Just like us, our beloved dogs can develop allergies, both seasonal and food related, these sensitivities however are often involve common ingredients in their diets. Among the various food allergies that affect our dogs, chicken allergies have been on the rise. We often get asked about this in our Toronto pet stores so we wanted to take a minute to discuss the increasing prevalence of chicken allergies in dogs and how limited ingredient diets can help pet parents isolate and manage these sensitivities effectively.
A Quick Overview of Food Allergies in Dogs
Food allergies in dogs are the result of their immune system reacting to a specific protein or ingredient in their diet. Unlike food intolerances, which typically cause gastrointestinal issues, food allergies manifest as skin problems, ear infections, and sometimes digestive symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
The Chicken Conundrum
Chicken, a protein that has long been a staple in many dog foods, has become a common culprit in canine food allergies. The reasons behind the increase in chicken sensitivities are not entirely clear, but several factors may be at play. It could be due to changes in chicken processing, the use of antibiotics and hormones in poultry farming, or simply an increase in awareness and diagnosis of food allergies in dogs.
It's essential for dog owners to recognize the signs of food allergies, which may include:
- Persistent itching and scratching
- Paw chewing
- Yeasty smell
- Inflamed skin, hot spots, or rashes
- Chronic ear infections
- Digestive problems
- Hair loss
- Sneezing and watery eyes
- Chronic diarrhea
If you notice any of these symptoms in your furry friend, you might want to first consider an elimination diet using limited ingredient foods such as the brands we'll mention below.
Limited Ingredient Diets: A Solution for Chicken Allergies
Limited ingredient diets, also known as LID diets, are specially formulated to reduce the number of ingredients your dog is exposed to, making it easier to identify and manage food allergies. For dogs with chicken sensitivities, switching to a limited ingredient diet can be a game-changer.
Here's how LID diets work:
Fewer Ingredients: LID diets contain a minimal number of carefully selected ingredients, often a single protein source (other than chicken) and a limited number of easily digestible carbohydrates. If its Lamb then all you're getting is lamb. Often lesser brands may hid chicken in their ingredient list under "by product".
Chicken-Free: The primary benefit of LID diets for chicken allergies is that they are free from chicken and chicken by-products, eliminating the offending protein source. We suggest you clearly read the ingredients on the food and treat labels. If you see any by products mentioned without the meat source we recommend removing them for the dogs diet.
Allergen Isolation: By simplifying your dog's diet, you can better identify the specific ingredient causing the allergic reaction, whether it's chicken or another common allergen like beef. Keep in mind that the allergies took time to build up and they'll take time to dissipate. Sticking to a LID diet for 6-8 weeks will provide the best results.
Selecting the Right LID Diet for Your Dog
When choosing a limited ingredient diet for your dog, consider the following factors:
Protein Source: Opt for a protein source that your dog hasn't been exposed to before, as this reduces the likelihood of cross-contamination or cross-reactivity. Common alternative protein sources include duck, salmon, venison, or turkey.
High-Quality Ingredients: Look for LID diets that use high-quality, easily digestible ingredients to support your dog's overall health.
Managing Chicken Allergies with Patience and Care
Managing your dog's chicken allergy requires patience and diligence. Once you've switched to a limited ingredient diet, monitor your dog closely for any improvements in their symptoms. As previously mentioned, it may take several weeks for the allergic reactions to subside completely.
Below is a short list of a few of our favourite brands that offer a LID diet. Shop in-store online. We offer free local Toronto delivery on all orders $39 and up.