What is a food allergy? A food allergy is the body’s immune response to the protein in their food. For dogs, the most common allergy causing proteins are chicken and beef. For cats, chicken, beef and fish are the most common food allergens.
At what age do pets start having food allergies? Pets can develop a food allergy at any point in their life. Pets are most frequently diagnosed with a food allergy between 2-5 years of age.
How do you know when a pet has a food allergy? Common symptoms that veterinarians observe when diagnosing a food allergy include itchy skin, redness on paws or abdomen, red eyes, chronic diarrhea or vomiting, and general gastrointestinal upset.
How do you treat a food allergy? Food allergies are most commonly treated with a trial diet with a novel protein. Novel proteins are protein sources that pets have not had before and include venison, rabbit, duck, kangaroo, and others. Diet trials can also be done with a hydrolyzed protein diet. A hydrolyzed protein is one that has been processed down so that it is unrecognizable by the body. There are also some medications that can be prescribed after a discussion with your veterinarian.
Will my pet’s food allergy go away? Unfortunately, no. Your pet will likely need a special diet or medication for the rest of their life.
Will my pet need to be on a prescription diet forever? Yes, most likely a prescription food will be necessary. Some pets, however, will tolerate an over the counter diet with limited ingredients.
Do grains cause food allergies? Grains and gluten are not a known cause of food allergies.
If you feel that your pet may have a food allergy please give our office a call!