It can be challenging to look after a pet with a food allergy, and choosing the correct diet for your dog or cat is critical.
The culprit in food allergies is a protein or starch that that has been part of their regular menu for up to two years, for example beef, wheat, corn or chicken. A suitable hypoallergenic diet will therefore need to contain ingredients that they’ve never been given before. The only way to check if your pet is allergic to food is to feed a hypoallergenic diet and nothing else for eight to twelve weeks. If your pet is sensitive to something in their diet, switching to such a food should result in a reduction of symptoms.
There are a couple of ways of feeding a hypoallergenic diet:
Novel Protein Foods
These foods contain unusual proteins and starches, such as kangaroo, venison or rabbit, accompanied by tapioca, sweet potato or peas. These ingredients aren’t likely to be found in regular supermarket pet foods, but instead are usually available from your veterinarian.
Prescription hypoallergenic diets are usually more expensive than most other kibbles, but when you have to manage allergies, it’s worth it over the long term. Cheaper foods can be contaminated with allergens such as soy or beef when they are manufactured and this can be enough to trigger a reaction in sensitive animals.
Hydrolyzed Protein Foods
These diets contain commonly used protein sources such as chicken, but the protein is hydrolyzed, or broken down, into particles so tiny that they aren’t likely to cause an allergic reaction. Howeer, some veterinarians think that they are still a problem in food allergic pets, in spite of the extra processing they have undergone.
Home Cooked Meals
Many dog owners like to make their pet’s meals in their own kitchen, and you can still do this if you have to use a hypoallergenic diet. All you need to do is choose one source of protein, such as fish, and one source of starch or carbohydrate, such as tapioca or sweet potato. Cats don’t need the carbohydrate added and will do fine on an all-meat diet for this. You should feed this food for 12 weeks with no extras such as treats or leftovers from your own dinner plate.
The main disadvantage of this feeding method is that this diet isn’t nutritionally balanced and completely unsuitable for long term use. If your pet responds to this diet, then you’ll need to add some supplements to it to make it balanced; your vet can help with this.
Grain Free Foods
Does feeding a grain free kibble help with food allergic dogs? Not necessarily. Although grain free is popular at the moment, these foods are really only of benefit in those animals that have an allergy to that grain and the only way to tell if that’s the case, is to use a hypoallergenic food.
Hypoallergenic diets play two roles in helping to manage the food allergic pet. Firstly, they are used to diagnose the condition – if your pet is food allergic, a change to an appropriate diet will see an improvement in their symptoms. Secondly, they are used to treat the condition long term, and for this, you should choose a meal that is nutritionally balanced.
Add comment April 30, 2014
You may know….
9 million people in the UK suffer from joint problems*
44% of men and **35% of women in the UK are overweight**
But did you know….
40% of the UK's large breed dogs live with joint problems too
Similar to the human population, up to 50% of the UK's pets are overweight
To a dog, one human biscuit has the same calorie equivalent as a whole packet (more…)
Add comment December 6, 2011
The dog is not a true carnivore in the same sense as, for example, a cat. This means a dog's diet can be more varied and still produce positive health. Whereas a cat MUST eat meat in order to be truly healthy and for proper nutrition to serve its goal.
So what does proper nutrition mean for dogs?
Proper Dog Nutrition: Fats in the Dog's Diet
An important nutrient that all dogs need and one that is responsible for furnishing energy in their body are fats. Fats supply energy for the body to use. It also has a small role in building strong cells and promoting the absorption of nutrients. However, similar to the essential amino acids, a dog's body isn't able to produce these essential fatty acids, and therefore has to come from an outside source, from the food they eat.
Add comment March 25, 2011
Just as we perform better when we eat the best foods, your dog will also be healthier if you feed it premium high quality pet food.
The top brands of dog food, while often a little more expensive also have higher quality ingredients that will give your dog better all round nutrition.
The best foods have a complex range of vitamins and minerals that have been designed to give your dog all the elements that they need in their diet. This applies to their canned foods and also the dry food such as biscuits and nibbles.
These foods also contain a lot less additives and we have shown in a previous newsletter how these additives in the form of preservative, colouring and fillers are detrimental to your dog's health and fitness.
Add comment March 24, 2011
It seems not many a day goes by where we're not hearing more about the rise and rise of obesity. Sadly, our pets are also widening around the girth.
It is of course easy to control the amount of food your dog is eating and it is essential that you gauge its weight on a regular basis to ensure that it doesn't get obese.
Health Problems from Overfeeding
There are an increasing number of dogs suffering from this disease and in most cases this could have been avoided through the correct nutrition and monitoring the amount of food the dog has been eating.
Having a dog with diabetes will necessitate the injection of insulin or in some cases taking of pills to assist in the maintenance of the correct sugar levels in their blood.
Obviously this involves additional expense and inconvenience and there is also a danger that should the insulin level be incorrect your pet could die. All of this from simply giving them too much food? You bet! (more…)
Add comment March 24, 2011
‘Natural approach to feeding can improve behaviour according to some experts’
Raw dog food, natural dog food, the BARF diet – all gaining in popular appeal amongst dog owners. In this detailed report Carol O’Herily examines the impact of feeding raw on your dog’s health, behaviour and more.
To BARF or not to BARF – that’s the bone of contention at the moment in the dog world.
Australian vet Dr Ian Billinghurst’s book Give Your Dog A Bone, which introduced the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet for dogs, threw the cat among the pigeons when it was first published in l993. (more…)
Add comment March 23, 2011
Fat pets will die young warns PDSA as it launches biggest ever pet health campaign – Long Live Pets
The UK’s pet owners are warned today that they are killing their pets with kindness, as new PDSA figures show dog obesity is rising at a dramatic rate!
Dog Obesity Map
Leading veterinary charity, PDSA, is using the first day of Crufts to reveal its dog obesity map. This ties in with the launch of its ‘Long Live Pets’ campaign, the PDSA’s biggest ever pet health initiative, designed to promote a healthy life for all pets and starts by addressing the weighty issue of obesity. (more…)
Add comment March 23, 2011
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the European Parliament vote to improve the labelling of food, including new country of origin labelling and a requirement to label meat from animals slaughtered without stunning (according to certain religious traditions).
The European Parliament has voted in favour of labelling for meat from slaughter without stunning. The BVA believes that all animals should be effectively stunned before slaughter to improve the welfare of these animals at slaughter.
However, as long as slaughter without stunning is permitted the BVA has argued for any meat from this source to be clearly labelled to enable all consumers to fully understand the choice they are making when purchasing such products. (more…)
Add comment March 23, 2011
While natural food is a rising trend among humans, pet owners should be careful before feeding similar types of food to their pets, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.
All too often pet owners assume that because certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthy for them, they are also healthy for their pets, said Susan Nelson, K-State assistant professor of clinical services.
“Natural and veggie-based pet foods are based more on market demand from owners, not because they are necessarily better for the pet,” she said. (more…)
1 comment March 23, 2011