Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods


Hypoallergenic dog foods usually share one of three basic designs. They are typically products made with:
Dog with Allergies and Scratching

  • Limited ingredients
  • Novel ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic recipes

First, because they do contain fewer components, limited ingredient dog foods can make it easier to pin down the suspected allergen to which a pet might be allergic.

Next, novel ingredient dog foods contain components the animal might not have been previously exposed to — so, therefore, less less likely to be sensitive to.

These foods contain relatively obscure ingredients — like buffalo, pheasant, kangaroo or millet.

And finally, hypoallergenic recipes avoid the use of ingredients most likely to provoke an allergic reaction. According to an article published by Drs. Foster and Smith, they include…

  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Yeast

Surprisingly, dogs aren’t naturally allergic to many of these items. It’s just that these are the ingredients most commonly used in dog food recipes.

So, they’re simply the ones dogs are most frequently exposed to.

And many times, it’s not even the ingredients that are the problem. Dogs can also be allergic to what’s in the ingredients, too.

Why Food May Not Be the Cause
of Your Dog’s Allergies

Contrary to popular belief, food isn’t always the cause of a canine allergy.

According to an article by Drs. Foster and Smith, food allergies account for just 10% of all canine allergies. They’re only the third most common cause — ranked well behind fleas and atopic (non-contact) allergies.

Yet food is the first to be blamed whenever a dog shows any sign of an allergic reaction — like itchy skin.

And that begs the question: Is it really an allergy in the first place?

Food Allergy — or Food Intolerance?

Food allergies and food intolerances are considered two different issues.

A food allergy occurs when a dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food ingredient as harmful. And then creates defensive antibodies to fight the invading enemy (the food).

A food intolerance is a digestive problem rather than an immune response. An intolerance occurs when a dog’s digestive system is unable to digest a specific ingredient.

For example, lactose intolerance is a common condition in which a dog is unable to break down lactose (a sugar found in milk).

Different Conditions with Different Symptoms

The symptoms of an allergy can include (but are not limited to) skin rash, hives, itching, paw biting, obsessive licking and sometimes nausea or vomiting.

The signs of food intolerance include (mainly) digestive distress, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Again, let’s use milk as an example…

A milk intolerance would look more like gastric distress. This can include symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhea.

However, a true milk allergy would produce an immune reaction (for example, itching or a rash).

The Bottom Line

If you believe your pet is suffering from a food intolerance or a food allergy, you may wish to consider feeding a commercial dog food that’s been specifically designed — by its manufacturer — to help.

At the end of this article, you’ll find a list of dog foods that meet two requirements. These are products that have been rated at least three stars by The Dog Food Advisor.

And they’ve been recommended by their manufacturers to be appropriate for dogs with food allergies or food intolerances.

Please keep in mind, of course, this list should not be considered a complete catalog of all the hypoallergenic foods on the market. We only provide this small group as a starting point.

As a matter of fact, if you know of a specific dog food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re looking for some suggestions yourself, be sure to look through our readers’ comments below to find some good ideas.

A Final Word

The information included in this article is offered in good faith and represents the views and opinions of the author only.

Although it’s our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods

  • Lynda Le

    Did you mean to respond to my message? My dog is on a raw diet and luckily I have pet insurance that covers most of the tests. It did help figuring out what he is allergic to, although it hasn’t helped control his allergies. We are currently doing a vinegar water rinse although if you don’t mind telling me how you do yours?

  • Bobby dog

    I think you meant to respond to someone else.

  • Kami Kaze

    Vinegar/water rinse is great to wipe the areas with. Helps keep them dry and PH balanced. So staph has a harder time growing.

    Raw diet is another good option to look into!

    Sadly those tests u took are expensive and don’t seem to ever resolve much.

  • Bobby dog

    I understand, I was suggesting these books because they include balanced raw recipes. Some may include recipes that need vitamins or pre-mixes, but not all. Feeding an unbalanced recipe for longer than a few months will also cause health issues, skin and digestive issues being a few examples. Ensuring his raw diet is balanced is something to explore as well.

  • Lynda Le

    To be honest from our research we don’t believe in adding additional mixes into his raw food if we have all the ingredients he needs. We are open to supplements that may help target allergies.

  • Bobby dog

    These books are often recommended by regular DFA posters who feed raw or make their own meals, “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” by Steve Brown, “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” by Dr. Karen Becker, and “Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals” by Dr. Lew Olson. Each book contains recipes and info about balancing homemade diets.

    Here’s some other resources for raw/home cooked meals. See Spot Live Longer dinner mix is not being sold at this time, but should return in the spring with a few new recipes including one for bone in raw diets:

  • Lynda Le

    We feed based on the prey model and we make sure that he gets everything he needs to be a complete diet. Although we do give him fruits and some veggies as treats. This is the first time we are considering “supplements” since we are at a loss to his recurring staph infection.

  • Bobby dog

    Do you use a vitamin pre-mix or do you supplement another way to be sure it’s a balanced diet?

  • Lynda Le

    Home prepared but we may try the commercial one after we finish with this batch to see if a “rare” protein (venison or bison) will help.

  • Bobby dog

    One more question. You are feeding raw, is it commercial or home prepared?

  • Lynda Le

    I agree, Sadly I just found out two weeks ago that probiotics are good for him when taking antibiotics. I also wish I knew that a couple years ago.

  • Lynda Le

    Thank you!

  • Bobby dog

    Probiotics should help him since antibiotics also kill good bacteria. I was missing this info when I was giving antibiotics to my dog. I believe if I would have given him probiotics when I first started treating him for his skin issues he would have healed faster. It’s good you are open to second opinions! If you do find a Holistic Vet on the AHVMA site you could always call first to discuss your dog to see if you feel they could help.

  • DogFoodie

    Here’s a widget to help you locate a holistic vet near you:

  • Lynda Le

    Thanks for the great info! When I was reading the article I must have overlooked the part about it only treating yeast infection. I thought it was for most allergy symptoms. Although when my dog was a pup he had a yeast infection in his ears that was treated. I notice sometimes it does come back (not as bad as before). I looked online and it’s potentially red yeast since the base of his nails also turn a reddish-brown color. I also read that it’s a secondary symptom due to allergies. I assumed that if I can get to the root of his staph infection (allergy), the mild yeast issue will go away too or even vice versa. The dermatologist doesn’t think there is a link though. I have consulted my vet about getting a second opinion from a dif dermatologist but honestly I don’t trust any will give me a holistic approach. I’ll have to see in time if giving him a good probiotic will help. He’s currently still on antibiotics to clear away his infection so results are not accurate.

  • Bobby dog

    I have that article from WDJ bookmarked; it’s about malassezia pachydermatis yeast. I might have read every article out there on yeast overgrowth when I was searching for answers to help my dog. In this article they also discuss “Seacure.” I have never used it, but a few DFA posters have. They recommended using it for as long as needed then stop when the issue is resolved and moving onto other supplements if needed:

    Was your dog diagnosed with yeast overgrowth? If so what type? Since your dog has been on antibiotics quite a bit the side effects of using them are something to consider.

    Here’s an article about canine candida yeast overgrowth sourced from the WDJ:

    I decided on Swanson’s Soil Based Probiotic because of the extras that were included. I don’t see any harm in rotating probiotics. If you plan to do this I would rotate with one that has some different strains in it for diversity. I plan to switch to a different probiotic when I finish this one and I will always use kefir as a probiotic too.

    Holistic Vets do specialize in certain areas of medicine, but I am not sure you will find one that specializes in just allergies. As JeremyScottRenolds suggested, a phone consultation is an alternative if you are unable to find a Holistic Vet in your area.

    Here’s a site to find one in your area:

    You could also consider getting a second opinion from another Vet Dermatologist:

  • Lynda Le

    Thanks, I noticed the food is from the UK. I’m not sure it’s available in the US but we are hoping to stick with raw.

  • Lynda Le

    Thanks! I will contact her.

  • Emily

    Incase you haven’t already stumbled upon it, look at Nutrix food. They have a duck and potato food which has helped some GSD with EPI. I have fed my springer their food before when he was having sensitive tum.

  • Emily

    I know you say it’s not food, but just incase you haven’t stumbled upon it already. Have a look at Nutrix food. Seems to of helped dogs…

  • JeremyScottRenolds

    If there are no holistic vets in your area you can always do a phone consultation. My suggestion would be Dr. Karen Becker…she understands how to strengthen the immune system so the body can heal itself.

  • Lynda Le

    I hope your dog gets better. I just wanted to say your pup looks exactly like my guy! I’m not sure what the rest of his body looks like but my dog is all white with the same looking face as yours.

    Besides that can you try medicated baths? I’ve heard great things about Douxo but never tried since I’m on Trizchlor. You can also try switching to raw. My dog never tolerated commercial kibble even if it was high quality. We had him since he was a puppy and kibble never sat well in his tummy. Commercial raw isn’t cheap and home prepared raw can be time consuming but it’s worth a shot. I read that even if your dog is allergic to a specific protein from commercial dog food, it doesn’t mean they will be allergic to that protein raw.

  • Lynda Le

    Thanks! After Googling probiotics there are so many options that it’s overwhelming. I’ll prob start a trial of each highly recommended brand to see which works best (if any). Let me know if that’s not recommended though. Since you have had success with your I will look into that. I was also on the whole dog journal but a different blog. Have you read this one? It gives great suggestions but I’m not sure if it applies to me.

    I actually thought about taking my dog to a holistic vet but either my google skills suck or there’s not really many ( none so far) that specializes in dogs with allergies in my area.

    It just feels like I am missing something- so close but still so far-. Why would he only get staph infection on his face and not body…if only I knew!

  • Bobby dog

    The only other suggestion I have for you is if I were in your situation and I was not comfortable with the options my Vet Dermatologist has discussed with me, I would probably look for a holistic Vet for a second opinion and possible alternative treatment. I would also consult a veterinary nutritionist to be sure my dog is getting all he can out of his diet to help fight his re-occurring infections.

    I used kefir for my dog up until a few months ago. I switched to a human probiotic, Swanson Soil Based Organisms. Bobby had some yeasty
    skin resurface so it was time to rotate to a stronger probiotic along with some other temporary changes. He weighs a little over 40 lbs. and I have been giving him a half a capsule every other day for about a month. Since his skin is better, at the end of the month I am switching to ½ capsule 2x/week.

    Other human probiotics that regular DFA posters use and recommend are Dr. Stephen Langer’s Ultimate 16 Strain Probiotic, NOW Foods Probiotic Defense, Garden of Life Primal Defense Probiotics, and Lee Swanson Signature Line Ultimate Probiotic Formula. I think I will try this one next, ActiPet Ultra Probiotic For Dogs & Cats; all can be found on the Swanson vitamins website. Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics For Pets is also recommended.

    Here’s some info on probiotics and how to dose human probiotics for dogs:

  • Lynda Le

    Do you have a particular brand that you know work well from experience? The vet recommended Fortiflora

  • Bobby dog

    I would.look into a probiotic with at least 12 different strains and higher cfu’s/serving. Yogurt & kefir is ok but when your pet is not doing well something stronger might help.

