When concerns arise about a pet’s health, some pet parents may immediately consider food allergies as the cause. Studies show that food allergies in pets, however, are actually uncommon. And while it is possible for symptoms such as itching, vomiting and diarrhea to be associated with food allergies, many of these same symptoms could also be signs of external allergies or other health conditions that are unrelated to diet. To help clear up some of the pet food allergy misconceptions, let’s examine some facts that can help you to become an informed pet parent.

Pet Food Intolerance Isn’t an Allergy

One aspect of your pets’ health that may be confused with a food allergy is an intolerance. As pets age and their bodies change, dogs and cats may develop what’s known as an intolerance or a sensitivity toward some pet food ingredients. An intolerance is not an allergy. It simply means your pet’s body has difficulty digesting some element of the food they’re eating.

Veterinarians Can Diagnose Pet Food Allergies

Unfortunately, over-the-counter pet food allergy tests and those purchased online tend not to be either accurate or fool-proof. Only a veterinarian can diagnose a food allergy through a dietary elimination trial. When diagnosed, most pet food allergies tend not to be related to the presence of grains or plant-sourced ingredients in your pets’ diet. They are usually linked to a specific animal protein. The most common allergens are beef, dairy, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit and fish. Before changing your pets’ diet or purchasing grain-free or hypo-allergenic pet foods, have your veterinarian rule out other possible allergy causes.

Other Allergies Are More Common

External allergies are far more common than pet food allergies. Most pet allergies with visible symptoms are related to dust/dust mites, flea bites, pollen and mold. These causes usually affect a skin condition (such as itching or puffy or oozing eyes) or a breathing condition (such as sneezing, wheezing, coughing or respiratory difficulties). External allergies are much easier to treat than food allergies because they usually require only treating or removing the external cause of the allergy.

Whenever a concern about your pet’s health arises, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian. And remember that food allergies are much less likely than many other possible causes. It may be more prudent to consider external causes, your pet’s age, and the possibility of a sensitivity. One of the best resources for helping to manage your pet’s health is to contact PetWow’s Mobile Veterinary Care. Our mobile treatment center offers state-of-the-art care at prices comparable to an in-office visit.

Call us at 513-738-9691 or email us at Info@PetWow.com. Our experienced staff can answer your questions and address your needs anywhere in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area! For more pet care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn!

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