These days, it seems that there is more controversy related to pet foods, than almost any other pet ownership topic. You can find almost anything on the internet and there is no shortage of misinformation concerning pet food, diets and ingredient lists. Even worse, some pet food and treat companies seem to be encouraging this misinformation by using marking tactics to persuade the public that they need to feed (or not feed) particular ingredients, yet have no research to support these claims.
Ask Your Vet. Allergies are a complex diagnosis, so please have a conversation with your veterinarian to help you determine if your pet is allergic and what the allergy may be in response to. The most common allergies in pets are flea allergy, environmental allergy and food allergy. Some unlucky pets may have more than one.
Protein vs. Grain Allergy. The overwhelming majority of food-related allergies seen in dogs and cats are due to a protein in a food or treat; less commonly, pets can have allergies to other things, such as wheat, soy or corn. Many people have adverse reactions to grains and gluten, so marketing efforts have really become focused on “grain-free” for pet foods, too. This, in turn, makes many consumers believe that “grain-free” MUST be important because “grain free” products are so widely advertised and available. Yes, there are pets that have problems with grains, but they are not very common.
Vet Guided Food Trials. If you do have a food-allergic pet, bouncing around between diets without your veterinarian’s guidance may be inadvertently hurting the chances of helping your pet. Medical attempts to diagnose and alleviate food allergies are aimed at completely cutting out the offending substance (usually, protein) from the diet and putting the pet on a very strict diet consisting of a NEW protein that they have NEVER been exposed to before for AT LEAST 8 weeks or so to see if the itchiness subsides. If you’ve already tried “a little bit of this, then a little bit of that,” you may have already exposed your pet to some proteins typically used in this type of diet trial. Many diet trials are done with prescription diets to ensure there is no cross-contamination from the manufacturing facility. This is like people with peanut allergies who can’t eat food processed in places that also processes peanuts due to potential cross-contamination. Please talk to your veterinarian for guidance and recommendations regarding diet trials before trying a bunch of new proteins on your own.
If you have a pet that suffers from food allergies, please indicate this in their VetPet Box Chart when signing up for our service.
If you have a pet with a grain allergy, or you prefer to feed grain-free, no problem at all! We offer a grain free option for our subscriptions, so we can absolutely take care of your baby!
If you have a protein-allergic pet, we will try to include products that are more fruit or veggie based, or those that use peanut butter or fish as the major protein source. We may also use a hydrolyzed product every once in a while. A hydrolyzed product is basically a protein that is broken down into its building blocks (amino acids) and delivered to the GI tract. The body cannot recognize the protein in this form and doesn’t have an allergic reaction to it! Fancy stuff, huh!?!
Human and Pet Health. Out of concern for human health, VetPet Box does not recommend feeding raw or freeze-dried raw meat food or treat products and we will not include these products in our shipments. We understand that some people prefer to feed their pets these types of food products, but since there are no proven added health benefits to feeding a raw meat diet, we cannot justify the health risks that these foods can pose to the pets and people in the homes we deliver to.
Many raw meat products have been shown to be nutritionally incomplete. In addition, raw and freeze-dried raw meat food products can be contaminated with bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, just to name a few) and parasites. These pathogens can be passed from animal to human and have the potential to cause life-threatening illness. Raw and freeze-dried raw meat food products have the potential to contaminate the home, especially in food prep and feeding areas (like the kitchen), the litter box, and any other place fecal material is found.
A pet’s mouth and saliva can also serve as a source of contamination to people and other pets in the home. This is especially problematic with pets that serve as therapy animals to people that are immunocompromised (hospital patients and nursing home residents).
Exposing a pet to a raw meat food product could endanger vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Some pathogens can be shed in an animal’s feces for several days after ingestion, even if the animal is not showing any signs of illness.
The American Veterinary Medical Association, The American Animal Hospital Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have all adopted statements discouraging feeding raw or undercooked animal- source proteins to cats and dogs.
Talk to Your Vet. If you do choose to feed your pet these products, please let your veterinarian know as they may want to implement additional screening throughout the year as a part of your pet’s wellness routine.