Food Allergies in Cats and Dogs


Why Should I Bring my Pet to Willows for Food Allergies?

Willows is one of a handful of Specialist centres in Europe to have a board-certified Specialist in Clinical Nutrition, providing the very best expertise in treating suspected food allergies.

Supported by a truly multidisciplinary team, Willows offers the very best expertise in diagnosing and treating patients with nutritional disorders. Willows Specialist Dermatologist works hand-in-hand with our Nutritional Specialist to investigate suspected food allergies, causing skin disease. Our team of six Internal Medicine Specialists are also available to investigate your pet for signs of suspected food allergies, causing gastrointestinal symptoms.


What are Food Allergies?

Food allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a food ingredient or particle. In dogs and cats, this usually causes skin and gastrointestinal symptoms; however, severe life-threatening reactions (seen in people) are rare.


What are the Most Common Causes of Food Allergies?

In dogs and cats, food protein sources like beef, dairy and chicken are the most common causes of food allergies.

What are the Signs of Food Allergies?

Food allergies tend to cause red, itchy and bald skin and/or gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhoea and vomiting.


How are Food Allergies Diagnosed?

Unfortunately, there are no reliable blood tests (or other lab tests) to diagnose food allergies. For this reason, your pet will need to undergo a diet trial under the supervision of a Vet to confirm this diagnosis.


What Treatments are Available?

Several diet options can be used to manage food allergies in dogs and cats. These include commercial diets using hydrolysed proteins (i.e. the protein in the food has been modified to stop it triggering an immune system reaction) or single protein diets (using unusual protein sources that are less likely to cause food allergies).

Willows’ Specialist in Clinical Nutrition will also discuss balanced home-cooked diets as an option to manage food allergies.


What can I Expect if my Pet is Treated for Food Allergies?

Our Specialist in Clinical Nutrition will talk you through your pet’s suspected food allergies and recommend any tests that may be necessary to exclude other possibilities. Following this, the available diet options to manage this condition will be discussed, and a nutrition plan will then be formulated for your pet.

Long Term Management

You will be asked to update your Nutritional Specialist about your pet’s progress. Depending on this update, changes to the diet plan may be made.

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Clinical Nutrition

Find out more

To talk you through some of the main areas associated with clinical nutrition at Willows, we have put together a range of information sheets.