Dogs with allergy symptoms usually require a hypoallergenic, novel protein diet for a period of time, which removes aggravating foods from their system, while working on strengthening their immune system. Novel protein means a protein they have not had before, which for dogs and cats usually means either rabbit, pork, goat, kangaroo, crocodile, venison, turkey or duck.  This helps to eliminate food adverse reactions and allergies which are often contributing to their symptoms, and gives their system time to rebalance and build a healthier foundation.

Leaky gut is often a contributing factor in allergic patients, and continuing to feed foods that irritate the gastrointestinal lining will exacerbate allergy symptoms.  For this reason, we place almost all our allergy patients on a hypoallergenic diet for a period of at least 6-8 weeks.

Following is a guideline of how a natural hypoallergenic diet looks for a dog fed once daily:

Day 1: Meat meal

Day 2: Meat and organ meat meal followed by a raw meaty bone (if bones are suitable for the advised protein source)

Day 3: Baked or steamed sweet potato or pumpkin mixed with blended leafy greens, or plain cooked rice

Day 4: Meat meal

Day 5: Meat and organ meat meal followed by a raw meaty bone

Day 6: Green smoothie

Day 7: Bone broth cleanse (if broth available from the protein source) or sweet potato or pumpkin, or plain cooked rice

Note that all of the meats, organ meats and bones must come from a single protein source for the duration of the diet period.

Finely minced or blended leafy green vegies, such as parsley, celery leaf, beetroot leaf, sprouts, edible weeds and grasses, should be added to all meals. If you are feeding a prepared food option that has green matter included then you can eliminate this step.

For cats that have been eating processed foods, we usually put them onto a diet trial using Ziwi Peak’s canned and air-dried venison formulations.  Raw kangaroo diets can also be a good option.

When designing a hypoallergenic diet, it is important to choose only one meat, that is easily obtainable for you, and one that your pet has not eaten in the past.  Stick with this meat for a minimum of 6-8 weeks or until advised to change. Meats can be diced or minced and ideally should include some organ meat.

Bones should be fed after the evening meat meal, using only soft, edible, meaty bones, from the same animal that the protein source is coming from. Bones can usually only be sourced from turkeys or pigs, so if you are feeding a protein other than turkey or boar, eliminate bones from the diet whilst on the diet trial. Dust bones with a sprinkle of dried coconut before feeding.

When cooking sweet potato or pumpkin, you can cut it into large chunks to steam, or bake whole in the oven with a little coconut oil, then feed cooled.

For the fruit meal, experiment with a variety of fruits to find what your dog likes. Some dogs won’t eat fruits initially, but after a few weeks on a wholefoods diet will become more interested. Melons, bananas (must have spotted skins to ensure ripeness), papaya, apple, pear, avocado flesh or coconut can all be fed, either whole, mashed or blended with or without greens.

Prepared Diet Options

For many people, a complete prepared raw food is a more convenient option than sourcing meats, organs and bones from unusual protein sources.  There are a number of companies producing single-protein foods from free-ranging animals.  It is important to use free-range and preferably organic meats rather than barn-raised or intensively farmed animals, as the essential fatty acid and vitamin content of free-ranging meats is much higher, which helps to modulate immune system damage.  Chemicals included in non-organic foods have also been implicated as a cause of allergies and immune-mediated disease.

Suitable options include:

• Complete Pet Company’s Turkey Complete Meal

• Complete Pet Company’s Goat Complete Meal

• Organic Paws Turkey Meal

• Canine Country Holistic Wild Boar BARF

• Raw 4 Paws Turkey or Kangaroo

• Ziwi Peak Venison air-dried and canned foods

• Prime 100 Crocodile & Tapioca

• Frontier Pets Pork freeze-dried food

We stock most of these foods at The Natural Vets.

If your pet is suffering from allergy symptoms, such as recurrent ear problems, itchy skin, itchy feet, or recurrent gastrointestinal upset, book in for a holistic veterinary consultation soon by phoning us on (07) 5476 7674 so we can get started on repairing their immune system and provide them some relief.