Kabo’s reinventing prescription pet food with the Hypoallergenic Salmon Recipe
Every dog visits the vet at some point in their life, whether that’s for a regular check up or something more serious. Sometimes a trip to the dog doctor will have you walking away with some new prescription pet food.
Just like us humans, a dog’s health status is greatly influenced by what they eat. This is especially true for dogs who suffer from certain health conditions. If your dog suffers from a health problem like pancreatitis, allergies, liver disease or kidney disease, chances are your vet may recommend that you start feeding your pup a prescription diet.
Most pet parents don’t question what’s actually in prescription pet food. If the vet suggested it, it must be good right? Unfortunately this is not always the case. We did a deep dive into prescription pet food and you may be surprised by what we found….
A closer look at prescription pet food
Therapeutic foods -or more commonly referred to as prescription diets- are any pet food that is designed to help treat a specific health condition. Contrary to the name, prescription diets do not require a prescription to purchase nor do they contain any medications. The medical benefits come from the ingredients and how they are balanced to help address certain health needs. For example, if you have a dog with pancreatitis, chances are they would need a prescription diet that was low in fat, much lower in fat than the commercial pet food that you would normally find at the pet store.
Most prescription pet foods are sold through veterinary clinics and recommended by vets and veterinary staff according to the appropriate health condition. At first glance, the dry, brown kibble of prescription pet food may look the same as your dog’s regular food but it comes at twice the cost! This is because it is marketed to pet owners as a therapeutic product and indicates higher quality nutrition, even though that may not always be the truth.
Monopolized market and questionable quality
It comes as a surprise to many pet owners that the prescription pet food market is largely controlled and monopolized by 3 major companies. Royal Canin, a subsidiary of Mars INC (the same company that makes Iams and Pedigree dog food), is the dominant brand in the prescription diet space, followed closely by Nestle Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary Diets and Hill’s Prescription Diets. In the past, these companies have been criticized for their multiple product recalls and questioned for their lack of quality in certain recipes. So why are companies like this making food for sick pets? It’s quite simple, they have the capital and resources to distribute and market their products wherever they want.
Unlike medications, you do not need an actual veterinary prescription to purchase a prescription diet. There are no AAFCO or FDA regulations surrounding the production or nutritional requirements of prescription pet food for specific diseases, only general veterinary suggestions around target nutrients.
If your vet has suggested a prescription diet, there is a good chance it is because it is the food that they regularly sell in their clinic and has been marketed to them by the sales department of a large company. Question your vet about why they suggested the specific food and ask if there are any other commercially available foods that would be suitable for your dog’s health condition. It may end up saving you money and your dog may also get a better quality meal as well as improving their health status. In terms of allergies, this is definitely the case.
Under the right circumstances, a dog’s condition may improve on these prescription diets because their body is craving a specific balance of nutrients. Unfortunately, prescription pet food is not always the answer for every dog. We wanted to find out why that is and take a closer look at what is available on the market right now for prescription pet food. What we found was rather… underwhelming.
Even though the cost of prescription pet food was significantly higher than run of the mill kibble, it wasn’t much better in terms of quality. As a result of our research and the lack of healthy food options for sick dogs, it inspired us to create a healthier, prescription fresh food alternative for dogs.
Fresh cooked dog food is taking the place of traditional prescription pet food
To date, the only prescription pet food sold in vet offices are big brand kibble and canned foods. This leaves pet owners with few options to help their sick animals. Some vets suggest owners make their dogs food at home. However, the majority of pet parents lack the time, funds and nutrition knowledge to make their dog’s food from scratch everyday.
The good news is that there is now the option for dog owners to purchase fresh cooked foodfor their dogs. Fresh cooked dog food has been growing in popularity in recent years and with good reason. It is essentially the same as food you would make for your dog at home but is instead formulated by vets and nutritionists, gently cooked, packaged and shipped straight to your door!
One of the biggest problems with prescription pet food is the questionable ingredients. It’s no secret to anyone that big brand kibble is full of low quality ingredients and fillers like meat and bone meal, beet pulp and corn starch. Unfortunately, these poor ingredients also extend to their prescription diets as well. The reason these ingredients are included in pet food is to cut costs, which unfortunately also implicates the nutritional value of the food.
Kabo uses only whole, human grade ingredients in our fresh food. We strive to make the best possible food for our pupstomers and see no value in sacrificing the quality of our ingredients just to save a few dollars. With Kabo recipes, meat is always the first ingredient on the list. Furthermore, there are no added fillers, food colouring, artificial flavours, preservatives or other unnecessary ingredients here! We truly believe that good food helps dogs live longer which is why you will never find any ingredients in our recipes that you wouldn’t eat yourself.
Easy to digest
The key to a happy tummy is by eating digestible foods. Fresh food uses ingredients that are highly bioavailable to dogs and therefore more digestible. This is because it is lower in resistant fibre and higher in moisture and available nutrients. Higher digestibility equates to a greater accessibility of nutrients and a higher rate of absorption in the gut. Food that is easier for dogs to digest means fewer and smaller stools, and more importantly, a happier and healthier dog.
