If you bring your pet to a veterinary surgery with a complaint of itching or digestive distress, your veterinary surgeon will first rule out more common causes of these signs. The rule-out process might include a physical examination and laboratory tests for flea allergy dermatitis, the most common cause of allergic skin disease of animals, inhalant allergies, seasonal reactions to pollen, mould spores, and dust mites, and food caused digestive intolerance, an acute adverse reaction to food that does not involve the immune system.
If the food allergy remains a suspect, your veterinary surgeon will then help you try to pinpoint what might be causing your pet's problems. Most food-allergic dogs are hypersensitive to only one or two ingredients, with beef and dairy proteins topping the culprit list.
Ingredients that may also cause problems - but not as often - include grains, pork, chicken, eggs, and fish. Allergies to food additives including preservatives may also be a cause but are rare.
Once diagnosed, healing the problem is not so easy, made worse because of a lack of legislation governing pet food labelling, which means pet owners cannot always clearly identify what they are feeding their pets. Pet food manufacturers are currently not obligated to name actual ingredients and some pet food labels use general terms such as 'meat by-products' and 'cereal or animal derivatives'.
A few points as to the possible course of action your veterinary surgeon may suggest:
Check out our Naturals range of products
Check out our Grain-Free options if rice and other cereals are a problem