Food Allergies

Image of a dog and cat scratching.

Food allergies occasionally occur in dogs and cats. They usually manifest themselves as itchy skin, ear infections, chronic vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect that your pet may have a food allergy, you can investigate by performing a food trial. There are three rules for a food trial:

1. Pick a new food that is different from any food fed in the past. This does not mean to just choose a different brand. You need to check the fine print on the ingredient list on each food label and pick a new food that is totally different in ingredients. Often the large label on the front of the bag mentions only two ingredients but in reality the food has many ingredients.
For animals fed many foods in the past, it may be difficult to find an appropriate food in the pet food store. There are new foods with "exotic" ingredients made for pets with allergies that are now available through veterinarians. For example, Venison and Potato, Rabbit and Potato, Duck and Potato, and Kangaroo and Oats are available for dogs. Duck and Green Pea, Rabbit and Green Pea, and Venison and Green Pea are available for cats. Preferably, the new food should have just one protein and one carbohydrate source.

2. You should feed the new food for 12 weeks to dogs and 8 weeks to cats before you decide whether it works or not.

3. You cannot feed another food, treats, table scraps, chewable vitamins or chewable Heartworm preventative. Dogs cannot have rawhide chew toys, pig's ears, cow hooves, etc. Heartworm prevention during this time can be provided by a non-chewable tablet or the topical liquid.

Once the trial period is over and if there was a positive response, you can determine the ingredient(s) that caused the allergy by adding, one at a time, the previously fed ingredients to the trial food for 14 days per ingredient. The pet should show an allergic response in this time period if that ingredient is an allergen.

Sugarless Gum Toxic to Dogs

Products safe for people are not necessarily safe for pets. For example, Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in food products; it can be found in sugar-free candy, gum, and other products. In people, Xylitol has no effect on blood insulin or glucose levels, but in dogs, Xylitol causes a strong, rapid insulin release that causes the blood glucose to go decrease dramatically. This hypoglycemia causes the dog to be weak, wobbly, collapse, or even seizures. This effect can occur within 20-60 minutes of eating the gum or candy.

Another adverse effect of Xylitol is liver problems, even liver failure. This occurs hours to a couple of days after ingestion. This can occur without signs of earlier hypoglycemia. Liver problems can have symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, poor appetite, and blood clotting problems.
Small amounts of Xylitol can have these effects. Only one or two pieces of sugarless gum can be toxic to a twenty-pound dog. Recently, veterinarians discovered that some liquid human medicines are sweetened with Xylitol. If you get a prescription liquid medicine from a human pharmacy, be sure to confirm with the pharmacist that it doesn't contain Xylitol.

Obesity

Excess weight is a serious health problem for dogs and cats. In the U.S., nearly 50% of middle-aged pets are overweight. The two main causes of obesity are too much food and too little exercise. Other contributing factors can be due to hormonal influences, certain genetic factors, and other disease processes.

If you pet is carrying extra weight, it can:

1. Increase the risk of heart disease by forcing the heart to work harder.
2. Increase the risk of arthritis as extra weight can stress the joints, cause joint pain, and make it harder for your pet to move around comfortably.
3. Obesity can cause breathing problems, skin and hair coat problems.
4. Obesity frequently leads to diabetes, especially in cats.

All of these problems can make your pet uncomfortable and limit the way they interact with you and other family members.Treatment is to rule out and treat any medical causes, such as hypothyroidism. Reducing caloric intake and increasing exercise can help your pet successfully lose weight. Lifestyle changes and a weight loss program are essential. Your veterinarian can help determine if your pet is too heavy and provide guidelines for achieving their ideal weight. Slentrol is an oral weight loss drug for obese dogs that are not able to lose weight by other means.

Exclusive Offer

Sign-up using the form or call us at 757-595-9720 to take advantage of this exclusive offer.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00

Varies

Tuesday:

7:00

Varies

Wednesday:

7:00

Varies

Thursday:

7:00

Varies

Friday:

7:00

Varies

Saturday:

Closed

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Savell has always gone above and beyond for the care of our family's pets for several years."
    John Doe Newport News, VA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

    Don't get us wrong, we love the bees! But we don't love when our pets get stung. Follow our tips to treat and prevent bee stings on your furry best friend. ...

    Read More
  • Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

    Do you dread hitting the road with your pet? These tips may make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable for you both. ...

    Read More
  • 6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

    Want to keep your senior pet healthy and happy? Ask these six questions at your pet's next check up. ...

    Read More
  • Why the Controversy About Pet Vaccinations?

    As with anything, pet vaccinations can be too much of a good thing. Similar to parents who are learning more about vaccinations for children, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to question some of the standard wisdom when it comes to protecting pets. There are certain fatal diseases against ...

    Read More
  • Pet Clothes: A Fashion Statement or a Necessity?

    There is nothing cuter than a pet in a colorful sweater, but do our furry friends really need to wear clothing? Although clothing is not a necessity for every pet, some animals benefit from a little extra protection during cold or damp days. Others enjoy wearing festive clothing during holidays or other ...

    Read More
  • Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

    Pet Proofing Your Home Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels ...

    Read More
  • Put Some Teeth Into Your Pet’s Dental Care

    According to the American Animal Hospital Association, nearly two-thirds of pets suffer from dental problems because their owners do not provide dental care for them. Imagine what would happen to your own teeth if they were never brushed or examined by a dentist. The same thing can happen with your pet’s ...

    Read More
  • Managing Pet Allergies in Kids

    Are you concerned that your child's allergies may mean that you will have to give up your pet? Although rehoming a pet may be necessary if allergies are severe, most children can live with pets if you are willing to make a few changes. The Problem About three in 10 people who have allergies are allergic ...

    Read More
  • Euthanasia: Saying Goodbye

    It's not easy to say goodbye to cherished pets, even those that have lived long, happy lives. Although you may hate the thought of life without your pet, euthanasia can be the kindest decision you can make when your friend is suffering. Making the Decision If your pet has been seriously injured in a ...

    Read More
  • Is a Wet Nose a Sign of a Healthy Pet?

    Have you ever heard that a wet nose is a sign that your pet is healthy? Although that's often the case, it's not always true. A moist nose can benefit your pet in several ways, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee good health. How Does a Wet Nose Help My Pet? Have you ever been woken at 5 a.m. by a cold, ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles