Here I come up with a new topic i.e. “beef allergy in canines“. So, in the following piece of article, I would try to cover all the related topics that may arise in your mind regarded to food allergies in dogs.

Yes! a dog may surely be allergic to beef (cow meat: a protein-rich food). However, the numbers of cases of meat allergy in dogs are rare.

Carnivores are build to eat and digest meat very smoothly. Dogs are the best example of domestic carnivores that love to swallow all types of meat i.e. beef, pork, mutton, fish, chicken, etc.

All Dogs like other carnivores possess incredible tools to break down and digest high protein (protein-rich) diets in their system. An adult dog has 42 teeth including twelve incisors (six on the top and six on the bottom), four canines (two on the top and two on the bottom), sixteen premolars (eight on top and eight on the bottom), and 10 molars (four on the top but six on the bottom).


A strong jaw with 42 well-developed teeth makes it greatly easy to chew rough diets like bones, raw meat, and beef for all canines.

How Beef Causes Food Allergy In Dogs?

Before I start to explain how beef causes allergies in dogs? you must be aware of;

How Dogs Digest Food?

A dog’s digestive system consists of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and intestines (small and large).

Food (beef) enters through the mouth (oral cavity) where sharp teeth and saliva (that contain enzymes) break it down into small pieces. The esophagus is a long pipe that connects the stomach to the oral cavity. Esophageal motility, the contraction, and relaxation movement of the esophagus propel food that comes from the oral cavity to the stomach.

Then the dog’s stomach starts producing acids (hydrochloric acid), the liver produces protease (and other digestive) enzymes that help in protein digestion. The saliva in the stomach works as a lubricant that protects the stomach lining from acids and protease enzymes and restricts these enzymes from damaging the stomach lining.

Beef is a big source of healthy nutrients for pets. However, It could also be a common food allergen for some dog breeds.

Causes Of Beef Allergy In Dogs

Canines love to eat meat and their bodies are made to digest protein-rich foods very well. But meat could also be a problem for some dog breeds because it may cause severe skin allergies, dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), and upset stomach, etc.

The main reason behind beef allergy in dogs is unknown. Cow meat contains all types of essential and non-essential amino acids (building blocks of protein molecules), fat, and other healthy ingredients. A dog’s body may be allergic to any of its (beef) components.

Essential amino acids are those that a dog’s body cannot produce itself, and canines get these amino acids from outsources (food) while the non-essential amino acids are those that a dog’s body can produce itself and they don’t need to get them from the outsourcing.

Examples of essential amino acids are lysine, leucine, isoleucine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, histidine and phenylalanine, etc.


When a dog’s immune system encounters an unrecognized foreign substance that may be food (component) or something else like medicine, etc.

The immune system assumes that is a threat or invader for the body. So the immune system alerts the body by activating the histamine receptors that cause (allergies) inflammation or swelling, itching, shortness of breath, and abdominal problems like diarrhea, etc.

If a dog’s body is allergic to beef (protein-rich food), your best friend may face the following symptoms in the body;

  • Itching or irritating skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach (gas, bloating, etc)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hives
  • Bald spots on the body
  • Continuously licking the paws
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritation in ears and eyes

Most of the allergic signs relate to the skin while others upset the stomach. You must know the difference between the terms “food allergy” and “food intolerance”.

Food Allergy

When a body’s immune system response against an un-recognized foreign substance (food) by producing certain types of hormones that cause skin allergies, dermatitis, inflammation on the face of dogs, hives, irritation on paws, face, ears, and eyes, etc. It’s defined as a food allergy.

Food Intolerance

If a pet’s digestive system becomes unable to digest certain types of food or any food ingredient, like fails to digest certain types of protein (present in beef) may cause food intolerance in dogs.

In food intolerance, the body’s immune system does not involve. It happens because there are no specific enzymes present in the digestive system (stomach) that can metabolite the beef. So it becomes hard for the body to digest and this condition (food intolerance) usually causes the stomach issues like diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, etc.


A veterinarian may better diagnose whether a dog is suffering from a beef allergy or beef intolerance.



How Can We Treat Beef Allergy In Dogs?. It’s an important question to answer as food allergies in dogs may be fatal and dangerous for their lives (if left untreated).

Medicines like antibiotics, corticosteroids, steroids, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), probiotics and, supplements are used to remedy secondary infections caused by allergies.

For swelling and inflammation of the jaws, ears, nose, paws, eyes, or any other parts of the body, a veterinarian may suggest steroids like Prednisolone, Dexamethasone, or Betamethasone for a pet (in a restricted dose).

Antibiotics are used to treat secondary bacterial infections caused by allergens in the body. Due to itching, dogs scratch their body parts and build a bacterial infection. For skin infections in dogs (caused by beef allergy), Cefpodoxime proxetil, Amoxicillin and Clavulanate potassium, doxycycline, are suggested.

All antibiotics and steroids are prescription drugs. It means that are not available without a registered doctor, physician, or veterinarian prescription. Always consult a doctor before taking any kind of medication.

NSAIDs reduce pain, fever, and swelling. Generic: Carprofen is an example of FDA approved drug.

The drugs like antibiotics can disturb the healthy gut flora (digestive system) in dogs. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut flora as well as strengthen the immune system.

Exclusion Diet

A dog’s body may be allergic to a specific food (like beef) or a special group of foods (like dairy products).

An exclusion diet plan helps to determine the exact triggers that cause food allergies in dogs. Foods that cause allergies should be excluded from a dog’s diet. This is the only and best way to avoid allergic symptoms in pets.

Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.


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