Food Allergy and Intolerance in Cats and Dogs
Food allergies and intolerances are two different conditions which often have similar symptoms. They are both examples of adverse food reactions, however food allergies involve the animal's immune system while food tolerances do not.
Food allergy or hypersensitivity
Food or dietary intolerance
Common signs of Adverse Food Reactions
Itchy skin is often not caused by food
Diagnosis of Adverse Food Reactions
Types of Elimination Diets
There are a few options for elimination diets and your vet can help you decide on the most appropriate option:
• Hydrolysed diets are composed of very small protein molecules.The aim is for these small molecules not to be recognised by the immune system, reducing the risk of an allergic reaction.
• Novel protein diets include a single protein source which the pet has never eaten before and therefore hasn’t developed an allergy to. Examples of novel proteins include duck, salmon, venison and whitefish, or even more exotic ingredients such as kangaroo.
• Homemade diets are another option to control the ingredients in your pet’s food. Preparing these can be time consuming and difficult to balance, meaning they frequently provide inadequate long-term nutrition. For this reas on, home made diets are often used as a temporary measure until the right pet food product is identified.
Advice is at hand
Food allergies and intolerances can be serious medical conditions, affecting the health and wellbeing of your pet, therefore it is always advisable to seek veterinary attention if you suspect these conditions. It is also important to read your pet’s food labels carefully. To understand your pet food labels please refer to our guide; UK Pet Food Labelling Factsheet.