Pet Food Allergy Dermatitis
A pet food allergy:
- Can cause non-seasonal dermatitis, itching, skin and ear infections, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Can begin at any age
- Is less common than atopic dermatitis, estimated at 1 in 20 perennially allergic dogs.
- Is more common in cats than dogs
- May or may not be steroid responsive
Is There A Test For Pet Food Allergies?
Neither blood testing nor intradermal allergy testing is reliable for identifying a dog or cat allergy to foods. Although some companies offer blood tests for pet food allergy, veterinary dermatologists do not promote their use.
Pet food allergy is diagnosed by a dietary elimination trial. Determining if a food allergy is responsible for your pet’s problems is not easy and requires complete avoidance of everything your pet has previously eaten.
Are All Commercial Pet Foods The Same?
Since most commercial pet foods contain approximately the same ingredients, and most animals with a pet food allergy have been eating the same diet for some time, changing (or not changing) the brand of food does not typically alter the symptoms.
Only a small number of commercially available diets are truly hypoallergenic; therefore, the veterinary dermatologist can guide you to the best product(s) for your pet. The fun and interesting part of a dietary elimination trial is the food re-challenge that follows.