Food allergies are fairly frequent in pets, accounting for roughly 10% of all allergy cases in dogs. Some of the most frequent allergens are dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, rabbit, or fish.
If your dog is experiencing severe itching, watery eyes, skin rashes, ear infection, or hair loss, it is critical that you get medical attention.
“Food allergies can cause skin problems, as well as behavioral abnormalities, in addition to digestive difficulties such as vomiting and diarrhea. These can happen right after or a few hours later after eating “Dr. Shantanu Kalambi, Chief Veterinarian of Supertails, said.
According to the expert, proteins (chicken, egg, and dairy products) are the most prevalent sorts of substances that cause allergic responses, followed by grains (gluten), but a pet can be allergic to any dietary item.
“Protein appears to be the problematic factor in all of these dietary products, rather than the food itself. Proteins are responsible for eliciting an unfavorable immunological response, which can result in itching and a variety of other allergy symptoms. It is crucial to remember that even vegetables contain proteins, therefore going on a vegetable diet without first thinking about it is not a healthy alternative “Dr. Kalambi said.
The first step in controlling food allergies is to detect the symptoms. Allergies cause a wide range of symptoms, including sneezing, diarrhea, ear infections, as well as restlessness. Dr. Kalambi enumerates all of the symptoms.
- Skin rashes
- Pigmented skin
- Scaly or oily skin
- Eye discharge
- Hair loss
- Ear infection
- Secondary yeast or bacterial infection of skin or ears
Dr. Kalambi notes that between 10% and 30% of pets with verified food allergies exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. He asserts, however, that acute and transient symptoms are not caused by food allergies, and that food allergies often result in persistent illnesses. Here are some gastro-intestinal symptoms to be aware of:
● Diarrhea irrespective of blood or mucus in stool
● Strain in passing stool
● Abdominal pain
Some pets may develop these symptoms as well:
- Breathing issues
- Nasal discharge
- Weight loss
- Secondary urinary tract infections
Apart from physical symptoms, your pets may exhibit behavioral changes such as restlessness, biting their paws, or scratching their ears.
● Withdrawal or reduced interest in playtime
● Frequent scratching
● Biting paws, rear, and tail
● Loss of appetite
● Frequent shaking of ears or ear scratching
How to treat food allergies in pets
The Food Elimination Diet
It is the most accurate way to diagnose food allergies. For a minimum of eight weeks, it is recommended that you feed your dogs a whole new diet plan. During this trial time, the pet must be fed a non-contaminated simple ingredient food. A single-source animal or vegetable protein should be included, as should a single-source carbohydrate calorie that has never been provided to the pet previously. Ideally, adhere to a suggested hypoallergenic diet formulation for two months before gradually introducing additional items. This will aid in determining the allergen’s source.
To obtain accurate findings, no treats, snacks, flavored drugs, or supplements should be given. After 8 weeks, the pet must be gradually returned to the original food to confirm a food allergy caused by a specific component. Frequently, parents do not complete the process and continue with the trial food in order to avoid re-triggering the symptoms. However, reintroduction of the original meal is the only way to confirm a food allergy.
Go for tests
Additionally, a blood test and patch test are available. However, regardless of the method used, food allergies must be diagnosed under constant supervision and following considerable consultation with the veterinarian. Once discovered, a feeding plan tailored to the pet’s allergies must be developed to guarantee no more responses occur.