Unfortunately for our furry friends, they cannot communicate with us when something is the matter. That's why it is up to their owners to recognize when they are facing food sensitivities and to make the necessary changes. It's not easy to adjust to these food sensitivities, but it can be done. Before you use that allergy test kit, below are some tips on how to recognize, accommodate, and prevent these food sensitivities from interfering with the happiness of our animals.
Recognize Their Allergies
Before one can begin tailoring a diet to a pet’s allergies, it’s important to have an understanding of their allergies. For instance, being able to determine the signs and symptoms of their allergies and what may be causing them. Common signs and symptoms include increased itching of the skin and ears, reddening of the skin before scratching, and increased instances of ear infections.
Determine Potential Triggers
Recognizing that an animal is experiencing food sensitivities is only half the battle. Next comes the step of determining what may be causing the reactions. Keep a mental note (or an actual note) of all of the different types of food and treats that the animal has tried eating, before and after the sensitivity began to manifest. This also includes non-typical food items they may have eaten, including scraps from the table, toys, or maybe something that they got into that they shouldn’t have. All of which can help to rule out what may or may not be causing the sensitivities.
Implement the “Elimination Diet”
This diet is exactly what it sounds like. The aim is to eliminate one ingredient at a time and recognize the disappearance of a sensitivity reaction after the elimination of the trigger ingredient. This is done by home cooking the pet's meals for a brief period and if possible, using natural pet food. After seeing a significant improvement in symptoms after continued elimination, it is recommended to restart the original diet to observe for any return of symptoms. This will validate that their original food is the source of sensitivity. Before changing up your pet's diet due to suspected food sensitivities check with your vet and see if they agree with you trying the elimination diet.
Make Their Food at Home
There are pros and cons to deciding to make all pet food at home, instead of sticking with cheap dog supplies and the store-bought pet products and food. One positive point is that all ingredients going into your pet are closely monitored to avoid any trigger foods. Pet nutrition is extremely important. A possible con is the risk of missing out on any vital nutrients that are crucial to a balanced cat or dog diet. In this case, consulting the vet and researching nutrient-rich recipes would be the best route to take before turning to homemade pet food. Summary Having a pet with particular food sensitivities can be stressful. Especially when the symptoms have just popped up and the trigger is still unknown. Trying to determine what is causing the pet's discomfort and then learning how to implement a diet that will accommodate their now specialized diet can be tough. Tough, but doable. They can't fend for themselves in the home, so as a pet owner it is up to us to ensure their health and happiness.