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Food Intolerances Are Not Allergies      

Dr. Al Townshend

Unlike food allergies, food intolerances;

  • are not immune responses, so there is no general, whole-body reaction.
  • are as a result of irritation. Something in the diet is causing inflammation and irritation.
  • are often associated with vomiting and diarrhea more commonly than skin issues.
  • can be to any ingredient in the food recipe and not just protein.
  • resolve much more quickly than food allergies once the offending substance is removed from the diet.


How are Food Intolerances Diagnosed and Treated?

The one thing that food allergies and food intolerances have in common is that they can both be diagnosed using an elimination diet and feeding trial. The elimination diet recipe is slightly different for a food intolerance, but the feeding trial procedure is the same.

  • The elimination diet should be as free as possible of artificial substances as possible. Synthetic food dyes, chemical preservatives, and artificial palatability enhancers such as certain flavors are all known to cause the signs of a food intolerance.
  • The list of primary ingredients should be small. The fewer ingredients, the better.
  • One animal protein the pet has not been exposed to recently. Salmon, lamb, pork, duck, and turkey are all hypoallergenic and ideal for an elimination recipe.
  • One carbohydrate the pet has not been exposed to recently. Legumes such as peas, lentils, or chick peas are great choices
  • Raw food recipes often work well because there is no heat processing which can irritate if over-processed.
  • As with any change in diet, a slow transition over 7- 10 days is best.

Intolerances resolve quickly once the offending item is removed from the diet. If the problem persists, contacting your veterinarian is essential for the pet’s health.


Support for Food Intolerances

  • Supporting the digestive tract by reducing inflammation and improving digestion and absorption of nutrients can speed recovery time.
  • Omega 3 supplementation using fish oils, hemp seed oils, krill oil, or plankton reduce irritation and soothes the digestive tract.
  • Probiotics help to resolve diarrhea and optimize digestion and absorption.
  • Soothing natural fiber from sources such as canned pumpkin can calm the gut and help develop a firm stool.

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