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Pug with a lamb allergy

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Pug with a lamb allergy

A nutritional approach to treating a six year old Pug, allergic to lamb meat and so is on a dry kibble food diet. The pug does not like steamed veggies and got terrible gas from pasta and rice when added to his meal.

The current nutrition

For the modern pet fed a commercial diet their body is relying on ‘foreign’ foods, proteins and other nutrients which have been denatured or destroyed by extreme heat. The consumption of these ‘foreign’ foods, especially denatured and difficult to digest proteins can lead to an over excited response from a stressed immune system. With foods such as rice and pasta which are not natural foods for dogs the transition time through the digestive tract is slower than normal with added fermentation and bacteria growth resulting in excess gas. The extra challenge the pet faces to digest and derive nutrients from this diet results in various nutrient deficiencies developing over time [1].

Client/Owner concerns

Transitioning the pet to a raw, species appropriate raw diet with its healthier, anti-inflammatory, immune supporting foods often resolves any signs of allergy naturally. With Lamb already identified as a trigger it’s useful to select meat sources which the pet has not previously been exposed to and therefore least likely to produce an immune response whilst various dietary options which support a healthy immune system can be included. As rice and pasta are not natural foods for dogs these can be readily excluded from the diet.

Management of the condition, nutritionally.

A species appropriate diet for a dog comprises 20% muscle meat, 40% meaty bones, 10% Offal and 20% plant matter and 10% supplements. Transitioning the pet to a species appropriate raw diet over a period of around 12 days is essential with a number of considerations specific to the pet.

A. Meat protein: A meat source the pet has not previously been exposed to and therefore least likely to produce an immune response should be selected, it should be free of any preservatives to avoid any unwanted additional toxins or allergens being included in the diet. Selecting a lean red meat is ideal as red meat stimulates a more acidic gut environment than white meat; goat and venison are good options for NZ pets as these often don’t appear in commercial pet foods. Use of minced meat enables other foods or supplements to be blended and gently introduced into the diet whilst palatability can be increased with the addition of bone broth or stock if required.

B. Meaty bones: Due to Pugs being a Brachycephalic breed the bones should be large enough that they are chewed on and don’t fit ‘in’ the mouth to avoid any breathing issues [2]. Chicken Wings are an excellent choice for the Pug not accustomed to bones, breaking them at the joints will avoid them getting in the dogs' eyes whilst cuts can be made into the skin will improve palatability.

C. Organs: A selection of offal meats such as liver, kidney, brains and green tripe are essential components of any balanced diet; Raw Liver is a good first offal meat packed with valuable B12 whilst raw green tripe is naturally high in enzymes and probiotic bacteria whilst being low in fat making it an ideal dietary choice.

D. Plant matter: Fruits and vegetables provide much needed fibre to the diet together with a whole host of other valuable nutrients. Leafy greens such as spinach are a great item to start with due to availability, nutrient density and ease of pulverising and mixing with mince for palatability. The Vitamin C provided supports the body in many ways, including boosting immunity and the uptake of other nutrients providing many health benefits to the dog [3]. Carrots are also a great choice as they are a great source of Vitamin A which, like Vitamin C, is an anti-stress vitamin which plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system [4].

E. Supplements: With the pet nicely transitioned onto a raw diet and healthy digestion restored other additives may be provided to further enhance the nutrient profile of the diet and address any deficiencies that have built up for the pet.

  1. Bone broth: Highly recommended for the pet suffering food allergies, it provides the body with collagen and other essential nutrients to coat the digestive tract, reduce inflammation and support healing of the intestinal barrier [5].

  2. Natural, unsweetened Greek yoghurt: can be a useful addition to the diet providing a highly digestible protein, vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients. Including lactic acid bacteria such as bifido bacteria, a known probiotic which promotes digestion and bowel health [6].

  3. Eggs are an excellent source of the highest quality protein available suitable for dogs of all ages containing all of the vitamins, minerals, amino and fatty acids dogs need for good healthy which makes them an ideal addition to a balanced diet [7].

  4. A good quality, cold pressed flaxseed oil adds valuable omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to the diet which are often lacking in the pets fed a commercial product. EFA’s are key to maintaining and supporting all aspects of our pets’ health as they are components of cell membranes, supporting the flow of molecules into and out of cells as well as supporting enzyme and membrane receptor function [8]. An appropriate Vitamin E source should also be provided to protect the pet against the oil becoming rancid in their body [2].

  5. Kelp, among the many minerals found in kelp there are iodine and selenium, both of which are lacking in New Zealand soils and can be provided in the diet safely, without fear of toxicity, by the inclusion of kelp [2].

With the dog successfully transitioned to a raw balanced diet, incorporating a variety of other species appropriate foods, it’s useful to ensure the owner can maintain the diet long term. A meat patty ‘recipe’ incorporating the meat, offal, plant matter and supplements whilst providing the owner guidance as to interchangeable items to further add variety and cope with seasonal availability is provided. Pets on a raw diet don’t tend to have weight issues; discussing changing energy requirements as the dog’s lifestyle changes enables the owner to adjust meal sizes appropriately whilst maintaining balance.

Sources [1] Syme, B. 2011. Scientific Guide to Natural Nutrition. Southbank, Australia: Vets All Natural Pty Ltd. [2] Billinghurst, I. 1998. Grow your pups with bones. Bathurst, New South Wales: Warrigal Publishing. [3] Healthline. 2020. Spinach 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved November 25th, 2020, from Healthline web site: [4] Whitbread, D. 2020. Top 10 Foods High in Vitamin A. Retrieved November 25th, 2020, from My Food Data web site: [5] Johnson, J. 2020. What are the benefits of bone broth? Retrieved October 22nd, 2020, from Medical news today web site: [6] West, H. n.d.. Lactose Intolerance 101 - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Retrieved October 10th, 2020, from Healthline web site: [7] Billinghurst, I. 1993. Give Your Dog a Bone. Bathurst, New South Wales: Warrigal Publishing. [8] Patel, A. 2017. Essential Fatty Acids In Veterinary Dermatology: Do They Have A Place? Retrieved May 10th, 2020, from


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