Do you have a pet that keeps you up at night scratching? Allergies can cause great discomfort and the excessive scratching and biting at skin can cause skin sores and even infections. Could your pet have food allergies? Food allergies can be caused by a reaction to a certain ingredient in your pet’s food or treats. There can be two types of reactions, the one that the immune system is involved and those that happen without the immune component. These are usually called food allergies or food intolerances.
What causes these types of reactions? Allergic reactions are most commonly caused by a pet’s allergic reaction to the protein source, like the meat in your pet’s food. It may take your pet a while to have an allergic response to a certain food. But once allergic, they will mostly likely be allergic to it for the rest of their life. Common food allergies can be beef, milk products and wheat.
Other factors associated with your pet becoming food allergic can be caused from damage in the digestive system from infection, inflammation, surgery or even possibly medication. Certain breeds are also known to develop food allergies. Food allergies can develop at any age.
Signs of food allergies are usually seen in pets that are excessively scratching and biting at their skin. Skin sores, red, dry skin, can be frequently found on a pet’s face, feet, and ears. Sometimes you may be unable to pinpoint the food allergy right away as some pets can have other allergies like flea-bite dermatitis.
If you notice your pet has chronic or recurring ear infections, you should consider having your pet evaluated for food allergies. Also if you notice your pet vomiting frequently, having diarrhea, a dull coat or hair loss, then he may have a food allergy.
Since food allergies may last a lifetime, the goal is to find the source causing the allergy. It is vital to your pet’s comfort and happiness to find this out so you can feed the right food. This can be easily done by doing an elimination pet food trial. Basically tracking and removing the ingredient causing your pet to react. The food your pet is changed to should be balanced and contain as few ingredients and additives as possible. Along with the change in the actual food, you need to also not give any table scraps, snacks, and treats. Our veterinarians can help you with choosing the best diet.
If your dog has an allergic reaction to a certain meat, you may want to try a food with a new protein source – new to your pet, that is – such as egg, duck, salmon, lamb, venison or whitefish. Once you have chosen a food with ONE of these protein sources, you will want to feed this food solely for 30-60 days. Again leaving out any other types of foods, treat, etc. Many over the counter pet foods do not have just one meat, they may multiples. This is why a prescription pet food is better for doing the food trial. If after the 30-60 days trial you notice that the skin improves, then mark that protein as one that your pet is not allergic to. Then keep your pet on this diet for life.If nothing changes with the scratching, then you should consult our veterinarian as you may have to try a different protein source and start another food trial.
There are prescription treats specifically designed for food allergies. This can help you stay stronger when your pet gives you those sad eyes begging for something different to eat.Being strict with the diet, will help your pet live a happy and more comfortable life. If you are interested in finding out more about doing a food trial with your pet, please give us a call. (714)771-3261