Food allergies are one of the top three allergies in dogs and cats. Pets can be allergic to any type of food, but the most common offenders include proteins or carbohydrates such as beef, chicken, fish, corn, wheat, or soy. Minor ingredients such as preservatives or dyes are also potential allergens. Despite common misconception, pets can develop food allergies even if they have “eaten the same food their entire life”. If your pet exhibits any of the following signs, he/she may have a food allergy that should be discussed with your veterinarian.
- Allergy symptoms (usually itching) that persist all year round.
- Chronic ear infections
- Repeated problems with the anal sacs.
- Allergy symptoms starting later in life (after the age of 5)
- Allergy symptoms which are only minimally responsive to steroids.
Food allergies are most often diagnosed by conducting a food trial during which the animal is fed only a hypoallergenic diet. This diet is carried out for 10-14 weeks. If symptoms resolve the pet is challenged with the old diet to see if symptoms return. Most food allergies are manageable simply by avoiding the offending food.
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, bring him in to see us and we can discuss it.