No question about it: you want the best for your pup, but reports on puppy food are confusing. One advises you to feed your baby lamb and rice puppy food while another adamantly tells you not to. As ingredients, they sound healthy and harmless, but you should know the facts.
Origins of the Lamb and Rice Formulation
Lamb and rice gained popularity with veterinarians and food manufacturers when some dogs started having allergic reactions to common ingredients used in their foods. Beef, chicken, corn and wheat were the usual suspects when it came to the types of food used in making chow for pups and adult dogs alike. Lamb and rice became the hypoallergenic miracle food that everyone started feeding their poochies and, sure enough, initially lamb and rice formulations provided relief from the allergic reaction puppies and dogs had to traditional formulations.
No Longer an Allergy Solution
Even though lamb and rice was a blessing in the beginning, as they became more commonly used in puppy and dog food, dogs began developing allergies to them. You might wonder how your puppy could be allergic to "common" ingredients such as lamb and rice since logically he hasn't lived long enough to develop an allergy. The answer is in genetics: if one or both of your pup's parents have a lamb or rice allergy, he might have been born with a genetic tendency to being allergic as well.
Rice Contamination Concerns
It's not enough that there's a possibility that lamb and rice puppy food could cause your baby to have an allergic reaction. Retailers, manufacturers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration periodically announce recalls of various brands and formulations of pet foods, including lamb and rice formulations. The concerns aren't so much with the lamb as with the rice. Some rice protein has been found to have melamine contamination. U.S. News reports that the companies that produced the rice protein are thought to have purposely added melamine -- a plastic compound -- to the rice to increase the protein content as well as the price. Unfortunately, the additive can cause severe illness and potentially death.
Should Your Baby Eat Lamb and Rice?
The question of whether you should feed your little one a lamb and rice puppy food is one that can only be answered by a collaboration between you, your pup and his vet. Just because some companies have had problems with their ingredients doesn't mean that all lamb and rice puppy food is bad. Your vet will know which brands to avoid and which ones are safe. As for allergies, if you know that your pup's parents don't have sensitivities to lamb and rice, your puppy should be able to eat foods that contain the ingredients. If you wonder if it's a healthy combination, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine reports that lamb and rice puppy food provides a complete diet -- but the report also points out that the mix isn't necessarily better than puppy foods formulated with other ingredients. Discuss all your nutrition concerns with your pup's vet so you and your little guy can make an informed decision.
- University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Food Allergies: The Truth About Lamb and Rice Mixes
- Veterinary Partner: Pet Food Recall Spring 2007
- U.S. News.com: FAQs About Melamine Contamination
- Your Border Collie's Life; Kim Dearth
- Christian Science Monitor: Pet Food Recall 2012 Now Includes 39 States
- WebMD: Puppy Food
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.