What foods are associated with the most intolerance in pets?
While the overall percentage of dogs and cats that have food allergies is low, there are some ingredients that are associated with more of the confirmed cases than others. The most commonly reported food allergies in dogs and cats are chicken, beef, dairy, and egg (and fish for cats). There is nothing particularly special about these ingredients other than they have been the most common ingredients in pet foods for the past few decades, so both cats and dogs often have been exposed to them a lot.
What surprises many pet owners is that grains are actually uncommon causes of food allergies – most pets are intolerant or allergic to animal proteins! Yes, the occasional pet is allergic to a specific grain, or even another plant-sourced ingredient such as potato, or even carrot, but this is less common than an allergy to an animal protein. Unfortunately, this information doesn’t prevent hundreds of companies from advertising their grain-free diets as being good for pets with allergies. Many companies also advertise gluten-free diets for pets. Gluten allergies seem to be extremely rare in pets, having been clearly documented only in Irish Setter dogs, possibly in Border Terrier dogs, and never in cats.