It's important for pet owners to be aware of potential food allergens that may affect their furry friends. While some allergies are more common in dogs than cats, and vice versa, all pet owners should take the time to understand which foods can trigger an allergic reaction in their beloved pets. In this blog post, we will discuss foods that are known to cause an allergic reaction for both dogs and cats, how to tell if your pet is allergic, and what pet owners can do to help treat it.
What are Food Allergens?
Just like in humans, some foods cause adverse reactions. While common, food allergies can lead to serious health issues if not treated promptly. When it comes to keeping our pets healthy, it is important to understand the common food allergens they can encounter.
Common food allergens in dogs and cat food include:
In some cases, pets may also be allergic to preservatives, artificial colors, and other additives in their food.
Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction in Dogs and Cats
Knowing the symptoms of a food allergy in a pet can help you take appropriate action quickly. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Skin irritation: Pets with food allergies may develop red, itchy skin, hot spots, rashes, or hives. These can occur on their belly, feet, muzzle, or other areas of their body.
- Swelling: Allergic reactions can cause swelling in the face, especially around the eyes, lips, and ears.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea: Diarrhea, vomiting, and loose stools can be signs of an allergic reaction.
- Coughing or wheezing: Allergies can also cause coughing or wheezing, particularly in cats.
- Excessive scratching: Pets may excessively scratch or lick their fur as if they are trying to relieve an itch they can't get to.
When to Consult With a Vet About Your Pet’s Food Allergies
Some allergies are more severe than others. If your pet is wheezing, coughing, vomiting more than once or twice, or having diarrhea that doesn’t go away quickly, you should contact your vet to discuss what they’ve eaten and what they recommend.
If you start to notice scratching or hot spots developing, schedule some time to talk to the vet about it, but it’s not quite as urgent. The vet team can help identify potential allergens and suggest appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes to reduce allergic reactions. If you can, take a photo of the ingredients of various foods and treats you fed to your pet before you noticed the issue.
Some common tests a vet may recommend include blood tests to check for immunoglobulins and histamine levels and skin tests to measure the reaction of your pet's skin to different allergens. Your vet may also suggest dietary changes and supplements to alleviate the symptoms of allergies in your pet.
If your pet is known to have some food allergies, talk to the vet before introducing new foods into your pet's diet. This can help to avoid additional reactions or complications.
Read our blog, Tips for Choosing a Vet, to get some recommendations for finding the best veterinarian for your pet's needs.
Determining the Cause of the Allergic Reactions
When it comes to pet allergies, there are both environmental and food-related factors to consider. Pet allergies can be caused by environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites, fleas, and mold. However, food allergies are more commonly the cause. Pet food allergies occur when an animal has an adverse reaction to a certain ingredient, such as a protein or carbohydrate.
An elimination diet is one way to diagnose and treat food allergies in pets; this involves slowly eliminating potential allergens from your pet's diet until they find one that works well with their system. It's best to work with a veterinarian when attempting this method so your pet gets all the nutrients they need while eliminating possible allergens. Pet owners should schedule regular check-ups with their vet and keep up-to-date with vaccinations to ensure optimal health and wellness.
Treating Allergic Reactions
Taking care of a pet's allergic reactions requires finding the cause and avoiding it. The best way to do that is by teaming up with your vet to pinpoint the trigger. Once you know what's causing it, keep that allergen far away from your furry friend! Remember to check the ingredients if you buy new treats for them.
There are various ways to help itching and scratching caused by an allergic reaction. Medications such as antihistamines, similar to Benadryl for humans, can be used to reduce inflammation and itching.
Corticosteroids that can be applied to the skin are helpful in relieving severe itching and swelling.
Your vet should give you the medications and doses that are right for your pet.
For general health and to help relieve an allergic reaction in the future, other options include fatty acid supplements, omega-3s, and even shampoos and conditioners containing natural anti-inflammatory agents.
Food With Simple Ingredients
When it comes to treating allergic reactions in pets, a “clean” diet can help. There are fresh pet foods made with simple ingredients that are easier to digest for pets and less likely to include preservatives that can cause an allergic reaction. Some dry foods are better for pets with allergies. The team at Central Pet can help you with choosing a good food for your dog or cat if you know what they’re allergic to. Come in and talk to us, and you can go home with different, healthy foods for your pet.
Keep them Clean!
If the allergic reaction is on their skin, keep the pet clean and dry to prevent further irritation and infections. Allergic reactions can also be managed with homeopathic remedies or by trying herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Always consult with your veterinarian first, no matter what treatment method you decide to use. This will ensure that you are taking the correct steps for your pet's health and safety.
Purchase from a Pet Supplier That You Trust
You aren’t likely to find quality dog or cat foods on grocery store shelves. Typically, pet supply and specialty stores carry high-quality pet foods and treats. At Central Pet in Tucson, Arizona, our staff is experts in our high-quality foods. You’ll find brands like Taste of the Wild, Open Farm, and Orijen dog foods on our shelves that might fit your pets’ dietary needs based on any foods they are allergic to. Our customer loyalty program lets you earn FREE pet food.