Many pet owners have seen the symptoms of food allergies. The dog may be incessantly scratching or have dry, flaky skin. The kitty may throw up for no reason or begin to lose hair and continuously lick and chew until the area is hairless and maybe even raw. These are indicators that your pet may suffer from allergies. Other common allergy symptoms include: itchy feet (which usually leads to biting and chewing the paws), skin rashes, hives, recurrent ear infections (in particular, yeast infections), recurrent skin infections and hot spots, chronic vomiting, and diarrhea. The only sure way to find out if your pet has allergies is to see your vet for testing.
As a first step to finding relief for their pets’ food allergies, many pet owners chose to change foods before resorting to allergy testing. If the source of a pet’s allergy or intolerance is one or more of the current food’s ingredients, switching to a new pet food that does not have these same ingredients may alleviate the symptoms. The most common pet food ingredients known to trigger allergy symptoms include chicken, beef, eggs, dairy products, wheat, corn or soy.
When the issue of food allergies first arose, the answer for many dogs was a lamb and rice diet. At the time, lamb and rice were uncommon pet food ingredients. Dogs got better and their skin issues disappeared when fed food made from lamb and rice. These early lamb and rice formulas were premium foods formulated with healthy omega fatty acids and other important nutrients. Because of the great nutrition, there were often coat improvements, too. Word spread. Many pet owners began to feel that the lamb and rice food was actually preventing allergies, which is really not the case. Scientists in the field suggest that for some animals feeding any ingredient, especially proteins, over a long period may eventually cause an allergic reaction to it.
If your pet has been eating a diet composed primarily of chicken and rice and then suddenly develops allergy symptoms, you may want to consider changing foods. Look for a limited ingredient diet (LID) with a meat (protein) ingredient that is different from the meat in the pet’s current food. For instance, choose a fish or duck-based diet instead of one with chicken. Limited Ingredient Diets are usually grain-free and are made with fewer ingredients specifically to address food sensitivities.
If you’re changing diets, be sure to change the treats, too. You may not get the results you’re seeking if you continue to feed allergy-causing ingredients via your pet’s daily treats. There are many treats with alternative ingredients, and many of the LIDs you’ll find at Feeders Supply have matching treats. You should also limit snacking on human foods.
Some see results sooner, but it is recommended that you feed the new LID food for up to twelve weeks in order to know if it is going to work for your pet. For those whose pets have hot spots, sores or rashes, Feeders Supply recommends the use of Pet Silver colloidal silver wound spray or other specialized hot-spot products on the inflamed areas. Treatment can help prevent infection, speed healing and soothe the area. You may also want to use a moisturizing oatmeal shampoo for pets with excessively dry skin.
If you have questions about pet food, the trained professionals at your neighborhood Feeders Supply store are there to help. They can help you understand pet food ingredients and assist you in making an informed LID food choice.