Allergies are a type of adverse reaction to food that have an immunological basis; that is, a component of the diet, which under normal conditions would be harmless, causes a reaction of the immune system of the individual, giving rise to a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms ranging from skin problems to digestive symptoms. On the other hand, a food intolerance is a metabolic problem of assimilating some nutrient, without an immune response in this case. In pets, it can be difficult to distinguish between an allergy and an intolerance, so the term Adverse Food Reaction (AFR) is usually used to refer to the two concepts together.
The ingredients most frequently associated with AFRs are beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat and egg in the case of dogs; and beef, dairy products, fish, lamb, chicken and wheat in the case of cats.
Regarding food allergies, it has been observed that the nutrients causing these allergies are almost exclusively of a protein nature (Verlinden et al., 2007) so products aimed at avoiding the appearance of food allergies mainly reduce or modify the sources of protein. For a product to be considered hypoallergenic, it must include restricted sources of proteins (a few types of proteins) and/or hydrolysed proteins (proteins that have been subjected to a hydrolysis process that breaks the structure, thus making it unnoticeable by the immune system of the allergic animal). It is important to note that hypoallergenic feeds must have the same amount of protein as a regular feed since animals with allergy problems have the same protein needs as healthy animals. They just need these same nutrients to be provided differently. Taking these considerations into account, Ownat has developed various hypoallergenic food alternatives. The Grain Free Hypoallergenic line consists of three foods that include a single source of animal protein (lamb, pork or salmon), which allows you to select by exclusion the most suitable source of protein for each dog. Within the Care line, the Dermatologic product has been developed, specially designed for dogs with dermatological hypersensitivity. The protein is presented in its hydrolysed form and incorporates borage oil, salmon, krill, turmeric and harpagophytum that improve the health of skin and hair and help reduce the inflammatory response. This same line includes the product Hypoallergenic for cats, which does not contain cereals and only has one source of animal protein (fish).
For cases of food intolerances, they are usually caused by carbohydrates. A good example is an intolerance to milk sugar (lactose), which cannot be well digested by the gastrointestinal system of most adult cats and dogs.