It’s heartbreaking to keep trying new foods to help your “allergy dog,” only for her to continue being itchy, gassy, sick, and miserable.
Yet, so many of us watch our dogs suffer from intolerances. Until now, there haven’t been many options.
You could go to the vet for pills or shots that may be expensive, inaccessible, and that do not treat the underlying issue. Some of these medications cause adverse side effects that can be worse than the original symptoms.
I reached out to 5Strands because, despite changing her diet, feeding raw, and using medicated shampoos, Cow was still itchy.
While those things helped manage her itching, she was still having flare-ups. I was hoping I could do more for at home before resorting to medication.
Though I’m not anti-medication, I’ve been hoping to make sustainable lifestyle changes that would truly help her stop itching, and maybe even help the hair grow back on her belly.
Getting results back from 5Strands and speaking with their representatives has given me powerful insight as to why previous dietary changes have helped, but did not resolve her issues.
I also picked up a lot of knowledge about food intolerances that I’m using to create a plan to get Cow itch-free.
Best of all, this is an opportunity to help many of you whose dogs are also suffering through possible intolerances.
While there’s still so much we don’t know about why so many dogs are getting sick from ordinary food ingredients, I’ve put together some great insights that you can use to help your dog feel better.
What Is The 5Strands Affordable Intolerance Test?
5Strands Affordable Intolerance Test is an easy, at-home test that allows you to test your dog or cat for over 300 common food and environmental intolerances.
When you purchase a test kit, you’ll get a special envelope that you’ll use to collect 5-10 strands of your dog’s (or cat’s) fur, then you’ll mail it back to their testing facility. After that, you’ll get results in via email in about 7-10 days.
From there, whether or not your dog recovers from the effects of food and environmental intolerances is up to you. I strongly recommend contacting the company after you get your results to help you understand them, and to make a plan that works for your dog.
What’s The Difference Between Allergies And Intolerances?
I always found this confusing, so now I’m exciting that I finally understand the difference.
When your pet has an allergy, you’re going to see an immediate reaction. They might throw up after eating, for example.
An intolerance, on the other hand, causes symptoms after about 48 hours or so.
An allergy is when a substance sets off an immune response.
An intolerance is when your dog is not able to break down food properly because they have a deficiency in the enzymes needed to digest it.
Why Is Cow The Way She Is?
Intolerances are becoming increasingly common in both dogs and people.
How is it that our dogs, descended from wolves, are so choosy about what foods they can eat without getting sick?
There’s no single answer to this question. Some holistic vets believe that too many vaccines can negatively affect our pets’ immune systems. It could be the way our food is processed.
A big part of it is that our dogs are often exposed to the same foods every day.
Enzymes that help dogs (and people) break down and utilize foods are found in fresh foods, and they’re also created by the body.
But if your dog eats chicken every day, for example, they will not be able to generate the necessary enzymes quickly enough to break it down efficiently. Giving your dog a break from chicken by feeding beef one some days allows their body to restore those enzymes.
Genetics can also be a factor in why Cow is so bad at making enzymes. Dogs with white coats are, for whatever reason, predisposed to intolerances.
It makes sense that some dogs have more trouble with this than others. Lactose intolerance in humans affects people from some parts of the globe more than others, affecting the majority of Asians, Africans and Native Americans, but a minority of Caucasians.
Cow has a crazy lineage according to her DNA test, so it makes sense that she’d have some mysterious predispositions to intolerances.
Decoding Cow’s Results
When I got Cow’s results, I was simultaneously flabbergasted, frustrated, and… not surprised at all.
View Cow’s 5Strands Intolerance Report
Cow’s intolerant of SO. MANY. THINGS. It wasn’t going to be possible to find a pre-made dog food, kibble or raw, that was exclusive of all of those foods.
Though extensive, her results made sense.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeding Cow Zignature Kangaroo kibble. She’s not intolerance of kangaroo meat, so it makes sense that she’s been doing slightly better on this food.
But it is made with peas, which are a Level 2 item for her.
It also contains some synthetic additives, which are Level 3 items.
What’s Next For Cow?
Though the results were troubling at first, I felt so much better after I talked to a few members of the 5Strands team.
As it turns out, Cow would not have to quit every food item on the list forever.
The color code on the items is like a stoplight. Stop feeding Level 1 items, slow down on feeding Level 2 items when possible, and feed Level 3 items in moderation.
To find what Cow COULD eat, I was advised to check off her items against the master list. Now, I could see that though Cow has Level 2 items that are forms of beef, she actually can eat raw or cooked ground beef.
Cow’s also clear for chicken of all kinds.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the test does not include absolutely everything.
For example, if you happen to live on an ostrich farm, and your dog likes ostrich eggs, you’d want to stop feeding them for a while because they’re not on the test, but your dog may still have trouble with them.
Truly “safe” foods are the ones that have been tested for, and have not been shown to cause an intolerance.
I was advised to make a homemade, fresh or cooked diet for Cow that included safe foods like ground beef and chicken that she would eat for a few weeks.
Since this diet is only meant to be fed in the short-term, it’s okay if it is not perfectly balanced.
After 6-8 weeks, I can slowly add other foods.
It’s going to be hard for me to put this plan to action because I’m under COVID-19 quarantine at the time of writing. Meat sales are limited here to just 1-2 packs per customer, and I don’t want to go to the store daily to get enough food for Cow.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue feeding the kangaroo food and include safe foods as much as I can.
Does 5Strands Affordable Intolerance Test Really Work?
The 5Strands Test uses bioresonance technology, which as been used for over 50 years in private practices to diagnose allergies and intolerances.
5Strands has made this test more affordable for the average pet parent by making it possible for you to use their kit collect a sample at home and send it directly to their facility for testing.
The bioresonance technology used to conduct 5Strands testing, as I understand it, involves a machine that runs an electronic frequency through your pet’s hair sample. It’s able to detect imbalances that indicate that your pet has a lack of enzymes that allow to them to efficiently process substances.
As with most types of alternative medicine, bioresonance technology is controversial among conventional veterinarians, but real-life case reports and detailed, 5-star reviews on Amazon tell us that a targeted elimination diet based on 5Strands results has been life-changing for both humans and animals.
When you get your dog’s results, you need to come up with a strict diet that only includes foods that were tested but not reported as intolerances. That means a bite of table scraps, a supplement, or a piece of garbage your dog scavenged can cause symptom flare-ups even if you’re giving your dog all the right foods.
The good news is, you’ll know what’s causing your dog’s symptoms and you’ll have more control over the outcome, rather than wondering why a “one-size-fits-all” elimination diet isn’t working.
Do I Recommend The 5Strands Pet Intolerance Test?
If your dog seems to have food or environmental intolerances, if they’re itchy, gassy, losing fur, or just “not right,” the results from this test are going to be eye-opening for you.
Keep in mind that this test is not a substitute for going to your vet. You can discuss the results with your vet to come up with a diet that works best for your dog.
If you’re like me and you’ve been spending too much money on foods and seeing some temporary improvements, and have linked your dog’s symptoms to food intolerances, but just want to finally find out what to try next, you’re going to feel much better when you get those answers.
Again, when you get the results, do not hesitate to get in touch with the 5Strands team. They’re super friendly and helpful, and they want to make sure you see improvements with your dog. Getting the results is just the start of helping your dog feel better.
Get Your 5Strands Intolerance Test Kit!
Ready to find out what’s making your dog itch?
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a 5Strands Affordable Pet Intolerance Test Kit (a $144 value!). Must be over 18 with a mailing address in the United States to enter.
Or, get your 5Strands Testing Kit on Amazon.