Yes, there are cats and dogs who can be allergic to some food.
“Food allergies in pets can begin at any age. They can start even if your cat or dog has been eating the same food for months or years,” said Fetch of WebMD in “Could My Pet Be Allergic to Their Food?“
Fetch said a pet with food allergy will show some of the following symptoms:
1. Itchy skin: This is the common type of allergy in pets. It is also known as allergic dermatitis.
“Irritated, itchy skin can happen anywhere on your pet’s body. In cats, it often happens on the head and neck. In dogs, it often happens near the ear, paws, rear end, and stomach, “ said Fetch.
2. Skin issues: Hives or urticarial may come out 6 to 24 hours after your dog has eaten the food he is allergic to. “If your dog has short hair, these itchy red bumps are easier to see. Otherwise, you may have to feel for them,” Fetch said.
In cats, skin irritation may not be visible immediately. “Small lumps filled with fluid may develop over a few months, but they usually don’t pop up overnight,” said Fetch.
There are two side effects due to itchy skin and hives:
a. Your pet will likely scratch, bite, and lick the affected areas, which can lead to broken skin. If the skin is open, your pet might get an infection, which will need immediate treatment.
b. The scratching can lead to hair loss.
3.Tummy trouble: Gastrointestinal issues, such as gas, vomiting, and diarrhea, may occur.
4.Swollen face: There may be swelling in your dog’s lips, eyelids, or ear flaps.
5. Chronic ear or paw infections: If the infection in your dog’s ear or paws happens repeatedly, this may be a sign of a food sensitivity, not a food allergy.
“There’s a difference between a food allergy and food sensitivity. For example, an allergy triggers an immediate immune system response. Food sensitivity doesn't. Your dog may have food sensitivity if they are having a gradual reaction to an ingredient in their food,” Fetch said.
When it comes to food, the most common allergens are:
Fish (for cats)
Less common allergens are:
If your vet thinks your dog or cat might have a food allergy, you may be advised to have your pet
1. Undergo allergy testing:
“Just like in humans, figuring out a pet’s food allergy can take time. First, your vet may try to rule out other things that could lead to a dog or cat’s symptoms,” Fetch said.
2. Go through an elimination diet:
“The best way to figure out a food allergy is with one of these, which should only be done under the care of a vet or nutritionist, who may prescribe special food for your pet during the trial,” Fetch added.
“You need the help of a professional with this. That's the only way to make sure you both find the cause of the allergy and do it in a nutritionally complete way,” Fetch said.
1. Making changes in the food can help a lot.
“Most of the time, you can manage food allergies in cats and dogs by making changes to what they eat, so that they avoid their trigger food,” Fetch said.
2. Your vet can prescribe medication or a skin cream to help ease symptoms while the vet is figuring out a long-term plan.
It is rare that an allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing may occur. If this happens, bring your pet to the vet immediately.
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