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Dog Intolerance Test

Updated: Mar 26

Do you know what your dog is allergic to? It's not always easy to determine what causes your dog's itching, sneezing, and bloating. With the increasing prevalence of pet allergies, it's important to be able to diagnose and treat them correctly.


Why do a saliva test on your dog, and how can it help identify allergens affecting its daily life? We explain here how this intolerance test, mistakenly called "allergy test," works and what you can expect from the results. Knowing the causes that make your dog's life difficult can help you create a treatment plan with the assistance of your veterinarian to make its life more comfortable.



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What is the canine allergy test?


It is important to note, first and foremost, that there are several tests to determine your dog's allergies. Each test has its advantages and disadvantages, and currently, there is no perfect test to screen for all the allergies that can affect your animal. Moreover, no result should be interpreted without the advice and guidance of a veterinarian.


If you suspect that your dog may be allergic to certain foods or environmental substances, the dog allergy test is a good option to help you understand certain symptoms. However, contrary to what one might think, this type of test is not a detection of antibodies that may appear after the animal has come into contact with allergenic foods or substances. Instead, the laboratory uses the proteins present in the animal's saliva sample to identify reactions to various allergens listed in a database.


The allergy test will provide you with a comprehensive report of everything your dog may react to. You can then adjust your dog's diet or exposure to the environment based on the elements to which the proteins have reacted. The allergy test is quick, easy, and it will give you the information you need to keep your dog healthy and happy.


Allergy: An allergy is a condition in which the body's immune system reacts to substances that are normally harmless. These substances, called allergens, can include pollen, dust, for example, and certain foods. When an allergen comes into contact with the dog's body, antibodies trigger the release of histamine, which can trigger a cascade of inflammatory reactions and cause symptoms such as:

• Sneezing

• Runny nose

• Watery eyes

• Itching

• Difficulty breathing

• Shortness of breath

• Digestive issues (diarrhea, flatulence...)


Allergies are relatively common and affect millions of people and animals worldwide. Treatment options include avoiding allergens, medications, and immunotherapy.



What is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?


Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts excessively aggressively to a foreign substance, such as pollen. The symptoms of an allergy can vary depending on the severity of the reaction, but it's important to note that an allergic reaction always involves the immune system of your dog.


Intolerance, on the other hand, is an undesirable reaction that occurs when the body is unable to digest or metabolize certain foods or substances properly. While allergies can be life-threatening, intolerances are generally less severe.


However, they can still cause significant discomfort and may require a modification of the diet or environment. The symptoms of intolerance are also less severe than those of an allergy but can still include:


• Itching

• Scratching and redness of the skin

• Excessive chewing or licking of the paws

• Nausea

• Gastrointestinal issues such as gas, diarrhea, vomiting, or bloating

• In severe cases, your pet may lose its fur or experience wheezing.


Intolerances are often confused with allergies, but it's important to note that they are not the same thing. Intolerance does not involve the dog's immune system.



When can the intolerance test be done?


If your pet is experiencing common symptoms, it's likely sensitive to an element present in its food or environment. By being informed about these factors affecting your dog, you can easily make decisions such as modifying its diet and keeping it away from products to which it is sensitive. For example, if your dog is sensitive to wheat, you can simply adopt a wheat-free diet. Or, if it's bothered by pollen, you can keep it indoors during days of high pollen.


By identifying your pet's sensitivities, you can make simple changes that will have a significant impact on its health and well-being. Rather than masking symptoms with expensive medications or special foods, we believe it's better to know exactly what issues to avoid. By identifying and addressing potential substances of concern, you'll be able to provide your pet with the best possible care and ensure their long-term health and well-being. In many cases, this approach can save both money and long-term concerns.


From what age can the test be done?


While this test can identify sensitivities at any age, it's recommended for dogs to be over 6 months old. The physiology of a puppy evolves rapidly, and sensitivities it presents before the age of 6 months can completely change as it grows. By testing an older dog, you have a better chance of identifying specific allergens that may affect it as it ages. Of course, if your puppy shows allergy symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian to determine if a test is appropriate. But in general, it's better to wait until your dog is a bit older before conducting the test.


chiots pour un test allergie


How to do the canine allergy test?


The dog allergy test is a test that uses the proteins present in your dog's saliva sample to measure its sensitivity to around a hundred allergens.

You need to order the test on the laboratory's website to receive a home sampling kit. The sampling equipment consists of a brush-headed swab and a saliva collector (small sealed tube). The saliva sampling device comes with instructions and recommendations from the laboratory to ensure successful sampling for all types of dogs.


Sampling instructions:


it's important to note that your dog should not take antihistamines or oral steroids for at least 2 days and preferably 14 days before sampling the specimen.


These medications can indeed interfere with the test results. This is a recommendation regarding dog sampling; under no circumstances should you stop a treatment that has been prescribed by a veterinarian to take this test, especially if it concerns an allergic crisis. If this is your case, please consult your veterinarian to determine when the samples for the canine allergy test can be taken.


Depending on the size of your dog, the process may be more or less challenging. Small dogs typically produce much less saliva. In this case, it is not necessary to collect the entire sample at once. Feel free to come back several times throughout the day.


Similarly, giving water to your dog before starting can help produce more saliva, but avoid sampling after giving them food to prevent any contamination of the sample. This could skew the test results and make the samples entirely unusable. That's why we recommend collecting a sample in the morning before breakfast or waiting as long as possible after a meal to take the sample.


By following these simple instructions, you can ensure that your dog obtains the most accurate test results possible. To make your dog salivate, you can try showing them a treat that they can have only at the end of the procedure.


Regarding the return of samples, it is advisable to return the samples by registered mail on the same day as the sampling. This will help obtain results as accurate as possible because the lifespan of a sample is only a few weeks (3 to 4 weeks depending on the dog's breed).


Canine Allergy Test Results


Once your samples have arrived at the laboratory, it takes two to three weeks for the results to be sent to you by email. If you need your results more quickly, you can order an express test. With this option, you will receive the results within 3 to 4 business days. In both cases, you will be kept informed of the progress of your results and will be notified as soon as they are available.


The results will determine the dog's level of intolerance to each allergen following this principle:


  • High intolerance. The dog tests positive for the allergen.

  • No intolerance. The dog tests negative for the allergen.

  • Mild intolerance. The dog reacts to the allergen, but the level remains low enough to determine an intolerance reaction.



Along with the test results, some laboratories send additional information about allergens and recommendations on lifestyle and diet that you can apply. Additionally, you may also receive a comprehensive guide detailing foods, treats, and other products beneficial for your pet.


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