Food Allergies Vs. Food Sensitivities

Food Allergies Vs. Food Sensitivities

Food Allergies Vs. Food Sensitivities

Pet parents are often confused between the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities, and no wonder because many veterinarians currently practicing are not actually well versed in food sensitivities and what they are as well as what symptoms are.  

A true food allergy is caused by and immune system reaction to a particular food eaten which triggers what is called the IGE immunoglobulin response.  This response can lead to sever and often life-threatening symptoms such as: 



  • swelling of face 
  • swelling of mouth, tongue and throat
  • hives
  • rash
  • itchy
  • difficulty breathing

These symptoms come on very quickly after eating the offending food and resolve quickly with appropriate treatment of antihistamines and or epinephrine.  


A food sensitivity on the other hand, is an immune response to a food caused by the IGM or IGA immunoglobulins and the symptoms and duration of onset are vastly different than that of a true allergy.

Onset is typically very latent appearing anywhere between 24 hours and as many as 7 days after your pet eats the offending food or foods.  The symptoms are also much less severe and non-life threatening, which are often misdiagnosed as other health issues. 


  • Itchy skin and hash, sometimes hives but much less severe than true allergy
  • dry skin
  • watery eyes
  • sneezing. runny nose
  • nasal congestion
  • bloating, gas
  • diarrhea
  • loose stool
  • vomiting
  • constipation


Many of these symptoms are often confused with a pet having an environmental allergy when in fact it is a food sensitivity at the root cause. 


If you suspect your pet has a food sensitivity it is important to note than conventional allergy tests at you vets office will not test for these correctly.  If you would like to have your pet appropriately tested to discover which food's may be causing their chronic symptoms you can find an amazing option on our website where you very simply collect your pet's saliva and mail in, no need for another stressful vet visit!  ORDER HERE FOR CATS   OR DOGS


Keep those pets healthy and happy everyone!



April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., P.M.H.


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