Understanding the Gigantic Pet Food Industry

Pet food fads aren't always in line with good pet nutrituonIt’s a common scenario: pet owners peruse the seemingly endless aisles of pet food not entirely sure which ones would actually benefit the health and wellness of their best friends. There’s grain-free. There’s organic. There are interesting ingredients like kangaroo, ostrich, blueberry, and artichoke (to say nothing of the ones no one can pronounce!).

The bottom line is that choosing the right pet food is fraught with confusion and even fear. Do you just want to feed your pet the best possible diet? The team at Animal Medical Hospital is here to help!

A Lay of the Land

You want to feed your pet what they need in order to have long, healthy life, but you don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time or money. The right food also has to satisfy your pet’s hunger so they won’t be begging you for treats or snacks in between meals. Continue…

Eat Well, Live Well: Understanding Pet Nutrition

You’ve probably seen the aisles of pet food at your local store, but choosing a product is far from easy. You want to get the right food, but with so many special formulas, flavors, and fads (not to mention the pricing), how do you know what’s best? Tackling pet nutrition may seem daunting at first, but with a little help from us, it doesn’t have to be that way! Continue…

Food Allergies In Pets

Food Allergies: What is best? – Grain free, limited ingredient, hydrolyzed?

Over the past several years, food allergies have become a recognized condition in pets. Because of this the food market has been flooded with a host of “allergy friendly” or “hypoallergenic” pet foods. So how do you know what is right for your pet? Food allergies, as in people, can be to a host of items. Most pets, unlike people, are allergic to the protein source (meat) in the food NOT the grain (which is more common in people). For this reason switching to a grain free option may not be effective. In pets that have food allergies, the first diet recommendation is to switch to a diet based on a meat source the pet has NOT been exposed to previously. This can be difficult as many food companies will mix meat sources. For example they may mix lamb and chicken, or salmon and beef. This is why prescription diets are formulated- to ensure there is only one protein source in the food. When in doubt looking at the ingredient list can shed light on what protein sources are used in the food.

Once a pet is started on a food trial, the chosen food must be fed a minimum of 8 weeks before it can be determined if it is effective in controlling signs. It must also be the ONLY item fed. This means flavored supplements, medications and treats must be discontinued and non-flavored options chosen. It takes this long for the immune system to finish reacting to the offending item in the previous food. If after 8 weeks there is little to no improvement, additional diet changes may need to be tried. In a small number of pets we find that the allergy is not to the meat, OR the grain, but is to a preservative or additive in the food. These pets face a bigger challenge in finding an adequate diet, and in some cases require hydrolyzed prescription diets or home cooked diets to avoid the offending allergens. If you believe your pet is suffering from food allergies, talk to your veterinarian about food trial options.

Written by Dr. Kerri Blackburn