Could your pets be impacted by allergies?

Posted at 12:46 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 15:08:42-04

Allergy Season is in full swing and many of us are feeling symptoms, but are your pets impacted by allergies too?

From pollen to grass, summer time can make us humans sniffle and sneeze, but pets react differently.

"It’s just with animals, they tend to be more itchy, scratchy, chewy," says Dr. Chris Cook, a Veterinary Dermatologist with Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners.

Cook says food allergies tend to be a bigger problem in part because many pet owners think the problem is seasonal, when in fact, it's what their pet is eating. The biggest culprit isn't gluten or wheat like many think, believe it or not the most common food allergy in animals is meat!

"Chicken by far, is the most common. That's because chicken is the most common ingredient in dog and cat food," says  Cook.

How do you know for sure what it plaguing your pet? Cook suggests a food trial. Eliminate the current protein and swap in a new protein.

Premeir Pet Supply in Beverly Hills is a local family owned store that offers a wide variety of protein and food options for animals dealing with allergies and has a highly trained staff. When buying a new food for a trial, experts say it's important to read the front and the back label to make sure the protein you are trying to eliminate isn't on the ingredient list even as a filler. It's also important during this food trial not to give your pet people food or treats, as it can confuse the results.

Samantha Henson, a nutritionist at Premier Pet Supply, has been down this investigative path many times before. For her clients, and for her own 4-year-old French bulldog Gunther.

"He's allergic to pet dander, cotton and almost ALL proteins," says Henson.

Henson says kangaroo is one meat very few animals are allergic too.

"So with Gunther, for the elimination diet, we did kangaroo," says Henson adding, "when we did that, he improved drastically"

There are many options when conducting a food trial and Henson warns against DIY methods. Not everything you read on the internet is accurate and cooking homemade food for your pet, could end up being dangerous in the long run.

It's best to consult with an expert.

Samantha Henson says she consults with pet owners on troubleshooting nutrition for free, because she knows first hand just how challenging it can be.

"Gunther is my most difficult patient, we joke about it all the time," she says with a smile. 

Keep an eye out for ear aches, rashes and paw irritation. If you notice any symptoms, go to your vet right away. The sooner the problem can be identified, the sooner it can be fixed, which is good for both you and your pets.