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Pet Elimination Diet: An Essential Guide
Pet Elimination Diet: An Essential Guide
Updated over a week ago

At Edgard & Cooper, we prioritize the well-being of your beloved pet. If you've observed signs of allergies or intolerances, we're here to assist you in navigating the process of an elimination diet. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and guidance to ensure your pet achieves optimal health.

Food Allergy vs. Intolerance or Sensitivity

Understanding the differences between food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities is essential. While true food allergies are rare, accounting for only 10% of cases, sensitivities and intolerances are more prevalent. Food intolerances are often mistaken for or mislabeled as food allergies. However, while some symptoms may overlap, food allergies involve the immune system, whereas intolerances primarily affect the digestive system.

The Elimination Food Trial: A Step-by-step Guide

Take notes and keep a journal

Embarking on an elimination diet for your furry companion is akin to a detective mission, aiming to uncover potential food triggers. Documenting your pet's total diet history provides crucial insights into potential nutrient imbalances or excesses.

Narrow down symptoms

Assessing both digestive and skin-related issues can provide valuable clues about the nature of the reaction and guide dietary adjustments.

Consider other factors

It's important to explore all potential causes of skin and intestinal problems, including flea allergies, reactions to cleaning products or shampoos, infections, parasites, and vaccinations.

Make a list of all the foods your dog/cat has ever eaten. Mark the foods you think could cause a reaction.

Talk to your veterinarian

Initiate a discussion with your veterinarian about your pet's health concerns and inquire about additional diagnostic tests, such as blood work.

Choose a novel / monoprotein / hypoallergenic diet

Selecting a diet with novel ingredients can minimize potential triggers. Novel ingredients are those to which your pet has had limited exposure, reducing the likelihood of allergic reactions. Our hypoallergenic dog recipes feature novel carbohydrate and protein sources and exclude common allergens such as:

  • chicken

  • beef

  • gluten/grains

  • soy

  • dairy

  • eggs

Additionally, our mono-protein recipes, incorporating lamb or salmon, are ideal choices during an elimination diet. More information about our monoprotein products can be found here.

Make a gradual transition

Ease your pet into the new diet gradually, monitoring changes in health and recording observations in your journal.

Extend the trial

  • If partial improvements are observed, extend the trial for 6-12 weeks.

  • If symptoms disappear, cautiously reintroduce potential trigger foods.

  • If there's no improvement at all, consult your veterinarian for further guidance.

Build a balanced diet

Once trigger foods are identified, tailor a balanced diet to meet your pet's specific needs, prioritizing gut health with pre and probiotics.

Common Mistakes to Avoid: Checklist for Successful Elimination Diet Trials

Pet food

  • Offer only foods that do not trigger symptoms.

  • Prevent access to other pets' food (including other pets in the neighborhood if your pet goes outside).


  • Avoid all commercial pet treats to ensure an effective elimination trial.

  • Discard treats made from dried animal parts (rawhides, pig ears, bully sticks, etc.) or flavored chew toys.

  • Warn dog walkers, house guests, pet store clerks, and other people your pet encounters to prevent them from giving unapproved treats.

Human food

  • Refrain from feeding your pet any human food to maintain the integrity of the elimination trial.

    • This includes foods like fruit or vegetables or other treats you might forget about, such as marshmallows.

  • Take precautions to prevent accidental ingestion, especially in households with children.

    • A sign on the refrigerator door or at the dining table can be very helpful as a reminder for everyone in the home!

    • The pet may need to be banned from the dining area during mealtimes, where children might accidentally drop food on the floor.

Other considerations

  • Discontinue dietary supplements unless recommended by your veterinarian.

  • Avoid flavored medications and opt for unflavored alternatives.

  • Avoid pet toothpaste (but continuing to brush without toothpaste can help maintain your pet’s dental health during the trial).

  • Discuss alternative methods for administering medications with your veterinarian.

Need advice?

We're dedicated to assisting you with a personalized elimination diet plan for your pet. Interested? Please provide the following information to our team by email:

  • Age and gender of your pet

  • Current weight and body condition

    • e.g. Ideal weight, overweight, or underweight?

  • Breed of your pet

  • Details of symptoms and their duration

  • Current diet, including brand, type (kibble/wet food/raw), and ingredients

  • If currently feeding Edgard & Cooper, transition details and previous diet

  • Information on any additional items given to your pet, such as treats or table scraps

  • Confirmation of whether you've consulted your vet regarding these issues

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