Dog Beef Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


Beef is the most common dog food allergy. In fact, 34% of dogs with reported reaction have a beef allergyIf your dog is suffering from skin disorders, ear infections, breathing troubles, this probably because they are allergic to beef.

In general, food allergies are caused when the immune system attacks invading protein. If your dog is allergic to beef, this is an overreaction of your dog’s immune system to the beef protein.

Beef allergy symptoms

Usually, dog allergy doesn’t develop before 3 years old. But, there are always exceptions. Unfortunately, when a puppy is suffering from food allergy, it affects their growth if the allergy not treated.

If your dog has a beef allergy, you will notice constant scratching and skin reactions around the face, toes, and legs.

Another beef allergy symptoms you will notice;

  • Gases
  • Ear infections
  • Inflamed feet
  • Bald Spots
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Constant licking
  • Head shaking
  • Vomiting

Cooked meat can cause dog allergy

When you cook a piece of meat, it will become harder as the protein inside bond and become linked. Of course, it’s easier for all dogs to digest fresh meat rather than cooked pieces.

The dry food with beef protein is made of meal form. People work at the factory cook the meat and make pellets. Unfortunately, the protein denatures and become very hard for your dog to digest itThe undigested portion becomes stuck in your dog’s stomach. By then, the immune system responds to it as a foreign enemy and begins to attack. As a result, it causes inflammation in your dog’s guts with every meal they have.


Causes of dog beef allergy

Actually, there is a difference between food allergy and food intolerance. Dog food allergy is caused when the immune system trying to defend itself from a threat. An allergy can’t develop from the first time, the immune system should attack the undigested portion several times to recognize it as an invader. But, if your dog is sensitive to a particular food, this is a food intolerance, which can be the first phase of developing an allergy.

Unfortunately, any ingredient in your dog’s food can cause an allergy, but specific foods like beef, chicken, and dairy tend to cause allergy more than others. To read more about food allergies I suggest to read more about these 7 dog food allergies here

Types of alternative protein

Protein doesn’t exist in beef only, but, in many sources that can take the place in your dog’s diet. By using limited ingredients with an alternative protein source, the symptoms will be relived.

Sometimes you may buy food the include beef as a flavor and it could be not listed on the label. If your dog has a new beef allergy, they will be likely to develop more allergies to related meats like venison. You can choose to feed your dog alternative protein sources from the following:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Rabbit

Beef allergy diagnosis

The symptoms were discussed previously show up on a dog’s skin. Your vet will collect skin scraping from affected areas, which will require cutaneous cytology.

Cutaneous cytology is a diagnostic tool used if a dog suffers from skin and otic disorder. The affected skin cells will be examined microscopically. This process will allow your vet to know if there is any food allergy. After applying Cutaneous cytology comes the most common tool to diagnose a food allergy, elimination diet. Your vet will use an elimination diet to confirm and pinpointing the type of food allergy your dog has.

This process involves changing the ingredients of your dog’s meal. The best choice for elimination diet is Novel ingredients, which requires excluding proteins and carbohydrates in the dog’s current food. The signs and the symptoms should be disappeared after applying the elimination diet. Then, you will be able to add the additional ingredients back on at a time.

After your dog is treated from beef allergy, you should be cautious about beef flavoring products which can be added to medications, plastic toys, toothpaste and treats.

Dog beef allergy treatment

It requires several weeks before the elimination diet detects the allergen. During this time your dog will show up and continue to experience the allergy symptoms. Corticosteroid Therapy can reduce the itchiness and the swelling, however, you shouldn’t use any remedies during the elimination diet process. It will make it harder to find out which ingredient is causing the allergy reaction.

Dog food allergy cautions after recovery

Once the allergen is discovered, you should exclude the initial source from your dog’s diet. Your vet will prescribe some supplements to your doggies like Omega-3 oils and probiotics to support your canine’s immune system. Those supplements will also assist your dog’s body to handle any exposure to an allergy as well as to prevent any new one.

Although dog food allergy is not completely curable, the removal of the ingredients detected from your dog’s diet will relieve allergy symptoms and signs

Relapses and deterioration can be caused by any exposure to the allergen. Thus, you should be cautious and very selective when it comes to types of treats and flavorings you give to your pooch.

Unfortunately, if your dog had suffered from one type of allergy, they may develop another allergy to the ingredients in the replacement diet. In such a situation, your vet will decide from the beginning if your dog should stick on a single source of food or they will have a rotation of three or four portion sources.


Your dog may have a reaction to any ingredient in food, as discussed beef allergies are the most common, however, there are many allergies you should be aware of if your dog is exposed to any. If your dog is suffering from a beef allergy you should eliminate the beef from your dog’s diet and replace it with any other protein source. If you’re making your own dog food, make sure it is balanced for your dog.

I will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.


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