Considering Food Allergy Testing for your Dog? Read this first!
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
I work with a lot of dogs who have food intolerances and many clients come with a list of foods that their food allergy test results say should be well tolerated. Unfortunately, they are rarely accurate and it's unfortunate for the dog... and the owner's wallet. I would agree with the conclusion that at this time, elimination diets are the gold standard.
From the reference above:
•Serum and saliva tests showed low sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values and likelihood ratios.
•There was no clear difference in the number of positive reactions between allergic and healthy dogs.
•Serum and saliva tests could not be used to confirm or rule out adverse food reactions.
•Elimination diets are the reference standard in the diagnosis of adverse food reactions in dogs.
This study showed that there were positive results from animal hair and saliva of healthy dogs, atopic dogs and samples of synthetic fur and saline!
"Results: Positive test results were provided by the direct-to-consumer pet allergy for all submitted samples, including synthetic fur and saline. The test results for healthy and atopic animal samples were no different from each other or from synthetic fur and saline samples. Reproducibility for paired samples was not different from random chance....Conclusions and clinical importance: The direct-to-consumer hair and saliva test for pet allergies examined in this study performed no better than chance and the results were not reproducible."
My suggestion- start working with a veterinarian/dermatologist or experienced practitioner as soon as a food intolerance is suspected. Many times dog parents have tried an elimination diet on their own but were unsuccessful and have consequently used up a lot of novel protein (and carb) options. Elimination diets can be hard for owners to comply with and a knowledgeable consultant can give you tips and effective protocols to help improve the odds of success.