Dogs allergic to "meat"?
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Thread: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    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?
    Last edited by kafkabeetle; 06-29-2011 at 02:58 PM.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    I've never heard of a dog being allergic simply to "meat". Chicken, yes. Fish, yes. Symptoms would include itchiness, red spots on their fur and perhaps fur loss if they scratched the itchy spots a lot. Grain allergies are a lot more common than any chicken or fish allergies, however.

    However, if her dogs are "allergic to meat", yet are still itchy and sickly-looking with poor coat qualities, then the food she has them on obviously isn't helping their allergies any.

    Tough situation, because I do think it would be hard to ask without her assuming you're being nosy or offensive. If the food looks like Beneful, it could be their Healthy Harvest kibble...Healthy Harvest. Stuff looks awful. That's like us eating McDonald's every day.

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    Senior Member kafkabeetle's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Yeah, I knew what she was feeding was bad, but I didn't know it was vegetarian until now. It looks like it is Healthy Harvest from the picture. I'm not sure their is anything I CAN do, but I thought about recommending a different vegetarian food that at least wasn't loaded with corn. Avoderm makes something that's at least better, grain-wise. I just don't think there's anyway I could steer her in a different direction without making her mad. She cares about her dogs a lot, but like a lot of people, she's usually pretty misguided when she tries to do the best for them.

    I was thinking that she might have been told that the Molly had elevated liver enzymes and needed to be on a low protein diet. It's possible she just interpreted that as no meat, since meat=protein to people. Or she could have misunderstood a zillion different statements from her vet.
    Last edited by kafkabeetle; 06-29-2011 at 03:21 PM.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Yeah, unfortunately even people who love their dogs and want the best for them aren't willing to take the severe price increase when it comes to buying better dog food.

    I think one thing you could do is somehow try to get her a bag of different food. Make up some excuse how you got it, like the pet store had a deal on the food or something like that. Then, if her dogs coat conditions and drippy eyes improve on that food, she would maybe be more likely to keep them on it?

    ETA: Or somehow get into the conversation by saying you read an article the other day that said some really interesting things about dog food and then tell her some of them. You could say you were feeding Sydney food that had corn as the main ingredient and you found out that it's a terrible thing to be feeding your dog. Maybe that would make her curious about the main ingredient in her dog's food.

    It really is important for those little dogs to be getting good nutrition. Their teeth are going to rot out of their heads if she keeps them on Beneful.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Unfortunately, dogs really can be allergic to meat proteins. I wouldn't have believed it myself until my lab Mollie started getting hot spots on her feet and her undercoat started to disappear. We had her blood tested (I know this can be controversial as far as accuracy) and the results were that she was most allergic to chicken and fish as well as every other meat protein they tested for which included the more exotic protein sources like kangaroo, rabbit, and duck. She is least allergic to pork but because of her fish allergy we can not feed her commercial food as all pork dog foods have chicken fat or at least fish oil. This means that we have been making monthly Costco visits where we purchase pork shoulder by the case (80lbs). She was doing very well on this diet until recently when the sores on her legs returned and her breath has developed a sour scent. Along with her loose stools I think this is pointing to the fact that her mild pork allergy is catching up to her.

    I will be taking her in for her annual vet visit next week and we will have to discuss vegetarian food. I know there is a lot of flack that comes with feeding vegetarian and if we could just release her into a field to catch her own meat we would.

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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    There are definitely reasons for feeding vegetarian food. FI's aunt had a golden retriever who was epileptic and had kidney problems. Because he was on a bunch of meds which can also be hard on the kidneys, their vet put him on a vegetarian food because the plant protein was easier for his kidneys to handle. He was on Natural Balance's Vegetarian Formula.

    Nature's Recipe has a Vegetarian food. Aside from the use of soybean meal it doesn't look too terrible to me. If you're looking at vegetarian foods on DogFoodAdvisor, be warned that the highest rating they give vegetarian dog foods is two stars: "Although we do recognize the need for some dog owners to provide (for whatever reason) a completely meat-free diet, we also respect a dog’s natural carnivorous bias."

    Some times we get caught up in what *should* be the best diet for dogs (in general) but that doesn't make it the best diet for YOUR dog.
    Last edited by gingerkid; 03-08-2013 at 12:25 AM.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    I think we might be buying a bag of Natures Balance Vegetarian after her vet appointment.

    Up until last summer I was very against any kind of vegetarian feeding for dogs especially when it was the owner imposing their ethical beliefs on their pets. I have used dogfoodadvisor as my bible as far as getting her and her brother the best food possible and it was discouraging to see that the highest rating a veg food can get is 2 (especially after exclusively feeding her only 5 star foods). I hope that supplementing a vegetarian diet for only some of her meals will help her. Even though she has this allergy I really hope that reducing her meat intake will help. I hate it that my house smells like pork every two weeks and cooking for her is time consuming but above all I just want her to be as happy and healthy as possible. Luckily she can have eggs and dairy so at least will have some animal proteins even if we have to eliminate meat completely.

