Unfortunately, our pets can suffer as much from food allergies as we humans do. Pet food allergies can cause excessive scratching, chronic diarrhea, an itchy rear end, and excessive gas. Knowing about food allergies in pets can help responsible pet owners avoid giving their pet food that will cause digestive upset.
This article aims to answers many questions about food allergies in pets.
Are pet food allergies common?
First, it’s important to know that food allergies are very common.
Some reports suggest that around 10% of allergic symptoms in dogs are caused by some kind of food allergy. As well as having a food allergy, dogs and cats can also have food intolerances. In fact, in vet clinics in Orange County report that it is very common for pet owners to bring their pet to the vet because of food allergies.
Common signs of a food allergy
What are the most common signs of a food allergy in your pet? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, common signs of a pet allergy include:
- Respiratory symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose
- Coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing
- Watery, red itchy eyes
- Skin rash that is made worse by constant scratching
What causes food allergies?
Food allergies in pets are generally caused by genetic problems and also some environmental factors.
Some researchers suggest that young animals treated with antibiotics are more prone to develop food allergies in later life. It is thought that antibiotics could affect the gut and, therefore, affect the immune system.
Some of the most common food allergies are dairy, beef, wheat, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, and fish.
How can I know if my pet has an allergy?
If your pet dog or cat scratches a lot or you have noticed symptoms of an upset digestive system, you should consider if this is caused by an allergic reaction.
The best way to do this is to completely replace your pet’s foods with food have never eaten. This can be challenging, but it is the only way to identify the food allergen. Once your pet’s health improves, you should introduce the “old” foods gradually. If they have a reaction in a few days or a few weeks, then you have identified the allergen.
Your vet may also recommend skin testing or taking some ear discharge for testing.