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  • Writer's pictureMindy Schwartz

Does My Pet Have Allergies?

Like allergy rates in humans, the number of pets who develop allergies seems to be growing each year. The symptoms of these allergies can range from intense itching and skin rashes, to ear infections and digestive problems. While animals can have environmental allergies, most of them seem to be food related. Extensive allergy testing is available, but it is usually easier and more economical to put your pet on a limited ingredient diet and see if you can isolate the ingredient that is causing problems.

Because animals often develop allergies to the proteins in their feed, there are many single protein commercial foods available. You can also cook a restricted ingredient diet for your pet, starting with a single protein, adding ingredients back into the pet’s diet until you see a recurrence of the original problem. My dog Rocky, started having continuous ear infections and bare spots when he was four years old. With his vet's approval, I tried different single proteins over a period of several weeks. The symptoms continued with chicken, turkey, beef and pork. Finally, I discovered that he didn't have any reactions to rabbit, so that became the primary protein in his home-cooked diet.

Veterinarians and nutritionists also recommend experimenting with “exotic” proteins. The theory is that your pet won’t have developed a reaction to a protein they haven’t been exposed to previously. These “exotic” proteins include goat, crocodile, ostrich, swordfish, and kangaroo.

Pet food developers are also experimenting with insect proteins. It’s important to remember that each time you change an ingredient in your pet’s homemade diet you need to recalculate the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in order to be sure you are still feeding your pet a healthy, balanced diet.


It’s a good idea to consult with a professional when creating a custom recipe for your pet. Let me know if I can be of service.

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