Chicken is found in most complete food for dogs and cats. However, dogs can have a food reaction for any other animal protein source. How to understand that your pet needs food without chicken, how to choose a balanced diet? What signals in the dog’s well-being should be the reason for a visit to the veterinarian? Let’s figure out these issues.
Chicken in pet food
Chicken is the most common ingredient in ready-to-eat foods for dogs and cats. It is easily absorbed, replenishes the supply of nutrients, and supplies the body with vitamins and minerals. Evolutionarily, our four-legged friends are perfectly adapted to the assimilation of poultry meat. However, the dog’s body can produce an allergic reaction to protein, including chicken.
In the top dog allergens, chicken is not in the first place. More often, the negative reaction of the body is caused by beef, dairy products and wheat from vegetable products. However, there is more information about food intolerances to chicken in dogs, because the lion’s share of feed contains this ingredient. So, if your pet has a tendency to such an allergy, it will definitely make itself felt.
Even if you are absolutely sure that your ward is not allergic to chicken, pay attention to the indication of the ingredient in the composition of the feed: it must be precisely indicated what kind of meat and in what quantity is included in the composition. Choose a high quality ready-to-eat diet of at least a super premium class. It happens that an allergy arises not to the product itself as such, but to its poor quality.
Food allergies to chicken, and indeed food allergies, are rare. A food reaction occurs in one dog out of 10. Moreover, if the pet has not previously eaten chicken, it takes several months or even years of consuming a diet with chicken meat for the manifestation of allergies.
The reaction can manifest itself in different ways: in the form of a rash on the skin (armpits, abdomen, groin, ears and other areas), itching, hair loss, swelling of the mucous membranes. But don’t jump to conclusions. A similar condition may indicate dermatitis caused by other causes. The diagnosis should only be made by a veterinarian. And an allergy can be cured only when a veterinarian determines its cause.
How is food allergy different from food intolerances?
There is a difference between allergies and intolerances. Intolerance means that the body does not absorb a certain food. Intolerance manifests itself faster than allergies in the form of gastrointestinal disorders. But here, too, urgent help from a veterinarian is needed to find out if the matter is really in the feed. If a ready-made diet, familiar to a pet, suddenly caused a negative reaction of the body, it may be a parasite infection. That is why, in case of a pet’s discomfort, you need to show the veterinarian as soon as possible, self-medication will only harm your ward.
Focus on diet
If your veterinarian has determined that your dog’s deterioration is caused by food allergies or intolerances, you need to determine which protein is causing the reaction. For this, the veterinarian prescribes a diagnostic or elimination diet. If the problem goes away when a certain component is excluded from the diet, it means that this particular ingredient was the allergen.
If chicken was the culprit, include in the ingredients stop list. Also avoid eggs and turkey, chicken is cross-allergic to these ingredients.
Your veterinarian will help you choose a quality feed with a different protein source. For example, if you are allergic to chicken, your dog can safely eat a mono-protein diet such as tuna (Monge Hypo). Or from some other source of protein that does not cause allergies in a particular pet. The main thing is that it must be food of at least a super premium class, so that you are sure of the quality of the components.
Even when you and your pet have found your ideal food, remember to adhere to feeding norms. And do not forget about the basic rules of food safety for pets: absolutely no sweet and high-calorie treats, table food and other food liberties. We wish good health to your four-legged friends!