  • Lynda Le

    Hi Bobby, I actually did read your reply to Maddy and we are already doing most of the things you listed. He’s currently eating yogurt for probiotics, and doing vinegar rinse. The only thing left is coconut oil but I’ve been hesitating b/c he takes fish oil. It’s also b/c I haven’t been to the store to search for one.

    The weirdest thing about my dog’s staph infection is it only happens on his face. It doesn’t explain the licking though.

    The dermatologist is pretty sure it’s not food related and doesn’t want to do another trial (unless I REALLY want to). I think though after we finish up his current protein, we may buy him commercial raw w a protein that he has never had before just to be sure (bison/venison).

    She’s pushing for Atopica which is a last resort for me.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Lynda:
    Check out my reply below to Maddy Mullins. Your Vet was correct about the inaccuracy of food allergy testing.

  • Lynda Le

    Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

  • Lynda Le

    My dog has allergies that we can’t seem to resolve. He had both blood and environmental testing and he’s basically allergic to everything in nature and dust. We have him on injections (previously on oral allergens as well). The food test- although our dermatologist said not to trust- came back negative for food allergies. The issue is his face will every few months grow staph bacteria and infection. He’s constantly on/off antibiotics. He doesn’t itch or scratch but he’s always infected. We have him on daily medicated baths with Trizchlor4 and it helps but doesn’t resolve the issue. We are at a loss on what to do. We don’t want him on steroids or Atopica or antibiotics for the rest of his life. The past year he’s been licking his mouth in the morning and sometimes throwing up. We and the vet are at a loss as to why. We already did a food trial based on the dermatologist’s supervision and it didn’t work to control his allergies so we don’t think it’s food related. He’s currently eating raw. The proteins are chicken and beef.

  • Susan

    Sounds like he needs a low fat & low carb diet like Patch is on, Have you tried some boiled pumkin, not much about 1 tablespoon, its good for their stomach & bowel, I give Patch about 1 tablespoon every morning
    mixed with his boiled chicken breast also a nutrionist told me to try rice noodles, as my boy cant eat boiled rice, he can have gounded rice in kibbles but if I give boiled rice he gets real sloppy poo, vets said the boiled rice irratates his bowel….also have u tried adding a boiled egg, I use to add 1/2 a boiled egg with his chicken & pumkin & put the other 1/2 egg in air tight container for the next day…Also instead of chicken I was using Tuna in spring water I’d drain the spring water, but Patch lost to much weight on the tin tuna but his fur was beautiful & shinney….also I give Patch a little thin slice of Banana all mashed up its not much but he waits in the kitchen every morning for his little bit of Banana, I also give Watermelon a piece all chopped up after walks, he’s a bugger for not drinking much water this way he gets his fluids from the watermelon…..

  • Maddy Mullins

    thanks for the info. If i have to take him back to the vet that will be my next thing i will bring up with them. Well right now all he is getting is rice and turkey. I had to start over. Hes allergic to chicken, potatoes, carrots, yogurt, green beans or cauliflower (starting over to see which one it is), beef makes him gassy, wheat. Thats all i have been able to narrow down. I dont give him any treats and if i do its hypo-allergenic. I have been using a tea tree and aloe shampoo for him its called espree.

  • Susan

    Maddy there’s another lady on this site, DORI, she has a little girl with allergies too, she often talks about white shade veggies, I think they are called white shade veggies…she feeds raw diet but I cant remember which foods she mite see this post..Bobby dog has given really good links….

  • Susan

    He sounds like what my boy was having, in the end I had a Endoscope done, the camera down his throat & biopies you need biopies cause when vet looked he saw nothing, he said everything looked good, 5 days later got the byopies back & Patch has helicobacter infection, this causes bad acid reflux, eating grass, feeling sick licking & licking his lips, I thought he had ulcers but there wasnt even any scaring from any old ulcers when vet looked, so its been the helicobacter for the last 2 years….he was put on the Eukanuba Intestinal Low residue as this kibble breaks down real easy & less work for their stomach/bowel vets kept saying IBD IBD,& wanted him on steriods (Prednisone) lucky I kept saying NO, I hate blind treating a dog without knowing whats wrong, I tried every food kept thinking its his diet, its the kibble, he’s was eating , no it was the helicobacter, he has been put on triple therapy 2 x anibiotics, Metronidazole & Amoxicillin & should be taken with Losec (omeprazole) but Patch cant take so he’s on Zantac for the acid, they take the triple therapy for 3 weeks, then hopefully the bad bacteria in Patches stomach will been gone, I kept saying he has the Helicobacter but the vets wouldnt listen if Patch just went on these 3 drugs he wouldnt of keep suffering,,,also Im putting Patch on a gluten free diet Ive been reading about Lectins in foods that cause allergies, stomach problems, IBD symtoms etc in humans & dogs,Lectin are in potatoes, tomatoes, rice wheat, rye peas,all the seed grass family..Google “Lectins” the lectin cells bind to the GI tract the intestinal wall causing all these problems,
    What are you feeding him??? everything I feed Patch affected him, he’d have hive like lumps, itchy ears, itchy skin, rash, diarrhea etc, its something about breaking down these proteins in meats & grains..are u on F/B if so join this group “Dogs with Inflammatory bowel disorder” its for stomach problems, etc like what ur dog is having, there’s a few good heads of knowledge that will help aswell, as they have been thru the same thing… I’m now trying to fix Patches skin allergies, Ive done the elimination diet & found he cant eat Potatos,peas,sweet potaoes, rye, millet,all foods that are high in Lectins.., .also are u bathing in Malaseb medicated shapmoo, this shampoo is excellent, it doesnt strip the oils in their skin & kills any bacteria in their skin leaving their fur so soft I have to bath every 5-7 days to keep Patch itch free thru the summer months winter about every 2 weeks to stop his itch, But know Im starting to learn more about how they can be allgeric to certain foods, What are u feeding, even treats have wheat & things that can make then break out in a red rash..start trying a grain & gluten free diet & see how he does, He looks like my boy, I have a English Staffy, ur boy has the white fur like my Patch, my vet said he always see bad cases with skin problems with dogs that have the white fur & …I wonder why,

  • dogist

    Hi Maddy Mullins,

    Sorry to hear about the issues you are having.

    For a homemade diet to determine what he MIGHT be allergic to I would recommend a single protein that he has NOT eaten before and a single carb that he has NOT eaten before.

    For a protein I would try Venison first if he hasn’t eaten it before, his ancestors have been eating it for MILLIONS of years! Other choices would be:

    mahi mahi

    I would avoid any poultry.

    For a carb I would look at:
    Butternut Squash

    I would go with 80% meat and 20% carb, for at least 12 weeks. Any treats given during the trial MUST be the same as the meat or carb you are using. SO if you are feeding Venison, the treat MUST be 100% Venison.

    Feed NOTHING other than the one carb and one protein! After 2 to 4 weeks I would add a vitamin -mineral mix to his food to start to balance it.

    I recommend:

    Please keep us posted so we can continue to help you out! Good Luck!!!

  • Bobby dog

    Your dog’s issues could be food, environmental, or other issues. Since you are already spending money on meds and seeing your Vet I would look for a Vet Dermatologist to help my dog rather than a traditional Vet. Also ask about bathing therapy to help heal your dog’s skin. Here’s a link that may help you find one:

    If your dog does have food sensitivities you will probably be able to narrow down the foods that don’t agree with him. Keep the ingredient lists of all the foods you have fed including treats. Finding ingredients these foods have in common will help find the culprits.

    If a food trial is recommended work with your Vet rather than attempting one on your own. You will get results faster. Feeding a dog an unbalanced diet for the duration of a proper elimination diet is fine, feeding an unbalanced diet longer will result in other health issues for your dog. Food allergy tests in dogs are inaccurate and a waste of money. Here is info on food allergy tests and elimination diets:

    If there is a food sensitivity a home made diet will not help if you don’t identify the protein causing issues with him. Any diet must be balanced so you need to research how to make one. You can find info on the forum side of Dog Food Advisor or check out for info on homemade diets and suggestions on vitamins/pre-mixes that can be added.

    Here’s some info on vinegar and povidone/iodine rinses that may help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. If you try the povidone/iodine rinse and your dog goes outside leave it on for about ten-twenty minutes, then rinse with clean water; it will make the skin sensitive to the sun. Povidone/iodine is affordable and you can find it in drugstores and Wal-Mart:
    It might take some time to solve his issues, but you can get there!

  • Maddy Mullins

    I have a 6 year old basset pit bull mix, I adopted him 4 and a half years ago. The older he has gotten the worse his allergies have got. I take him to the vet all the time and they know him very well but due to money issue i can not afford a allergy test. I live paycheck to paycheck so I am doing everything thing I can. I have went through so many dog food brands each resulting in a break out of some sort. The last dog food I had him on he got an ulcer, he couldnt break down the Hills diet food. So I have been making his own food, it has cleared up ulcer but yet again hes broke out. I have been giving him pre biotics for his digestive system, but I NEED HELP finding a direction to go for a sensitive homemade diet. It breaks my heart to see him in pain and his ears and belly are so red and itchy. Every time he seem like he is doing good, blam something pops up. I cant find a meat source that does not effect him.

  • Joey David

    I’ve returned the NB Kangaroo/Potote formula with Nature Instinct Raw Food Duck it has very limited ingredients.

  • Bobby dog

    A Vet Dermatologist is a good place to start to figure out if it is environmental or food sensitivities.

  • Joey David

    I’m finding difficult to comprehend that dogs can be allergic to all this food. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, almost every single thing. Maybe it’s where I live that’s causing this, it has to be something other than food. I don’t understand how a dog can be allergic to almost every food source up until recently. Before he didn’t have this issue. My other dog is not affected, but that doesn’t mean anything. As for NB I will probably exchange the food for the 4th time to the store, they thought I found the right food because I told them it helped, but it didn’t..oh well.

  • Susan

    Your getting somewhere now cause if the NB made him worse he’s probably like my boy CANT have POTATOs, as the NB was the Potatoes & Kangaroo, have you looked at “K9Natural” this food was invented for skin allergies in dogs especially dogs with bad yeast problems here’s their site , they make freeze dried or frozen raw, click on the “Shop Online” then it says “Choose location” click on ur location then the freeze dried meals all come up click on a food & look at their ingredients, its worth a try also you can give the K9 nautral for breakfast & then maybe cook a meat & add a low low carb veggie no potatos, no sweet potatoes, no peas, no carrots, no pasta, no veggies that are high in carbs..ur probably best with boiled rice to start with or look at the ingredients in the K9 Natural & use those with ur own meat, Id use salmon as a meat & use sardines as a treat also go gluten free thats what Im looking at at the moment….but the Steriod will work only when he’s on them then as soon as he stops taken the steriod it all comes back, so its just temparory, are you bathing in Malaseb medicated fungal shampoo, as this really works well… I have to bath every 5-7days especially his paws..

