Why Hypoallergenic Dog Food May Be The Best Option For Your Sensitive Dog?

Is your pet dog incessantly itching and scratching? Does he suffer from recurrent ear infections? It could be due to flea infestations or seasonal allergic reactions, but did you know that your four-legged friend may also have these kinds of troubles due to food allergies? Whenever your dog exhibits any sign of an allergic reaction - like itchy skin, food is the first to be held accountable. It looks like increasingly more dogs are suffering from food allergies issue and it has become a big concern among pet owners.

Exactly why dogs develop food allergies?
First of all, you must be aware that food allergies and food intolerance are not the same. Food allergies happen if your dog’s immune system over-response to an invading protein. Food intolerance is not really an immune-based adverse reaction to food items; it could be a result of poor digestion, such as lactose intolerance.

The most likely culprit that induce food allergic reaction in dogs is the high protein and carbohydrate content found in dog foods. Pet owners should be very careful when buying commercial pet food products to feed their dogs. Various cheap filler ingredients like wheat, soy, yeast, and corn can trigger intestinal distress and allergies in dogs. Other ingredients , which are also common allergy-causers are colorings, preservatives, or any other added chemicals. If the dog is particularly sensitive to any of the above ingredients, it is wise to switch to hypoallergenic dog food.

The best way to counter allergy in pet dogs?
Hypoallergenic dog food is comprised of ingredients that cause no stress on your dog’s digestive system. Most importantly, it won't provoke allergies in dogs. Hypoallergenic dog foods are readily available in various brands and dog owners have to do the difficult part of determining the correct brand for their pet dog. The most significant thing is to opt for reliable and trustworthy companies that source ingredients with high-quality standards and consider animal safety a high priority.

Second, identify the foods that your pet is hypersensitive to and stay away from products that incorporate those ingredients. Different pets are allergic to different ingredients - one dog might be getting allergic from one ingredient (for instance soy) while another pet may be getting an allergic attack from another ingredient (like beef). Because of this, a food trial using a hypoallergenic dog food is the ultimate way to diagnose food allergies in pet dogs.

A food trial is all about eliminating the potential allergens in your pet food for a three month period. Your veterinarian may suggest a particular hypoallergenic dog food based on a protein source, which your dog has not had before. When switching to a new hypoallergenic dog food it is advisable to take a gradual approach. However within a few weeks of moving to hypoallergenic dog food, your dog’s allergic problems will become much lessened (often completely gone). The result is a happier dog and a happier dog owner. 

The Truth About Cat and Dog Food

A visit to a local supply store for pets has convinced me that many people’s pets eat better than their two-legged companions, or their companion’s children.

Whatever you think your pet needs (dog or cat, that is, I’m not getting into nutrition for birds, rabbits, turtles and the many exotic animals people keep as pets), there is a product ready to meet it: vegetarian, organic, holistic, natural, raw, kosher, all-meat, gluten-free, high-fiber, high-protein, grain-free, low-fat, “lite” and anti-allergy. There are products for young and old pets and those with sensitive skin, sensitive stomachs and sensitive skin and stomachs, as well as foods enriched with supplements like antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, the value of which has yet to be established for people, let alone pets.

Do the conscientious pet owners who buy these products really scour the supermarket for the human equivalent of “Grain-Free Optimal Holistic Nutrition for Dogs, Thoughtfully Chosen Whole Food Natural Ingredients in Every Bite,” as proclaimed on the package of Earthborn Primitive Natural dog food? Or baby food like Innova Puppy Food made with turkey, duck, barley, brown rice, apple, tomato, carrot, potato, egg, cottage cheese and alfalfa sprouts?

Parents know how to respond when a baby reacts badly to a newly introduced food. But if a puppy eating Innova had a food sensitivity, how could you tell which ingredient was responsible?

I’m not against feeding pets well. They are, after all, much-loved members of the family, providing valuable emotional support. Although both cats and dogs can be as mischievous as toddlers and as rebellious as teenagers, they are always happy to see you and they never talk back.

In fact, too often pets are overindulged, with too much food and too many snacks in proportion to the exercise they get. Veterinary groups have estimated that 20 to 60 percent of American dogs and cats are overweight or obese and at risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

And I wonder whether people who invest in high-end pet foods are getting their money’s worth. Are their pets really healthier and happier? Do they live longer? And are these foods any better than the generic versions sold in supermarkets and big-box stores?

Recognizing the high value most owners place on their companion animals, and distressed by recent recalls of contaminated pet foods, two scientists decided to examine the pet food industry and the evidence for the value of its products and the claims made for them. Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, and Malden C. Nesheim, emeritus professor of nutrition at Cornell University, have packaged their findings in “Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat,” published in May by Free Press.

In an interview, Dr. Nestle (pronounced NES-sel) said: “People are willing to spend anything on their pets. The $18-billion-a-year pet food industry is considered to be recession-proof. Although during this economic downturn shelters have been overwhelmed with pets people could not afford to keep, those who have kept their pets are not stinting on what they spend to feed them.”

Continue reading at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/health/01brod.html

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