Pet Health with Dr. Angela Gaeto: Pet Food Allergies

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – There are some misconceptions when it comes to certain ingredients in pet food that pets are allergic to.

Dr. Angela Gaeto from Helen Woodward Animal Center joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss what causes food allergies and how to treat them for people’s pets.


What causes food allergies?
Food allergies can come from anything your pet ingests. While many pet owners and food companies talk about grain, wheat, and corn allergies those are much less common than protein allergies. Since proteins are the largest molecules pets ingest, they can cause the most irritation at the cellular level. These molecules take time to break down and the more time it takes the more time they are irritating the body. Since chicken is the most common protein source in pet food, chicken is the most common food allergy. This certainly doesn’t mean every pet is allergic to chicken or that poultry based foods are not good for your pets, it just means the likelihood is higher for pets who do have food allergies.

How do I know if my pet has food allergies?
Food allergies can manifest themselves in numerous ways. The most common symptoms are those associated with the digestive tract such as vomiting, diarrhea, and itchy muzzles, or scooting. However pets can have many different symptoms associated with food allergies. General whole body itching and even ear infections can be a result of inflammation to the skin stemming from food allergies.

How to treat food allergies:
The best way to stop irritation from food allergies is to remove the allergen. Finding out which allergen to remove is the more difficult part. The best way to go about doing this is to do an elimination diet. There are multiple ways to do this. Owners start with a limited ingredient or hypoallergenic diet. Which diet is best for each pet should be determined with your veterinarian. Some pets can have certain food added back into their diet over time depending on how they respond. The most important thing to remember about diet trials is that they take patience. It can take 8-12 weeks of consistent feeding to see appropriate results and owners must be very strict about extra food or treats that are not compatible with the new diet.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Health