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Our dog has sensitive skin. We often find him biting, scratching or licking one of his paws or some parts of the body (not flea related). Lately, he has been having bad skin problems specifically in one area of his body and it wasn’t getting any better. We wanted to make things better so that he can escape some of the discomfort he was experiencing. Our veterinarian told us that our dog could be experiencing a secondary infection caused by an allergic reaction to something. He told us that our dog can be allergic to soil, food, something in the house such as cleaning supplies, fabrics, or some materials, literally anything. It seemed too broad for us to figure out. How do we find out what he is allergic to? We feed our dog some human food such as organic chicken or steak and organic, natural dog food on a daily basis. However, my husband was always worried and wondered if feeding our dog cooked chicken breast with carrots was a good idea even though they were organic and natural. He thought dried dog food may offer a more balanced nutrition than the human food we give such as organic chicken breasts with carrots. Therefore, we just alternated with some human food and dog food. However, we were never sure that if cheddar cheese he loves is okay for our dog or not. Through online research, chicken breast, cheddar cheese, sweet potato are okay for dogs to eat after all. Would it be possible that our dog is allergic to some of the food even though they are supposedly okay for dogs? We wanted to find out if he has an intolerance to the food he regularly eats even though he loves it. Therefore, we decided to do the food tolerance test. In this post, I share with you the food intolerance test we tried for our dog and how the food intolerance test for dogs can be helpful.
Food Allergy VS Food Intolerance
I thought food allergy and food intolerance were the same thing. However, they are different. A food intolerance is when you eat certain foods, you have difficulty digesting them and have negative physical reactions to them. Food intolerances occur because you don’t have an enzyme needed to fully digest a food. Common symptoms of food intolerance of dogs includes diarrhea, vomiting, changes in the consistency or color of the stools, and gurgling sounds from the digestive system, itchy skin, hair loss, sneezing, coughing, chronic ear problems, red, inflamed skin. Food intolerance can cause food to be broken down improperly by the digestive system and cause discomfort. It occurs from eating certain food ingredients. However, if a dog eats small amounts of food that he/she has a low tolerance to, he/she may not experience any uncomfortable physical reactions even though the dog has an intolerance to that food. Food ingredients that can cause food intolerances include dairy, proteins, seafoods, vegetables, fruits, fats, grains, nuts, additives such as food dye, synthetic additives, and sweeteners. Food ingredients can be all sorts of food including additives. Therefore, dog foods or treats can contain an ingredient that your dog has an intolerance to.
While food intolerances are caused by a lack of enzymes needed to digest certain food ingredients fully, a pet food allergy is caused by a response of a body’s immune system to certain proteins. Proteins are present in most of the foods such as meat also grains and vegetables. A body’s immune system defends the body against the allergen and releases a chemical which causes an allergic reaction. Although the immune system is there to protect the body from developing infection or disease, the immune response to allergies can be harmful. The chemical released by the immune system is called histamine and it can cause inflammation such as swelling, itching and redness. Itching of the skin is one of the most common symptoms of allergies for dogs. This will have your dog excessively scratching or licking. Common signs of a food allergy also includes ear infections, skin infections, bald patches, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, gastrointestinal problems, a high frequency of hot spots, itchy rear end, licking their feet. The signs of food intolerance and food allergy are very similar. When a dog shows symptoms, he/ she may have a food intolerance but not a food allergy (or vice versa). Also, for our case, we were’t sure if our dog had issues developed from a food allergy or a food intolerance. Apart from a food intolerance is not caused by the body’s immune system, food intolerance can happen after one meal whereas food allergy may not appear after one meal. A dog may not have an allergic reaction the first time he/she is exposed to the offending food since the body has to encounter the allergen more than once to recognize it as an invading threat. It could take months or years before a dog becomes allergic to certain food ingredient. Food intolerances can be developed to a food allergy.
Whether the symptoms come from a food intolerance or food allergy, the food causing a food allergy or food intolerance should be avoided. An untreated allergy can lead to more health issues such as secondary skin infections, behavioral changes, worsened symptoms and the development of more allergies. Also, if the dog’s skin is itchy all the time, it will be very uncomfortable for the dog which affects the quality of life of the dog. He or she will feel itchy all the time. In our dog’s case, he scratched spots constantly and the skin got infected.
