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Mary Susan SMember
We have two bichons. One of them (now almost 12) has been diagnosed with allergies ever since she was two, and the baby of the family (now three) may be developing them. We want to feed them the same kibble in any case. The senior dog’s allergies got worse last year, and we started looking at a food component for the first time.
We have the joy and trouble of having a very particular veterinary allergist. She wanted originally to sell us a prescription diet, which “is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design” here on the DFA. But the ingredient list speaks volumes: “Dried potato, venison meal, coconut oil, potato protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, natural flavors, vegetable oil, fish oil, ….” I dug my heels in. Luckily for me, they had added the hydrolyzed soy protein when my allergist’s back was turned. Supposedly, this doesn’t trigger allergies the way plain soy does, but I could claim principle. Really, I objected to feeding my dogs potatoes flavored with venison!
At that point, the doctor wanted us to cook for our dogs, which I also refused to do on the grounds that I don’t cook for us, either. However, if you are willing to do so, you will definitely know what your dog is getting. With otc kibbles, apparently, you don’t, not really. Even a high-quality company (one that actually makes their own kibble) probably makes different formulas on the same equipment, and might or might not clean thoroughly enough in-between runs. My allergist knows of a website that helps with balanced recipes for dogs, and if you like, I could find out what it is.
But we forged onward, valiantly. Our allergist likes Champion because they make their own kibble and in general maintain very high quality. So first I went for ACANA Lamb & Okanagan Apple Singles Formula. However, doc cited research at Cornell that a diet limited to lamb is linked to heart disease in dogs. Pork is a common allergen, too, so we first picked a rabbit-only kibble that did fine in terms of allergies but had our younger dog eating dirt. I wish Acana made Singles in the more unusual meats, like venison! But we then tried Acana Singles Pork and Butternut Squash, and fortunately, our dogs seem to be doing well enough on it. (Yes, on top of drugs — Atopica — for our senior dog.)
It’s been rough, because our babies like their treats and kongs and such. The only “limited diet” canned food I’ve been able to find that my allergist didn’t promptly dismiss out of hand is Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet. (Although I have to confess, she really wants us to go with baby food. Sadly, the only single-protein baby food we could find was too runny to keep inside a kong.) At least rabbit or pork (and nothing else) treats have been findable on Chewy.com, although they’re expensive.
The key to what you’re doing is to know your kibble ingredient list, cross your fingers and hope that that is actually all that’s in the bag, and not buy anything else. No treats from the table (except for steamed or raw vegetables), that sort of thing. (Oddly, peanut butter was fine with a veterinary allergist!) Oh was there joy in this house when we got to the point of adding cheese back into the dogs’ diet!
Be especially careful with eggs, by the way, because it’s in just about all the quality foods (like the Fromm brand you’re talking about), and is apparently a very common allergen. We probably won’t ever try putting it back. You need to go at least two months with a given set of foods before adding anything, and then one at a time.
I hope this helps, especially the warning about an all-lamb diet. Unfortunately, I don’t have an actual citation for it.Mary Susan SMember
Well, thanks for answering. Who runs this outfit (the Dog Food Advisor) and are they red in the face? I really think that there should be some sort of intermediary page you go to when you click the link that explains all this — especially the part about how it’s not a special discount AND only available if you want to autoship AND then only the first time. At that point, a new button could direct you to the Chewy.com website.