You may have heard of pet foods that contain “limited ingredients,” but what does that really mean, and why is it a good thing? The benefits of limited ingredient pet food are actually very significant for many pet owners, which is why we’re going to highlight them here.
Simple is Best
The makers of limited ingredient pet foods operate with the philosophy that when it comes to your pet’s diet, simple is best. Zignature, a popular brand that creates limited ingredient dog foods, puts it this way: “Our recipes mirror the true diet your pet’s ancestors thrived on. In the wild, while prey may vary from day to day, meals are limited in content. We follow this natural blueprint, and limit the number of ingredients in our recipes.”
The goal, though, isn’t simplicity for simplicity’s sake. Limited ingredient diets are primarily for the purpose of reducing the possibility of pets having negative reactions to particular ingredients. If a reaction does occur, the short list of ingredients makes it easier to identify what is causing the problem. Check out our list of benefits for limited ingredient pet food to see if your pet should make the switch.
1. Avoid Allergies
Allergies are often blamed for the reactions cats and dogs have to certain foods, but the truth is, less than 1% of pets actually suffer from a food allergy. The definition of a food allergy is a biological reaction to a specific protein. Of course, your pet may have a real allergy, and in that case a limited ingredient pet food is a perfect solution. These foods often have less protein sources per formula, or just one, like in Nature’s Variety Instinct Duck Meal Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dog Food. This high quality food features duck meal as the main ingredient and only protein source, and the rest of the ingredients are chosen for their high digestibility and nutritional value. In this case, if your dog had a food allergy, it would be easy to determine by eliminating all protein sources other than duck.
2. Solve Sensitivities
As symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities are more or less identical, it can be difficult to figure out which one your pet is suffering from. A sensitivity is simply an adverse reaction to any ingredient, and is far more common among cats and dogs than allergies. Limited ingredient diets help eliminate foods that are known to irritate the system. For example, Wholesome Blend Grain Free Limited Ingredient Salmon Surf Dry Cat Food contains zero grains, potato, egg, corn, wheat or soy – all foods that often cause reactions in cats. By reducing common problem foods and keeping the rest of the ingredient list simple, limited ingredient pet food might be the solution your pet needs.
3. Necessary Nutrition
A common concern among pet owners who are considering switching to a limited ingredient food is that the lack of ingredients results in lack of nutrition. Fortunately, that is not the case. These foods, like regular pet foods, are formulated to meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), meaning they are nutritionally complete products. In the case of limited ingredient pet food, your pet’s nutritional needs are simply met through a more narrow range of ingredients.
If you suspect your dog or cat has an allergy or sensitivity, it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet first about your concerns. If you have confirmed that this is the case, give limited ingredient pet food a try. It might be the best thing you ever do for your sensitive friend.
Have you tried a Limited Ingrediet food for your pets? We would love to hear your perspective. Just leave us a comment below!