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Could your pet have a food allergy? What to look for and how to help!

Could your pet have a food allergy? What to look for and how to help!

Is your pet itching and scratching excessively? Shaking his head, biting his paws and licking obsessively? Does he vomit often or have diarrhea? Does he wheeze or cough a lot? If you’ve treated these symptoms but your pooch or kitty is still in discomfort, a food allergy is often the cause.

 1. What is a food allergy?

Food allergies are often described as an abnormal reaction to a particular food or ingredient. There are two types of abnormal reactions to food.  One is when there is a Immune system reaction to food allergens and these are referred as food allergies. In order for food allergy symptoms to occur, previous exposure to the allergen is required. In the case of the other abnormal reaction, it does not involve the immune system and occurs when first exposed to a particular food and is referred to as a food intolerance. 

 2. What are the common signs of a food allergy?

The most common signs of a food allergy include:

  • Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea or gassiness
  • Frequent itching and scratching of the skin
  • Licking or biting their feet
  • Lacklustre coat or hair loss
  • Inflamed or irritated skin
  • Chronic ear inflammation
  • Coughing, sneezing or wheezing
  • Poor growth development in pets

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  1. What causes allergies?

There are certain factors such as genetics or the environment that could trigger a food allergy in your dog or cat. Breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds and Rex cats are predisposed to allergies. In some cases it may take months or even years before your pet develops an allergy to a particular ingredient – but from the moment that they are allergic, they will always experience an adverse reaction to that food!

Dogs are especially allergic to proteins derived from an animal or plant-based source of their diet. Common culprits of food allergies include beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish, dairy, egg and wheat. Food allergies often occur due to constant exposure to one particular ingredient. With our modern tendency to feed pets ‘convenience’ store bought foods, we have removed variety from their diet and made them more vulnerable to the development of allergies.

 4. How would I be able to detect if my pet has a food allergy?

If you suspect a food allergy, your vet would run blood tests or skin or ear discharge tests to determine the dietary allergen. Most of these tests are horribly expensive and not always accurate, and the best way to diagnose allergies properly is by doing a DIY elimination diet. Basically, what you have to do is eliminate all food sources that your pet usually eats and try him on a completely new food. If the symptoms clear up, then you probably have the answer!

 It is recommended that when doing the elimination diet you use as few ingredients as possible – choose one source of protein and one source of carbohydrate. If you use more ingredients, particularly if you’re changing to a commercial food, it is more than likely that the allergen may be included in the diet. At this point, you’re probably wondering what ingredients to exclude and these include all ingredients in commercial pet food such as beef, chicken, lamb, fish, dairy, wheat, soy, corn or oats. Don’t forget to exclude the flavoured treats and biscuits, rawhides, bones and chew toys too!

Feed your dog a protein and carb that they’ve never had before – the ratio should be 2 parts carbs to 1 part protein. Protein sources to try include fish, turkey, duck, ostrich, venison or other game meat. Carbs to try include rice, potatoes or pulses. For cats, a 100% protein diet is usually recommended.

 The elimination diet is typically over a 6 to 8 week period. Once improvement is noted, you can start reintroducing the old foods and if your pet experiences a reaction, then he definitely has a food allergy (please note it takes a few days up until a few weeks to develop)

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 5. What can I do to prevent and treat my pet’s allergies?

The most effective way to manage a food allergy or adverse reaction to a particular ingredient is to avoid that ingredient. If you used the elimination diet, then you will be aware of the offending ingredients causing your dog or cat’s allergy. It’s important to feed your pet a well-balanced diet with a few ingredients only,  free of additives and preservatives. In addition, pets need variety in their diet, just like humans do. Choose from a variety of healthy, additive free foods.  Switch to natural based diets such as DoggoBone Raw Food for dogs or Vondi’s Cooked Food for dogs and cats. Both these diets contain 100% natural ingredients which include various meats (chicken, ostrich, beef, mutton, turkey, venison), as well as veggies and fresh herbs for flavour.

 In order to prevent symptoms that may cause your pet discomfort, use a natural antihistamine such as Feelgood Pets AllergiClear Pets – this all-natural remedy prevents food allergies and improves your pet’s overall resistance against allergens.  Treat itchy skin with a 100% homeopathic remedy called Feelgood Pets Allergy Itch Ease for quick relief while restoring the overall condition of your pet’s skin with Feelgood Pets Skin & Coat Tonic capsules. If your pet’s symptoms are respiratory, Feelgood Pets Respo-K can help to reduce congestion and wheezing.

