Benefits of Limited Ingredient Diets for Dogs with Allergies
Food allergies are becoming more of a concern for dog owners, as they can be difficult to identify. Aside from digestive issues, food allergies can cause skin irritation and frequent ear infections. These symptoms are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to the presence of an allergen.
If your dog shows possible signs of an allergy, consider these tips as you try to find a solution:
Consult a Veterinarian
If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, consult a veterinarian to rule out any other underlying explanations of your dog’s symptoms. Once any other potential causes have been dismissed, your veterinarian may suggest trying an elimination diet to pinpoint the allergy and prevent the immune system from being triggered over and over again.
Process of Elimination
The elimination approach works by introducing your dog to a different protein and carbohydrate source than what he normally eats. This is where more exotic proteins like kangaroo or venison can be especially helpful, as many dogs have never been exposed to proteins aside from beef or poultry. To make the process of elimination easier, consider introducing a limited ingredient dog food with only a single protein. Many dry dog foods contain a blend of several different protein meals, which makes it extremely difficult to narrow down potential allergens.
If your dog can digest various proteins without any issues, it’s possible that he could have a grain allergy. Fortunately, plenty of quality grain-free diets are available today. You could try returning to the protein your dog typically eats but switching to a grain-free option. Hopefully, your dog’s symptoms will subside, and you can continue feeding him the new selection of food that works.
Other Factors to Consider
While you are introducing different proteins and carbohydrates to your dog, it’s important not to give him any other treats, bones, or “people food” that could interfere with your process of elimination.
Also, keep in mind that allergies can develop over time even when your pet consistently eats the same food. If your dog typically eats a brand with several different protein sources, it’s possible that he could develop allergies to all of those proteins eventually – which makes finding a suitable replacement even more difficult.
If you find a limited ingredient diet that works for your dog, it’s best to stick with that to keep potential options open in the future. For instance, if your dog develops a reaction to a food that contains a blend of chicken, turkey, and duck, you may need to find a brand that contains none of those proteins. Whereas if you feed your dog a brand that only contains chicken as its protein source, you will be able to introduce more proteins as possible replacements.
Switching dog food brands can be a difficult process for both you and your dog, but with a little patience and diligence, you can find the right diet to help your dog look and feel his best. If you have any questions about making changes to your pet’s diet, please contact us or visit one of our stores to speak with a pet nutrition specialist.