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Intolerances, how to help heal them and why a Hypoallergenic diet is not enough

Hypoallergenic is not enough

Yes, today, I am the bearer of bad news. Simply putting your dog on a hypoallergenic diet is NOT going to necessarily clear up food intolerances or food allergies. It might, but often… no matter how awesome the food, how incredible your dog or how stringent you are about preventing it getting access to illegal snacks this is simply not enough.

Today I am also the bearer of good news.  I have a plan for you. It’s called the Rotation diet. Your key to success.

A brief aside, I am on a hypoallergenic diet and despite this I am feeling really intolerant. The last story I have just been relayed about a vet blaming raw has truly tipped me over the edge. I went to the food cupboard I have run out of diplomacy and tolerance. It’s all used up. Not a freaking packet left. And that makes me Hangry. (hungry AND angry).

So whatever your diet, intolerance happens!

But that’s a different story for a different blog. 🙂 Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

It’s essential we cover some terms first so we can all agree what’s what. These terms seem to be used interchangeably, written down on forums as an ace card to trump other questions,  and this can fuel the confusion.

We are all swimming in misinformation soup. Let’s clear that up.


This is simply put a term to describe foods that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than “normal foods”. I am not sure where you find a list of “normal foods”. Or what normal is, for anything. But… what we do know for sure is that some foods regularly pop up on allergy testing and are much more likely to cause a reaction than others. These are hyperallergenic foods.  For example, I have tested 2 people in the last 3 years who are not intolerant to egg white. Egg white is the most allergenic food I have encountered except for grain.

Everyone AND their dog is in some format intolerant to grains.

Dairy is super high on the allergy list.

Soy is incorrectly (IMHO) regularly included in “hypoallergenic” foods as a substitute for grains. But actually it is really high in the histmamine foods list. IE : it creates inflammation via a histamine reaction. Think wasp sting, inside you.

Corn seems to come up regularly. I am not sure why this is but I think it “might” be because its so high in sugars that it creates inflammation, leaky gut and then creates a reaction AND that it is virtually added to EVERYTHING as a filler that it’s difficult NOT to develop a reaction to it. Once again this is regularly added to supposedly hypoallergenic formulas by big food manufacturers as a grain alternative.

This leads me to my next point which is crucial

There is a difference between a hyperallergenic food (one to avoid)  and one that is so common that nearly every dog has some intolerance to it. So if a dog is eating  hypoallergenic food (low likelihood of reaction) , but eating it every day, the same thing, AND has some leaky gut. Hey presto => intolerance.

An example we see on the forums is that many owners believe chicken is a regular cause of food intolerance. YES chicken is regularly a culprit.

However, chicken is pretty much “normal” on the imaginary list of hyper-hypo foods. It is simply that it’s a very very common ingredient in kibble and other dog foods.  And quite often owners will buy a 20kg bag of food and feed their dog nothing but this until it runs out.

This links to the podcast on varying proteins! Listen and laugh at Mark and I. We are such amateurs!

Food intolerances: What are they? (briefly)

Yes this is going to be super brief. I can do another blog specifically on this. What I will share is I am yet to see a correct answer on any website of the difference between an allergy and an intolerance. The truth lies in the immunoglobulin responses (IgE, IgG or Ig4). The important part is it doesn’t really matter what we call it. Who cares? It needs to go!

Your dog eats something, it gets symptoms so how do we deal with it? Thats what we are addressing here. And let me please reiterate that whilst many symptoms are common, NONE are “normal”. They are a clue that something is going wrong and needs addressing. Ignore them and the symptoms become bigger and badder. So let’s deal with it quickly and simply.


Itchy skin, the swollen knee, arthritis, the lethargy. All unwanted symptoms of potential issues with food or foods.

What do we do? : Action Plan

Some owners have asked, should I just start with one protein and slowly add them in? The answer to this is NO.

Why: Because if you do that whilst they still have leaky gut, they will probably then develop an additional allergy to whatever that one protein is as well. Not optimal. Variety variety variety is key.

The best plan is to try and guess what your dog is Allergic-Intolerant to. How to do this:

If your dog has been eating chicken or duck kibble for the last 5 years. Easy win, start with these 2.

If you are not sure, start with the most likely, failing that select any of the proteins they have been eating and cut one out. Just one.

Whilst you are doing this it is ESSENTIAL

  1. You are entirely grain free. Entirely. Also cut out corn soy, dairy and eggs. READ THE PACKETS.
  2. You support your dog in healing it’s gut as much as possible with either dog friendly bone broth, digestive enzymes, probiotics,  or a combination.

(QUICK TIP – I have trouble sourcing bone broth here in Andalusia and really don’t have the time to make it so I add in some Pasture raised Gelatin or collagen in warm water to my puppy’s food wherever she has had a stomach upset to help heal her gut faster. )

Try this from Enhanced Nation.

Great Lakes Gelatin Unflavoured 454g


Next ROTATE. Select as many proteins as you feel your dog is not intolerant to, then put them on a 4 day cycle.

So for 4 days feed them nothing but the beef complete meal.

The next 4 days nothing but the duck meal. And so on and so forth. This period is just short enough to prevent your dog developing any further intolerances whilst it’s gut is healing. Preferably with at least 3 to 4 proteins.

Repeat this 6-7 times , so at least 21 days. preferably 28.

Monitor the symptoms. The best way to do this is have a little notebook by the food cupboard, or take a picture on your smartphone of any skin issues etc, or both. Keep it quick, keep it simple.

Then add back in the suspect protein. Just for one day. Then back to the 4 day cycle with the other proteins. See what happens over the next 72 hours. If nothing, add back in for 2 days. If the symptom returns, stop and go back to the cycle.

This is a super simple, park your brain at the door way of approaching it. 4 days rotation for 21-28 days. If you order all of your food on line, in bulk and know that it is hypoallergenic (B&D or BARF equivalent) you are already half way there.

Obviously this is not intended as medical advice. I can however vouch for the fact that I have seen this work consistently in both humans and dogs. I even used this on myself recently when I managed to develop a butter intolerance over Christmas. But thats a totally different story. 🙂

As with any protocol. Stick with the plan and let good things happen !

Please come back to me with questions and post success stories in the facebook forum

Wishing you well!

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