Dietary Sensitivity

What is dietary sensitivity?

Dietary sensitivity is a general term for any adverse reaction to food.  There are two main types of dietary sensitivity.

Food allergies

An immune reaction to a particular ingredient which is usually protein.  Allergies may last a lifetime so the ingredient must be permanently removed from your pet’s food.

Food intolerance

Not all reactions to foods are allergies.  Some pets simply cannot tolerate certain foods.  Pets may be able to build up tolerance, but it is best to avoid the offending ingredient.

What causes dietary sensitivity?

Food The most common causes of food allergies in dogs are beef, milk products and wheat; in cats they are beef, milk products and fish.
Damage Inflammation, infection, surgery and some mediciations can damage the digestive system and may lead to dietary sensitivity
Age Dietary sensitivity can occur at any age.  However, food intolerance is more common in younger pets, and food allergy is more common in adult pets.
Breed Some breeds appear more likely to develop dietary sensitivity, including Siamese cats, West Highland White Terriers, Cocker Spaniels and Irish Setters

Is my pet sensitive to foods?

The most common symptoms of food allergy or intolerance are digestive upsets or skin irritation.  If your pet has dietary sensitivity, you may notice some of the following signs:

  • Vomitting or diarrhea
  • Flatulance
  • Frequent scratching or hair loss
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Chronic ear problems
  • Poor growth in young pets
  • Coughing, wheezing and sneezing

Important note: Some symptoms of dietary sensitivity are similar to those of other serious conditions so consult our office if you notice any of these signs.

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