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The Benefits of a Limited Ingredient Dog Food Diet (LID)

If you take a stroll through the dog food aisle at your local pet store you shouldn’t be surprised to find a wide selection of brand names and dozens of different recipes to choose from. The vast majority of options available can make it difficult for dog owners to make a choice. If you want to maximize your dog’s nutritional benefits while minimizing his risk for food allergies and other diet-related problems, you may want to consider a Limited Ingredient Diet (LID).

Why a Limited Ingredient Dog Food?

The more ingredients a dog food has the higher the likelihood in may include an ingredient your dog may be sensitive to. A limited ingredient dog food helps you avoid feeding your dog some of the dietary triggers found in other dog foods. The general signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to an ingredient(s) in their dog food include: dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of hot spots, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

What is a Limited Ingredient Diet?

A limited ingredient diet is exactly what it sounds like – a diet that is made up of a limited number of ingredients. If you scan the ingredients list for traditional kibbles, you may find that the list includes as many as twenty or thirty entries. Furthermore, many of these ingredients may be difficult to identify – they either have chemical-sounding names or they are byproducts. With a limited ingredient diet, you can expect the ingredients list to be much shorter and, in many cases, the ingredients used in the formula are of high quality and they are easy to identify. Many limited ingredient diets also make use of “novel” protein and carbohydrate sources – that is uncommon sources like rabbit or duck for protein and things like green peas or sweet potato for carbohydrate.

What are the Benefits of LIDs for Dogs?

The main benefit of a limited ingredient diet for dogs is a reduced risk for food sensitivities. Many commercial dog foods are made with low-quality ingredients and ingredients that have a high risk for triggering food sensitivities. The more your dog is exposed to potential sensitivities, the greater his risk for developing a sensitivity. The way limited ingredient diets work is by removing those potential sensitivities from the equation, swapping in ingredients that your dog may not have eaten before to further reduce the risk for an allergic reaction. If your dog suffers from food sensitivities, you should consider switching to an LID for a period of at least 12 weeks until all signs of the allergy have disappeared. Then, you may choose to reintroduce potential sensitivities one at a time in order to determine which ones affect your dog. Then, simply feed your dog a diet that is free from those sensitivities for the rest of his life.

In addition to reducing the risk for food sensitivities, feeding your dog a limited ingredient diet may offer other benefits such as:

  • Reduced stomach sensitivity issues, relief from digestive upset

  • Improved energy levels related to proper nutrition and nutrient absorption

  • Relief from skin problems such as itching, flaking, and hot spots

  • Improved digestion and regularity, fewer and firmer stools

  • May have a lower carbohydrate content (depending on the formula)

  • Limited number of ingredients often means no/fewer artificial additives

The diet you choose for your dog plays a significant role in determining his overall health and wellbeing. A nutritious diet made of high-quality ingredients has the best chance of maximizing your dog’s lifespan and keeping him healthy and a limited ingredient diet just might be the best option for your dog.

The topic that pet parents are most likely chatting about in the dog park has to be the growing popularity of limited ingredient diets (LIDs). Also referred to as simple recipes, LIDs tend to believe that less is more.

It’s not uncommon to hear about dogs that have developed sensitivities to some of the ingredients commonly used in dog foods, such as chicken, beef, dairy, egg, wheat, soy or corn. Limited ingredient diets may be simply formulated with a paired down ingredient list or designed to avoid ingredients that are known to cause food sensitivities in dogs. Some LIDs even offer the best of both worlds by crafting recipes that provide the complete and balanced nutrition from a reduced number of ingredients while avoiding those known to aggravate food sensitivities in dogs – this is no easy task!  Whatever the strategy, LIDs are nutritious recipes ideal for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs.

5 Features of a Limited Ingredient Diet for Dogs

Keeping it simple, especially when it comes to your dog’s diet, can offer a host of benefits. Here are the top five features of many Limited Ingredient Diets:

  1. Unique animal protein source: LIDs often feature less common animal proteins like Lamb, Salmon or Duck and tend to avoid chicken or beef ingredients, since they are among the most common animal protein ingredients that dogs may be sensitive to.

  2. Carefully Selected Ingredients. Many LIDs avoid ingredients that commonly cause food sensitivities in pets.  Some also try to limit the number of ingredients in the recipe. Carefully selecting only a few ingredients can help limit the opportunity for food sensitivity in dogs.

  3. Digestive Health: LIDs can deliver digestive health benefits from easily digestible ingredients and/or the right balance of fiber for healthy stool quality.

  4. Skin and Coat Health: Many LIDs offer nutrition to help promote healthy skin and coat.

  5. Healthy Immune System: Recipes may be rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, which help promote a healthy immune system.

If you’re thinking of changing your dog to a limited ingredient diet, try Zignature.  The recipes are ideal for dogs with sensitive skin and stomachs. Zignature recipes guarantee healthy digestion and a soft shiny coat.  It’s important to remember that it can take 8 to 12 weeks before you see a visible difference in your dog.

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