Identifying A Offending Food Ingredient
Food allergy or food intolerance requires identifying the food that is allergic or intolerable to your dog and eliminate it from the dog’s diet. There is no cure for food allergies or a food intolerance other than avoiding the offending food. Since a food intolerance can lead to a food allergy, it would be good to know an offending food before it develops to an allergy. The way to diagnose and treat a food allergy or intolerance is to consult with your veterinarian. He can help you discover the ingredient or thing that is causing the allergic or negative reaction in your dog. He or she may suggest allergy testing. Food allergies or intolerances are often identified through an elimination diet. Through an elimination diet trial, your dog will be put on a special diet exclusively at the same time eliminating all other food products including dog food and treats for 8 to 12 weeks to see if your dog’s symptoms get better or disappear. If the dog has a food allergy or a food intolerance, the symptoms should get better after or during the elimination diet. After this process, the ingredients from the original diet is reintroduced one at a time to see which ingredient causes an allergic, negative reaction. Symptoms are monitored and if the symptoms return, that food ingredient should be avoided in the long run. IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are caused by the body’s immune system are also diagnosed through a blood test or skin prick test provided by veterinarians.
What Is A Food Intolerance Test For Dogs?
When we were told that our dog’s skin infection may have developed from constant scratching and licking, one area we wanted to investigate was his food since he is exposed to certain food ingredients on a daily basis. However, it seemed a little bit overwhelming to figure out which ingredient posed a potential risk for our dog. While researching for food intolerances and allergies, I came across a food intolerance test kit for dogs (or cats). Food intolerance test identifies which food ingredient your dog has a tolerance and intolerance to. It can help you identify which food ingredients are safe for your dog without having him try all of the ingredients one at a time. We wanted to find out if the food we were feeding him was okay and if we should change his food with different ingredients. This test is done with your dog’s hair sample. With this testing, your dog does not have to have ingest the food item for it to identify as an intolerance. There are several food intolerance tests for dogs and cats available. We chose the 5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test to try out. Let’s take a look below.
5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test
What This Kit Test For:
The 5Strands Pet Food Intolerance Test determines the key intolerances your CAT or DOG may have. It tests for 255 of the most common pet food ingredients including proteins, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, seafood, additives & preservatives.
Your pet does not have to consume any of these items to register a response. Intolerances can manifest from the body lacking the digestive enzymes or the overconsumption of an item.
What It Doesn’t Test:
This is a food intolerance test, not a food allergy test. IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are caused by the body’s immune system, are NOT tested by 5Strands.
What Results You Get:
The test results will include the severity of response upon exposure to each item from 255 common food ingredients is measured, and an instant 60-90 day elimination guideline. 255 of the most common pet food ingredients includes proteins, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, seafood, additives & preservatives. Each item tested measures 1 of 4 responses: no responses, mild, moderate and severe intolerances. Every dog is different and symptoms may vary by level and severity.
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How 5Strands Test Work
What The Process Is
When you order a 5Strands Food Intolerance Test Kit, you will receive it via mail. Once you receive the kit, you can register the kit online on their website. Then you can collect 10-15 strands of your dog’s hair sample, place them in the envelope that came with the kit and mail them to the 5Strands lab.
When the 5Strands lab receives the hair sample, they scan the hair sample using bioresonance technology. You can expect to receive the test results within 7-10 days after the hair sample arrives to 5Strands processing center. You will receive the test result via email.
