Pets and Food Allergy: What to Know

A new Mythbuster on the Pet Food Institute (PFI) website offers key facts on food allergy among dogs and cats. Click here for the full story. For example, did you know that: 

  • There is a distinct difference between food allergy and hypersensitivitywhich causes an immunological response, such as your cat constantly itching or scratching itself, and food intolerancea non-immunological response, such as your dog vomiting after getting into the garbage. 
  • The most common symptom of an allergic reaction in dogs and cats, including reaction to food, is itching and scratching. Other symptoms such as scooting, skin or ear infections, odor, and/or bumps on the skin have also been observed. 
  • Research indicates food allergy is infrequent.
  • In fact, diagnosed food allergy accounts for approximately 1 percent of all skin diseases in dogs and approximately 10 percent of skin diseases associated with allergic reaction. 
  • Experts consider house dust mites, pollen, molds, and flea or other insect bites to be the more common causes of pet allergies. 

If you suspect food allergy, you may want to take your dog or cat to your vet, given that the symptoms can mirror those resulting from environmental exposure. He or she will help determine if a food or other exposure is bothering your pet. 

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