Many Guardians are concerned about pet allergies and spend thousands of dollars and many, many hours working to determine what is impacting their beloved pets. But, in reality most allergies manifest from our pet’s environments, rather than from the food they eat.
But there are instances where a cat or dog can develop both allergies and/or sensitivities to the things that they ingest.
So, what is the difference?
A true food allergy will usually cause an immune system reaction that generally affects numerous organs in the body, causing a range of symptoms like itching and scratching. In some cases, an allergic food reaction can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, food sensitivity symptoms are generally less serious and often limited to digestive problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Both allergies and sensitivities can manifest from almost anything a pet ingests. But in dogs and cats, allergic reactions generally occur in relation to a specific protein, whether sourced from an animal or from a non-animal organic plant source like corn, oats, wheat, rye, and soy.
Food sensitivities usually manifest from other ingredients like fats, carbohydrates, and other ingredients. Sensitivities are commonly seen with artificial substances such as chemical preservatives and artificial colors. Any chemical or synthetic ingredients, even small amounts hidden in items like flavorings, can cause a reaction.
Starting early to feed the right foods correctly and supporting the immune system can go a long way to reduce the risk of food allergies and sensitivities developing.