The term "Limited Ingredient Diet" is becoming more and more prevalent in the pet food universe these days, but what does that term really mean?
Simply stated, Limited Ingredient Diets are pet food formulas that focus on core nutrition rather than "bells and whistles." These recipes were originally developed by companies like Natura and Natural Balance to help to address a few common problems that sensitive pets encounter when eating "prepared" foods, but are now mainstream dry, wet, and raw options that work well for a wide range of dogs and cats.
The hallmark of a "LID" diet is a very short ingredient panel, often with a single source (or type) of meat protein and a single source of carbohydrate. While these recipes are very simple, it is important to note that they are carefully formluated and tested to make sure that they supply all of the daily nutritional requirements required for canines or felines, respectively.
So how do these diets help your pet? Some dogs or cats have digestive sensitivities leading to loose stools or chronic gas when they eat foods that don't agree with them. A simpler formula can be easier to digest, so cutting the label down to essential ingredients can reduce the chance of digestive issues occurring or lessen their severity.
This same logic applies to pets that have chronic food-related allergies, which can manifest in visible skin conditions like open "hot spot" sores, excessive eye goop, or chronic ear infections. The classic way of addressing an allergy to a food ingredient is to feed an "elimination diet," or one that removes non-essential things from daily consumption that may cause the immune system to overreact. Limited ingredient formulas perform this role perfectly, as they immediately reduce the variety of what is being consumed, including sources of potential allergens.
On a side note, pets with normal immune or digestive systems can do just fine on limited ingredient foods, too! This is especially helpful in households in which one pet has an allergy or senstivity and another doesn't. Everyone can still eat the same food, which helps simplify mealtimes through easy preparation and reduction of food bandit behaviors (i.e. - I like your food better than mine!).
If you suspect your pet might benefit from a limited ingredient diet, visit us at one of our stores or give us a call (in Eagle, ID at 208-939-8119 or in Meridian, ID at 208-392-1049). We love to chat with you about our selection of awesome pet foods with simple recipes and can help you compare them to your pet's current diet. We also have free samples of many formulas available that your pet can try out, too!