Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats Are Common But Treatable!
8 August, 2016
Little dog maltese and black and white cat eating food from a bowl in home

Just as in humans, dogs and cats can have certain allergies to a specific type of food.   A food allergy is typically  an abnormal response to a food or food additive.  Food allergies can start as early as five months old up to twelve years old in our dogs and cats. But, not to worry, you can conquer your pets’ food allergies with time, patience and a change in diet.

Symptoms of food allergies in cats and dogs

The most common symptom of food allergies is itchy skin affecting primarily the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and rear area. Symptoms may also include chronic ear infections, hair loss, excessive scratching, hot spots, and skin.  Food allergies tend to last all year round as opposed to a seasonal allergy.  Your vet can determine if your dog or cat has a normal skin allergy and if it is ruled out, your pet is very likely to have a good allergy.

Symptoms of food allergies in cats and dogs

The most common symptom of food allergies is itchy skin affecting primarily the face, feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and rear area. Symptoms may also include chronic ear infections, hair loss, excessive scratching, hot spots, and skin.  Food allergies tend to last all year round as opposed to a seasonal allergy.  Your vet can determine if your dog or cat has a normal skin allergy and if it is ruled out, your pet is very likely to have a good allergy.

To get rid of a food allergy, start by simply switching to a different protein.

The simplest and most effective way to get rid of a food allergy is to feed your dog or cat a new food source of protein and carbohydrate for at least twelve weeks.  You need to pick out a protein and carbohydrate that your dog or cat has never eaten before, such as venison and rice.  The food you choose is the only thing that your dog or cat eats for twelve weeks. This means no treats, no flavored medications, no rawhide, cat nip, but only the special food and water.

There are a number of such commercial diets available on the market.  And, due to the numerous pets that have food allergies, there are diets that have proteins and carbohydrates broken down into such small sizes that they no longer would trigger an allergic response

Once you have determined the food your pet is allergic to, avoid it.

The treatment for food allergies is avoidance. Once you have been identified the offending food through a food trial, then they can be eliminated from the diet. Short-term relief may be gained with fatty acids, antihistamines, and steroids, but elimination of the products from the diet is the only long-term solution and is the healthiest choice.

If you choose to feed your dog or cat a homemade diet, then you can periodically change the ingredients off your food and determine which ingredients are causing the food allergy. For example, if your dog or cat’s symptoms subsided on a diet of venison and rice, then you can add chicken and potatoes to the diet for two weeks.

If your dog or cat still showed no symptoms, then you can add beef for two weeks. If symptoms occur, then beef is the culprit and what your dog or cat is allergic to.

The best way to prevent food allergies is to rotate the protein every few weeks

Preventing food allergies can be done by rotating a single protein every three to four months so your dog or cat never has a chance to become intolerant.  And this can also help to determine fairly easily if your dog or cat has developed a food allergy of what the exact protein is that caused it.

As with all diets, make sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that they agree with your basic diet and after all other allergies have been ruled out.

And, if you want to know about Gluten Free Diets,  take a look at our article:  Grain Free Diets for your pets! 

 

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