Identifying a food allergy is not always easy but through trial and error, lots of patience and persistence, your efforts will eventually pay off when you see how happy and healthy your pet is!

 

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Comments

Feelgood Health Team - November 22, 2019

Good day Matthew

Thank you for your blog comment!

There’s a possibility that your dog could be experiencing an allergy to any of those things! We’re unable to diagnose your dog so if you’re wanting to isolate the exact allergic reaction, you should take your dog to the vet who can do a thorough examination and go through a process of tests and eliminations.

While we may not know what exactly is causing the allergy, we do know that allergic reactions are abnormal reactions by the immune system to a substance that would otherwise not be harmful, such as grass, pollen, dust, or certain foods.

Our go-to solution for itchy skin allergies in pets is a combination of AllergiClear Pets (natural antihistamine and cortisone alternative), Allergy Itch Ease (to quickly stop acute cases of itching) and Skin & Coat Tonic (Skin & Coat Tonic especially if skin is raw, infected or has bald patches or hot spots). Save 20% when you buy this combo together!

**We offer FREE shipping for orders of R399 and more!

I trust you have found the above information useful. Should you require any further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Saskia
Feelgood Health Team

Matthew - November 22, 2019

Good Morning,

Ive noticed with my 1 and half year old Staffie, who has been on doggobone since a pup, has started scratching all the time. I am wondering if the cause could be a food allergy that he has now developed or a seasonal change that could be causing him to itch. I also have grass in my yard that he is always rolling around on.

Feelgood Health - October 17, 2017

Hi Val,

Thank you for your feedback and like you said, it is all trial and error.

Please let us know if you have anymore questions <3

Val Hiscock - March 28, 2017

Thank you so much for your advice re Georgie’s skin allergy problem
She has been having AllergiClear Pets, half a capsule sprinkled on her food for over two months now and has previously had the Allergy Itch Ease. It’s difficult to tell whether her itching would have been worse without this treatment.
Unfortunately the itching got so bad and she was so distressed that the vet put her back onto cortisone and Allergix tabs which has relieved the situation a little.
I have also changed her diet to beef mince from DogMatters, starting with it cooked slightly in the microwave and now almost reaching the semi-raw stage. Will try the Doggobone again once she’s used to eating it raw and will also try the Vondi’s beef as she really liked the Vondi’s products.
The vet says she has a contact dermatitis most likely caused by the buffalo grass and fynbos on our property and which is exacerbated by chicken and wheat products.
As you suggested it’s a slow process of elimination.
Once again many thanks for your concern and care.
Kind regards,
Val

Feelgood Health - February 15, 2017

Hi Val

It could be that your dog is allergic to chicken. There is chicken in the Vondi’s Ostrich. The Doggobone is raw food and and should be fed raw once it has been defrosted. We would suggest that you perhaps try the Beef or Mutton in Vond’s as an alternative – in this way you will also be able to rule out if it is definitely chicken that is causing the allergy. In addition, we also recommend Allergy Itch Ease and AllergiClear from our range to relieve itching and prevent food allergies. Please go to: https://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/allergiclear-pets-naturally-prevents-allergies-in-dogs-cats;
https://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/allergy-itch-ease-natural-remedy-for-itchy-skin-
in-dogs-cats

Hope this info was helpful!

Val Hiscock - February 14, 2017

I have a suspicion that my dog may have a sensitivity or allergy to chicken as after she’s had the Vondi’s chicken food I’ve noticed an increase in her itching as well as red, hot patches on her abdomen and chest.
I haven’t tried the turkey.
I have tried the ostrich which doesn’t seem to have as bad an effect.
What I wanted to know is if there is any chicken in the ostrich pack?
I tried giving her the Doggobone raw food, which was cold from the fridge ( I wasn’t sure whether I could warm it a little in the microwave) and she was totally disinterested. When I coaxed her to eat a little she gagged and then brought it up!!
She may also be allergic to wheat as toast also set off the itching.
Please could you give me some advice I am really at my wits end.
The vet has prescribed Hills Allergy and Skin Care pellets which she’s only been on for a short while, but is still itching!!
Thank you,
Val Hiscock

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