Limited ingredient diets have become more popular in recent years with regards to dogs and cats who have allergies and have issues with digestion, skin or eye irritations. Pet foods themselves are most likely to blame for ingredient allergies, but if left undiagnosed they can cause your pet extreme irritation, infections and hair loss from scratching. In extreme cases, food allergies can be quite dangerous and unhealthy for your pet. This is the main reason that we suggest avoiding cheap dog and cat food in all cases, and moving to more limited ingredient diets in cases where a food allergy has been found.
Food allergies in pets are usually diagnosed after the pet has either had a change in food and developed issues with skin or itching, or animals who have shown poor health for quite a long time and who have never been diagnosed with potential allergies to food. In many cases, the per food is the last thing that people consider, first attempting to self-diagnose the issues by bathing the animal more, avoiding certain areas or plants, or eliminating human treats. Many animals will continue to suffer even after the pet parent has tried multiple attempts at finding out what is causing the itching or poor health, only to find out later that their pet is actually allergic to an ingredient in their food.
Pets will usually have only limited choices with regards to food, consisting of what the parent feeds them. This will most likely be a dry or wet version of dog or cat food, and the assumption that all pet foods are created equal and provide all of the necessary dietary elements that an animal needs to thrive is not true. Many cheap pet foods are made with fillers and organ meat that is left over after human cuts have been produced. This poor quality meat is then mixed with filler agents like ground up bone and cartilage, old vegetables and chemicals. Your pet can be allergic to any one of these elements, and even in pet foods that are considered higher quality they still can be allergic to a specific ingredient. This is the point when your veterinarian will generally start to experiment with putting your pet on a more limited ingredient diet of specialty food, attempting to find the source of the allergy by eliminating the commonly known ingredients that cause allergies in some pets. The timeframes with regard to diagnosing food allergies is usually long, as the food must be administered gradually and over time so as not to upset the pet’s system with quick dietary changes, and then the results are observed over more time to look for improvements to health. If one limited ingredient food is found to not produce better health, it will then be the choice to try another food until a good result is found. The ultimate goal is to provide a complete nutritional scope to the animal while eliminating ingredients that they may be allergic to.
If you believe your pet may be food allergic, ask your veterinarian for suggestions on limited ingredient diets.