Friday, July 3, 2015

Food Friday: Wysong Anergen

Wysong Anergen is a hypoallergenic dog food designed by a veterinarian. This is a food with high enough protein for cats as well as dogs, which is unusual. It contains probiotics, prebiotics, and lamb as an alternative protein source to the usual beef and chicken. Anergen scores an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Dog Food Advisor website.

The sample bag of food came with the collection of free goodies that Wysong sent me. I love free stuff, especially free stuff that is safe for Brisbane's chicken, turkey, duck, and egg issues.

Nearly twenty years ago, my cocker spaniel was severely itchy. Her slightly sketchy vet sold my mother a big bag of lamb and rice kibble and a flat of matching canned food. The idea was that the food we had been feeding her (Pedigree from the grocery store, this was before I had any sort of dog autonomy) was made out of chicken and corn and "animal by-products", and so the lamb and rice food introduced a novel protein as well as a novel carbohydrate. Allergies tend to develop after a person or dog has been exposed to a specific food, and more exposure often means a greater likelihood of developing allergies.

Twenty years later, lamb and rice are both common ingredients in dog foods. A quick trip down the aisle of the grocery store will show that even cheap economy foods often contain lamb and rice, or at least byproducts of these ingredients. Fortunately, Wysong has since developed a rabbit, pea, potato allergy food.

The "hypoallergenic" label on Wysong Anergen troubles me slightly, because this is for all appearances a lamb and rice dog food. While it would be a great place to start for a dog eating cheap chicken-and-corn byproduct dog food, there's nothing I can find that makes Anergen inherently hypoallergenic.

Some prescription hypoallergenic dog foods are made out of hydrolyzed proteins. These have been broken down into their component amino acids, making it more difficult for the body to recognize and freak out about them. I've known a few dogs that still had issues on hypoallergenic food made from hydrolyzed chicken, though, so I suppose the term "hypoallergenic" is subject to interpretation.

Wysong Anergen is definitely a limited ingredient diet, and I do like the company a whole lot. I'm not certain I'd choose this food as something to feed my dogs continuously for a long period of time unless we were trying an elimination diet. Happily, the Wysong company also does not recommend feeding dogs the same food every day for years. I signed up for their weekly email along with my sample pack, and this week's edition was all about rotational feeding, Included was a comic with a person first at a vet's office with their dog, happily accepting advice to feed their dog a single type of food every day for years, followed by the same person at a pediatrician's office, scoffing at the exact same advice when applied to their child.

Wysong specifically recommends rotating between different foods, and also different types of foods. I could actually feed Brisbane a variety of foods while sticking to Wysong products. They currently offer four different kibbles suitable for his allergies, along with three dehydrated foods, and three canned foods. This rotational diet could include lamb, rabbit, quail, pollock, salmon, beef, and venison. That's a lot of variety from one company!

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