Why take one of our intolerance tests?

If you’ve been within four feet of our Instagram lately, you’ll have seen me bleating on about allergies and intolerances in pups. In my defence, it’s for a good reason. A recent 2018 study showed a 75% increase in the need for hypoallergenic dog food over the previous two years.

That’s without considering the 3.2 million UK households that brought home a bundle of joy in 2020. The number of dogs unknowingly suffering from allergies or intolerances is only increasing over time. But does it have to be this way? Of course not.

Hidden sensitivities – and how to discover them

My George is no different. Before I knew what he was allergic and intolerant to, I’d just feed him scraps of food. You know that look they give you. You can’t resist it. One of our favourite Friday night snacks during lockdown was a large doner kebab. He loved it! Or so I thought…

It turns out all that scratching and sneezing was because of what he was eating. And the less said about the disgusting korma poos, the better. The lamb in that kebab? He’s allergic to it. Along with beef, barley, carrots, and many “normal” ingredients. But he can have chicken and most fish (except haddock), and I only know this because I got him tested for allergies and intolerances. Hell, it’s the reason I set up Swagwags in the first place.

With so many pups suffering from food sensitivities, I wanted to do something about it. So often, when going to the vet, the first course of action is a heavy course of steroids, an elimination diet, or injections. Unfortunately, those solutions can take months, rarely get to the root of the issue, and the dog goes through extreme discomfort unnecessarily.

By taking an intolerance test, you can see what food and non-food items could cause your dog discomfort. This lets you take the steps you need to be armed with the knowledge of what the issue is. Then you can explore taking steroids or creams, but often, your dog can recover naturally by simply eliminating the allergen.

Here’s an example of one of our clients, Reggie. By making a simple shift in his diet (and with some cream), we’re super proud of his tremendous improvement even after just one month.

intolerance tests 2

How can you tell if your dog has an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity?

Allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are all different versions of the devil for your pup. At a biological level, allergies are an immune response, whereas intolerances are slightly less severe. They’re a digestive response. A sensitivity or intolerance can cause a poo so offensive to the senses that it’ll turn your skin inside out, and an allergy can be a severe reaction across the body.

We humans react through our respiratory system. That’s why we struggle to breathe after ingesting an allergen. Whereas our pups react through their skin, and that’s why most reactions are visible on the surface. When looking out for an allergy, there are many giveaways to look for:

  • Korma diarrhoea 
  • Scratching
  • Excessive licking 
  • Head shaking
  • Weight changes 
  • Eye-watering farts
  • Heat spots
  • Eating grass
  • Lethargy
  • Patches of missing hair
  • Aggressively red skin (especially in white-haired dogs)
  • Chewing at the feet
  • Scratching or rubbing the face
  • Itchy back or base of the tail
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Ear infections

You can check out our “How can I tell if my dog has an allergy?” blog for more information.

Certain dogs are more prone to allergies. For example, due to the way they are bred, Frenchies have 22 skin conditions unique to them, like Reggie we showed you earlier. Many of them can be improved through nutrition. Also, members of the Bully family are 60% more likely to be allergic to chicken. Check out our “10 dog breeds most likely to suffer from an allergy” to see if this includes your pup.

How does the Swagwags test work?

We’ve partnered with a test company to help. For a one-off of £70 (or £110 for two), we’ll send you a fur test kit and give you a FREE consultation on the best flavour for your dog. We analyse 4 to 5 strands of fur to test for 152 food and 48 non-food items for sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies.

Food items tested for include:

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Snacks (like crisps and ice cream)

Non-food items tested for include:

  • Dust
  • Grass
  • Pollen
  • Bees and wasps
  • Trees and plants

Your pet’s test results include all items displaying a score of 85% and higher. Research shows that 85% is the turning point where symptoms develop into something bigger.

The intolerance tests are super simple, pain-free, and completely non-invasive. We prefer fur tests to blood samples because they’re kinder to the dog, cheaper than blood tests, and more reliable. Your doggo’s last meal may affect the results of a blood sample. In contrast, fur collects more data than blood and saliva while showing results over longer, so they’re likely to be more reliable.

Why should I take a Swagwags intolerance test and what should I do with my results?

Ultimately, if your pup is showing any signs of an allergy or intolerance, getting an intolerance test will increase their quality of life enormously. Knowing what you’re fighting against allows you to understand what’s causing the issues and get rid of them.

Once you get your results, you can start to eliminate the allergens from your doggo’s life. Just be aware that there’ll be a 4-6 week period for your pup’s body to heal itself once the allergen is no longer causing them discomfort.

As part of our consultation, I’ll work through our flavours with you to help you understand which flavours are best suited to their needs. Let’s start your journey of a healthier, happier pup – together.

All our pet sensitivity tests are processed in the UK. Results are shared with you typically within 72 hours upon receipt of your hair sample. Our hypoallergenic range of Swagwags complete dog food for adults and puppies is designed for dogs suffering with allergies to live longer, happier lives.