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    Senior Member gingerkid's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon1988 View Post
    I think we might be buying a bag of Natures Balance Vegetarian after her vet appointment.

    Up until last summer I was very against any kind of vegetarian feeding for dogs especially when it was the owner imposing their ethical beliefs on their pets. I have used dogfoodadvisor as my bible as far as getting her and her brother the best food possible and it was discouraging to see that the highest rating a veg food can get is 2 (especially after exclusively feeding her only 5 star foods). I hope that supplementing a vegetarian diet for only some of her meals will help her. Even though she has this allergy I really hope that reducing her meat intake will help. I hate it that my house smells like pork every two weeks and cooking for her is time consuming but above all I just want her to be as happy and healthy as possible. Luckily she can have eggs and dairy so at least will have some animal proteins even if we have to eliminate meat completely.
    Oh, I totally agree - I don't think its right for pet owners to impose their ethical beliefs on their pets, especially if it has implications for said pet's health. BUT, as we are finding out, there are legitimate and reasonable reasons for dogs to be on vegetarian kibble. I just want to clarify; when it comes to vegetarian dog foods, DogFoodAdvisor's ratings are biased and are not particularly objective. Its not that the foods are terrible, but (most) dogs do best on diets that contain meat, and I suspect they (DFA) are taking into account that the majority of people who feed vegetarian foods do it for ethical reasons, rather than health/medical ones and they want to support foods that are better for the average dog.... but your dog is clearly not the average dog, what with the meat allergy. If she needs a mainly vegetarian diet, and she thrives on it, then there's nothing wrong with her eating that.

    As a side note, have you considered feeding her raw pork instead of cooked? You can cut it up into appropriate sized chunks and freeze it and take a couple days worth out at a time to thaw in the fridge. I'm not an expert on raw feeding (I don't do it myself due to current space/cost constraints) but if she is ONLY consuming cooked pork, that may be where some of her issues lie as that would not be a balanced diet; if she is only eating pork shoulder she is probably missing out on some necessary vitamins and minerals that are added to commercial foods, and are found in bone and organ meats. Perhaps others can help better than I can, but it just seems to be that eating only cooked pork shoulder that her diet is quiet unbalanced at the moment (which could contribute to the recurrence of her symptoms).

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Right now she gets cooked pork shoulder, rice/oatmeal, mixed vegetables, pumpkin, greek yogurt, a digestive enzyme supplement, flaxseed oil, and the occasional hard boiled egg. I have asked every market in town if they carry or could bring in some organ meat for me but so far i've had no luck. Unfortunately Honolulu doesn't have local butchers anymore but I have heard that our chinatown might be a better bet so I am going to head down there over the weekend.

    I have been apprehensive about trying raw pork but I think that is going to be my next approach even if we do begin to incorporate veg kibble. My vet isn't in favor of raw pork because of the parasite risks but from what I've read (and I have read a LOT!) that shouldn't be an issue with meat from the US. Brucellosis and pseudorabies are also things that can be found in raw pork but I have heard that this is generally only the case with feral pigs. It is a really difficult decision.
    Last edited by Shannon1988; 03-08-2013 at 01:41 AM.

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    Senior Member Sibe's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    The proteins in cooked meat (what vets typically test for) and raw meats are different. Dogs allergic to certain meats in processed pet foods may not be allergic to raw. Something to think about.

    As for pork, in the US, Canada, UK, and most of western Europe there is no concern about parasites with commercially raised pork. Trichinosis is a concern with feral pigs.
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Yeah, I am leaning towards at least trying raw for a while. I am going to run it by my vet again just to see what her specific concerns are as I know that trichinosis is pretty much a thing of the past as far as US meat is concerned. Pseudorabies is my biggest concern even though I know how rare it is. Lord knows I am not nearly this cautious with what I eat.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sibe View Post
    The proteins in cooked meat (what vets typically test for) and raw meats are different. Dogs allergic to certain meats in processed pet foods may not be allergic to raw. Something to think about.

    As for pork, in the US, Canada, UK, and most of western Europe there is no concern about parasites with commercially raised pork. Trichinosis is a concern with feral pigs.
    That is not true. Dogs that have real allergies are allergic to both cooked and raw meat protein.

    Allergies to animal sourced proteins represent about 80% of all real food allergies. The remaining 20% is largely soy and wheat. Things like rice, corn, oats, barley are about 1% each.

    That said, real food allergies are rare, only about 1/10 allergies is food related.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    This is part of my dilemma. She has had the blood allergy test which says she is allergic to all animal proteins, something that my vet has never seen before. That being said, I have heard that these blood tests are far from infallible and often product false positives- whether this is actually the case or if its just google-taught "experts" I have no idea.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon1988 View Post
    This is part of my dilemma. She has had the blood allergy test which says she is allergic to all animal proteins, something that my vet has never seen before. That being said, I have heard that these blood tests are far from infallible and often product false positives- whether this is actually the case or if its just google-taught "experts" I have no idea.
    The only way to determine what she is not allergic too is to do elimination tests, but they take a very long time.