  • Noodles

    There have been numerous studies done, actually, even though this drug was only launched this year. We knew it was coming to market about a year ago when it entered FDA testing. It’s Atopica’s main competitor. This drug has been an ongoing project for Zoetis (Pfizer) for 10 years and they have patented the JKI process – nobody else knows how to do this. In the veterinary industry, we are well trained in all the drugs we elect to bring in to our practice and all studies regarding them. You may also call Zoetis at any time to ask for more information. The most common side effects are vomitting & diarrhea.
    It should not be given in conjunction with cyclosporines or to dogs with severe infections (Apoquel can suppress the immune system).
    We call this drug “client crack” because owners keep coming back and begging for it (but we are of course, sold out and the drug is on backorder) which is the only problem we’ve had. In a very large AAHA practice, we haven’t had any clients who’ve said it is not working.
    Seriously give it a try and if you don’t like it, what have you lost? It’s fully effective in 4 hours, so you should know in about a day if you and your pet like it or not. Honestly, the change in my dog has been remarkable and after 2 weeks we backed him down to once per day, then after another 2 weeks, none at all. You CAN do allergy testing while using it, too (not so with steroids or antihistamines).
    Your other option besides Atopica (prolonged use is known to cause vestibular issues, etc) are steroids.
    My dog is unable to take steroids due to behavioral change (and even the strongest dose never alleviated his itching).
    I would also recommend a bathing regimen with medicated shampoo (we use Ketoconazole /Chlorhexadine), but ask your vet. Your dog’s ‘smell’ is possibly yeast, which the medicated bath will improve.
    I used to use Natural Balance (LID’s) till the company was bought out and production location changed. My dog also never had a solid stool on it. He’s intolerant of beef, all dairy, egg, soy, corn, wheat, artificial colors. I have done medically monitored elim. diets since he was 9 months (its been years as the list grows) and I’m now ready to move on to Allercept. This year is also the first that he’s had inhalant allergies and they are as yet, unidentified (you’re in the same boat!).
    I’m not terribly concerned with the level of protein in Orijen for my little guy. Preventing stones is simple… access to a constant supply of fresh water, add water to food, supplement diet with cranberry (ie Cranberry Comfort), allow pet outside to urinate as needed (vs.making him hold it for long periods), and regular veterinary care. I also needed something for my young active cat to eat with the same ingredients as those for my dog, so if he stole a kibble or two, he wouldn’t have diarrhea all night. They are both on the Six Fish and doing very well!

  • Joey David

    I researched the drug you mentioned, and it’s a fairly new medication. There are no studies or evidence to show what the side affects may be. So you can’t really judge until more studies are done.
    The Natural Balance food, sometimes 2-3 stools a day. Most times 2.

    I had them on Orijen too, they put too much protein in the food, 5 different typs. It can cause kidney stones and other problems. My vet told me he had just had a patient with dog with a kidney stone, the dog was on Acana (same company). Foods with that much protein is meant for big active dogs. They (acana) also have the Singles version which is one source of protein, but he was scratching like crazy on that, don’t know if it was the peas which it has abundance of or the stuff they put in it, the same what yogurt has, for digestion.

  • Joey David

    One of the recommendations from a previous vet was the process elimination diet. Right now all I give him is some carrots and a little dried piece of sweet pototoe for snack. And for food he’s on Natural Balance. Currently, I have him on a very low dosage (2.5mg) of that steroid and only temporary.It’s not a long term treatment nor do I want him to be on that.

    This has been very stressful for me as I want to fix him and get rid of this problem.

    The interesting thing is that all this just started 2 years ago when I moved to a new place a few blocks away. Who knows.

    Going back to the food, I am not too confident about Natural Balance for some reason. I question the quality of their ingredients. Food companies can say whatever to sell.

  • Noodles

    The steroid you were rx’d was likely Prednisone/Prednisolone OR Temaril-P (contains Pred too). Steroid side-effects are horrid. Before Atopica though, pleeeease ask your vet for an rx of Apoquel. It’s new technology and currently VERY hard to get a hold of because it works so well that it’s constantly on backorder, but search around for it. Apoquel works differently than any drug currently on the market – it’s a Janus Kinase Inhibitor …. in other words, it works to stop the itch… in 4 hours, and then… for as long as your dog takes it. No more scratching, biting, licking, chewing. It does not stop the cause of the underlying problem, so your pet will still get gunky ears and rashy skin but it won’t bother him. No more secondary bacterial infections from scratching. You can identify and treat the cause of the skin issues while providing relief to your pet and there’s almost zero side effects or contraindications and can be given long term. I do work at a vet clinic and my YorkiePoo is on Apoquel -after being on a million other things – due for HESKA’s Allercept allergy testing (food & inhalant) next week.
    Also, I feed Orijen Six Fish dry kibble with no intolerance issues to date and he avgs 2 solid stools per day (sometimes 1).

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Joey David:
    Does your Vet Dermatologist suspect environmental or food sensitivities? Has your Vet Dermatologist discussed an elimination diet with you if food sensitivity is suspected? Also, ask about bathing therapy (medicated shampoo) to help relieve his discomfort and help heal his skin.

    If an elimination diet is recommended I would work with your Vet rather than attempting one on your own and putting your dog through needless discomfort and eating an unbalanced diet for longer than needed. Food for elimination diets may be prescription or homemade. Dogs can handle unbalanced diets for a short period during a proper elimination diet, any longer than that won’t be good for his health. It can be expensive, but no more than visiting the Vet and paying for meds regularly as it sounds like you already have been doing for the poor guy. Here’s some info on food trials:

    If your dog does have a food sensitivity you are one step ahead of the game since you have fed kibbles that your dog has not done well eating. Get the labels for all of the foods you have fed him and he reacted to and compare ingredients. Look for common ingredients in the foods that may have caused issues for your dog.

    You can find information on the forum side of DFA about feeding a raw diet to your dog. It is important to feed a balanced diet to your dog so it is very important to research feeding a dog a raw diet before attempting it. Good luck, I have been in your shoes!

  • an droichead

    I’m still wrestling with isolating all of the allergen culprits with my
    Westie, an adult rescue I adopted 3 months ago. (bounced out of a puppy
    mill, in heartbreakinglyHORRID condition)
    I have to say this: I
    loathe giving him the heartworm preventative too, knowing I am placing
    him in a constant state of mini-poison. BUT…if you saw my sweetheart
    when I first found him, you would never, ever think twice, nor risk your
    own pet getting HEARTWORM, it is a killer. Heartworm is absolutely
    ghastly for a pet to endure, any animal. So is the treament, and weeks
    following..(near death for weeks) Also, the treatment itself, can easily
    kill the dog. What’s more, that treatment Improperly administered, a
    dog can suffer even more horridly. Trust me, although the preventative
    is scary, and regrettable as felt, the consequences of your beloved
    contracting H. is FAR, FAR worse!! Hope that helps ease your
    conscience. I hate giving the preventative, but I do, both of us having
    survived the ordeal of H. that he was resuced with. :) Best of luck and good health to your little guy!!

  • an droichead

    I’m still wrestling with isolating all of the allergen culprits with my Westie, an adult rescue I adopted 3 months ago. (bounced out of a puppy mill, in heartbreakinglyHORRID condition)
    I have to say this: I loathe giving him the heartworm preventative too, knowing I am placing him in a constant state of mini-poison. BUT…if you saw my sweetheart when I first found him, you would never, ever think twice, nor risk your own pet getting HEARTWORM, it is a killer. Heartworm is absolutely ghastly for a pet to endure, any animal. So is the treament, and weeks following..(near death for weeks) Also, the treatment itself, can easily kill the dog. What’s more, that treatment Improperly administered, a dog can suffer even more horridly. Trust me, although the preventative is scary, and regrettable as felt, the consequences of your beloved contracting H. is FAR, FAR worse!! Hope that helps ease your conscience. I hate giving the preventative, but I do, both of us having survived the ordeal of H. that he was resuced with. :)

  • Joey David

    Just when I thought that changing to Natural Balance Kangeroo was helping my dog with allergies it’s not. The blackness in hi ears got worse and now he’s got mucous coming out of his eyes which has an odour, he scratches his eyes, ears and rolls on the floor all time as his back itches him as well. I went to a vet, who recommended I take him to a dermatologist. He also prescribed a low dosage of some steroid for temporary relief for 4 days. As long term use has long term side affects. He recommended TOPICA which is very expensive $150 a month.

    This has been very frustrating and emotionally draining for me because I hate seeing animals suffer. I want to fix him and make it go away but nothing has been working. I tried almost every food out there. Bought air purifier, sanitized floors etc as it can be environmental. But nothing has improved.

    I have no confidence in Natural Balance for some reason. A lot of these premium brands say their ingredients are the good but do we really know the quality..just because these companies say there are for marketing purposes, where exactly do they get their ingredients? Outsourced from another country with not as stringent inspection or quality control?

    How about making my own dog food, like a Raw Diet?

  • JustSayYES

    He does have thyroid disease and looks exactly like he did when first diagnosed. Had blood tests Monday and vet told me today his thyroid is normal.. I disagreed with him but he doesn’t seem to give a crap. I know another vet that will see this is the issue.

  • Morgen Stern

    the hair loss sounds like possible thyroid issues. Try getting him tested the proper way… Most vets are unaware that typical tests often fail to show up the problem.
    “Dr. Dodds: Because the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is often complicated, we need to run complete thyroid profiles (i.e., T3, T4, free T3, free T4, T3 and T4 auto antibodies, plus thyroglobulin auto antibody and TSH where indicated) rather than just one or two analytes (e.g., T4, TSH, free T4) We need to look at the whole picture along with the clinical history…”

  • Lynn

    I have a 7 year old Great Pyrenees girlwho is very allergic. I had her tested (saliva) for her food allergies. It cost about $180.00. Well worth it!!! Then I found a website of a Pet store that lists all of the brands of food they carry which also listed the ingredients of each one. I only found one food that my girl can have after looking at dozens! Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes depends on the dog. They are not the same. My girl is allergic to regular white potatoes but she can have sweet potatoes. Instead of putting your dog through all of the trial and error get her tested! You BOTH will be much happier and it will save you BOTH in the long run. Also, realize that foods such as lentils and peanuts are related such as peas, & chickpeas. Go over the food allergens and what they are related to with your vet after testing.

  • Debbie

    Hi Sandra, Lexus is on Apoquel now. It is rather expensive, and it is working. I am also taking her to a vet dermatologist. Thankfully we have Care Credit, and my vet bill is 6 months same as cash. So I just have to get it paid in that time to avoid paying interest. We’ve tried everything and finally Apoquel, which has relieved the itchiness. It was like 82.00 for the Apoquel, two times a day for two weeks, then once a day there on. So I’m thinking it will be around 60.00-70.00 or so a month thereafter. I hope she can stay on it. And I changed her dog food to Natural Balance Limited Ingredient dog food. Because you could actually smell a corn smell (like Fritos) coming from her paws when she was at her worst. I don’t know if she was allergic to her previous food, but she doesn’t have that corn smell any longer. And her paws are so much better. And thats largely from wearing the cone. Shes been on the Apoquel going on two weeks, and I catch her sometimes licking her feet a little, but not chewing. But I think it was such a habit, it will probably take a while to get over it. And she’s not scratching much at all now. I think some is normal. Its such a relief to see her relaxed and happy, and not scratching all the time and being miserable. I’m going to try to stay on top of this and keep her healthy. Her skin and paws were such a mess, I don’t want her to get in that shape again. I hope Jetta gets over her itchiness. I wish her the best.