As a Canadian company, we pride ourselves on being one of the only fresh food companies here in the great, white north. All of our food is made in the greater Toronto area and distributed to dogs across the country. Not to mention all of our ingredients are from right here in North America.
Formulated by nutritionists and veterinarians
We work with a team of companion animal nutritionists to formulate our recipes and make sure that they are balanced and meet the needs of dogs in all life stages and any health status. We also have two veterinary and companion animal nutrition experts on staff, Andrea Geiger (BSc, MSc) - Kabo Companion Animal Nutritionist and Dr. Suzee Camelleri (BSc, MSc, DVM, DVMSc) - Kabo Veterinarian and Pet Expert.
Kabo Hypoallergenic Salmon Recipe is the perfect food for dogs with allergies
Allergies are an extremely prevalent health condition in dogs. It is estimated that approximately 15% of dogs are diagnosed with allergies. With such a high number of dogs suffering from this health problem, we wanted to make it a priority in our pursuit of fresh prescription dog food.
What makes a good hypoallergenic diet for dogs?
Allergies are the result of the body reacting to a foreign substance or allergen. Once a dog is exposed to an allergen, their immune system freaks out towards the otherwise harmless molecule and expresses an antibody-immune reaction. The result of this immune reaction is often observed as inflammatory allergy symptoms, whether that’s as skin dermatitis, digestive issues or anaphylaxis.
The goal of a good hypoallergenic diet is to eliminate common dog allergens from the diets. The most common foods that dogs are allergic to are:
Wheat (or other grains)
Hypoallergenic diets should contain limited ingredients, are usually grain free and utilize alternative protein sources like duck, fish, bison, hydrolyzed protein or venison. When exposed to these ingredients, an allergic dog’s immune system will not recognize the diet as a threat and is less likely to attack it.
How the Kabo Hypoallergenic Salmon Recipe compares to the leading prescription dry food
Our ingredient list says it all! Not only are our ingredients human grade and high quality but they are also minimally processed. Furthermore, our salmon recipe contains a limited number of ingredients. When you look at the labelon prescription kibble, you may see a never-ending list of ingredients. With every extra ingredient that is added to pet food, it increases the potential allergen risk. Our salmon recipe is created with limited ingredients (only 13 to be exact!).
We’ve also chosen to include premium Alaskan salmon as our protein of choice. This luxurious novel protein is packed with health boosting nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids. Not to mention, it is also very palatable to dogs and highly digestible! The salmon we use is whole filet salmon. No fish meal, bones or by-products here!
Other hypoallergenic diets use hydrolyzed proteins as their protein source rather than whole, fresh protein. While usually efficient at reducing allergies, these ingredients are highly processed. Hydrolyzation is a process where a protein undergoes a process to remove or modify certain amino acids that cause allergies. In the diets listed above the hydrolyzed protein sources are from chicken and soy, two common food allergens. Would it not be healthier just to switch to an alternative whole protein like salmon or duck?
With grains being such common allergens in dogs, it would be silly to include them in a hypoallergenic food right? We think so anyway. That’s why we’ve formulated our salmon recipe to be totally free of any grains including wheat, corn, rice, barley, rye and oats. Unlike the hypoallergenic diets in the table above that use corn and wheat starch, we instead chose to use tasty, digestible ingredients like potatoes, sweet potato and butternut squash as a source of fibre and energy.
Inflammation is a major component and symptom of allergies and is usually triggered by the immune system. Pet owners usually identify inflammation as redness on their dog’s skin or an increase in itching or licking, but did you know that inflammation can also be internal? Gut inflammation caused by allergies and sensitivities can cause your dog to have a very upset tummy and may even result in vomiting or diarrhea.
With this in mind, we designed our salmon recipe with as many anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidant ingredients as possible. These ingredients help to reduce itching and redness caused by inflammation. Salmon, blueberries, green beans, flaxseed, rosemary and spinach are some of our favorite sources of natural antioxidants and are powerhouses in the fight against inflammation. We are proud to have included all of them in this fresh cooked recipe.
Cost comparison between our hypoallergenic recipe and the leading prescription pet food
We like to view food as an investment in your dog’s future. The right diet can go a long way in keeping your pup healthy and help prevent certain diseases. Quality food usually comes with a higher price tag, especially those with a healthy quantity of premium human-grade meats like salmon. However, it is a cost that many pet owners are willing to pay in order to keep their dog healthy and avoid more costly vet bills in the future. Next time you’re recommended a prescription pet food, consider fresh prescription pet food. At Kabo we believe that ALL dogs deserve a fresh cooked, quality meal even those who may require a special diet.
How to get your paws on our salmon recipe
Looking to purchase the salmon recipe for your pup? Simply log in to your Kabo account and add it to your cart at checkout!
If you have any questions at all about our newest recipe, check out our FAQ on the salmon recipe or take a closer look on the Kabo recipes page. You can also contact our customer service team any time or schedule a call with our in-house veterinarian, Dr. Suzee!