Allergies and Kibble

Last week a co-worker asked me for suggestions for possible solutions to the skin allergies her Cocker Spaniel was suffering from. I suggested that she switch from kibble to a canned food with no grain ingredients and to add supplemental salmon oil to his food on a daily basis.

Today she told me that she had switched to a new food and was adding the salmon oil, but there was no improvement. I asked her what food she was feeding and she told me Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance. I checked the ingredients. Looks like she missed my “no grains” suggestion. I told her that she was wasting her money and that this food was not going to make a difference. I then suggested that she might want to consider feeding a raw diet. She said that she didn’t think she could do that and didn’t think feeding raw meat to her dogs was a good idea. She said she’d check with her vet. I told her she could continue feeding this type of food, get her veterinarian to administer steroids to control the itching, and he’d likely recommend a “special formula” dog food as well. Eventually the dog would die from a different ailment because the skin symptoms were being suppressed by the steroids.

She didn’t take that too well. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes though. The skin symptoms are there for a reason. It is very likely that if she switched to either a raw diet or to a high quality canned food that did not contain grains or excessive vegetable ingredients, the skin symptoms would abate. There is, of course, the possibility that they would not, at which point, a consultation with a qualified homeopathic practitioner would be in order. Steroids are not the answer, they rarely are. If skin symptoms are suppressed, the body is going to find another way to express its “dis-ease.” In the grand scheme of things, the skin is considered a lesser organ and keeping the “dis-ease” there is usually a good idea.

Oh, I must learn to be more kind and gentle. It is not so much that I am a proponent of raw diets, I am, but I’m not, I understand some people just can’t feed a raw diet. I don’t like to hear of animals suffering. I feel for the people who have dogs or cats with chronic skin allergies. They go from one brand of food to another brand to another and usually the animal keeps right on itching, or vomiting, or having diarrhea.

There are now numerous brands of dry dog and cat food being manufactured without grain ingredients, but instead of the grain, they have potato or other starch ingredients. The kibble could not be manufactured without high starch ingredients, it wouldn’t go through the extruder.

For example, compare the ingredients in Innova’s Evo dry dog food:

“Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Egg, Garlic, Apples, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract, Vitamins/Minerals, Viable Naturally Occurring Microorganisms”

Keep in mind that “turkey” and “chicken” listed at the beginning of the list does not mean that there is more meat in the food than there is other ingredients. The turkey and chicken is weighed before the moisture is removed so of course it is going to weigh more than the other ingredients. “Meal” ingredients have been dehydrated prior to weighing.

compared to their chicken flavor canned food:

“Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Seaweed Extract, Sea Salt, Vitamins/Minerals, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Inulin, Sunflower Oil, Sodium Ascorbate, Garlic, Choline Chloride, Herring Oil, Beta Carotene”

Look Mom, no grain ingredients, WOW!

Pet food manufacturers are such crooks.