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
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.
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.
Products to Provide Relief and Promote Healing
- Pramoxine Anti-Itch Spray will help local area irritation.
- Doc Roy's® Derma Coat Plus with Omega 3 & 6 helps promote optimal skin health and resistance to allergy itch.
- Omegaderm-3 has anti-inflammatory effects and is often used as a treatment for 30 days to decrease the itch.
- It is helpful to bathe the dog twice a week with Vet Basics® ChlorConazole™ Shampoo for about two to three weeks to help soothe the skin and counter infection.
- Musher's Secret is all natural and helpful with skin healing and rejuvenation between toes and pads.
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!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.