Food allergies in humans are quite common; some people are allergic to peanuts, while others have a life-threatening reaction to shrimp. In fact, even your beloved furry friends can be allergic to certain ingredients in their foods. Food allergies occur in dogs and cats when their immune system starts responding to certain harmless proteins during the digestion process. Once the food is broken down in the stomach, the enzymes begin stripping proteins down to amino acids, which are completely absorbed in the system. Cats and dogs face more trouble when certain specialized immune cells in the gastrointestinal tracts absorb more intact proteins, thus rendering them harmful. This triggers your pet’s immune system, and it starts reacting whenever the “offending” protein is consumed.
It is essential that you identify food allergies before it can have an unpleasant impact on your pet’s health. The common food allergy symptoms in cats and dogs are:
- Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing
- Runny eyes and nose
- Ear infection
- Itchy skin and paws
- Skin rashes
- Eye discharge
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Secondary yeast or bacterial infections of the skin or ears
There are certain common ingredients in pet foods that are known to trigger food allergies. Identifying these common food allergy triggers will help you decide which food is suitable for your pet. They are as follows:
As most people would like to believe, not all cats are fond of milk. In fact, dairy is one of the major food allergy triggers in cats and dogs. Some dogs might have a tough time digesting lactose, and there are high chances that you might confuse lactose intolerance with a dairy allergy. Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy lead to similar symptoms like gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. Unless you can identify whether the symptoms are related to lactose intolerance or dairy allergy, your pet might not receive appropriate treatment. However, there’s one major distinction that can help you diagnose the condition: dairy allergy manifests in the form of skin infection or itching, whereas lactose intolerance affects the digestion process.
Most dog and cat foods contain beef protein, which is a very common food allergen. If your dog has been eating dog food that contains beef protein for years, there is a high chance that they can develop an intolerance or allergy to it. To avoid such situations, it is essential to feed your pet a raw diet and rotate meats every week. This can significantly reduce the chances of your pet developing a food allergy.
There are pet foods that are affordable and then there are the ones that are quite high-end. The difference in cost is often reflected in the ingredients used in making the food. One of the common ingredients found in cheap dog and cat food is cornmeal. They are often used as inexpensive fillers, and unfortunately, a majority of cats and dogs are allergic to corn. An allergic reaction to cornmeal can be seen in the form of itchy, flaky skin.
The kibbles you feed your dog or cat may look quite attractive due to their color. But artificial food coloring used in inexpensive cat and dog food is only meant to increase its shelf appeal for pet owners and has no real health benefits. In fact, artificial dye ingredients are known to cause allergies.
Even humans can be allergic to soy products, so it shouldn’t be surprising that your furry friends can be allergic as well. Certain studies have revealed that soy can cause several health issues that go beyond allergies; it can affect reproductive growth, thyroid, and even trigger liver diseases in cats and dogs.