I've been visiting my boyfriend's mother for the past week. She has 3 dogs, a maltese, a maltese/poodle mix and an 8 month old shih-tzu. The two smaller dogs have very severe tear stains and also brown fur around their paws. The maltipoo itches a LOT and the maltese has some itchiness. The shih-tzu's just a happy, healthy puppy pretty much.
Anyway, Sydney was eating their food yesterday (they free feed) and I stopped her because she'd already eaten. I made a comment like, "haha, I think she likes their food better," and she was like "It's vegetarian, so i can't imagine that." I didn't say anything about that because she's very sensitive about her dogs, but I asked my boyfriend why they ate vegetarian food and he said the maltipoo was, according to her, "allergic to meat."
I'm very curious what she means by that, but I can't really ask without offending her. I just feel really bad because I'm pretty sure the dog is actually allergic to some type of grain. Plus the food looks just like Beneful (I'm not sure what it is because she keeps the food in clear plastic containers) with lots of food coloring, so I'm sure that contributes to their fur staining.
Anyway, can a dog be allergic to meat (not just a specific type, but all meat)? If not, what could she be misunderstanding to be a meat allergy? And if it is possible, what would the symptoms be?