Dog Food Intolerance Testing

Food intolerance testing is a trial and error procedure that helps you to identify ingredients or foods that aren’t easily digested and metabolized by the dog’s body. Food intolerance is often confused with food allergies. Although some of the symptoms may be similar these are two distinct conditions that have to be addressed differently.

Difference between Food Intolerance and Food Allergies

Dogs generally develop food allergies when the body gets sensitized to a certain ingredient that has been fed to the pet for a long period of time. Some sources of proteins are known to trigger such allergic reactions. Food intolerance on the other hand occurs when the dog ingests something out of the ordinary. He might exhibit the symptoms of food intolerance if he consumes deep fried foods or left over table scraps that aren’t well digested by the gastrointestinal tract. One marked difference between the two conditions is that dogs suffering from food intolerance don’t develop skin reactions, hives or facial swelling that is very common in pets suffering from food allergies.

Diagnosis of Food Intolerance in Dogs

In order to differentiate food intolerance from allergies the vet will evaluate the clinical symptoms exhibited and ask you if you’ve introduced new food into your pet’s diet or if you’re administering any new supplements or medications. If the dog shows visible signs of redness of the skin, inflammation and itching along with vomiting and diarrhea, the cause may be attributed to an allergy. Once the diagnosis is confirmed the vet will prescribe medications to soothe the dog’s gastrointestinal tract and bring relief from the vomiting and diarrhea.

Food Intolerance Testing

You may be required to withhold food for nearly 24 hours to ease the pressure exerted on the dog’s digestive tract. After the dog’s condition is stable, you will have to also work with the vet to determine the real cause of the food intolerance. This process is known as food intolerance testing. You will be asked to feed your pet, a source of protein or carbohydrate that he has never consumed before. There are several prescription diets that are formulated specifically for the purpose of food intolerance testing. You could either give your pet this commercial diet or prepare home cooked meals according to vet instructions.

You have to also make sure that your dog doesn’t ingest food that’s lying on the floor, table leftovers and other treats during the entire food testing period. This period lasts for about 8 to 12 weeks. After a few weeks, the vet will ask you to re-introduce some of the pet’s regular food into his diet. You may be asked to introduce one ingredient at a time. In this manner you will be able to find out which ingredient causes the intolerance.

Foods to Avoid During Food Intolerance Testing

You should also prevent your dog from roaming outdoors as he is likely to ingest contaminated food and water that’s found outdoors. Although food intolerance testing takes time and effort, you will be able to identify ingredients that don’t agree with your pet and completely eliminate them from his diet.