  • Sandra Munafo Meltzer

    Hey Debbie, I had my Jetta on Apoquel. It worked, problem is it’s very expensive. $100 for 30 pills she had to take it 2x daily. Once I stopped giving it to her she started itching again. I am now taking her to see a vet dermatologist. Still haven’t seen an improvement , also is on antibiotic and medicated shampoo. I think I have to change her food. I hoping this is the course because she is miserable . Oh yeah the vet isn’t that cheap either .. We call Jetta” The million dollar dog” lol.
    Well, I hope my Jetta and your Shelty get relief soon. Good Luck!!!

  • Babslynne

    Have you tried something herbal, I’ve heard if you feed them foods with some garlic it helps keep the worms away, not too much garlic though! Also maybe try a medicated shampoo like Sulfodene, the flees won’t like the taste of his skin and they will stay away also. A little research might be needed.

  • Babslynne

    Also try giving him probiotic pearls, it will balance the yeast in his system, I use them for my previously itchy dog, along with Nuvet plus, and a bath with Sulfodene medicated shampoo 1 or 2 times a week

  • Bob K

    Olga – For the majority of dog owners, commercial dog food works fine. Unfortunately you have a sickly mutt that has caused you lots of work and added cost. Congratulations on your commitment to your loved one, many people would have given up long ago.

  • Susan

    You also need a good medicated dog shampoo… I use” Malaseb medicated shampoo” this relieves their itch, kills any bacteria on their skin & doesnt dry their skin out, after a bath my boy feels so soft…. Vet said to bath every 5-7 days, as soon as he starts rolling on my rug means he itchy, then its bath time…..then he’s normal again, no boy is a bugger loves running thru long grass & pooing in bushes..

  • Susan

    Esme, sweet potatoes have more fiber & lower in carbs & starch & healthier then normal potatoes, but my boy cant have normal potatoes he gets bad diarrhea & gets a itchy rash all over his chest & with sweet potatoes he gets real itchy smelly ears, the only way to know is to boil some potatoes & add to food & see if she’ll start to itch & get the yeasty smell again, I’d say she will as potatoes are very starchy & yeast loves starch, it all depends on the dog, all dogs are different..I think my boy can have any starchy foods he seems allergic to starch, peas gave him bad wind & itch’s a link Sweet Potatoes v’s Potatoes

  • theBCnut

    This food isn’t magic. Dogs can be intolerant or allergic to it’s ingredients just like they are to other food’s ingredients.

  • JustSayYES

    Hi. We just did duck and it didn’t go well :(… Hopping off to get Kangaroo!

  • Karla Bravo


  • Olga Roberts

    I have a lovely 11 yr old mutt whose allergies cause severe intestinal issues. For the first 10 years of her life–after discovering her allergies to commercial dog food–I changed her diet to raw. She blossomed. Intestinal issues stopped, fur grew back, she gained weight–and became a very happy dog. In the past year she’s had trouble tolerating raw because of its richness. We’ve had to feed her boiled chicken, with occasional vegetables mixed in, with a teaspoon of rice, or quinoa. Natural vitamins are a must, as well as joint vitamins for arthritis. She’s doing fine, so far. Good luck. Dog owners didn’t feed dogs commercial dog food before the 1940’s, when it first came to market. It really does mess them up.

  • JustSayYES

    I found it nearby! Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it… x’g fingers… millions of dollars later… the gold plated dog could be healed! LOL

  • JustSayYES

    I will do that. Thanks.

  • JustSayYES

    Thanks very much!!

  • Joey David

    You can ask them or another store to special order it for you, when I went to the one nearby here they asked me if I wanted them to order it for me. I’m in Toronto.

  • JustSayYES

    Ok, there’s one in Kelowna.. 1 1/2 hours away… I’m going to search the food and see if i can find it closer or get my store to bring in. Have him on Taste of the Wild but nothing wild in it.

  • Joey David

    OMG that’s horrible, I am sorry to hear about your dog..I’m in Canada too, I found it at Global Pet Foods. Not all of the locations carry the formula, you should call your local store and ask.

  • JustSayYES

    I’d love to but I am in Canada and have never seen this formula… put him on lamb as that is something I’ve barely fed… seems ok… I wish I could get his eyes healthy looking… white crusty around the edges and no hair…

  • Joey David

    One of my dogs has severe allergies, I tried almost every high quality food, but then I tried Natural Balance Kangaroo/Pototoe formula and his scratching happens less now, he had black spots inside his ears from the allergies and that too has since faded.

    Remember,it’s also what the source of meat is fed as well. So if the duck, rabbits, or whatever is in the food was fed corn etc, it’s passed onto our dogs which then triggers allergies.

    Kangaroo and rabbits are typical sources of meat for dogs in the wild. Chickens, turkeys etc are not.

    I know it’s unethical but try the kangaroo formula.

  • theBCnut

    For two of my dogs, Brother’s has hands down given me the BEST results. The other dog reacts to the eggs and chicken liver in the food. He has always reacted to chicken, but never showed a discernable reaction to chicken liver or chicken eggs, so Brother’s was great even for him. But more recently, I have been able to detect a slight reaction to those ingredients as well. Brother’s is still my favorite kibble.

  • Julie

    theBCnut, are you still feeding your dog Brothers kibble? I read a post from 2013 where you stated you had good results from that food, but here you state that you would go homemade if you could, so I’m wondering if you are still pleased with the Brothers food. I, like you, have to keep in mind the fact that when we travel, my in-laws keep our dog and I can’t impose a high maintenance diet on them.

  • theBCnut

    Have you tried coconut oil?

  • JustSayYES

    What do you use for calories? My dog seems to be ok with fish… can’t eat anything else protein wise… but he is losing weight.. had him on potatoes, carrots etc… need something fattening in there…

  • JustSayYES

    Interesting. I wonder if that could be it… ? My dog has gotten that monthly for a long time. Wouldn’t it be great if that’s what it was?!

  • JustSayYES

    My dog is just like yours except that he weighs 100 lbs and Atopica costs a fortune … not sure what to do with him.. he is almost 11 and it just gets worse.. can’t seem to nail down the allergen.. and it could be environmental… costing a fortune in vet bills… now trying homeopathic but he’s still getting big red hotspots and losing hair like crazy. Stinks, too. So frustrating to not be able to help. Tried homemade diet but that doesn’t seem to help much either.

  • theBCnut

    No white potatos aren’t related. What I did to find foods for my dog with multiple food sensitivities was to go on Chewy dot com and go down their list of dog foods and read the ingredients on every single one. It took hours, but I now have a list of about 20 foods that my dog can eat.

  • Esme Buell

    I have a female Maltese, 7 yrs old. For 4 years I have had her treated for skin problems: chewing feet, staph infections, smelling horrible, very red and sore feet, losing about 40% of her thick hair, licking and swallowing all the time. I thought she was allergic to the typical 5 allergens: chicken, beef, wheat, soy, corn. Not so–Culprit: fish, pork, sweet potatoe, flax and egg. Now try to find food w/o those ingredients! I am feeding her dry Natural Choice Lamb Limited Ingredients. Getting can food without the 4 allergens–that is not so easy in smaller town in Georgia. BUT, best thing for her so far is ATOPICA. Her sores are dried up, smelly odor is gone, her feet are no longer read and crusted, and hopefully her beautiful once so very thick hair will start growing back. I do have one question: will white potatoes cause same allergy as sweet?

  • theBCnut

    I found that to be the case too, much easier to control ingredients that way. I wish I could go 100% homemade all the time, but I have had too many times when someone else in the house has needed a simple way to feed the dogs.**sigh**

  • Jean Causey Blumenthal

    I have taken my dogs off commerical dog food and prepare food for them. Expensive but it has helped.

  • theBCnut

    The fact that it got worse with a food change shows that it is food related, and that the food you changed tohad at least one ingredient that she reacts to. Start collecting ingredient lists of the foods that she has eaten. Compare the ones that you know she did badly on and see if you can determine what they may have in common. Take those ingredient lists with you shopping for food and try to find a food that is as different as you can. You can not wait 6 month in the hopes that a medication may help before trying anything. Your dog is suffering right now, and the new med may not help or be safe for her. I wouldn’t have high hopes for any medication for allergies to help much at all in the case of food allergies when the dog is still eating the offending ingredient.

  • Debbie

    My Shelty is having skin and paw issues. She was constantly chewing her paws and legs until they were just a mess. Shes wearing the cone now which has helped a lot. She is taking meds for thyroid and skin infections. Shes on an antibiotic that I’m hoping will clear up her itch issues. She gets Benadryl 3 times a day, but I don’t know if it helps or not. I want her to be on Apoquel which is supposed to work wonders for pets with allergy issues. But its not widely available right now. I’ve heard it won’t be until next April. I know that thyroid issues can cause skin problems and of course the skin infections can. I also tried a different dog food this summer for a couple of months. It had limited ingredients, but it didn’t seem to help, if anything, it seemed to make things worse. Now I’m trying another limited ingredient dog food. But now I’m thinking I should have waited. I probably need to let the meds kick in and maybe fix the problems, I hope. I just worry that shes not having a very good quality of life due to all the itching and wearing the cone all the time. Shes very much alive, but so are the skin issues. I wish she could be on Apoquel. I took her to a dermatology vet, hoping that they could put her on it. I think when we go back, I’m going to plead, whine, whatever it takes to see if she can be put on it. I think they have it for pets who are already taking it. But not for new patients. I take allergy meds every day. And I used to take the shots, but I got to the point that I didn’t think they were really helping. I still had to take allergy pills daily. So I finally quit with the shots. I don’t know how effective they are with pets. I’m thinking its probably very expensive for the allergy testing for pets. And one of the vets that my Lexus sees said that by the time we might figure out what shes allergic to from the testing, Apoquel will be available. I take care of Lexus the best I can. And she is doing better. I’m just waiting for the medication to kick in and do its healing. I’ll be so glad when her skin and paws are cleared up and healthy like they used to be. I think we get to the point where we don’t know what else to do. So we just keep trying. Thats all we can do.

  • theBCnut

    If you are OK with continuing to make his food, dogaware dot com has some recipes for homemade dog food and Dr Karen Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” has some great recipes. You can start adding foods from a recipe one at a time until you know he is OK with those individual ingredients. Or you can pick a limited ingredient kibble or canned food and try each of the ingredients individually on him, and then move to the new food.
    My dog with food reactions usually only takes 2-3 days before having a reaction, but the latest new food I tried was fine for a full week, then he had the worst reaction he has had yet, so try each new ingredient for at least a couple weeks before you add another one, but if you see any reaction, remove it from the diet immediately.

  • Susan

    Hi Debra, now you add 1 new food, say sweet potato or boiled egg & see how he does that week, if he doesnt scratch, no shaking head with itchy ear problems or has rash & poos are firm, then you know he can have sweet potatos, then the next week or 2 weeks, whatever you feel its ok, add another new food that you want in his diet, it only took my dog 1-2 days to have a reaction to the new food that I added, then I stopped adding the new food & the itchy ear or the rash on his chest or his diarrhea went away, so I knew that it was that new food, also keep a diary when you start adding new foods…..

