Dietary Sensitivity
What is dietary sensitivity?
This is a general term for any adverse reaction to food. There are two types of dietary sensitivity:

food allergies: an immune reaction to a particular ingredient, which is usually a protein. Allergies may last a lifetime so the ingredient must be permanently removed from your pet's diet.

food intolerance: not all reactions to food are allergies. Some pets simply cannot tolerate certain foods. Pets may be able to build up a tolerance, but it is best to avoid the ingredient altogether.

What causes dietary sensitivity?

food: the most common cause of food allergies in dogs are beef, milk products and wheat, in cats the most common are beef, milk products and fish.

damage: inflammation, infection, surgery and some medications can lead to the damage of the digestive system and may lead to dietary sensitivity.

age: dietary sensitivity can occur at any age. However, a food intolerance is more common in younger pets, and food allergies are more common in adult pets.

breed: some breeds are more likely to develop dietary sensitivity including Siamese cats, West Highland Terriers, Cocker Spaniels and Irish Setters.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom is digestive upset or skin irritation. Other symptoms include:

  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • flatulence
  • frequent scratching and hair loss
  • red, inflamed skin
  • chronic ear problems poor growth in young pets
  • coughing, wheezing, sneezing

What can be done to treat my pet?
Changing their diet to one with a single protein and carbohydrate source will generally help to clear up any symptoms your pet may be having. It can be trial and error for a little while until you figure out what is working for your pet. It is recommended to stay on one particular food for at least 10 weeks to notice if the change is making a difference for your pet. Allergy testing is also available for pets to determine exactly what is causing the allergy.
Rosswell Animal Hospital, Ontario, Courtice

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