Limited ingredient dog foods, or simplified diet dog foods, usually contain only one unique protein and one carbohydrate, and they are typically soy, grain, and dairy free. This basic type of dog food has an extremely simple formula, which can give your dog’s stomach a rest from digesting some of the fillers that are added to some dog foods, or it can solve food sensitivity issues.
Over the years, some dogs have developed allergies and sensitivities to some of the meats and fillers used in dog foods, including chicken, corn, soy, or wheat. Dog food manufacturers add fillers, vitamins, and extra fortification to most dog foods in order to differentiate their dog food formulas and help add extra items to dogs’ diets. Unfortunately, fillers are starting to have negative effects on the health of some dogs.
Dogs who have food allergies or food sensitivities are typically the ones who benefit from limited ingredient dog foods. Food allergies include skin allergies, weight gain, year-round allergy symptoms, anal glad issues, and other reactions to foods that do not agree with your dog.
Limited ingredient diets (LID) allow you to use a process of elimination with your dog’s food to determine which ingredient is affecting your dog. Unfortunately, some dogs have allergies or sensitivities to multiple ingredients, making the simplified diets much more appealing. Since the limited ingredient diets are simplified, they eliminate the filler ingredients that can cause many of your dog’s problems.
The meat ingredient in some dog foods can also be the cause of problems, too. Through the years, chicken has become a meat ingredient that some dogs cannot tolerate. Due to that emerging trend, LIDs use unique meats to help circumvent meat allergies. Unique proteins being used include buffalo, rabbit, lamb, bison, duck, venison, turkey, or salmon. These different meats give your dog something different to digest and will hopefully not trigger sensitivities.
When switching your dog to a limited ingredient diet, please note that it can take 8 to 12 weeks before noticing an improvement in your dog’s health. Unfortunately, it is not an immediate fix, since your dog has to recover from damage caused by the food sensitivities and build up his immune system. If you do not notice a change in your dog’s health after 12 weeks, try a different LID to see if a different protein or a different carbohydrate makes a difference.
As you are switching foods, make sure to buy the corresponding limited ingredient treats to reward your dog. Switching foods to better your dog’s health will not help if you are rewarding your dog with treats that still trigger allergies!
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.