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I have just read a very interesting article that I just had to share with you. I think most health conscious pet owners are aware that commercial pet food can cause all sorts of health problems in pets, including allergies that can be quite distressing to your pet if not dealt with. But who would have thought that the food your pet eats can affect YOUR health?
Well, it can. Read on …
Can Pet Food Play a Role in Your Allergies, Too?
Are you or is someone you know allergic to your pet? Today in the US, up to 70% of households have a dog or cat and yet anywhere from 10-20% of the population has pet allergies. With numbers like that, chances are you or someone you know sneezes whenever they’re in your house. You may even have a friend or a family member who won’t even come over because they are allergic to your beloved pet. Not to mention you probably know someone who LOVES pets and wants one of their own, but simply cannot tolerate living with one. Could there be a way to alleviate allergy symptoms without loading up on medications or limiting exposure to dogs and cats? The answer might be located in your pet’s food dish.
Let’s begin by exploring what causes people to be allergic to dogs and cats in the first place. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, Immunology’s website, allergies to animals are caused when certain proteins found in pet dander, saliva, and urine are identified by the body’s immune system as harmful substances which then produces anti-bodies to defend itself from the intruders. When these anti-bodies are produced, they create an inflammatory response in the nose, lungs or skin resulting in itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, or hives. (Is your nose starting to itch just reading this?) Reactions to cats are more common than dogs, because cats groom themselves continually, spreading saliva on their fur, which in turn dries and flakes off into the air. Air-filtering and vacuuming may help some, but dander is a sticky substance that gets into any fibrous surface that it comes in contact with (including pet fur, which is why the fur itself is often mistakenly thought to cause allergies). This is why some people claim that some breeds that don’t shed or have little or no hair, like Poodles, Terriers, or Basenjis, are “hypo-allergenic”. However, the dander is still there, though in lesser amounts, even on a hairless animal – still producing allergens that can cause symptoms.
We all know that diet plays an essential role in the treatment and prevention of allergies in pets. But an animal’s diet is also probably the single most important factor in preventing allergies in humans as well. Once fed an all-natural, high quality diet, the improvement in an animal’s coat, skin and saliva can make the problem proteins seem “less threatening” to an allergic person’s immune system. The idea is that healthier skin is less flaky, thus significantly reducing the dander being spread and affecting the dander’s composition itself. In her book, The New Natural Cat, Anitra Frazier speaks to this very topic and even undergoes an experiment with a neighbor who wants a cat, but has never been able to spend more than a few seconds with one before he is absolutely miserable. After spending time with cats that were fed a natural diet, he adopted not one but two cats from her!
Unfortunately there has been no scientific research on this topic. But still there are many people out their with success stories to share and holistic vets who swear by the use of diet to control allergies in humans. I have my own compelling evidence in a story from a few years ago. I moved to a small studio apartment with two cats. One night I invited my cousin over to see my new digs. He told me he might be able to peek in but I should have my coat on and be ready to leave as he was severely allergic to cats. He ended up staying for three hours that evening, in a tiny space with two (raw-fed) cats – a previously impossible scenario! This little miracle blew us both away, and is all the research I needed personally to be completely convinced of the power of a raw, natural diet.
Article reprinted, with permission, from the Sojos March 2009 Newsletter
I must admit, this information blew me away as well.
It could explain why, though, that although I myself have a severe allergic reaction to most cats, I have come across the odd one that causes me no problem. Because of my allergic reaction, I try to avoid coming into direct contact with cats, but perhaps all I need to do is to find out what they eat! If they are fed a raw diet, then it looks like I’ll be okay. Amazing!
If you need any further convincing that raw food is best for your pet, then I’m not going to try to convince you. If the health of your pet is not enough for you, then your own health and the health of your family and friends really should be!
And even though this phenomenon appears to apply to cats more than dogs (because cats groom themselves more than dogs), it stands to reason that commercial dog food, being at least as bad as commercial cat food, must also play a role in contributing to allergies in humans.
Your dog, or cat, will benefit and so will you!