Jump to section

What are Raw Food Allergies?

According to many veterinarians and nutritionists, a raw food diet is the best thing you can feed your dog. However, just like with any type of food, there are some dogs that are allergic to it. If you believe your dog is allergic to the raw food diet they are on, there are very few ways to test this. Symptoms are typically mild and once your dog is properly diagnosed, there are a few treatment options your veterinarian can offer and most patients usually recover with no long-term side effects. 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 an excellent 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.

Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

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. While all 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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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. While the raw food diet is actually harmless, the body doesn’t recognize it as such. The body finds it dangerous and mounts 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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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 discouraging 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 have to 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 diagnostic. After the 90 days, if resolution of the allergic symptoms occurs, you then must reintroduce the raw 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. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

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 to weaken his immune system over time. This can lead to long term and 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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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, all of his allergy symptoms should stop. While there have not been any cases of death from an allergy to raw food, 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. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Raw Food Allergies Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Winston

dog-breed-icon

Pug

dog-age-icon

2

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Since our pug was a puppy he hated kibble (salmon protein kibble)! We'd have to coax him into eating by masking it with coconut oil or a small amount of wet food. He had no health issues with it but just hated it. We switched him over to raw - at first we didn't know to keep the protein the same as the kibble so we were alternating between Salmon, Lamb, Chicken, Beef, Turkey. After a few months he developed serious allergies (pododermatitis). He'll go on meds and be fine but the second he's off the meds it goes back to allergy mode. Our vet told us to stick with the same protein as the kibble (salmon) which we've done and still the allergy remains. Any and all insight is much appreciated.

Nov. 19, 2017

Winston's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

At this point it would be a case of trying allergy testing since there may be another ingredient in the raw food which is causing this allergy reaction; allergies can be difficult to get under control and are rarely a quick fix but allergy testing would save you time instead of doing elimination trials. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 20, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Mello

dog-breed-icon

Lab/Akita

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching
Itching, Paw Chewing

Mello has been on a raw diet for over a year. He gets FreshPet Vital Grain Free Chicken, Beef, Salmon, & egg Recipe. With this he gets completely raw mix - chicken feet, turkey wings, necks, legs, chicken backs, beef shanks, pork hocks, beef tripe, etc. A meal will be 1/2 cup FreshPet and say, 3 chicken feet. Enough to make up 3-400 calories per meal. I did this when he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. He's done extremely well.

Nov. 18, 2017

Mello's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

It does seem like food allergies as paw licking is a characteristic symptom of that, dogs can be allergic to anything (grain free is mostly a fad and a dog can be allergic to beef just as much as grains); I would make sure you clean Mello’s paws to make sure that there is no sand, foreign objects, chemical irritation etc… If the licking continues I would recommend allergy testing to see which ingredient you should eliminate from the diet. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 18, 2017

I read on another comment that she'd given goats milk & the dog got red blotches. Can the dog be allergic to goats milk? I put Mello on goats milk kefir because it was supposed to be better than the cows milk yougurt. I added Alaskan Pollock oil - all because he was shedding like crazy. Now it's the itching all over, not just paw chewing, and saw a hot spot this morning on rear leg. I started eliminating, Sat stopped the fish oil because it was the last added. Wandering about the goats milk now.

Nov. 20, 2017

Mello's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Cyrus

dog-breed-icon

Mix

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Itchy Skin

I started feeding my dog instinct raw medallions and fish oil supplement drops on his food. He has started having really dry itchy skin could this be the food or oil?

Oct. 22, 2017

Cyrus' Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

It could be either, but I would suspect the oil first; withdraw the oil for a week or two and see if there is a decrease in the symptoms, if still no improvement stop the medallions. If need be, return back to Cyrus’ old diet to see if the symptoms clear up then; with these types of allergies, it can take weeks to see improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 22, 2017

I was also reading it could just be his body detoxing his old food? So I was gonna wait and see if that changed but do you think I should just stop the oil instead right away?

Oct. 22, 2017

Cyrus's Owner


I was mixing my dogs Simply Nourish dog food with the portion of Instinct for over a week. I then have my dog the majority of Instinct and the rest of the old food mixed and she has hives bad. She did not have hives however when I mixed a smaller quantity of the Instinct in with the old food. Could these hives be an allergic reaction to the Instinct?

Oct. 25, 2017

Tami Harold

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Boris

dog-breed-icon

French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

15 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has developed severe allergic reactions to raw meat, and I'm trying to find information (with no luck) on wether cooking the meat, changes its profile and makes it suitable to feed that way?

Sept. 30, 2017

Boris' Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Cooking meat does cause molecular changes particularly with protein, whether or not this would affect any allergy issues would need to be tested but most likely not. Is the issue all meat or only some; fish may be a possible alternative or a hydrolysed protein diet. An allergy test may be useful as would elimination trials with prescription diets. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 30, 2017

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Max

dog-breed-icon

Yorkshire Terrier

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching And Licking
Red Skin,

We started giving my dog raw meat and goat milk four days ago. Today he has red skin and he is scratching all over all the time. He doesn't have diarrhea nor he is vomiting. Is his reaction related to the change in diet? Can it become worse? How long can we wait until we can see a vet?

Aug. 30, 2017

Max's Owner


answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

If there is a link between the dietary change and the appearance of the skin turning red and itching; change the diet to boiled chicken and rice for a few days to see if there is any improvement, if you notice an improvement reintroduce a little goat’s milk into the chicken and rice to see if there is a reaction then do the same for the raw meat. Also, skin reactions may be due to environmental allergen which may include new laundry detergents or walking in tall grass. If the itching is severe, it may be worth visiting your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 30, 2017

Yes

Nov. 16, 2017

Jackie Y.

Was this experience helpful?

Raw Food Allergies Average Cost

From 397 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

Need pet insurance?