  • Debra Reynolds

    It looks like you have been given plenty of advice, so I will keep mine brief. I have a very big Ridgeback, who suffered such hot itchy rash on his tummy, licked his underarms raw and had gotten a few ear infections. The vet thought ti was a food allergy.
    She suggested a very expensive commercial product (which they sell).
    I got on line and read lots of info re dogs and food allergies.
    I decided to put him on an all natural food elimination diet for 12 weeks (recommended over the normal 8 by several vet sites).
    We took him off all dry kibble. and for 12 weeks fed him turkey necks and boiled potato. This was the recommended diet on at least 2 sites I visited.
    After about 8 weeks his tummy was clear of rash, his hair started to grow back and at 12 weeks he was slimmed down and looking pretty good.
    My dilemma now is reintroducing things and making sure he has enough nutrition in his diet.
    The elimination diet of turkey and potatoes was pretty economical. Hope this helps.

  • Susan

    Hi Derm, I forgot to mention I keep a diary so I can look back how his skin & paws were this time last year, vet recommended keeping diary she said i’ll start to see a pattern if he has Seasonal Environment allergies….At night I just write if poos were firm, what he ate that day, where we walked etc..
    I just looked back 1 year ago & he was doing really well, no red paws & he was just eating vet diet Euknauba Intestinal for his IBD..So he must be either eating something thats causing his red paws or its the wet grass again, You start pulling ur hair out sometimes…Im dreading Summer thats when he’s at his worst, Im trying to sort everything out now before summer comes…

  • derms

    My problem is I am very cynical about vets at the moment. I feel they encourage the machine that is the pet flea/heartworm industry. I’m not convinced its all required. I’m doing my homework. It very convenient that everything is required no matter what, once a month. These industries are driven by scaring the hell out of people into thinking if they don’t use it their dog/cat will definitely get all the related problems. Its all preventative rather than reactive. It never used to be this way and people have always had dogs and cats long before this industry appeared.

    Anyhow he is currently on freeze dried raw K9 Lamb feast. Its grain free and all natural. Nothing added. Im giving him a month on it. Until today he was also having mashed sweet potato and carrot. Ive read these can cause reactions so ceased using them. He has a vitamin powder and and omega oil mix all made by the natural pet food company. He’s also started on Organic Coconut oil. Im going to see how he responds to it all.

    I’m also looking into holistic/natural flea and worm treatments. I’m no hippy and i’m not sold on it either. I am however as i said not convinced there isn’t something out there other than chemicals. Has anyone heard of anything with proof? Im reading lots of sites with products but dont seem to be able to find conclusive evidence that they work.

  • derms

    Thanks for the link I will look into it.
    Re the wet grass : for a while i have suspected this but because im at the start of the journey i cant pin point it yet. I have started to rinse his feet quickly each time we get back from a walk. I use Malaseb and have done for about a week as recommended by the vet. Thanks for your comments :)

  • Susan

    Hi Derms, I also live Australia Newcastle, My Patch also gets the red itchy paws, I found they are worse after weeks of rain & walking on wet grass, I bath his paws in Detol when they are real bad,I fill a shallow bath & add 2 caps of Detol & soak his paws for 1-2 mins then pat them dry, the Detol relieves the redness & itch or I use the Malaseb Medicated shampoo it kills any bacteria & doesnt strip any of the good oils, its excellent for skin irratations & itchy skin….he’s getting his red paws again at the moment & I dont know if it’s from walking on the wet morming grass we also have had some rain 1-2 days ago awell..or the new food he’s on but he’s been on the new food for nilly 3monhs & I normally see a reaction with 2 days when its food…. I only use frontine spot on, When I used the Advantage spot on, he had a real bad reaction,1 side of his mouth & side of his head & ear swelled up, he spewed blood & was 1 sick boy for 1 week.. I rung vet & it was past 24 hrs & she said he’d be over the worst & do not apply Advantage again as it goes thru their skin into the blood where the Frontline only penitrates 2 layers of their skin, I hate using products but Summer is on its way & the ticks & fleas love this warm tropical weather… I had to put socks on him of a night to stop the paw licking, when I first got him he was in real bad condition, a change of diet did stop the red itchy paws, he was put on vet diet, but it didnt completely fix his itchy skin that’s when the vet kept saying its seasonal allergies & not food, but if it rained for more then 3 days his red itchy paws came back, even when on the vet diet that’s why Im thinking its the wet grass also if he eats something with wheat in it, just 1 paw will swell up & he goes mad licking & licking, I have to put his paw in a tea towel wrapped with a small ice pack to stop whatever is happening & I apply the detol cream to sooth the paw….he hasnt had the 1 swollen red paw since last year, it only last for 20mins then he’s OK again.. After doing an elimination this year I’ve learnt what foods make him itch & make his ears itch I found potato was the worst, giving him bad diarrhea, hive like lumps under his skin & he was real itchy, sweet potatos make his ears itch, & wheat makes 1 paw real red & swollon…Good-Luck with ur elimination diet you have a smaller dog so its easier, I did cook food elimination diet not a raw diet..I now have Patch on Wellness Simple but today I bought an Australian made Gluten free Hypoallergenic Kibble that’s was invented here in Australia by a vet nutritionist, its called “Meals For Mutts” Ive emailed the vet that invented this food & he recommonded the Salmon & Sardine Gluten free as the fat% is 10%max as Patch also has Pancreatitis & IBD, so I needed a lower fat kibble “Meals For Mutts” also has a grainfree Duck & Turkey & other kibbles.. here’s a link if you want a look & a short story about Bindi that suffers from real bad skin problems… you can also email “Meals For Mutts” & ask any quetions you may have.Bye

  • Dori

    It could, of course, be a combination of food intolerances as well as flea and tick meds. In the case of one of my dogs who is very food intolerant as well as has actual allergies to certain food ingredients and environmental issues all but the environmental allergies ie. Spring and Fall, have disappeared when I switched her to a high protein, moderate fat, low carb diet. I avoid all fowl in the foods as well as soy, alfalfa and flax, rice and white potatoes. I continue to give all three of my dogs monthly Sentinel Spectrum which has had no adverse effects on any of them. Before Sentinel Spectrum, they’d been on Sentinel for years also with no ill effects of any sort. I adopted my allergy girl at 9 weeks of age (she is now a little over 5 years old) and had all her issues when I took her in to my family. I mostly feed raw diet and dehydrated foods. I rotate between proteins in the brand as well as rotate brands. Katie has not had gas, tear stains, hair loss, constant scratching, bad breath, yeasty gunkie bad smelling ears or grey patches on her skin since. The only vaccine I allow is the 3 year rabies vaccine and that’s only because it’s the law otherwise I wouldnt do that either. Oh, I also avoid goat and rabbit which she can eat but only if it’s one meal a week. I rotate with each and every meal. The only dry kibble I have in rotation once in a blue moon is Nature’s Logic.

  • derms

    Sorry its Interceptor Spectrum. My mistake.

  • DogFoodie

    Why are you using both Sentinel Spectrum and Advantix?

  • derms

    I have a long haired jack Russell pure bred. He is 6 months old and is slowly losing all his hair bless him. He has red paws that he chews and a red chest. I’m slowly starting the elimination diet to see if I can ascertain any improvements. Tested for mange derivatives came back negative on the first test but I’m still not ruling it out.
    We have spoken to the breeder and the gene pool has no food allergies or chemical allergies that they are aware of.

    The thing that amazes me the most in all these types of discussions on forums is that no one ever suspects or considers their flea/tick/heart worm treatments. Everyone just seems to jump straight to the conclusion its a food allergy when in reality you give them these treatments every month like clockwork and they are nothing short of poison.

    The research I have done shows sites and reviews of the products littered with peoples pets in a great deal of distress with exactly the same symptoms and conditions that are caused by foods being caused by these treatments too.
    In short its naive to assume its a food allergy. I was even more amazed that after 3 visits to the vet not one of them mused or suggested it may be one of those treatments responsible. In fact most of them said to increase them in case its a flea allergy!!! Astounding considering his deteriorating condition.
    I’m now in the process of eliminating them for a month and seeing what happens. My only worry is he is exposed to the different types of worms and so on so forth as i live in the tropics in Australia where these are prevalent. But at what cost? He’s already miserable and to think I’m causing it by covering and feeding him chemicals to stop another thing is a disturbing and viscous circle.

    Switching the type of meds is an option obviously. He’s currently on Advantix and Sentinel Spectrum. There are 100’s of posts over the net with adverse allergic type reactions to both these products but more worryingly there are as many for all the alternative products on the market.

    So for now we are vexed. Its could be food it could be chemicals it could be pollen it could be the humid tropics. Either way we have a very unhappy little dog.

  • aimee

    Hi CaninePal,

    Though testing IgE is “recognized as a valid test certified by human allergy councils
    (World Allergy, Allergy and Asthma, Allergy asthma and Immunology, etc)” have you ever found a veterinary specialty group that recommends or “certifies” the test as valid in the dog? I have not.

    Instead of citing human literature read the canine literature.

    It really is that simple.. different species…. different results.

  • aimee

    Q: Is vitamin E synthesized in any animal?
    A: No, only plants can make vitamin E, and different plants make different
    amounts of the various vitamin E forms.

  • aimee

    It isn’t my opinion that testing for food allergy in dogs isn’t accurate. It is a conclusion based on available data.

    You said “there isn’t an credible immunologist on this planet that would state
    that correctly performed IGE blood testing is not accurate”

    don’t disagree that IgE can be accurately measured just that based on what we now know measuring IgE is of no real benefit in the diagnosis of adverse food reactions in

    To date all the references you have posted are in relation to humans.
    The role that IgE plays is less clear in food reactions in canines vs. people. I believe what you are doing is
    applying the human pathogenesis to dogs.

    From ACVD Task force:
    “Food allergy in humans is an IgE-mediated hypersensitivity in most
    cases,…for the vast majority of dogs reported to suffer from cutaneous
    signs of food allergy, neither IgE-mediated hypersensitivity nor any
    other immunologic mechanism has been established as the most common
    pathogenesis of disease development”

    “It is suspected that IgE-mediated may play a partial or even a negligible role in the
    pathogenesis of canine food allergy” (Gaschen 2011)

    From Clinical Immunology of the Dog and Cat from Michael Day

    is poor correlation between the presence of allergen specific IgE or
    IgG and the clinical presentation of an individual case”

    Bethlahan (2012) reported that a positive IgE test correctly identified a reactive dog 15.4% of the time. (Dogs frequently tested positive to foods they do not have reactions to) and that a negative test result correctly identified that the dog was not reactive to that food item about 81% of the time( dogs often tested negative to food items they did react to)

    Looking at this practically… test results in hand you still need to do a food trial. You could avoid all the items to which the test was positive for. In essence these would be things you had fed in the past, or proteins which cross react to items fed in the past. But since a neg IgE test result does not mean that your dog won’t have a reaction to that item you still need to avoid all items with a “neg” result that had been fed in the past or may cross react with items fed in the past.

    In other words you need to generate a through diet history and pick items that haven’t been fed to your dog in the past. Might as well save the money you spent for the test and put it towards purchasing a therapeutic diet formulated for the purpose of doing a food trial.

