Merriam-Webster defines “hypoallergenic” as “having little
likelihood of causing an allergic response.” However, the designation is open to interpretation.
Through marketing and ad placements, there is plenty
of misleading information out there for pet owners trying
to choose the right food for a pet with allergies, said Jusak
Yang Bernhard, co-owner of TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories,
which has several locations in Georgia. TailsSpin opened its
doors in 2007 due to a lack of hypoallergenic foods available
in the area, he said.
“We took a bold step in carrying only pet foods containing
no corn, wheat, soy or byproducts, as we believe these are
cheap fillers and culprits to allergies in pets,” he said. “For us,
ridding the obvious offenders is a wonderful start.”
Bernhard added that according to Huffington Post’s “Top 7
Genetically Modified Crops,” written by Margie Kelly, corn and
soy top the list.
“These genetically modified ingredients contain pesticide
that cannot be washed off,” he said.
However, while it is possible to eliminate egregious ingredients, the term “hypoallergenic” itself is misleading, said Lorin
Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif.
“There is no such thing as ‘hypoallergenic,’” Grow said.
“Every living being is different, and sensitivities and intoleranc-
es can vary substantially.”
“‘Hypoallergenic’ really is a misnomer,” agreed Lucy
Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen in San Diego. “For example,
a ‘hypoallergenic’ diet made with turkey is not a solution for a
dog with poultry allergies.”
Because fewer total ingredients mean less chance of a
problematic element being included in a formulation, limited-
ingredient diets make it easier for a consumer to find a diet
that their pet can tolerate, Postins added.
Likewise, while limited- and novel-ingredient foods reduce the likelihood of an adverse food reaction, they are not
termed “hypoallergenic” but are another option for pets with
food sensitivities, said Jennifer Adolphe, Ph.D., R.D., senior
nutritionist for Petcurean Pet Nutrition in Chilliwack, British
However, the terms “hypoallergenic” and “limited ingredient” are sometimes used interchangeably when describing pet
foods, said Chanda Leary-Coutu, senior manager, marketing
communications for WellPet in Tewksbury, Mass.
“I consider ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘limited-ingredient’ diets to
HYPOALLERGENIC PET FOOD:
be the same thing,” said Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey
Pets in Dallas. “If a dog has severe allergies, I’ll suggest this
type of diet.”
“At Caru, we concur with the definition presented by Dog
Food Advisor that a hypoallergenic dog food is designed to
avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic
reaction,” said Adrian Pettyan, CEO and co-founder of Vero
Beach, Fla.-based Caru Pet Food.
A MATTER OF OPINION
PROMOTING AND DISPLAYING
Because food allergies differ with individual pets, Jusak Yang Bernhard, co-owner of
TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories, which has several stores in Georgia, noted that a full
return policy is offered on all pet foods carried at TailsSpin.
“We also try to educate our customers regarding a rotational diet,” Bernhard said.
Understanding the ingredient panel is another key to assisting pet owners in making
a dietary decision for their dog, said Pete Brace, vice president of communications and
pet parent relations for Merrick Pet Care in Amarillo, Texas.
“Pet parents want to know exactly what’s in the recipe as well as which ingredients
are not,” Brace said. “At Merrick, we include a table outlining what the recipe does and
does not include, as well as easy-to-read icons demonstrating recipe benefits.”
Merchandising limited-ingredient, hypoallergenic diets and related products, such
as allergy test kits, in one location is helpful in supporting consumers in the search for
solutions, said Lucy Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen in San Diego.
“Typically we suggest that a store takes in our POP display, which we call our Allergy
Solutions Center, and merchandise our food as a problem-solving product for pets with
allergies,” said Lonnie Schwimmer, president of Koha Pet Food, formerly known as Mauri
Pet Food, in Delray Beach, Fla.
*Min. order of $150 open stock. Shipper is pre-packed.
Contact your Honest Kitchen rep, or distributor rep, to learn more | email@example.com
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