Hey, fellow pet lovers!
I hope you all enjoyed last week and went on plenty of fun-filled walks with your pooch since it was National Walk Your Dog Week, check out my previous post if you haven’t already after reading this to learn more. We certainly had plenty of fun, and hopefully, you and your furry friends did too. Today’s post is my 50th post on the blog, where does the time go?? It feels like two seconds ago since I was writing my first ever post—the reasons behind epoch.pet.
I’m planning on doing a post that will talk about my blogging journey so far since the 20th of this month will be six months since epoch.pet first went live. I just want to quickly thank everyone who keeps coming back to the blog to read my content and interact with epoch.pet, you guys know who you are, and I am unbelievably grateful to you all!!
Today’s post is all about my girl Nia since about month ago we paid for an allergy test to be done since she was super itchy and we couldn’t tell what was causing the problem. We always thought that chicken and beef made her itchier after eating them, but thankfully, we now know the things she is sensitive to and what she should and shouldn’t eat.
Let’s jump straight in and learn all about my itchy dog, Nia!
My Itchy Dog, Allergy Test Results
My girl Nia has always been a bit of an itchy pooch, and I remember when she was a puppy, she always seemed to have a few ear problems that have thankfully now have gone away. However, looking back and knowing what we know now it all makes perfect sense as when she was a puppy, the first protein we started her on was chicken.
Chicken is 100% a no go for my girl Nia and we now know this because of her allergy test results.
We ordered Nia a Dog Allergy Test from EasyDNA, this cost us £85, and it took a few weeks until we received our results via email. This allergy test tests for over 100 allergens and gives you a clear idea of what could be causing your pet’s problems. Nia is coming up to four next month, and all this time we have been feeding the foods that she is not fine eating. I was so shocked when we received her results as she is sensitive or potentially sensitive to a lot more than I assumed she would be.
What causes food intolerance or sensitivity?
Many factors could cause your pet to suffer from an intolerance or sensitivity, and I want to quickly mention that an allergy is different from food intolerance or sensitivity, since food allergies commonly involve signs that occur immediately.
An example of an allergy is someone coming out in hives after eating food that they are allergic to, or someone who is allergic to peanuts eats something with them in and instantly goes into an anaphylactic shock. Whereas a food intolerance or sensitivity builds up over time, it could take months or years of your pet being exposed to the antigen.
Here is a list of the most common foods that cause intolerance or sensitivity in our pets.
- Cow’s Milk Products (e.g., Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese)
- Wheat and other Grains (e.g.. Barley, Rye, Spelt and Kamut) containing gluten
Dodds, W. and Laverdure, D. (2015). Canine nutrigenomics. U.S.A: Dogwise Publishing, p.42.
Most of these ingredients are found in commercially prepared pet foods, and our pets have had to come into contact with them regularly since most pets get the same type/brand of pet food day in and day out. Which means a food intolerance or sensitivity has been able to build up over time, and certain foods have now become an antigen.
Just like my girl Nia who has been exposed to chicken for almost four years now and this has allowed her body the time to become sensitive to this protein, your pet might be suffering from some of the common foods that cause a intolerance or sensitivity in our pets. Keep a close eye on your pet and look at what ingredients are inside of their food to see how many of these common potential antigens may be present.
What are the clinical signs that your pet has a food intolerance/sensitivity?
Many signs could indicate that your canine or feline friend is suffering from food intolerance or sensitivities. A few are:
- Constant ear infections
- Itchy pet
- Excessive licking of their paws
- Red, yeasty ears, paws or skin
- A frequency of hot spots
When she was a puppy, Nia had constant yeasty ear infections and what we were mainly feeding her were chicken and beef, so that says a lot. Keep a close eye on your pet, and if you notice them becoming itchier, or continuously licking their paws, then you know something is most likely set off an immune response.
Before we ordered Nia her allergy test, we noticed a hot spot behind her ear and her face was becoming so itchy that we had to get her a blow-up collar to stop her from hurting herself from constant itching. What we had not realised is in our attempts to avoid the things we thought she was sensitive to, we were bringing other foods she should not have been eating into the equation.
Thankfully the last week or so she has been a lot better, and it is all because we know what to eliminate from her overall diet.
So how do you do a doggie allergy test?
Doing the test was quite tricky with Nia as what you need to do is collect enough saliva from your pet and then send that away so it can be analysed in a lab to see what your pet is and isn’t sensitive to. Once you have placed an order with EasyDNA, you will then wait until they send you a package that contains:
- A Return postage packet
- A canine DNA Testing submission testing form
- Saliva sample collection kit
This test checks 114 different potential allergens and each is ranked in one of three ways.
- Nia has tested positive for this allergen (there was a reaction)
- Nia may be reacting to the allergen but levels are no high enough for a positive reading
- Nia has a negative reaction to this allergen (Did not respond to these items)
As you can see, you get your results back, and they are ranked in one of three ways which are shown above.
How do you collect your pet’s saliva sample?
