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Ask Wellness: March 2014

Q. My standard poodle has a sensitive stomach. She often has diarrhea. I’ve had her checked for worms and she does not have them. What could this be?
A. There are some dogs that have what has been called a “sensitive stomach.” It is a very general term that can suggest that the dog seems sensitive to something in the diet or changes in the diet. This is usually expressed as intermittent vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Many times, the issue is an intolerance to an ingredient in the diet. It is not an allergy, but rather a non-immune mediated reaction to an ingredient in the diet. Allergies are to a particular protein, whereas food intolerances can be to anything in the diet.
Feeding a natural pet food with limited ingredients and a single unique protein would be a possible solution to the problem. The Wellness Simple recipes are an ideal option to try. There are four diets each containing different ingredients as well as some natural supplements such as probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which can help to resolve digestive issues. Keep in mind that with any dog experiencing digestive issues, a very slow transition (10-14 days) to the new food is always recommended.

Q. My standard poodle has a sensitive stomach. She often has diarrhea. I’ve had her checked for worms and she does not have them. What could this be?

A. There are some dogs that have what has been called a “sensitive stomach.” It is a very general term that can suggest that the dog seems sensitive to something in the diet or changes in the diet. This is usually expressed as intermittent vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Many times, the issue is an intolerance to an ingredient in the diet. It is not an allergy, but rather a non-immune mediated reaction to an ingredient in the diet. Allergies are to a particular protein, whereas a food intolerance can be caused by anything in the diet.

Feeding a natural pet food with limited ingredients and a single unique protein would be a possible solution to the problem. The Wellness Simple formulas are an ideal option to try. There are four diets each containing different ingredients as well as some natural supplements such as probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which can help to resolve digestive issues. Keep in mind that with any dog experiencing digestive issues, a very slow transition (10-14 days) to the new food is always recommended.

Ask Wellness July 2013

Q: My dog has what appears to be a severe allergy; I have heard that it could stem from grain ingredients in his food. I have tried a small amount of grain-free food and he has responded well. I am soon going to deplete the food I have and am wondering if Wellness has grain-free dry foods.

A: Wellness offers several dry grain-free canine diets. They are CORE® Original Formula, CORE® Reduced Fat Formula, CORE® Ocean Formula, CORE® Small Breed Formula, and CORE® Puppy Formula. The sources of protein for CORE Original formula are Turkey and Chicken; for Reduced Fat Formula are Turkey, Chicken, and Whitefish; and for Ocean Formula are Whitefish, Herring Meal, Salmon Meal, and Menhaden fish Meal. CORE canine grain-free diets are also available in moist form (12.5 ounce cans). We now also offer two grain-free recipes of our Simple Limited Ingredient Diet. You could try the Simple Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula or the Simple Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Formula. With any severe skin condition, in addition to undertaking a dietary trial, your vet should be consulted to rule out atopy (environmental allergies), fleas, ringworm, demodex, scabies, secondary yeast and bacterial overgrowth or other underlying medical conditions.

February 2013 Ask the Vet

Q: My cat throws up after eating.  I have tried several vets and tried various foods but she still throws up.  It only happens at certain times as she will not throw up for weeks then suddenly will throw up after every meal.

A: Defining an accurate cause of feline chronic vomiting is sometimes difficult.

Try feeding your cat a Wellness canned diet in several small meals per day.  Don’t feed all the food in one meal.  Do not let your cat have constant access to dry food and feed less if excess weight is an issue.  In this case- I recommend feeding feline canned Wellness® CORE® Grain-Free Indoor Formula.  It is lower in fat and carbohydrates while enhanced in fiber and contains 148 kcal per 5.5 oz. can.

Q: Our 50 lb dog has a sensitive stomach.  We give Wellness® Complete Health® Super5Mix® Chicken Recipe.  If we give her any kind of treat outside of that she gets very gassy which we believe is caused by allergies.  Are there any tests to perform to see what your dog is allergic to?  Or is it trial and error?

A: There are blood tests available for diagnosis of canine food allergies.  Most dermatologists do not rely on them as reliable for diagnosis; they believe that the elimination diet trial using a novel protein (trial and error) is the standard for diagnosis of food allergies.

If you and your vet determine that your dog can tolerate chicken recipe treats, you may want to try the Pure Rewards Chicken & Lamb Jerky.

Food Allergies & Food Intolerances for Pets

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About Allergies and Intolerances

Our furry companions, like their human owners, can experience “food intolerance” and “food allergy”. Food intolerance refers to a gastrointestinal response triggered by certain ingredients. For instance, a dog with a sensitive stomach may not be able to tolerate certain ingredients that then lead to diarrhea, vomiting or irritable bowel. The reasons for food intolerance are unknown. A food allergy refers to an immune response to a particular ingredient in food that can cause itching, scratching, hot spots, hair loss, ear and eye secretions, or excessive licking. A dog may be born with specific allergies, or they may build over time from prolonged exposure to certain ingredients.

Scratch, Scratch: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Just because your pets aren’t coughing and sneezing, as we do when confronted by some allergens, that doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering all the same. Pets with food allergies tend to experience skin irritation when exposed to known allergens, which in turn causes varied scratching behaviors. Dogs (and sometimes cats) that scratch their ears, vigorously shake themselves, and lick or bite at their paws or coats may be suffering from an allergic reaction. They are experiencing a skin irritation that, if left untreated, may result in infection. Many pets are also intolerant of certain food components, leaving them unable to fully metabolize the food and experiencing various GI problems. Unusual fecal color or consistency, excessive GI gurgling sounds and the passing of gas are typical symptoms to look for when trying to identify a food allergy or food intolerance.

Identifying and Removing the Offending Foods

Some of the most common offenders are common ingredients found in dog foods. The most common food allergens for dogs are beef, dairy products, eggs, chicken, corn, wheat and soy – among others. The key is to determine which one or more of these ingredients are responsible for your pet’s distress. To make that determination, a food elimination trial should be performed. In the elimination trial, you should choose a wholesome, complete and balanced diet that avoids ingredients to which the pet has previously been exposed, then feed this recipe, and this recipe only, for six to eight weeks.

Once you make a determination that ingredients in your pet’s food may be causing distress, look for a diet that features only a limited number of ingredients, such as Wellness® Simple Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Dry Dog Food with complementary Wellness® Simple Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula Canned Dog Food as a topper or mix in. This delicious limited ingredient diet is formulated for food sensitivities and food allergies and is an ideal way to assist with ruling out allergens. If clinical signs subside by the end of that period, you will know it was a particular ingredient that was consumed earlier but excluded in the elimination diet that was responsible for your pet’s adverse reaction. Wellness Simple offers dry and canned dog food with limited ingredients and four novel protein sources to choose from. All of our Simple formulas are 100% complete & balanced nutrition for dogs with food allergies and food sensitivities and are formulated with ingredients that are naturally gluten-free and wheat-free.

We have some exciting changes coming soon to our Simple Limited Ingredient Diet line for dogs with allergies. Our updated recipes will support the growing need for hypoallergenic and grain-free diets! Learn more about the improvements to our Simple packaging and ingredient updates.