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Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Food allergies can affect both young (under one year of age) and elderly animals, often overlapping with other types of allergies. Common symptoms include skin problems, licking of feet, scratching ears, and dragging their rears. If you notice these behaviors, food allergies could be part of the problem.

Common Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

Dogs most commonly develop allergies to ingredients like corn, soy, wheat, beef, lamb, fish, dairy products, and chicken. Cats, on the other hand, often develop allergies to beef, lamb, turkey, corn, seafood, soy, flour, dairy products, and wheat gluten.

Treatment for Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats

The best way to treat food allergies in pets is to switch to a different protein source. Changing to a lamb and rice or turkey and rice diet is a good start and is available in many pet food brands. Animals with severe food allergies require a limited, specific diet. This means no table food, pig ears, rawhides, or anything similar while trying to control food allergies. A strict diet of food and non-protein treats should be maintained for at least two months, although improvement may be seen in as little as three weeks.

Excessive licking due to allergies can cause skin infections from secondary bacteria, yeast, or fungi. Your pet may need antibiotics and antifungals for 30 days to eliminate these infections and allow the skin to recover. In more severe cases, Prednisone may be added to control the itching.

What Can I Give My Dog for Food Allergies and Itching?

  • Topical treatments: Use sprays to help with local irritation.

  • Supplements: Omega 3 & 6 supplements help promote optimal skin health and resistance to allergy itch. Anti-inflammatory supplements can be used as a treatment for 30 days to decrease the itch.

  • Bathing: Bathe your dog twice a week with medicated shampoo for about two to three weeks to soothe the skin and counter infection.

  • Natural treatments: Natural balms can be helpful for skin healing and rejuvenation between toes and pads.

Food allergies can drive both pets and their owners crazy. Often, pollen and contact allergies complicate food allergies, and all must be treated together to gain control. By limiting allergens in food and treating other allergies, you can manage and alleviate the allergy and itch-scratch problems effectively.

For more information on managing food allergies in your pets, visit

Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats
Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats


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