Creating a Routine to Fight Adverse Food Reactions It’s common to find humans allergic to certain foods, like peanuts or shellfish. Like us, many pets also suffer from food allergies. One of the top reasons owners take their dog or cat to the veterinarian is for allergic skin disease which can sometimes be caused by an adverse food reaction. Luckily, your veterinarian can help suggest alternative diets for a pet with an bad reaction to their food. Signs of an Adverse Food Reaction The clinical signs of an adverse food reaction can actually be a little different between dogs and cats. Both species will likely show vomiting and diarrhea, depending on how the allergies impact their immune system. Other signs typical for cats include itching, scratching and biting around the face and neck. Dogs will also itch, scratch and bite around their face, ears, feet, base of tail and perianal region. How You Can Help Your Pet With Adverse Food Reactions Consider a specialized diet. Speak with your veterinarian about starting your dog or cat on a new diet. Several specialized diets are made for pets dealing with allergies, including ROYAL CANIN Veterinary Diet® HYPOALLERGENIC HYDROLYZED PROTEIN diets. These diets contain proteins that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction along with nutrients to maintain the skins natural barrier effect. Treat with caution. Until you speak with your veterinarian, be careful about what snacks, treats, dietary supplements and flavored medications you give your dog or cat. They could all contain allergens that can impact your pet’s quality of life. Develop a strict regimen. Once you have a diet set up that fits your pet’s allergies, don’t deviate from it. Speak with your family, friends and neighbors about your pet’s allergens. Ask that they respect your pets new diet by not giving him or her any unauthorized treats or foods. Starting a New Diet When you transition your pet to a new diet, you don’t want to do it all at once. You risk the chance he or she may reject the food. The new food may also upset your pet’s digestive system if you make the transition all at once. You can make the switch gradually over a week using this schedule. Day 1 & 2 Old Diet – 75% New Diet – 25% Day 3 & 4 Old Diet – 50% New Diet – 50% Day 5 & 6 Old Diet – 25% New Diet – 75% Day 7 New Diet – 100% Talk with your veterinarian about food allergies If you notice your pet scratching a lot or showing other signs of an adverse food reaction,contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital and schedule and appointment. Discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of food allergies and different diets your pet could start. Your veterinarian also may be able to recommend a Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan® that best suits your pet’s unique needs. Learn More You can learn even more about your pet’s allergies and dietary needs in our Nutrition section and by reading the articles below. Atopy or Food Related Skin Disease Understanding Food Allergies in Your Pets When Should You Review Your Pet’s Diet? Research provided by ROYAL CANIN®, a registered trademark of Royal Canin USA.