In regards to a hypoallergenic diet, I feel it is helpful to define what that actually means. Whenever a dog or cat is “allergic” to their food, it simply means that it is reacting negatively to something in the given diet. Animals with food sensitivities or allergies can display any or all of the following: Recurrent ear infection, recurrent urinary tract infection, itchy skin, rashes, scabs, diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stools, gum disease, licking at paws, skin infections. This can be a hypersensitivity to a supplement, preservative or a true immune reaction or allergy to a main ingredient. Unfortunately, there are no reliable blood or skin tests which can definitively diagnose the offending substance, hence the development of a hypoallergenic diet. A “HA” diet is one in which a novel protein and carbohydrate source is used, ie, one that the animal’s digestive apparatus has never seen before. This can be combinations of rabbit and potato, venison and sweet potato, etc.. Additionally, it is wise to avoid anything processed or preserved. In preparing a homemade diet, this means not using anything from a can or mix. It is extremely important that, during the initial 8 weeks of the diet trial, (yes, minimally 8 weeks is needed), no treats are offered as it will render the trial meaningless. A single dog biscuit treat will activate the symptoms as much a s a full on meal so don’t do it.
2 lb cooked whitefish
1 ½ – 2 lb cooked, diced sweet potato (organic)
1 vitamin/mineral supplement
1 tsp enzyme/probiotic supplement (Animal Essentials or other)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp calcium supplement (seaweed derived)
After 8 weeks if clinical signs of disease are gone, begin experimenting with alternate foods, (ie substitute eggs for the fish, add a few sprigs of broccoli, etc., and watch carefully for a return of disease.