Food Sensitivities – How do I know if my pup has one?
By Rudy Leschke —
2 Minute Read
health + nutrition
There’s nothing worse than knowing your pup is experiencing discomfort and not knowing the cause or what to do about it. While many educated pet parents have made the connection between their pup’s diet and a lot of common health issues, many still have not. Below are a few things to keep in mind and look for if you suspect your pup has a food sensitivity.
Food Intolerances 101:
Food intolerances are very common in pets and can often cause some of the same symptoms as a food allergy, but the two are very different conditions. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs and can be very dangerous, if not fatal. Most food reactions are actually caused by a food intolerance and are much simpler to manage and less life threatening.
Foods that can result in food intolerance or allergies are generally proteins, like beef, soy & dairy products, but wheat, pork, chicken, corn, egg & fish may also cause issues. Your pup may be susceptible to one specific ingredient or may exhibit multiple sensitivities, which can make choosing the right pet food difficult.
Signs to look for:
In most companion animals, food intolerances manifest as allergic dermatoses – an itchy skin reaction that may result in a rash, hair loss or lesions caused by scratching and biting. In fact, 97% show no other symptoms.
10 to 15% of pets with food intolerances may show gastrointestinal symptoms – like vomiting or diarrhea – with or without dermatoses.
Diagnosis of a food intolerance starts with ruling out other possible causes of the dermatosis or digestive upset, which can also be caused by consuming things your pet shouldn't (like garbage, dead animals, excessive table scraps, etc.) or a sudden change in food. Once a food intolerance is suspected, the next steps typically include feeding an elimination diet and working through selected ingredients to identify the offending components.
If you suspect your pet has a food intolerance, be sure to work closely with your veterinarian to properly conduct an elimination diet to correctly identify your pup’s specific sensitivity.
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