Unfortunately, the nauseating roller coaster ride that we call food allergies isn’t just a human problem. If you’ve noticed your pet experiencing generalized itchiness, hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, red ears and ear infections, hot spots and/or chewing at the feet, it’s worth ruling out a food allergy or intolerance with an elimination diet.
Go back to basics.
Putting your pet on an elimination diet is a simple, non-invasive way to deal until you figure out their trigger food. For 4-6 months, they’ll eat a hypoallergenic diet that removes all the most common allergens. You’ll want to find a diet with one protein source and only a handful of other ingredients. Zignature and Fussie Cat are two great examples.
Check out the usual suspects.
For dogs, some of the most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. For cats, problems include artificial coloring, corn, dairy, eggs, meat by-products, preservatives, soy, wheat, and seafood.
Keep a food diary (an honest one).
A week or two into the elimination diet, you can start adding other foods back in (a little salmon here, a little wheat there). As you do, remember to keep a food diary with notes on what your pet is eating and how his skin and stomach are reacting. Don’t forget to tell the whole truth — write down even the random treats and nibbles he or she is getting aside from what goes in the food bowl. Eventually, you should able to determine exactly which ingredient is the troublemaker.