  • theBCnut

    I am no longer a professional, so I don’t convince anybody of anything, but the vets I worked with also don’t like the food allergy tests since the companies that make them don’t even believe in them.

    The point of feeding a novel protein and carb is to allow the histamine levels to go down so that if you add a food that the dog does react to, you can tell that the food you added is what caused the reaction. You add back ingredients one at a time so you learn which ingredients are safe to use. For my dog, I added back each of the common grains one at a time and he had mild reactions to almost all of them, then I started trying less common ones. I tested a kibble with millet just last week and had the worst reaction yet.

    When I started out I added ingredients based on a kibble I wanted to try to put him on. I had to change my mind about which kibble to try based on his reactions. Once I could use one kibble, I started trying the ingredients for the next kibble I wanted to try, that’s when I discovered he couldn’t handle tomato. I was surprised how many foods have tomato.

    If the blood test works and I have eliminated 80% of the available foods, then many of those remaining foods will have less common ingredients or ingredients that are not tested for. So you may still be choosing a food that your dog is allergic to, as would be the case with my dog. Yes, I would have less foods to try, but I would still have to try too many foods for that to be much of a help. And I would still be guessing what my dog is reacting to.

    I certainly didn’t say rechallenging was limited to anaphylatic reaction. I said for foods that you believe are the cause of anaphylactic reactions, rechallenge should be avoided.

    And you are the one that said ” I stated that I was surprised because you wrote that it doesn’t hurt a dog to have an imbalanced diet short term. But it can, especially when you are dealing with dogs who are known to mask pain.” which implies you think an unbalanced diet is something entirely different, so don’t blame me for that misunderstanding. What about the diet is going to cause pain if it is missing some vitamins and minerals?

  • CaninePal

    I don’t feed my allergic dog, or any of my dogs, fruits and vegetables outside of the minor amounts for vitamin content sprayed on his dog food. As I stated previously, he’s allergic to excessive antioxidation and gets enough fiber for this to be sufficient. I also don’t feed them Quinoa, spelt, or millet, those items I would give my bird:) But I don’t believe these are common ingredients in dog food. So their exclusion and avoidance is simple. For you to use these unusual ingredients as a negative testament as to the viability of a recognized and valid testing process to clients whose dogs have serious issues is quite alarming. So if a client shows up (I’m assuming you’re a licensed professional since you are performing these tests routinely) you convince them NOT to do serum testing which would reduce the time spent in eliminating negative factors and is recognized as a valid test by every certified human allergy council (World Allergy, Allergy and Asthma, Alelrgy asthma and Immunology, etc) when their dog has otitis externa/interna, pustules, fungus, parasites, because YOUR dog is allergic to Quinoa? In favor of a blind lengthy elimination diet?

    My dog is allergic to almost all proteins except those I listed, so please be respectful enough to know that you have no idea what my dog is allergic to.
    Also you mentioned excessive histamine release which, for food allergies, is one of the LAST immune mediators released (after iGM, IGG, IGE, Mast cells, leukotrienes, histamine, NK cells, T cells, B cells, etc), but the uncontrolled and excessive release of which (histamine is always present in small degrees in the circulation) is the most obvious to owners. Which is why the reaction can to be more advanced before it’s realized.

    You stated that “By doing a true elimination diet, I stopped all of those reactions in my dog almost immediately” and that amazes me considering metabolism, immune response I mentioned above, nutritional status, peristaltic activity etc, again that amazes me.
    When you are dealing with rescue dogs it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know what protein and starch the dog has never been exposed to. You state that an elimination diet starts with the pet owner providing a novel starch and protein that DOESN’T initiate an allergic reaction – then why bother testing if you already know what they AREN’T allergic to?!? If rice is eliminated immediately because it isn’t a novel carb, what if the dog isn’t allergic to it and what if they have never had it- it would be novel to them – quite a common issue with strays? None of my dogs are allergic to rice.

    I know what an unbalanced diet is, most people do.

    Rechallenging isn’t limited to anaphylactic reactions, it’s to rule out false positives.

    During the elimination process an allergen may be introduced that can cause the animal varying degrees of distress (hence the reaction), that’s actually the point of the diet – to find the causation and eliminate it. The distress isn’t intentionally inflicted, just a result of the food allergy. Again, the blood work (for owners that can afford it) STARTS the elimination diet at a greatly advanced stage…it tells you the most common allergens (and there are several tests, some pages long, others very abbreviated) to get you started. If you are administering these tests to patients, then you must be a qualified, licensed professional and you would know this already.

    When people who don’t understand the lab result bias consumers against using it, when it can help tremendously, there’s a problem. It’s a starting guideline that reduces the distress to the dog markedly and speeds up the process. If there’s a dog that has brief,minor diarrhea etc and you can do a fast elimination diet do it; if you have sick dogs that have infections, serious diarrhea, parasitism, lymph involvement etc and you can afford it, do the serum testing. That’s what I’ve said from the start of this thread and it’s common sense…

  • CaninePal

    Thank you for the lab information!!! I will definitely look into that. Thanks :)

  • theBCnut

    I didn’t say the results of already having histamine in the body disappear immediately. You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. You start an elimination diet with a protein and a carb that the dog HAS NEVER BEEN EXPOSED TO BEFORE. That will not produce allergic responses.
    And an unbalanced diet is one that does not have every vitamin and mineral that dogs require in the long term. That will not cause any pain or reaction. it just isn’t a long term solution.
    I know anaphylaxis is deadly, that’s what I was talking about, when I said you don’t have to rechallenge foods that produce those types of reactions at all.
    And yes, I do have experience with this, with my own dogs, and with doing allergy testing on other dogs. The test doesn’t test every protein, only the common ones.
    Every dog who is put on an elimination diet eliminates rice right from the start. It isn’t a novel carb.

  • Peggy

    Thanks for that info! I just looked up Idexx and found out there’s a lab right down the street from where I work! And, since I take Bella to work with me regularly, this will be very convenient. I’ve been wondering if there were any labs out there that test pets rather than at the vet because it is so much more costly! For myself, since I have no health insurance at the moment, I go through for my own bloodwork yearly, costs about $95!! They have a la carte items as well. I will definitely check into this if the LID dog food doesn’t work, or I may just do it anyway. Much appreciated!

  • CaninePal

    Hello:) I stated that I was surprised because you wrote that it doesn’t hurt a dog to have an imbalanced diet short term. But it can, especially when you are dealing with dogs who are known to mask pain. I’m a medical professional and I went through a YEAR of desperately trying to help my sick rescue dog (rashes, chunks of hair falling out, vomiting, wretching, mange outbreaks, etc his food and overall allergies worsening with seasonal changes) with elimination diets only to find, with ONE blood test, that he is allergic to EVERY PROTEIN besides fish and peanut butter!! If I had that test done earlier he would not have gone through as much as he did for as long as he did. Due to his GI transit time and immune response, he would eat something and throw up long after, sometimes after eating something completely different in between! I never mentioned rechallenging the dog for a month, a rechallenge doesn’t require a month. Also a true allergic reaction is an anaphylactic one, potentially deadly and a whole other issue. You state that a blind elimination diet stops the dogs reactions immediately. I’m not sure what you mean since unless you induce vomiting the dog still ingested the allergen and I have never experienced an elimination diet IMMEDIATELY ceasing all allergic reactions. Ask any pet owner if their dog’s ear healed immediately after starting an elimination diet. Understanding the dog’s GI transit time both in the fed and unfed state, flora of the GI tract, immune system, immune responses and symptomatology, package labeling, etc goes a long way to understanding the significance of food allergies. There’s no difference with a blood panel. It’s obvious that you have no experience with it or diagnosing issues like this, and that’s more than ok :) I’ll explain that it provides a guideline that a blinded trial would take weeks if not months to discern. It’s a diagnostic tool – it’s a lab report! The results are read and IF it says (this is a hypothetical but quite possible result) that there is a High Probability or low probability of reaction to lamb, rice, chicken you eliminate those ingredients (VERY IMPORTANT even in the fats, by-products, etc) and you work from there. MUCH faster, much easier and less distressing to the dog and owner. That one hypothetical report just reduced the time by at least 6 weeks if not more because how many owners would think to eliminate rice till later? It also eliminated at least 60-75% of commercial dog foods because even if the primary label states that the diet contains rabbit and peas (or whatever), the ingredient panel shows that chicken by-product or chicken preserved in tocopherols is one of the ingredients and this can be an allergen. Thus making the test pay for itself by the rapid method in which it shrinks the market. The 100+ varieties of commercial dog food just got shrunk to lets say 20 possibilities and the owner works from there. The list DOES cover the ingredients in almost all dog foods but it’s not specific for each and every type of commercial dog food available. The point is that the OWNERS should be given the information so they can make THEIR own decision (without undue influence) to choose between the blinded trial or the serum test. Those that have opposed it the most (because lets face it what’s the big deal if an owner wants to pay for a blood panel?) are those that don’t understand it – it’s a lab report, plain and simple. I thank you for the opportunity to discuss this topic with you, quite honestly and hopefully I cleared up some misunderstandings about it.
    For more information about IGE food serum (in humans) testing please visit these websites:

    the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

    The Asthma and Allergy Foundation

    World Allergy Organization

  • theBCnut

    No pictures necessary, just tell them your dog has tapeworms, or if you(not you personally) are one of the ones who can remember what they are, tell them your dog has the creepy little things that look like grains of rice. That’s what is usually reported. They often crawl off into the grass faster than some owners can pick up the stool. I haven’t heard of a vet yet that wouldn’t take the owner’s word for it on tapeworms though.

  • CaninePal

    Exactly, and thank you for your response. I’m assuming you are one of the technicians that have helped me so often. When they crawl off they are potentially in the vial (where else are they going?), or actually IN the stool, but that’s a moot point. But the tests DO test for them – if they are dehydrated/dead/immature/have crawled off they won’t float to the top, giving a false negative result. That’s why I recommend to everyone to have more than one, take pictures to show you guys, even video if necessary. That helps the vets see what’s happening…THANK you for explaining and sharing your experience!! Really, thank you :)

  • theBCnut

    Where in the world would you get the idea that I don’t think “that bloating (which can kill a dog), GI distress, diarrhea, rectal burning/itching, generalized uncontrollable pruritus, skin lesions and pus, ear infections, etc aren’t painful?”

    My point is that, if I did the blood panel, and it was 100% correct, I would still have all those problems with my dog, because the blood panel DOES NOT cover all allergens commonly in food, even limited ingredient foods. By doing a true elimination diet, I stopped all of those reactions in my dog almost immediately, and at the absolute first sign that he was again starting to react to a food, I knew what the cause was and could immediately stop it too.

    Rechallenge does not mean that the dog has to eat the offending food for a month, BTW. And if your dog is showing signs of true allergic reaction to known specific ingredients, then no, you don’t have to rechallenge, just avoid that ingredient forever. That eliminates a whole list of serious and possibly deadly reactions.

  • theBCnut

    I’m the one that did those tests for many years about twenty times a day. If the segments are seen on the outside of the stool, it’s reported. Usually, they crawl off, so there is no way the vet or vet tech can know about them. If your cat eats lizards, the lab might find evidence of that particular type of tapeworm, but that’s not the type you see in dog feces.

