When searching for the best food to feed a dog or cat with allergies, we look for healthy ingredients that are less allergenic than what is found in common foods.
Traditional diets are a blend of many ingredients. Some individual pets may be sensitive to certain proteins or carbohydrate sources. Animals with food allergies will commonly develop chronic skin, ear and digestive problems. Unfortunately, we don’t have good laboratory testing for food allergies and we must do food trials or elimination diets and look for a beneficial response.
You will need to be dedicated and diligent for a two-month period to really do a true test and adequately evaluate the effectiveness of a particular food or diet. Being true to a food trial means no extra treats or snacks during that time that might introduce an offensive ingredient and contribute to an allergic response. There are grain free treats and limited ingredient treats that may be introduced after a feeding trial.
Below are some different types of grain free and allergy diets for use in dogs and cats.
Note: not all varieties are available for cats
High Protein Low Carbohydrate and Grain Free
These diets are totally grain free and indicated for a variety of uses. Those sensitive to grains will benefit immediately from the protein-based diet. These formulas will restore a healthy glossy coat and reduce shedding in many pets. These are high-energy diets (kcal/cup) and intended to be fed in modest amounts. Price is higher that traditional diets but you get a lot better quality and you don’t need to feed nearly as much to maintain weight. These foods can also be used for weight loss when fed in correct amounts. These diets are not intended to be fed to animals with compromised kidney function and we would recommend blood testing and checking older dogs and cats (>10 years) before going on these diets.
High Protein Diets
- Orijen varieties
- Acana varieties
- Stella and Chewy Raw/ dehydrated
Grain Free Diets
Best Breed varieties
Taste of the Wild varieties
Limited Ingredient Diets and Novel Protein Diets
Limited Ingredient Diets have been around for a while. The original lamb and rice formulas were used for skin allergies and digestive disorders. The problem now is that many common brands of lamb and rice are mixed with other proteins and grains and you loose the benefit of the “novel” source of protein.
The Novel Protein Diets go one step further by introducing a protein that most animals have never sampled, i.e. venison, buffalo, fish, duck, kangaroo, etc. The carbohydrate source is almost always grain free and substituted with potato, sweet potato, peas or other novel sources of energy. These foods will work wonders for many allergic animals but may fail in others because some animals may cross react. For example those sensitive to chicken may also be sensitive to the duck in the new food. We recommend trying several varieties over the course of a year to do an adequate test.
Limited Ingredient and Novel Protein Example
- Zignature brand varieties
- Natural Balance varieties
- Acana single source varieties
- Hills D/Diets such as Venison , Duck formula
Hypoallergenic diets have been developed and have a scientific basis for the formulation. The Hill’s company originally developed the concept and marketed foods that have altered protein molecule that the body is unable to recognize as an allergen and thus not be sensitive to develop an allergic response. This has proven to be successful for many dogs and cats with food allergies. The price of the food has gone up considerably over the years and has forced many to seek alternatives to feeding this diet exclusively. These are considered prescription diets are available through the veterinary offices only.
- Hills Z/D two formulas of dry food and canned food also available
- Royal Canin HP 19
A Royal Canin product intended to provide essential nutrients for skin repair and vitality. This food is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA. It also provides a variety of natural ingredients for skin barrier protection and healing of infected and damaged skin. This is also a veterinary prescription diet available at the veterinary office.
Call us or visit or click Village Pet Market.com for suggestions and free samples of some excellent quality dog and cat foods.
Address: 222 South Main St., Granville Ohio.