Food intolerance and exclusion diets

Intolerance/allergy seems to be such a common thing these days. Vets are able to offer allergy testing and in a small number of cases it may be helpful but there is some doubt about their over all usefulness If these tests are not particularly reliable, where does that leave the owner who is struggling to improve the quality of their dog’s life?

In the absence of testing and if the problem is due to certain food substances then presumably the owner is left with the need to conduct a carefully controlled exclusion diet, adding one thing at a time in order to determine the response. Some companies have developed hydrolysed protein dog food in which the protein source is broken down into such small molecules that the dog should not respond in an abnormal way. Some contain soya as it is a novel protein i.e one that the dog has not been exposed to. These are sometimes given as a starting point and the owner then moves on to adding alternative meat sources in order to see how their dog responds.

It am sure that it would be helpful to use this thread as a resource for people whose pets have this kind of problem. With this in mind, please could members spare a few minutes to share any general information (including links) that they may have on this subject?

I will start with a series of fact sheets that I have found helpful. They are produced by Naturediet and can be found here. I have always found Naturediet to be useful mainly because of the absence of ingredients. Their range is plain, bland and uncomplicated. Although they contain white rice it is only a small amount of the total and most dogs are not intolerant of rice.

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Natures Menu have information on their website that outlines the principles of an exclusion diet: Exclusion Diets for Cats and Dogs Explained. They recommend that veterinary guidance is necessary when undertaking an exclusion diet on a cat or dog.

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The regulations surrounding the use of the words hypoallergenic, natural and sensitive What the Pet Food Label Doesn’t Tell you - Part 1 from the website the thoughtful

The article is well worth reading, particularly for people who have pets with suspected intolerance resulting in skin, digestive and other health problems. As ever, it is necessary to carefully scrutinize the label, particularly as some of these claims on pet food can be misleading.

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