After The Test Result
My husband and I have found that the most common food ingredients that our dog enjoyed such as chicken, salmon, sweet potatoes and carrots, our dog had a very low tolerance to. Some of the food ingredients he liked came out to a ‘severe intolerance’. The food report is to be utilized as an outline for a 6-8 week elimination plan. The ingredient that your dog has a low tolerance to may be the additives or fillers that are in your dog’s processed dog food or treats. Our dog food contains eggs whites, salmon and chicken which our dog has a severe intolerance to. Therefore, we have decided to take him off his regular dog food. Also we completely eliminated the offending food items from his meal. We have been providing home cooked meals with food ingredients that resulted no intolerance responses from him in the test result. Since dried dog food contains several different ingredients, it may be better to provide home cooked meals for your dog during the elimination diet process. In that way, you are able to select only ingredients that your dog doesn’t have an intolerance to. According to 5Strands, if you have decided to cook for your pet, once you have completed the reintroduction process, you can then try transitioning back to processed pet foods and see how your dog does. To test for food intolerances, 5Strands recommends to re-introduce items one at a time, in small quantities, to see if the symptoms return after the elimination period and after the symptoms have gotten better. According to the 5Strands, symptoms or reactions can take up to 48 hours or longer to appear. When you re-introduce the food item and your dog doesn’t experience the food intolerance symptoms, you can continue feeding in moderation. If the symptoms return, it will probably best to avoid the offending item. If you are feeding your dog processed food but you couldn’t find a dog food with completely offending item-free ingredients, you may try to rotate between different brands or kinds so that your dog doesn’t eat the same ingredients or food every day. It may be a good idea to feed the dog food in rotation and moderation instead of the same food every day. Currently, we are also in the process of looking for dried dog food with the ingredients that have the least amount of the offending ingredients.
What Other 5 Strands Intolerance Tests For Pets Are Available
5Strands also has a deluxe package which includes food, environmental, mineral, metal, nutrition intolerance tests. I should have gotten the Deluxe Package but I tried the food intolerance test only to try out first. Now that I like the food intolerance test, I am planning to try other intolerance tests. I wish I have just gotten the deluxe kit together.
5Strands Pet Deluxe Package
What This Kit Test For:
The 5Strands Pet Deluxe Package includes 4 different types of tests: (Food Intolerance, Environmental Intolerance, Nutrition Test, Metal & Mineral Test)
Your pet does not have to have ever consume or encounter any of these items (both food & environmental) to register a response. This is the job of 5Strands. Intolerances can manifest from the body lacking the digestive enzymes or the over-consumption/overexposure of an item.
Food Intolerance Test: It tests for 255 of the most common pet food ingredients including proteins, grains, vegetables, fruits, fats, seafood, additives & preservatives.
Environmental Intolerance: It tests for the environmental intolerance to 100 + items including fabrics, cleaning supplies, grasses, trees, mold, other animals’ dander, & chemicals.
Pet Nutrition Test : It tests which of the key vitamins and minerals your pet’s body is not absorbing properly from their food and/or supplements of 40+ items.
Pet Metals & Minerals: It tests your pet’s ability to process and eliminate the 40+ items tested
What It Doesn’t Test: For the Pet Nutrition Test and the Pet Metals & Minerals Test, 40+ items, the report will not indicate a result for all of the 40+ item tested. The report will indicate which of the vitamins, minerals, metals your pet absorb, process and eliminate properly of those items.
What Results You Get: The severity of response upon exposure to each item is measured and provided in an instant 60-90 day elimination guideline.
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5Strands also carries a Pet Standard Package which only includes a Food Intolerance Test and an Environmental Intolerance Test.
If your dog suffers from allergies or intolerance symptoms, it would be best to seek help from the veterinarian for a diagnosis, treatment and potential underlying issues. If symptoms are unresolved, the problem could lead to a bigger problem. Sometimes, the problem could come from underlying health issues. Since the only way to prevent the allergy or intolerance symptoms is to remove offending items from their food or environment, you would have to find out what the offending items are. If you would like to find out your dog’s intolerances to food, the 5Strands Food Intolerance Kit may help you figure out the food ingredients that are safe for your dog. The food intolerance test may give you an insight of what your dog may or may not have a tolerance to and help you start an elimination diet starting point. If you want to have your dog do a skin prick test or blood test for allergies, not intolerance, you can consult with a veterinarian. A veterinarian can also help you with the elimination diet process. Our dog is getting better with his skin infection caused from constant scratching and licking. We changed his meals to home cooked meals with food ingredients that tested no negative responses. We started an elimination diet process. He seems to like the food so far and his scratching has gotten a lot better. I know watching your dog going through discomfort can feel helpless. Hope this post can be helpful for those parents whose dog is going through a discomfort due to a food intolerance or allergy.
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