Nutrition, Pet Care Basics, Skin Problem Resources

Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Though different types of allergies tend to overlap each other, food allergies typically affect young (under one year of age) and elderly animals. When an animal has a food allergy, the areas affected are the ears, rears, and feet. Many animals exhibit skin problems as a result of a food allergy. If an animal is licking its feet, scratching its ears and dragging its fanny, food allergies is at least part of the problem.

Common Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Although animals can become allergic to many foods, there are several common ingredients that pose the most problems. Dogs most commonly develop allergies to corn, soy, wheat, beef, lamb, fish, dairy products and chicken. Cats most commonly develop allergies to beef, lamb, turkey, corn, seafood, soy, flour, dairy products and wheat gluten.

Treatment for Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

The best way to treat food allergies in pets is to try and solve the problem versus trying to determine the exact food allergy. The best way to do this is to switch animals to a different protein food. Changing to a lamb and rice or turkey and rice food is a good start and available in most dog food brands.

Animals with severe food allergies need a limited, specific diet. This means no table food, pig ears, rawhides or anything of that sort while trying to control food allergies. The animal must be on a strict diet of food and non-protein treats for a good two months before you see results, although seeing improvement in three weeks is not unusual.

As with other allergies, excess licking can occur and can cause skin infections from secondary bacteria, yeast or fungi. Your pet may need antibiotics and antifungals for 30 days to eliminate the infections and allow the skin to recover. For problem cases, Prednisone is added to get the itch under control.

The constant licking caused by food allergies drives people and their pets crazy. Often pollen and contact allergy is complicated with food allergy and must all be treated together to gain control. By limiting the allergens in food and treating pollen allergy, you can gain control of the allergy and itch-scratch problems!

For more tips on how to help a dog or cat with a food allergy, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM

Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.