If your pet eats a varied diet and suddenly develops an allergy, it can be a difficult process to find out which particular food is the culprit. Food allergies in pets can present in different ways such as itchy skin, hair loss or hair pulling, gastric upset, and patches of irritated skin called hot spots.
If you can remember introducing a new food to your pet recently, it can simply be a matter of removing that food to see if it makes a difference, but often it’s not that easy. The only way to isolate the offending food is to use an elimination diet for as long as it takes to find it.
What’s An Elimination Diet?
An elimination diet is a restricted diet your pet eats until you find the food that’s causing the allergy or sensitivity. Another benefit is that it gives you a list of all the foods your pet can safely eat.
You’ll need to make a list of all the different foods your pet has been eating, commercial and home-cooked, including the separate ingredients of prepared foods. In this list is the ingredient that’s causing your pet’s allergy. Now we have to find out which one it is.
Common Foods that Cause Allergies
Some of the common sources of food allergies are the protein sources in your pet’s food such as chicken, beef, dairy, egg and soy. Commercial foods can also contain nasty chemicals such as dyes and preservatives that cause allergies. That’s why you need to write down all the ingredients from these foods.
You’ll need to find a source of protein and a source of carbohydrate that your pet has never had before. Feeding these should lessen the allergy symptoms since they’re not on the list of possible allergens. Once your pet is feeling better on their new diet, you can begin to introduce the things on your list, one at a time, back into their diet and wait to see if the allergy reappears.
The Forbidden List
If the symptoms reappear and you need to wait a couple of weeks for each food you introduce back into the diet, you can put that food on the forbidden list. If your pet seems fine after adding each ingredient, then you can add that food to the safe list.
Keep adding foods from your original list, one by one, until you’ve gone through them all. You should now have two lists; one with the safe foods on it, and one with the forbidden foods that your pet has a reaction to.
Your pet’s health and comfort are our top priority. Port Kennedy Vets is open every day of the week for help and advice on allergies and food sensitivities in your pet. Call 08 9524 6644 or contact us online for any enquiries or health concerns regarding your pet. Our wellness programs make pet care easier, and with affordable monthly payments, they’re an investment in the health and wellbeing of your beloved pet.