Once you have received your postal package, you should collect your pet’s saliva sample as soon as possible and once collected it needs to be sent back straight away, and EasyDNA needs to receive it within ten days of you obtaining the sample.
Collecting Nia’s saliva was by far the hardest part of the whole process, Nia isn’t a salivary dog at all, so this was quite a difficult task. There is a small syringe-like tube that has a cotton stick on one end. What you need to do is stick the cotton stick in the mouth of your pet to collect as much saliva as possible, you will know when you have collected enough saliva as there is a small white circle that will turn fully red.Once the white dot has gone entirely red you can remove the syringe from your pet’s mouth, then all you have to do is get the cotton stick and place it in the little syringe they provide you and push down on the blue handle to secure your pooches saliva within the collection tub.
You do need to pay for return postage, but we just went to the post office and paid around about £6 for 24 delivery and tracking, so it wasn’t much at all. It was quite funny collecting Nia’s saliva sample as I had to dangle a rabbit in front of her to get her mouth to salivate, it took us quite a while, and I think Nia felt a bit irritable which is fair. Still, she did get the rabbit once we had collected enough saliva.
What is Nia Sensitive too?
My girl Nia had two positive reactions and these we too:
We always thought she was allergic to chicken and now we know she is, duck, on the other hand, we weren’t aware that she had an issue with and had begun feeding this to avoid other sensitivities! So I assume she has a problem with most poultry. After these two positive reactions, Nia had 11 neutral results which mean she may be reacting to the allergens, but levels are not high enough for a positive reading.
These neutral results were:
I really thought when we were sending the test off that Nia would have tested 100% positive for beef because every time we feed her it, she gets so much itchier which for us is enough confirmation.
I was shocked when I saw she could be sensitive to Buffalo/Bison as it is typically considered novel meat for most dogs and we haven’t ever really gave it to Nia.
- Chick Pea
- Duck egg
I don’t ever think Nia has had a duck egg before but duck is a definite no go!
I am a bit gutted about the gelatin as I have a creative treat recipe heading your way soon which uses gelatin, I’m going to have to get super creative for Nia when it comes to treats.
- Green Peas
Lamb is something we are going to experiment with and is a protein we have fed in the past to try to stop her from becoming itchy; we still need to see how reactive she is with it once we have eliminated other sensitivities.
Just like Lamb, I think we will experiment with pork as she didn’t have a high enough reaction to produce a positive result.
No more Homemade Dehydrated Turkey Jerky! 🦃
Thankfully, vegetable oil isn’t something Nia would ever get. There are a lot of things on this list that we wouldn’t feed Nia, but I think some things that are tested for in this allergy test are in commercially prepared pet foods and that is why they are on the list I assume.
What can Nia have?
Lastly, Nia tested negative for 101 potential allergens which are great, but the thing is that a lot of what has been tested for we wouldn’t ever feed her anyways. Here is a photo of the 101 things Nia can have and this is from our test results so apologies about it not being straight as our printer decided to mess up!! However, I will attach our test results to this post sometime soon.
As you can see we are left with a few proteins such as
- Rabbit, which thankfully Nia loves!
- And the good old house fly, which Nia occasionally manages to catch!
What we plan to do?
Well since we know Nia definitely cannot have chicken or duck these proteins are now out of her diet. For the other proteins that came back with a maybe but levels were not high enough for a positive result, we are going to do an elimination diet to assess which ones she can and cannot have, starting out with an exclusive diet of rabbit and slowly working in other proteins.
I am pretty sure beef is a no go but lamb, pork and buffalo/bison I am not too sure yet, time will tell. I hope she can eat at least one of these proteins to help us vary her overall diet.
If not, however, I guess we will have to start to add more novel proteins such as:
- And various other exotic meats she hasn’t ever had before with the hopes that her body won’t perceive it as a threat
What is a novel protein?
A novel protein is different for every pet because for a protein to be a novel protein your pet must not have eaten it before, therefore depending on where you live will depend on what is considered a novel protein for your pet.
For my girl, Nia novel proteins would be things like:
So I guess Nia is going to have to start eating a lot more exotic meats and Lily is happy to stick with her more commercial proteins such as chicken, beef and lamb. I am glad we have some peace of mind and know what we need to eliminate from Nia’s diet, what we need to experiment with and what we can give her such as rabbit, cod or mackerel.
I am going to get some kangaroo soon and attempt to make some kangaroo jerky as I think she will like that, so stick around for that treat recipe heading your way. If your pet is suffering from what you think might be a food intolerance or sensitivity then get an allergy test done, as you will at least know what you can and cannot give your furry friend and what you should eliminate completely from their overall diet.
To order your pet an EasyDNA Allergy Test simply follow the link: https://www.easydna.co.uk/dog-allergy-test/?affl=EPAO3AW-26
By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site. I only ever review products that are tried and tested by my girls and I think are great!
Thanks for reading this post everyone and I hope you all liked learning about my hopefully not so itchy dog Nia. I hope you all liked today’s post and if you did then let me know by hitting that like button or giving it a share so other pet owners can learn about common foods that cause food sensitivity or intolerance in our pets.
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