Food Allergies in Dogs & Cats

Many, many dogs and some cats have food allergies which lead to prolonged and irritating skin conditions.  Pinkish or reddish skin, hair loss, flaky & itchy skin are all potential signs of food allergies.  Some pets will even bite at their own feet or skin due to food allergies.

Happy DogHappy CatFood allergies are often caused by :

  • Preservatives and flavourings - more prevalent the cheaper the food
  • Grains – wheat & sorghum are possibly the worst allergens. Some dogs may also be sensitive to corn.
  • Certain meat proteins – many dogs and some cats are allergic to Beef or Chicken but may be sensitive to other meat proteins also.

Pet food is no different to our food in the sense that you get what you pay for. Whilst the cheaper brands may have a similar basic nutritional analysis, the quality of the ingredients is lower.  Cheaper brands are likely to have ‘fillers', such as corn and wheat, as their main ingredient. Cheaper brands are also more likely to contain colourings, preservatives, additives, and higher levels of sodium - none of which are good for the long term health of your furry children.

You'll also find that the cheaper brands won't have the additional added ingredients essential for optimum growth, skin conditioning, stomach sensitivities, oral care or general well being.  If it's the price you'll pay for a bag of the better brands that makes you glance away, remember that the premium foods are nutrient dense and you will be feeding your dog or cat less per serving than the cheaper brands.  As an example, you'll feed your 20kg medium sized dog just 2 cups of Eagle Pack Holistic Chicken Formula a day (even less if you also feed bones & raw meats) whereas for a cheaper brand such as Supercoat, you will be feeding 3 - 4 cups a day.

You'll also be providing them with much better nutrition which will save you money over the long term in other ways, including less unplanned visits to the vet.  

Our suggested changes to food:

  • Avoid cheaper supermarket foods.  If you are feeding supermarket type foods – change to a quality, premium food where meat, rather than wheat or corn, is the first ingredient, and all the essential nutrients are included.  Some premium brands also have sensitive skin varieties for dogs & cats with more severe allergic reactions
  • Switch to the BARF or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet. This diet is highly recommended. BARF comes in the form of frozen patties and is a complete diet. It comes in Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Kangaroo, Beef and Combination varieties for dogs and in Turkey and Kangaroo varieties for cats. We have seen many, many successes with this food and they love it !
  • Add supplements for a balanced diet.  If you are making up your dog or cats diet using your own ingredients to battle the allergy, consider that your pet may need either additional nutrients such as omega oils and may need more or less protein, calcium and other essential nutrients.
  • Try Canidae or Felidae Grain Free Food – Dry Dog or Cat food with Chicken or Fish/. Contains Potato instead of grains,rice, wheat or corn. Also gets the majority of it’s nutrients from vegetables or fruit instead of chemicals. Canidae is very successful in treating food allergies.
  • Remove foods with Colourings & Preservatives.  Cut out any treats which contain colourings and preservatives and be careful what you feed them from your table.  There's a great range of natural, preservative, colouring & additive free treats available so opt for one of these options instead.



** DISCLAIMER: This article is the personal opinion of the Pets Unleashed team. We always recommend seeking specialist or veterinarian advice when it comes to making decisions about the health or well-being of your pet, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.