Food allergy myths & misconceptions

We hear a lot of myths and misconceptions from families of pets with food allergies. Here is the truth!

-Grain free is NOT hypoallergenic. (Grain free is also not necessarily low in carbohydrates, as other carb sources like peas, potatoes, or tapioca can be higher in calories and contribute to weight gain)

-Meat by-products include heart, lungs, liver, and stomach, which all have more nutrients than skeletal muscle meat. They are not dangerous or bad for pets, they’re simply not popular foods with typical American humans!

-Grain-free diets and lamb-based diets can contribute to taurine deficiency, which can cause heart disease, so it is prudent to measure the pet’s taurine levels before and after starting the diet.

-Food additives are often blamed for allergies, but there is little data to support this belief.

-Prescription food allergy diets are proven repeatedly to be superior to OTC limited-ingredient diets. Multiple studies have found the majority of the OTC options to contain unlisted ingredient/proteins; however, manufacturers of prescription options test their final products for other proteins to verify labelled claims.

-Dogs have evolved over wolves to digest plants and carbohydrates. There are 36 regions of DNA that differ between dogs and wolves, and 10 of those play a role in digestion and metabolism. Wild animal diets may not be optimal for domesticated pets hoping to live a long life.

-Raw diets are generally condemned by boarded veterinary nutritionists due to higher rates of Salmonella contamination (16% in studies, vs. less than 1/4 of 1% of commercial dry diets), and high rates of calcium:phosphorus, Vitamins A, D, & E imbalances.

-The most common food allergens for dogs are the protein source: beef, dairy, and wheat are the most prevalent, but corn, egg, chicken, soy, dairy, and any other previously fed protein sources the dog has eaten should be avoided during a feeding trial.

-The most common food allergens for cats are beef, dairy, and fish, but wheat, egg, chicken, soy, and dairy should also be avoided when picking a food for the feeding trial. The hardest part of feeding trials in cats is getting them to eat a new food!

General food allergy info:

-Dogs with food allergies primarily show skin symptoms in the face, feet, armpits, groin, or ears, and 25% only have ear infections as their symptom. Half of the food allergy patients also have bowel symptoms like increased stools, gas, poor stool quality, vomiting, bloating, or anorexia. Commonly affected breeds include Shar peis, German Shepherds, Boxers, Pugs, Westies, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Labs.

-Feline food allergies can show up in cats as young as 6 months or up to 12 years of age. One study found that 1/3 of affected cats were Siamese or Siamese mixes. Half of cats with food allergies also have digestive symptoms.

For the full article, check out: http://todaysveterinarypractice.navc.com/nutrition-notessee-ya-later-alligator-hypoallergenic-diet-aid-patients/

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