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Commercially made elimination diet food

Discussion in 'Feeding' started by erin7669, Dec 14, 2006.

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  1. erin7669

    erin7669 Boxer Booster

    Nov 12, 2005
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    Just wondering if any of you know of any commercially made elimination diet foods. I am fed up with switching foods, and have tried him on a fish based food before ( eagle pak Salmon,anchovy,sardine ) and he did well, but he did break out in hives while on it ( he was also under alot of stress at that time ; first time flying, dominance issues with new doggie friend ).... so, I am going to switch him again. I want to go with some that has minimal ingredients. Raw or homemade is not an option right now.
    I have read about Royal Canin ( I Know ..) 19 hypoallergenic, and a purina formula. ANy others?

    *note; he is currently on a trial of Holistic Blend Lamb and Rice ( has been eating it for 4 weeks ) itchy symptoms ( ears, neck and armpits ) are worsening IMO. Previous to this he was on Canidae Chicken and Rice for about 6 weeks.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
  2. gmacleod

    gmacleod Elusive Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 3, 2002
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    Kind of :) Usually they're sold as "allergy" formulas, not specifically stated as "elimination" diets.

    I think it helps though, to consider how elimination works and why it's important. As I'm sure you know, allergies aren't something that are normally instant. An allergy is an abnormal response of the immune system to something perceived as an allergen (which of course, can be anything at all). So, the body starts producing antibodies to fight said "allergen", just as it would a virus or bacteria. And that's exactly why you can't actually have an instant response - because it takes time to produce antibodies ;) With every subsequent exposure though, the reaction becomes faster and stronger - because the body has the appropriate antibodies to mobilise at short notice.

    Thus, if you're going to do an elimination trial to figure out what food items a dog is allergic to and what he's not (ignoring for the moment that it is always possible for new allergies to develop), there are two basic requirements:

    First, the food you feed must be unique. That is, made up of ingredients that the dog has not consumed before (ever) and therefore CANNOT have pre-existing antibodies to.

    Second, the food you choose should be as simple as possible. Ideally, that would mean one single ingredient - but that's only possible if you're feeding raw, homecooked or canned. It isn't possible with a kibble. Still, you can get close - there are allergy foods on the market that have just two or three different ingredients and that usually offer novel meat sources (thereby increasing your odds of getting a food with ingredients the dog hasn't had before). The reason you want "simple", of course, is to narrow the possible causes should an allergic reaction occur (you'd never be able to figure out which one or ones were problematic if there were 18 different things in the food, for example).

    And so, the process is (1) pick a simple food with ingredients that the dog has never consumed before. (2) feed that food solely for several weeks (solely means solely - not another thing should pass his lips, treats included). (3) see what happens.

    If you can get a food that truely does have unique ingredients for the dog, then you should see a near instant improvement in his allergies. Yes, it takes time for allergy symptoms to dissipate completely, but if you've removed all allergens from the diet, then improvement should occur very quickly.

    Once all symptoms are gone, you then begin the process of elimination. That is, adding food items into his diet one by one and monitor what causes reactions (and he's therefore allergic to) and what doesn't (and is therefore safe to feed).

    You have no doubt spotted the difficulty in doing this with kibble - even once you find a unique food to start with, adding new things ONE by one isn't that easy. But it's difficult rather than impossible. It is important to do it also, not just rely on the "unique" food - because that food will cease to be unique and if fed constantly for an extended period, may itself end up being problematic. So - you need to know what options you have.

    The second difficulty you may well have is actually finding that first food. Whether or not there's something out there with 100% unique ingredients (ie. things your particular dog has never consumed previously) is something you're going to have to find out. I bring this up because many allergy formulas contain rice - but so do most standard foods, so it's not exactly "unique" and it IS possible for dogs to be allergic to rice.

    Anyway - possible options for you would include the Wellness Simple Solutions range (duck or venison with rice and canola oil), Natural Balance has a couple also - a sweet potato and fish, and a potato and duck formula. IVD has venison & potato. California Natural is another - with lamb or chicken and rice formulas. There may well be a few others - you just need to keep in mind simple and unique.
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