As a dog owner, perhaps you have a nagging feeling those unwanted symptoms your dog is suffering with are caused by what he is eating. Itch, skin complaints, digestive disorder, teary eyes etc, whatever the sign, the chances are you may be right.
Modern science clearly demonstrates gut health is at the centre of health and well-being. It has become widely accepted that when the gut environment is imbalanced certain foods can trigger an immune response, resulting in a vast and varied range of symptoms.
Healing the root cause of many conditions is a process, the first step being to identify the foods which are causing a reaction. Once pinpointed they can be removed from the diet, steps can then be taken to support gut healing and thereby resolving the core of the problem.
The most effective way to take the first step of identifying the troublesome foods is through an elimination diet.
To some dog owners, an elimination diet may sound daunting, but it is an activity that can totally transform the health of dogs with sensitivities. Without question it’s a crucial step in helping some dogs live their best life.
The great news is elimination diets aren’t as tricky as they may appear to be.
We asked Dr Nick Thompson, Holistic Vet, to provide you with his specialist guidance to help you become an elimination diet pro.
Check out the video above or, for the readers among you, we’ve included a summary below of the main points. We’ve added the time stamp too so if you want to watch a snippet of the video covering the topic you’re particularly interested in, we’ve got you covered!
With an elimination diet, we are trying to workout which proteins work with your dog and which don’t.
The five proteins most useful to start with are duck, rabbit, venison, lamb, pork or goat (these proteins are less likely to be causing the issue).
Choose one protein at a time to try. Start with the one which is most likely to work for your dog.
Transition over to your chosen protein in stages. Start with one teaspoon in the first meal, two teaspoons in the second, four in the third, eight in the fourth. Keep doubling the amount over 3 -4 days until your dog is eating just that single protein.
Stick to the single protein for two to four weeks.
If a protein type is causing the issue, you will see this within two weeks or so. If you are unsure whether the protein is having an effect then allow more time and stretch it out to 4 weeks.
At the end of the 4 weeks you switch to a different protein type and repeat the process. Start small 1, 2, 4, 8 teaspoons, doubling the amount until your dog is transitioned fully to the new protein type (observing effects at all times)
You can give treats, but they MUST match the protein type of the main food. So for example if you are feeding rabbit for 4 weeks, treats could be rabbit ears or 100% pure dried rabbit.
You can’t do a trial with rabbit and then feed chicken or beef as a treat because you are then mixing proteins and if one of the treat proteins is causing the problem, you will have no way of knowing.
Feed one protein type for two to four weeks
Make sure treats match the food protein
Transition to each new protein by doubling up quantities over three-four days
A final note from the ProDog team:
As a specialist canine nutritionist company, we have witnessed first hand our four-legged customers transform a whole range of symptoms ranging from mildly irritating, to debilitating by following this process.
Having recognised the need for novel protein types to assist dogs in reducing unwanted conditions, we are super excited to announce the launch of our new ‘Exotics Formula’ range. A variety of scrumptious meal options, highly nutritious and using only the best novel proteins available, this range is guaranteed to set tails wagging,
If you would like more guidance and support with the elimination diet process or have any other nutrition related questions, please do drop us a message via our contact form.