Food allergies and food intolerances in pets
Food allergies and food intolerances in pets: How much do we know about them?
It has become clear to everyone how food related allergies and intolerances are part of the daily lives of all of us and our pets. How is it possible? Is it that these disorders have always existed and simply went undiagnosed? The answer is easy! Food intolerances in pets basically didn’t exist before the 70’s and allergies were less widespread. As a veterinarian, I can talk about cats and dogs but as a man that deals with lots of people, I can testify that it’s the same with humans. Allergies and intolerances expanded tremendously during the 70’s, increasing year after year. In the canine and feline population of those years, allergies appeared during the first year of life or they never did. Today, they are suffering from food allergies or intolerances at all ages, even at 15 years old and more!
The distinction between food allergies and food related intolerances
Allergies are the result of exaggerate reactions of the immune system, which recognizes as enemies even the most common substances, thus triggering all those problems we know from personal experience or from having seeing them in our dogs and cats: rhinitis, conjunctivitis, cough, asthma, itching, allergic skin reactions, gastrointestinal disorders up to anaphylactic shock, a heavy and sometimes fatal reaction that is caused by contact with a particular substance.
The immune system constantly under attack
The reality is that every day our immune system is under attack of many and varied chemical and pharmaceutical substances, and it reacts in two very different ways: by getting depleted or by altering its functions.
- Its depletion leads to invasion by fungi, germs, virus or to the exaggerate and harmful development of saprophytes, essential germs that keep external enemies under control.
- Its alteration leads to abnormal reactions such as allergies and auto immune pathologies, and both of them could comprise health or even be deadly.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are the body’s defense mechanisms: recognizing a food or substance it came into contact with as a toxic, the body triggers a series of processes to get rid of it as quickly as possible or to destroy it in its “incinerator”, the inflammatory process. The body rids itself of toxic substances through different means, such as vomit, diarrhea, body secretions and dandruff: mind you, though, the inflammatory process is a healing process that can manifest itself in any organ (especially the skin and intestine), and it’s recognized as such by traditional medicine.
Why do adverse reactions occur so frequently (allergies and intolerances)
In my forty years of experience, among the many doubts that I have, I've come to a realization: what triggers allergies and intolerances in pets are rarely foods or allergens, instead it’s the chemistry that accompanies each element getting into contact with the industrial process. Of course, chemistry helped us increase dramatically industrial production, making foods available at low prices, but the final price is way higher than money, it’s our health. It’s undeniable that we live longer, but find me just a cat or a dog who has never suffered from or has to live with one or more inflammatory processes, or that hasn’t got problems with some foods.
Do is all chemistry dangerous?
There are, of course, chemical elements that are not harmful, but it’s hard to prove it, especially because we are in contact with hundreds of different products, and every one of them contains residues. For the vast majority of products, their toxic effect is individual and cumulative over time. It can sometimes take months, or even years, in pets and decades in humans for toxic symptoms to kick in, with nearly impossible odds to prove causation. But surely, all diseases studied have occurred after chemistry invaded goods manufacturing. Have you ever tried to read any label? Try it, there's to be afraid.
The most common food related disorders in cats and dogsI call them disorders, but they are defense mechanisms to get rid of harmful substances. Let’s see the most frequent ones: constant tearing, chronic conjunctivitis, relapsing otitis, nocturnal vomit on an empty stomach, chronic diarrhea, flatulence, paw licking, itching to the neck or at the back, skin sores with uncontrolled itching, dandruff, loss of hair, anal glands inflammation.
There’s only one solution: to keep causes away
In both cases, allergy or intolerance, the best treatment is to remove the cause, that is an hard goal to achieve for environmental allergens, but relatively easy if the cause is food related.
The surprising cause of the vast majority disorders
I’m pleased to say that the Research and Development Department which I’m in charge of, has discovered the main cause of food related disorders: the bone. It is the deposit organ of any chemical substances, even the most toxic, and to solve these disorders we have to avoid it and any foods that contain its residues, especially if they are from intensive farming.
Use Italian foods!
If you’re using pet food, choose Italian companies of medium-high level that research into food related pathologies and also use alternative protein sources.
However, you have to know that the most important Italian producers of meat coming from intensive farming (especially chicken, turkey and pork) don’t use pharmacologic toxic substances anymore. And, therefore, even foods coming from these animals don’t cause health disorders.
A safe method to understand if a food is healthy or not
Be aware that the body of our furry friends, way better than ours, immediately reacts to the presence of a toxic substance, by developing in a few hours one or more of the symptoms that I’ve described before. If no reaction compares, you have a good probability of having chosen a healthy food.
Forza10 Founder and Head of SANYpet’s Research and Development Department Veterinary surgeon and international expert in food-borne diseases