    Personally, since fish is the least like to cause an allergy of the animal proteins, I would use a single protein fish formula and see how it goes. No eggs, no red meat, no poultry, just fish.

    Something like Verus Opticoat.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Have you had the diet balanced by a nutritionist? As you posted it isn't a complete diet. My 38 pound dog needs as much calcium, zinc, iron and B12 as an adult human and they won't all be in a food comprised of cooked pork shoulder, rice/oatmeal, mixed vegetables, pumpkin, greek yogurt, a digestive enzyme supplement, flaxseed oil, and the occasional hard boiled egg. Without looking this diet is low in all unless the grains are enhanced with iron as they often are.

    And it matters a lot. Max is much better off when I mind the Ps and Qs. His analyzed raw diet is low in magnesium, manganese and zinc and if I give him a zinc supplement and a mineral supplement he is better. In his case the changes are subtle but I didn't put him on fresh food because he had any difficulties in the first place.

    If you want to continue to cook for her you could use eggs and be just fine. Dr. Strombeck has recipes for egg in his book which he has put online. The first few recipes on this page use egg for protein. http://www.dogcathomeprepareddiet.co...cat.html#adult

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon1988 View Post
    This is part of my dilemma. She has had the blood allergy test which says she is allergic to all animal proteins, something that my vet has never seen before. That being said, I have heard that these blood tests are far from infallible and often product false positives- whether this is actually the case or if its just google-taught "experts" I have no idea.
    There are different levels and types of allergic reactions all of which are triggered by the release of substance-specific antibodies into the blood stream. The different reactions (GI upset, hives, rash, headaches, etc.) can happen by themselves or in combination with other signs/symptoms. However, in some cases, the antibodies are released into the blood stream but no tissues or cells react to the antibodies. In this case, it is technically an allergy to the substance however that does not guarantee that there will be a reaction to the substance (because it is not triggering the allergy response for whatever reason). This could be what is meant by "false positives".

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    I have met one dog allergic to all meat, owners tried everything over many years, novel proteins, grain free, raw, home cooked, LID etc.. the dog couldn't tolerate anything except vegetarian food, so yes it can happen.

    heck my own baby dog is allergic to all meat except Fish, and not just the meat, she cant tolerate any parts of animals she's allergic too, (ie, she is allergic to chicken, and cannot tolerates eggs, cartalidge or chicken fat either) I have done tons of foods trials in both raw and kibble forms, makes no difference, she cant even tolerate Kangaroo or Alpaca.
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    You're right, we do need to do more to supplement her vitamins and minerals. She was getting a multi when we first switched her to pork but it contained fish oil which she has a reaction to (we are pretty positive that her chicken and fish allergies are genuine as she showed great improvement when we eliminated these things from her diet). All of the multivitamins ive found locally have fish oil included so I will try looking online next.

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    Senior Member WestieLove's Avatar
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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon1988 View Post
    This is part of my dilemma. She has had the blood allergy test which says she is allergic to all animal proteins, something that my vet has never seen before. That being said, I have heard that these blood tests are far from infallible and often product false positives- whether this is actually the case or if its just google-taught "experts" I have no idea.
    Actually it depends on the lab the test was done through, to diagnose food allergies a lot of them, yes, a blood sample is not a reliable way to diagnose food allergies. Food trials would be more reliable and they are time consuming. However, there are a few labs who are reliable for this method. The one I can think off the top of my head is VARL labs, the other two I would need to look up because I'm not as familiar with them.

    If the dog truely is allergic to meat, feeding kibble or raw is not going to make a different, the dog is allergic ... it's not going to improve the situation any.

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    Re: Dogs allergic to "meat"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon1988 View Post
    You're right, we do need to do more to supplement her vitamins and minerals. She was getting a multi when we first switched her to pork but it contained fish oil which she has a reaction to (we are pretty positive that her chicken and fish allergies are genuine as she showed great improvement when we eliminated these things from her diet). All of the multivitamins ive found locally have fish oil included so I will try looking online next.
    If I were in your shoes I would get Optimal Nutrition or K9Kitchen by Monica Segal. The book walks you through how to balance a homecooked diet to NRC levels for your dog. ON covers a lot of special adjustments for health issues. Of course there isn't a recipe for allergy sufferers but the method for devising a limited diet is in there.

    I don't use dog specific supplements. Sassy got a B complex and a multimineral supplement to adjust her diet where I wanted it and Max gets that mineral supplement if need be as well. Most important is the calcium. You aren't going to get enough calcium from any all purpose supplement, needs to be bone meal [probably won't work as it usually comes from beef although there is an ostrich one made] or egg shell or calcium carbonate or perhaps sea calcium from seaweed.

    From what I have read just on forums those blood tests aren't very accurate and an elimination diet is the best way to go. Feed a novel protein and a novel starch for 6 weeks. If the dog is exhibiting symptoms then use that vet diet with hydrolzed protein until the symptoms are gone then start the new diet. I wouldn't toss out the pork until you have better balanced the diet. Max looks better with the i's dotted and t's crossed, an ill dog probably would show even more change.

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