  • CaninePal

    I appreciate your input. I have tried elimination diets repeatedly and am completely aware of them :) To truly rule out a food allergy, rather than another physiologic or parasitic disorder, you need to rechallenge. And what no one has mentioned is that, in the medical community, an elimination diet is only truly accurate if the patient’s immune system isn’t otherwise compromised. So if the patient is very ill, their immune response may be hyperactive. The 1 novel protein, 1 novel starch losses all function once you start to purchase commercial dog food (which is why I stated 15+ ingredients) which confounds the owner all over again. The blood panel provides the owner with a list of key ingredients to avoid. I have no idea why people take issue with this, honestly. If it’s cost, then do the blinded elimination diet. If you CAN have the test performed, DO IT, and use the results to guide your choices. I have used blood allergy panels very successfully several times and it reduced my pets distress and discomfort and made the process easier. I must mention again that all elimination diets are dependent on the health of the dog so they aren’t as FOOLPROOF as you want to think. Your dog can have diarrhea today from something it ate 2 days ago depending on its GI transit time and overall health. But I am very surprised that you think that bloating (which can kill a dog), GI distress, diarrhea, rectal burning/itching, generalized uncontrollable pruritus, skin lesions and pus, ear infections, etc aren’t painful…I find that SHOCKING! We take that quite seriously in humans, and I think pet owners do as well and they desperately seek guidance.

  • CaninePal

    Exactly :) The in house and off-premises tests actually DO test for tapeworms, it’s just that the segments don’t normally appear or float to the top. If and when the segments float to the top it’s reported. Good quality vets know that as a pet owner, your first hand reports of what your pet is experiencing is vital input and work with you. That’s why taking repeated stool samples is important and to work with you on pricing. Take pictures or videotape as well!!! Thanks :)

  • theBCnut

    Normal in house fecals do not test for tapeworms. And even sending the stool off to the lab won’t usually find normal tapeworms. They are owner reported. However, there are some internal parasites that only shed cyclicly, so repeated tests or more sensitive tests are needed.

  • theBCnut

    Maybe your vet didn’t explain an elimination diet to you. It shouldn’t start with a kibble with 15 ingredients. It should start with 1 novel protein and 1 novel starch. It does not hurt a dog any more than it hurts a human to have an unbalanced diet short term. Even if the blood test was completely accurate, it would be worthless for my dog when it come to picking a kibble. He definitely reacts to things that are common in dog food that aren’t on the list, like tomato.

  • CaninePal

    The ACAAI discusses the validity of iGE blood testing. Lengthy and painful food elimination diets are stressful to both the pet and owner (mostly the pet, they get to believe that we can’t fix or heal anything!!). There is one person on this site that states that their elimination method worked very well, yet still uses Melaseb for her pet…why? Why is her dog still experiencing fungal outbreaks? Either her dog doesn’t have a food allergy (parasite instead) or it wasn’t a successful elimination trial. That’s my point. You insist that people put their dogs through blind, lengthy, distressing trials and I suggest that they NOT do that and, when possible, get an igE food allergy panel performed to provide them with as much information as possible when beginning their quest for the best diet for their dog. You search through each site to find a legal disclaimer the companies use (Heska included) to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits as evidence for your claims. Vets MUST provide the pets owners with valid, credible scientific evidence (based on igE testing parameters, not igG or igM) for BOTH sides and allow them to decide for themselves which method they choose. You have not stated what your background is with regards to veterinary or human medicine, although, quite frankly it makes no difference LOL

  • CaninePal

    For anyone interested in this topic here is a segment from a study two leading allergists, Robert Wood of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Scott Sicherer of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York Pediatrics Magazine. the following is a quote from a magazine listing the study results

    In their report, the scientists say, skin and blood tests can and should be used to:

    Confirm a suspected allergic trigger after observing clinical reactions suggestive of an allergy. For example, children with moderate to severe asthma should be tested for allergies to common household or environmental triggers including pollen, molds, pet dander, cockroach, mice or dust mites.

    Monitor the course of established food allergies via periodic testing. Levels of antibodies can help determine whether someone is still allergic, and progressively decreasing levels of antibodies can signify allergy resolution or outgrowing the allergy.

    Confirm an allergy to insect venom following a sting that causes anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction marked by difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness and hives.

    Determine vaccine allergies (skin tests only).

    Conversely, skin and blood tests should NOT be used:

    As general screens to look for allergies in symptom-free children.

    In children with history of allergic reactions to specific foods. In this case, the test will add no diagnostic value, the experts say.

    To test for drug allergies. Generally, blood and skin tests do not detect antibodies to medications.

  • CaninePal

    I want to clarify a previous post – tocopherols ARE NOT EPA/DHA but contain them for all practical purposes. I’m sorry if it mislead you :) Please be sure that your dog has a food allergy by having repeat stools performed and a 4DX (this one usually costs $30 through VIP Petcare). I state repeat stools, because I have had stool results come back negative even though I saw the tapeworms in my pets poop! So PLEASE MONITOR YOUR DOGS POOP. It is the greatest indicator of your dogs health since dogs are great at hiding illness, the GI tract will provide info on the digestive organs and immune system long before you see it on their coat, gums, eyes or teeth!
    I hope I have helped a little bit and I wish you and your puppy a long and healthy relationship!!! :)

  • sue66b

    Hi Bobby, the only way is an elimination diet, Patch is on a vet prescription diet & I knew he didnt scratch, itch on this vet kibble,his fur is beautiful & shinny so I did my elimination diet in the morning for breakfast & feed his vet diet kibble for dinner, just made it easier as he suffers from IBD & new vet recommened it, instead of trying a heaps of kibbles & guessing what is making him itch from the new kibble.. Start with 1 protein, I started with chicken cause I knew Patch had had chicken & was OK with chicken, plus thats whats in his kibble, I added Potatos with the boiled chicken & Patch got a rash all on his chest & hive like lumps all over his body, then after 2 days eating potatos he had diarrhea, so I stopped the potates then next morning I added sweet potatos with the boiled chicken within 2 days he started scratching his ears shaking his head so I stopped the Sweet pototos & started adding rice,he was good on the rice no scratching but his poos were very sloppy, so I learnt no pototes which are high carbs & no sweet pototes then I started to add boiled pumkin but I couldnt add to much as his poo were getting sloppy, pumkin being high in fiber but with pumkin he was good no itch then I added a boiled egg, good Ok no itch or hives or diarrhea.. Elimination diets are hard but once you find the foods that ur dog has an intorance to, you know what ingredients in kibbles to stay away from…most grainfree kibbles have pototes or sweet potatos… I know Earthborn has potatos in most of their kibbles.. Have you looked at Holistic Select Anchovys, Sardines & Salmon meal, a few friends are using the Holistic Select Anchovy Sardine & Salmon meal with great results, their dogs were on the vet prescription diet kibble & it got too dear & wasnt filling their dogs up they were always hungry & still scratched a bit.. Im using the Wellness Simple limited ingredient Lamb & Oatmeal & Patch isnt scratching his ears or scratching at the moment, also watch out for fleas some dogs are allergic to the salvia from the flea bites they will scratch & go mad from just 1 flea bite.. my boy comes & tells me if he has 1 flea on him & I have to kill it, I also use the Malaseb medicated shampoo it kills any bacteria on their skin but doesnt strip their skin of their natural oils, I have to bath Patch weekly when he starts to get dirty, he’ll roll & rub on a big rug I have,the Malaseb stops all this straight away.. its hard but once you find what foods shes allergic to its much easier, also tin sardines in spring water are excellent here in Austraila alot of dog owners mix a few sardines with their dogs kibbles for dinner, they get a beautiful shinny coat & look good….if your dog can handle raw then raw is the best to feed with skin problems ..also keep a diary…you’ll get there,, Good-Luck

  • CaninePal

    Antibiotics remove ALL agents – good GI flora and bad GI flora, as well as good/bad agents in blood and tissue. Since, depending on the agent used (doxy or a cephalosporin are possibilities), the antibiotics affected your dogs immune response to whatever pathogen is affecting it, as I stated above, your pets response would return when the antibiotic was stopped. But the blood work DOES NOT give you a false positive/negative unless the company doing the work is erroneous. The problem lies in the INTERPRETATION of the results. I just had a conversation with someone that believed that chickens don’t produce vitamin E, when they absolutely do! That’s where the problem lies. The results are your framework. Instead of not having a clue as to what the problem is and spending months and months and distressing yourself and your poor dog, the results give you a starting point! For example, my dog vomited, lost patches of hair, had mange breakouts and hot spots. I worked on an elimination method and found that the average dog food has 15 plus ingredients, even if they are LID!! So a panel was drawn and I found that he is allergic to certain environmental factors (explained his reactions to excess antioxidants!), chicken, turkey, all beef, pork, etc. So he can’t have Anything containing those ingredients, his condition is that bad. But the results gave me a framework to start with and narrow the list from an educated level not from a blind standpoint!! I spent a year going through numerous foods and he wretched and vomited because since he was a rescue, not having any history on him or knowing how extensive his symptoms were, and the fluctuating nature of his symptoms (sometimes he would throw up, sometimes just wretch, sometimes nothing at all, ie different symptoms at different times with different agents), I didn’t realize HOW vital the test would be until I had it done!!! Within a few days, I had the same results that took several months to achieve and more! I would rather that you learn from HIS experiences and that not a single other dog would go through it if not necessary. I could add that at the time I was learning his “system”, I had another dog that developed pneumonia then tore his cruciate ligament, so that distraction figured in with pushing off this guys testing (he was also going through the neutering, vaccines, etc)

  • Bobby dog

    I am glad this is working for you and your pups, thanks for providing the link and the test #.

    I found IDEXX has the same recommendation as other labs that
    offer food allergy blood panel testing; food trials should be conducted for the diagnosis of food sensitivities or allergies. The results may be helpful in choosing an elimination diet, but I haven’t found a lab that states the results are conclusive.

    From the IDEXX website “Additional panels that are less commonly indicated but can either be ordered alone or in combination with the standard regional allergen panel include an insect panel (for common household and biting insects) and farm and stable panels (for common farm allergens, such as alfalfa, oats, etc.). A Malassezia allergen panel is available as a stand-alone test if hypersensitivity to this yeast is clinically suspected. Food allergen panels are available, but only a strict hypoallergenic dietary trial should be performed to appropriately diagnose food sensitivity/allergy.”

    Using the link you provided to find test 3293, then clicking on the “Allergen Panel (Food -Canine/Feline” hyperlink, I found the following comment posted under the overview tab “Comments: Submission of a Pet History Form is recommended. Download form from or call
    Laboratory Customer Support at 1-888-433-9987 to request a form. Immunotherapy is not available for food allergens. There is no scientific evidence to support serum allergen testing for food allergen. A strict hypoallergenic dietary trial is the preferred method for diagnosis of food sensitivity/allergy.”

  • CaninePal

    Also, for anyone paying attention to this :) the other fat soluble vitamins that are found/present in tocopherols (ie oils labeled on packaging) can include Vitamin A (retinoic acid), Vitamin D (if animal fat then D3, plant D2), and Vitamin K (sometimes presented on packaging as mephyton).

