After finishing phase I, in which you fed your dog an elimination diet, you progress to the food challenge test.
When you enter phase II, this means your dog's suffering from allergy symptoms has been greatly diminished. This is great, congratulations!
To confirm that the suffering was actually caused by the previous dog food we need proof. So far it can all just be a happy coincidence! This is where the provocative food challenge test comes in.
You do this by adding the stuff your dog ate before (snacks, scraps, vitamins, etc), back into his diet. This should be done via a controlled method, so one by one and with 1 or 2 weeks in between. This is called provocation.
When the allergy symptoms reoccur, you then know which particular part of his previous diet is causing this. You then completely remove that ingredient from your furry friend's diet (and you tell your spouse, children or any one else that regularly feeds your dog which ingredient to avoid).
Perhaps you don't bother about proof but the advantage of knowing makes you can give your dog treats and some variation if required.
You choose as you are the alpha and I'm merely your guide! But let me help you in your decision by listing the advantages and disadvantages.
If the allergy symptoms return after going back to the original dog food the diagnosis of dog food allergy is confirmed. You then know for certain your dog is allergic to one component of that dog food that wasn't present in the hypoallergenic elimination diet.
Once the offending allergens are identified, you can go and look for a commercially prepared balanced dog food your dog will thrive on. Or when you have a homemade elimination diet, you can add one new ingredient every two weeks. When your canine shows no symptoms, you can add another ingredient etc. But make sure you are feeding a balanced diet and when you are inexperienced then just choose from the commercially available dog food.
You are not certain the disappearance of the allergy symptoms had anything to do with the food. It can also be a coincidence. When your dog is doing fine you can keep him on the limited-antigen dog food. Just make sure the dog food you choose is balanced so you can indeed use it as a maintenance diet for life. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
The main reason why people don't want to complete phase II testing is because you deliberately put your dog to the challenge. The allergy symptoms return, but this doesn't have to be for long. So perhaps a bit rationalized courage on top of your emotions is better for a long-term solution.
Have you made up your mind or are you looking for advice? Well, perhaps I can quote Nike: “Just do it!”
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