’s diet and can keep him from ingesting it in any form.

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Recovery of Raw Food Allergies in Dogs

Once you discover the exact food allergen causing issues for your pet healthwise and remove it from his diet, the allergy symptoms should stop. The longer your dog is eating a food that weakens his immune system, the higher his chances he may develop a more serious secondary infection. Once your dog is consuming a diet healthy for him, his immune system will return to full strength and prognosis of a full recovery is good. 

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Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Raw Food Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Dachshund

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Three Years

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Rash

My pup is experiencing excessive itching, has some sort of rash and has dry/flaky skin.

Oct. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. From your picture, that appears to be a reaction of some kind, or a bacterial infection. You can try washing the area daily with an antibacterial wash like Hibiclens, and see if that helps. If it is still red and sore after a day or two, then it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine her and see what might be causing this.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Sam

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Pit bull

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6 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Itchy

My dog has suffered from allergies ever since we rescued her 5 years ago. We were giving her PurVida kibble but were told a raw diet is better for dogs with allergies. I now cook her Salmon, chicken or beef mixed with carrots, green beans, peas and greek yogurt. Do you know how long it takes to see a change in their skin/allergies after starting a raw diet? Also, what is the best raw food to give to avoid allergies? She is still itching and scratching like crazy. I also have been applying 50/50 Apple cider vinegar and water to her skin topically and coconut oil. I am not sure what else to do at this point. She does seem to get worse with laying in Grass or dirt. We did take her to a vet and they said she most likely has environmental allergies based on her rash. My dog is a Pit bull/German Sheppard mix.

June 27, 2018

Sam's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If your Veterinarian has determined that the cause is most likely environmental allergies, dietary changes will not help with that; if it appears that there may be a grass allergy, the best course of action would be to prevent any contact with grass for a fortnight to see if there is any improvement in the severity of the rash (bathe her as well with a mild hypoallergenic shampoo). Generally it may take a few weeks to see improvement after removing a suspected allergen from the environment or food; as for the diet, there is contradicting information regarding raw diets etc… I would look at a commercial diet with a novel protein source so that all nutritional requirement are met. However, speak with your Veterinarian about allergy testing as this will help narrow in on an allergen faster. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 28, 2018

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Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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