Have you noticed allergies in your dog or cat? Allergies occur when animals (and people) are overly sensitive to something in their environment. They may also be allergic to food. Food allergies can affect cats and dogs, and in limited cases, horses, too. Most food allergies stem from protein (chicken, egg, pork, fish, and beef), dairy, or wheat products in food items. In some cases, pets may be allergic to multiple foods.

Food Allergies in Pets

Pet Food Allergy Symptoms

Food allergies commonly lead to itching around the face, neck and ears. Pets may chew at their skin and paws. They may also develop a rash or hives. Sometimes pets scratch their skin so badly that they develop skin lesions that can bleed or become infected. Another manifestation of food allergy is gastrointestinal upset. Pets may experience chronic diarrhea, gas, and vomiting. This can lead to poor growth in young pets.

If you suspect food allergies in your pet, you can start with an elimination diet. This can be tricky, though, because many pet foods contain similar ingredients. Note that even if your pet hasn’t eaten a particular food for years, it is not an assurance that they will not develop a food allergy to it later. Once a pet develops an allergy, it is common for them to continue to have negative responses throughout the duration of their life.

If your pet exhibits allergy symptoms, talk to an allergy veterinarian to narrow down the cause. If your pet has environmental allergies, your vet may prescribe allergy treatment for your pet. This is available through allergy shots or through allergy drops for dogs, cats, and horses. For food allergies, your doctor can help you narrow down the cause of the allergies through a blood or skin allergy test for pets. They can also help you plan an effective elimination diet.