Care for your pet like Vince the Vet

Trialling single protein raw or cooked meats for several weeks, one at a time, is the gold standard method for identifying which one, if any, suits a pet with diet-related gut and / or skin inflammation. 

It's essential however, if the results are to be accurate and actionable, that nothing else at all is ingested during the course of a trial - no matter how small - otherwise a meat may be rejected as being reactive, when in fact it could be the perfect foundation for helping a pet with an itchy skin or gut problem going forward.

Making sure everything is done correctly is not always as straight forward as it sounds, given the many common pitfalls which often render an elimination diet null and void.

These include:


  • Feeding table scraps or human food containing other ingredients
  • Failing to prevent consumption of crumbs and other foods dropped 
  • Giving commercial treats or chews (which even if the same protein can be contaminated during manufacture)
  • Accidentally mixing up food bowls, containers or utensils 
  • Not checking labels on raw / meat resulting in the unintentional inclusion of other ingredients
  • Meat from grain fed animals may cause reactions in those sensitive to corn, maize, oats, wheat etc (grass-fed livestock may be better instead) 


  • Family members, friends, neighbours, guests or casual encounters on walks etc giving unauthorised tit-bits, treats or food
  • Inconsistency in adhering to the diet plan by household members, relatives, pet sitters, dog walkers, day care centre staff etc 
  • Allowing licking of human plates (including those in a dishwasher), utensils or children's fingers
  • Children unknowingly feeding inappropriate food items


  • Giving drugs containing flavourings and / or excipients which may be allergenic
  • Applying topical products containing food-derived ingredients


  • Scavenging from bins or compost heaps
  • Eating prey animals (such as rodents and birds) that have consumed other food sources
  • Eating faeces of other animals that have consumed different diets
  • Eating discarded food from the ground on walks or in public places 
  • Licking other pet's mouths after eating
  • Accessing other pet's food, treats or feeding bowls
  • Licking unwashed plates or utensils (including those in a dishwasher)
  • Eating grass and other outdoor plants
  • Chewing on plastic toys and similar objects


  • Giving inappropriate rewards 
  • Allowing begging for food in social situations 
  • Participating in dog sports or events where food rewards from others may be given


  • Exposure to food-derived ingredients in products such as toothpaste, shampoos, or grooming products (such as oatmeal, wheatgerm etc)
  • Visits to day care centres, shows, kennels, training classes, vets etc where food items / residues may be encountered and consumed 


More in-depth guidance on successfully conducting food trials while avoiding these and other potential problems can be found here.