The goal of a hypoallergenic food trial is to see if eliminating a substance, or substances, from your pet’s diet will result in improvement of his or her clinical signs. For this to work your pet must eat ONLY this new diet and NOTHING else during the trial period. This means no bones, treats, table scraps, cat food, other dog’s food, cat poop, or even oral heartworm or flea and tick preventatives, for the 10-12 week trial period.
The most common offending foods that animals develop allergies to include:
Beef, Chicken, Soy, Dairy, Fish, Eggs, Corn, and Wheat.
You may be tempted to try switching your pet over to another diet available from the pet store but there can be problems with this approach. Several studies of over-the-counter (OTC) commercial diets typically found at your local pet store are simply not “clean” enough to be used as the basis of a diet trial. In this instance, “clean” does not refer to contamination with bacteria or toxins but rather to the presence of molecules from other ingredients that have been in the processing machines before your pet’s food was made -or were added -despite what the package label claims.
For this reason it is important to select a pet food from one of the following three sources.
Home cooked diets, Prescription diets, or select OTC therapeutic diets
1) Home cooked diets. This might be the best option but does require more work on your part. People who chose this option often make large quantities and freeze it to be used as needed.
To make your own recipe: choose from the table below a novel protein (something your pet has not been exposed to), a novel carbohydrate, and a vegetable source. Cook (bake or boil) the proteins and carbohydrates and combine them in a 1 cup:2 cup:1 cup ratio (protein: carbohydrate: vegetable) and add with 2 tsp of canola oil per 4 cups.
From this base recipe (1 cup/2 cup/1 cup/2 tsp), adjust it to your animal’s weight in the following manner:
2) Prescription diet (Available only from a veterinarian): This is an easier choice for some people and it relies on the integrity and testing of the Prescription Diet Divisions of the major animal food manufactures. Excellent examples of these include:
Royal Canin: Anallergenic, Rabbit and Potato, Duck and Potato, Venison and Potato,
Fish and Potato, Hydrolyzed Soy, or Vegetarian recipes.
3) Select OTC therapeutic diets: This is somewhat of a compromise between options 1) and 2). A company called Rayne Clinical Nutrition makes several good options and you can check out their selection of Diagnostic diets at raynenutrition.com