Why it is recommended to purchase an allergy food through your veterinarian.
What is considered any allergy diet?
An allergy diet doesn’t mean that it contains no corn or is grain free. A true allergy diet is hypoallergenic, which means a single animal protein source and a single carbohydrate source. There are also environmental allergies as well as food allergies.
It takes 2-3 months of a full elimination trial, before you may notice a change in your pet. During this time you can only feed the prescribed diet. If you want to give treats they would also need to be hypoallergenic.
Why is an allergy food from your veterinarian a better choice?
All veterinary prescription allergy diets go through extensive testing procedures and feeding trials. To ensure that these diets don’t become contaminated with other ingredients within the facility, the company will shut down their production lines and initiate a very thorough cleaning process that takes 2-3 days (usually done over the weekend). On Monday the company will start with their most limited ingredient food and no other diets are made until all the allergy foods that day are completed. This eliminates the potential of cross contamination.
Trusted sources for ingredients are used and the company will always stick to the same source. Once the product arrives at the facility it goes through a multitude of tests before it is admitted into the factory. Each ingredient prior to entering the facility must be subjected to analysis which is conducted by trained technicians to confirm quality and safety. Royal Canin, for instance uses a diagnostic program called “Near Infrared Spectroscopy” (NIRS). It is an analytical test that compares the “fingerprint” of an ingredient to a database of standards. If the NIRS results for the incoming ingredient does not match the standard, then the ingredient is rejected prior to unloading.
If there is a change in the diet (new ingredient or reconstructing formula) the company will inform their veterinary team members. This is very important as ingredient changes can cause digestive upset to your pet. Our team can direct you on how to do a proper transition to avoid any discomfort to your pet.
What to remember when purchasing an allergy food from a pet store.
Pet store brands do not shut down their production lines or undergo extensive cleaning before producing their diets. This means that they can’t guarantee that there has been no contamination with other ingredients.
Pet store brands may not use ingredients that are chosen from the same source each and every time. If there is a cheaper ingredient with a different source they may switch over while not performing any tests.
No feeding trials have been performed. Pet food companies do not inform the store when there has been an issue, which means that customers are left unaware regarding any changes that have been made.
If your pet is on an allergy food or needs to be on one, please consult your veterinarian first and they will help you make a trusted decision for your 4 legged friend.
Pet Food Advocate
Hillcrest Animal Hospital