Thursday, October 22, 2015

Novel Protein Diets for Pets with Food Allergies

Have you noticed your dog excessively chewing on his paws? Is your cat vomiting excessively or missing patches of fur? Are your pets getting constant ear infections or smelling after a bath?  All these symptoms could mean your pet is due for a diet change.   A diet change will be necessary to eliminate potential offending foods, but what should the change be? One approach is to switch your pet to a novel protein diet.

What is a novel protein diet?

It is a diet that contains a protein source that your pet has not eaten before. The most common protein sources included in most brands of pet foods include beef, chicken, lamb and turkey.  However, these same proteins are common sources of food allergies or food sensitivities (from eating the same food for an extended period of time).  Your pet may exhibit symptoms that include upset stomach and/or skin problems. By substituting a new, exotic novel protein your pet's symptoms may be alleviated. Some proteins to try may include:   Bison, Rabbit, Salmon (dogs only--cats are often allergic), Venison, Ostrich, Quail and Kangaroo.  Select a LOW carbohydrate, grain-free diet such as a raw frozen diet .  We do not recommend any dry food for dogs and cats with allergies as they are high in carbohydrates that can also cause symptoms such as scratching, itching and ear infections.

You can get serum allergy testing done at your vet's office but we prefer Nutriscan.  Nutriscan is a new test that can help determine your pet's food allergies through saliva which is thought to be more accurate than blood.  It's important to remember two points though about food allergy testing for pets:  1) even the best tests can have false negatives if the pet or person hasn't ingested the food recently (meaning the pet is still allergic even though the test says not 2) often food "families" cause a problem.  It is quite common for a dog to have an allergy to chicken and perhaps even test ok on duck, but the intolerances are there for all poultry.  Generally if there is one type of food that is a problem, it's best to stay away from all of it.