Question: After reading the blog “TRACIE HOTCHNER: DOES “GRAIN FREE” PET FOOD REALLY SOLVE HEALTH ISSUES?” on dog food allergies. Nothing happened after changing proteins and going to limited ingredient food. How do you prepare a simple home cooked diet for dogs to get away from commercial foods for a few months?

Answer: Thanks for writing in. You stated that your dog had no response after changing proteins or feeding a limited ingredient food. You didn’t mention if you were using commercially available (over-the-counter) foods for this purpose or if your veterinarian provided these diets.

Unfortunately many of the over-the-counter limited ingredient diets are not sufficient for a food trial or for a dog with true food allergy. If you used this type of diet, you might want to consider a truly hypoallergenic diet trial following your vet’s guidance.

As far as home-cooking, it is fairly simple. We typically select one protein and one carbohydrate source only in order to make it truly limited ingredient. This type of diet is fed for a period of 8 to 12 weeks to assess response. This type of diet is meant to be diagnostic…to determine if a true food allergy is really the problem. The diet is not balanced for long term feeding. After the 8 to 12 week trial, you will need to work with your veterinarian to determine what the best diet is going forward.

Good luck.
Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency. Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via

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