Diet Trials

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Diet Trials Overivew

A veterinarian or pet nutritionist can use a diet trial to discover if your pet is having an allergic reaction to ingredients in his or her food. Diet trials typically last two to three months, but can be repeated until the doctor finds the perfect combinations of protein and carbohydrates for your dog or cat.

Download

Download our Diet Trials Handout to learn how to determine if your pet is having an adverse reaction to certain ingredients in the pet food(s) he or she normally eats.


Dog and Cat Food Trial Handout Summary

A veterinarian or pet nutritionist can use a diet trial to discover if your pet is having an allergic reaction to ingredients in his or her food. Diet trials typically last two to three months, but can be repeated until the doctor finds the perfect combinations of protein and carbohydrates for your dog or cat.

What are the signs my dog or cat is having an allergic food reaction?
 
  • Itchy skin and ears
  • Redness of the skin
  • Ear infections


How will the veterinarian select a new diet?

A Banfield veterinarian or nutritionist will need a medical history of your pet. This includes the foods and treats you feed your dog or cat now and foods you fed him or her previously. Using this information, the doctor will select a “therapeutic” trial diet with proteins and carbohydrates your pet hasn’t eaten before.
How your dog or cat reacts to the new diet will help the Banfield team determine any adverse reactions were being caused by the old diet.
 

Can I just feed my pet an over-the-counter diet food similar to the suggested therapeutic food?

Feeding your dog or cat a similar commercial pet food runs the risk of giving them ingredients they shouldn’t be eating. You can find diet foods in the store with similar ingredients (duck, venison, or fish), but they will likely have a lot of extra ingredients. The makers of diet pet foods also may not have the same rigorous standards as the manufacturers of therapeutic diets.
 

Can I feed my pet treats?

You’ll want to ask your Banfield veterinarian about your pet’s specific situation. Unless you’re told otherwise, only feed your dog or cat the prescribed diet at all times. However, there are ways to appropriately “treat” your pet while obeying the diet.

Hand feed your pet pieces of the therapeutic diet food.
  • Your dog or cat will likely still think it is something special, especially if you play it up and act like it’s a treat.
Put the diet food into a Kong ® or other toy.
  • This will also make the dog or cat believe they’re getting to a treat.
Bake canned food.
  • If your vet prescribed a canned diet food, you can bake slices of the food at 350° F for 10-15 minutes. This will bake the food into biscuit type treats.
When your dog is going through a diet trial, tell your friends and family about the strict diet. If you worry visitors will feed your pet any treats or human food, confine or crate your pet while they’re in your home.
 

Call your local Banfield Vet Hospital

Call Banfield to set up an appointment regarding your pet’s possible food allergies and doing a diet trial. If your pet is already on a diet trial, you should call the vet if your dog or cat’s symptoms get worse. Also call for help if he or she begins vomiting and/or has diarrhea. Check with a Banfield pet health expert if your pet refuses to eat their new food.
 

Learn more

Don’t wait to make an appointment with a Banfield veterinary or nutritionist to begin a diet trial. You can also learn more about feeding your pet by reading in the nutrition section of banfield.com.