Pet food allergies, is there such a thing? You bet. The big three allergens for dogs and cats are corn, wheat, and soybeans. Some pets will do fine on the big three and others will not. Several symptoms of food allergies include chewing on paws, hair loss and rashes, constant licking, and scratching with no indication of insects. If your critter(s) are having issues you can have them tested for allergies. Some vets do allergy testing and there are several home test kits available. Before you jump into allergy testing, here are some things to think about.
All of us animals have the potential to be allergic to anything we eat. When pet food manufacturers replace the big three they tend to use rice, peas, oats, and barley. The replacements, as well as other ingredients, still have the potential to be allergens. I have talked to customers that have found oats and flaxseed to be a prime culprits. It is a rarity but it does happen. The best way I, as a consumer, have found to fight allergies is to read labels and try different dog foods.
So here is the methodology. Take the label (or picture of) and find a food that has a different ingredient in the first two lines. If you are feeding a diet that has the big three, then pick one. Plan on feeding the new food for four weeks. If the animal has obvious symptoms you can disregard the next step. Subtle changes will go unnoticed so place the animal in a well-lit area and take its picture. You are going to take another picture in the same spot at the same time four weeks from the change in diet and compare the pictures for any change. Good or bad, you will be able to see the difference in the picture. If the change is positive feed the food another month. If no change or they get worse then the process starts over-focusing on another ingredient. Make good notes on what dog food you have tried and what ingredients have been removed. It’s also a good idea to read the label of any treats the pet gets.
Changing an animal’s diet can be a chore. I recommend mixing the new food with the current food. Vomiting during a food change is only an indication of a food allergy in very rare cases. In most instances it is caused by the new food being more efficient, hence being richer and or gulping. In either case, don’t get frustrated. Remember this is a process not an event and Wells Brothers can help.