A food allergy is a reaction to food that involves the body’s immune system. Typically, a protein or carbohydrate particle in the food is the culprit. Your pet may itch, lick or chew different areas of the body as a response to the allergy inflammation. You may notice pronounced itching in the paws, flank, groin, neck, or ears. The itching can occur all seasons. Many pets may have chronic ear infections and anal gland problems caused by food allergies. A dietary allergy predisposes dogs and cats to secondary bacterial and yeast infections of the skin and ears. Gastrointestinal signs such as repeated vomiting, diarrhea, belching, excessive gas, and unusually frequent bowel movements can also be signs of allergic reactions. Food allergy pets often have both varying degrees of skin problems and gastrointestinal issues.
The most effective way to address a food allergy is through a careful change in diet. The diets we select contain a “novel” protein source, meaning that your pet has not eaten these ingredients. Switching to another commercial dog or cat food is an ineffective test because most foods contain similar ingredients.
If you think your dog or cat may have a food allergy, make an appointment with our doctors. The more info about your dog or cat’s diet that you can share with your vet, the better. Once you have a better idea of what’s behind your pet’s allergy, you’ll be able to ease their symptoms and stop future flare-ups.