AT one time fish was thought to be a major cause of skin disease in cats.
Now we have all come to realise that the flea is the main culprit when it comes to skin irritation in cats and dogs. However not many pet owners are aware our pets suffer food allergies which can cause dermatological discomfort.
In fact according to Nigel Taylor the Express vet, 1 per cent of all skin problems in cats and dogs are caused by dietary allergies.
Allergen reactions may be triggered in minutes, hours or days. Once an allergy to a protein is established, sensitivity is often lifelong.
Dogs are mostly sensitive to beef and milk, while cats often do not get on with beef, milk or fish. Some dogs can digest the lactose in cow’s milk.
Give a pet dog or cat milk and the undigested lactose provokes an upset stomach in no time. This is not a true allergy but demonstrates how sensitive to certain food pets can be.
Stop the milk and your pet’s life will look up immediately. Most pets will react in some way by incorrect feeding and apart from allergic reactions one can expect flatulence and inconsistent stool quality and large smelly motions.
Incorrect feeding can cause failure to put on weight and if the balance of the food is not correct, a display of hyperactivity or indeed low activity can result.
Most animals can be assessed by their coat and skin vitality. There is always a possibility that the protein is being utilised for energy with a subsequent loss of health and vitality.
Many owners give far too many vitamins and one should remember that a well-balanced diet should not have to be supplemented.
Ritualistic scratching and licking could well indicate that there is an allergic reaction to the food and the eating of grass, twigs and roots sometimes is an indication that the food is not being digested properly.
Tissue stealing and fibre-based destruction could be another indication there is a craving for fibre to help the digestive process.
It is a good idea to speak to your vet about feeding pets and to make things easy for you there are many good commercial dried pet foods with selected proteins like lamb and chicken that are unlikely to cause allergy already in them.
Many pet shops and vets are now selling ‘Chewies.’ I would steer clear of anything which has a colour since this must have an additive.
Chews have been known to cause hyperactivity and low activity.