  • CaninePal

    I understand you better now and I’ll clarify again for you, even though I did explain this in my former response.
    You are wrong on both counts.
    First, chickens produce Vitamin E, so there are chicken tocopherols. I understand that it’s not the direct quoting of the label; I just haphazardly and in normal talk used the term chicken tocopherols. I know you are not trying to state that chickens DON’T produce tocopherols because they absolutely do :)
    You are wrong on the second count as well. My statement never showed WHAT the “definition” of tocopherols are in any way, nor did I state that I was defining it. Sometimes, in writing quickly and combining things that I know. Such as, fats (ie tocopherols or vegetable oils, et al) are a common source of Omega 3, the less healthy 6’s and other fatty acids, lipoproteins, and all the fat soluble vitamin and enzyme components.) because I’m attempting to get another point across, which is that those are the types of things that consumers can overlook or not realize in food allergies (or anaphylactoid reactions).
    As you are well aware, EPA and DHA are not only found in Fish oil. They are found in plants and animal FATS such as chicken. I shouldn’t have been so casual and comfortable in my response. I actually spent quite a bit of time looking up the glucose to fatty acid to lipid soluble vitamin synthesis pathway to prove the connection I learned in BioChemistry, then realized that I was being silly.I forget that there is always someone like you ready to pounce on each syllable hoping to trip someone up who is just presenting accurate and sometimes overlooked information. What you take issue with is not the validity of the information presented, but the delivery method. The information supplied is 100% accurate and credible. I regret that it wasn’t to your liking.

  • Bobbi Jean

    The antibiotics worked when he was taking them. The hives came back when they were finished.
    My vet recommended against blood work because she said he had classic signs of a food allergy and the best way is the elimination diet. She said the blood tests give you a false positive/negative and you end up having to do the elimination diet regardless.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi CaninePal,

    I’m sorry, but your response above doesn’t clear up your incorrect use of and definition of “Chicken Tocopherols” and “Tocopherols” being EPA and DHA. The two statements you made below show that you thought:

    – that there is an ingredient called “Chicken Tocopherols”

    – that “Chicken Tocopherols” and “Tocopherols” are by definition the fatty acids EPA and DHA.

    “Nutro’s primary label states LID Venison and Brown Rice one of the ingredients is Chicken Tocopherols (EPA/DHA).”

    “Remember that when you read dog food labels that tocopherols (EPA/DHA) can be chicken derived so if that’s an allergen you have to choose another product.”

  • Stephen Dempsey

    Sorry Bob, Canagan is a relatively new premium dry food, manufactured in the UK.

  • CaninePal

    Hi! Here is the link

    A list of 10 offerings pop up. If you’re looking for food only

    “3293 – Allergen Panel (Food)-Canine/Feline – IgE for 24 pet food components including barley, beef, beet pulp, brewer’s yeast, chicken, corn, duck, egg, fish mix, ground flaxseed, kangaroo, lamb, liver (beef), milk, oats, pinto beans, pork, potato (white), rabbit, rice, soybean, turkey, venison and wheat. 2-4 working days
    For me, this served as a reference. So I would go to the dog food and make selections by carefully reading the labels (my pharmacist background may give me an unfair advantage here so I’ honestly trying to pass on what I have experienced) and trying to make sure that I avoid everything that they are allergic to and it has helped me TREMENDOUSLY! Personally, and quite honestly speaking, I think in my desperate attempts, with my sickest, to figure out what he might be allergic to, of all the ingredients in even LID, flaxseed or brewer’s yeast might not be my first thought! So, when the dog foods cost $20 for a 5 lb bag!! and a vet visit is $50 and a ‘blind’ elimination diet can take several months, that’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars and a VERY sick dog! I know, I went through it to find that the ‘one protein one grain” doesn’t work with my little guy who is allergic to Chicken, every type of beef, turkey, ham and excessive antioxidants!! The list includes almost every protein known (and no he can’t have bison, venison, etc). So for me, it was a huge relief to have something for guidance and would have saved him a lot of vomiting and distress (and me too!!) The feeling of helplessness SUCKS!!!!
    So I would heartedly recommend this panel, stool samples (more than one) and 4DX to rule out parasitism as a cause.
    I truly and honestly hope that this helps :)

  • Bobby dog

    Hi CaninePal:
    I was interested in finding more information about the food allergy testing IDEXX offers. I only found one place referencing it on a PDF from their website “The Complete Allergy Offering From IDEXX Reference Laboratories.” Do you know where can I find more info about their food allergy blood panel test on their website?

  • CaninePal

    That’s not the price for the Idexx food blood panel – I hope the Vet didn’t confuse the request. You can call the company for the price. I’ve had it done 3 times and the most expensive was roughly $250 and that was with an environmental panel. You are very sharp to have started her on probiotics and I hope the change in diet helps. I tried for over 1 year with my dog getting sicker each time because there was no way to figure out what of the over 15 ingredients he may have a painful reaction to especially since he’s also allergic to excessive anti-oxidant ingestion!
    Remember, it’s not just proteins that the dog may be allergic to. One of my dogs is allergic to yeasts and flour! So this would include molded products (mold cultured cheeses, mushrooms, probiotics, etc) and baked goods.
    Good luck!!! :)

  • CaninePal

    Hello and thank you for your response. Yes, even though the primary label does not mention poultry the dog food had chicken in it, which is only a problem if your dog is allergic to chicken, of course :)
    Vitamin E is one of the 4 fat soluble vitamins, in other words it can be found in all adipose tissue and fat components of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids are exactly that, fatty acids (including Omega 6 and others) and are found with fat soluble ingredients, especially in dog food. I should have been more defined in my response.
    I personally would be hard pressed to separate the chicken (not just protein by the way, but THE CHICKEN FAT, enzymes, sugars, salts, etc) from the ‘mixed tocopherols’ :)
    But thank you for the discussion :)

  • Bobby dog

    Thank goodness! I suspected food allergies, however she explained what they were and the symptoms they present, he didn’t have them. She walked me through a diet over hall and I was ready to put in the elbow grease with bathing etc. after my cat’s experience with steroids.
    I know you have had a more up-hill battle than we have, but an elimination diet, or tweaking when necessary, is well worth the effort it to alleviate their discomfort!

  • DogFoodie

    My vet made the exact same statement to me regarding food allergy testing.

  • Bobby dog

    Yes, I read that too, in smaller print of course. Then at the bottom in larger print is their guarantee you will not be treating false negatives.

    I just like checking out these websites when their mentioned on DFA.

    I agree, they shouldn’t be offered. I discussed it with my Vet when Bobby had skin issues last year. She said she would never suggest a food allergy test because they are notorious for being inaccurate; an elimination diet was what she recommended to get to the bottom of things if a food allergy was suspected.

  • aimee

    I’m familiar with the name. I see on their website in regards to testing for food reactions they state ” Elimination diets lasting 6 to 12 weeks is considered to be the method of choice”

    Personally I wish these tests weren’t offered as they are known to not be accurate.

  • CaninePal

    Hello :)
    Although I respect your opinion I disagree wholeheartedly with it. I have used the test on 3 dogs all results were 100% accurate and were used, along with understanding product labeling, to reduce allergic reactions in my rescue dogs. I have both textbook and experiential knowledge being a doctor of pharmacy with, at the moment, 3 rescue dogs with serious allergies. Understanding product labeling once the test results have been revealed is crucial.
    I appreciate your opinion, but there isn’t an credible immunologist on this planet that would state that correctly performed IGE blood testing is not accurate. The fact that the consumer may not be able to understand all the confusing labeling and the fact that the labeling itself may not state everything (ie this product was produced on machinery that also processes dog food with chicken) is important.
    Food trials that are extremely confounding and expensive for the pet owner, much more difficult to ascertain which of the at least 10 ingredients the dog may be having a reaction to, if it even is a food reaction, and EXTREMELY stressful for the poor dog is a horrific process!! The company put that warning probably for the same reason that most do, for the reasons and difficulty consumers have with understanding labeling that I mentioned above.
    I respect that you wish to do the elimination method, for my dogs, one of which goes through physical pain if an allergen is consumed, I chose and will continue to chose the blood panel.

  • aimee


    When doing a food elimination diet it is important to use a diet made specifically for this purpose. This means use a therapeutic diet from your vet, or home cook. Limited ingredient diets from food stores have been found to contain proteins other than what is on the label. It takes very precise production protocol to prevent cross contamination.

    Also consider all sources of anything that may add additional sources other than what you are feeding. For example, capsules or components of probiotics may contaminate your diet.

  • Bobby dog
  • Bobby dog

    Have you ever checked this company out?

  • Bob K

    Stephen – What is Canagan? There are several Canidae reviews on this website.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Peggy:
    Sounds like your Vet is on the right track with a food elimination diet. Here’s some info that you might find helpful:

  • Peggy

    I did start her on probiotics several months ago after doing numerous online research myself. I was disappointed that the vet at the shelter didn’t suggest this when I first got her, knowing they had been treating her for the same infection for the 6 months that she was in the shelter. I’ve changed vets and when I was in this past August, one vet told me the allergey testing would be $400!!! Needless to say, that’s just not an option for me right now. I appreciate your input I have just started Bella on the LID Rabbit and Potato food as I was told she probably has allergies to certain proteins. So, I’ll try this diet for a minimum of 2 months and see what happens.

  • Stephen Dempsey

    What about Canagan, how does this compare?

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi CaninePal,

    Nutro Natural Choice Limited Ingredient Diets Venison formula contains:

    chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols),

    NOT “Chicken Tocopherols”

    The ingredient chicken fat can still contain some of protein from chicken and therefore be a problem to dog’s with a chicken allergy. I agree that it’s good advice for Charlie to try to avoid foods with chicken fat for his dog with chicken allergies!

    EPA and DHA are NOT tocopherols. Tocopherols are a form of vitamin E and come in 4 versions, Alpha, Beta Delta and Gamma tocopherol.

    EPA and DHA are Omega 3 fatty acids that are present in some fish and mollusks. EPA and DHA come from a type of algae eaten by these fish and mollusks.

  • aimee

    Hi CaninePal,
    Unfortunately, as much as everyone would like for a test to be effective at diagnosing adverse food reactions the fact is that they are not accurate. The only way to diagnose a food reaction is via an elimination trial.

    Here is a link to information about this topic from a vet dermatologist.

    This is what the company that offers blood testing for food allergies states on their website: * Heska, in agreement with the American College of Veterinary
    Dermatology, does not recommend IgE testing for foods. A compliant
    exclusionary diet trial, followed by provocative re-challenge, is
    recommended for animals suspected of suffering from adverse reaction to

  • CaninePal

    You should consider avoiding all fowl from your pets diet. Even though Nutro’s primary label states LID Venison and Brown Rice one of the ingredients is Chicken Tocopherols (EPA/DHA). Have you tried the Orijen fish or red meat line and adding a probiotic to your pups regimen?

  • CaninePal

    Have you researched the Orijen product line?

  • CaninePal

    Very good information. Also to watch for is carefully reading the label ingredients! Taste of the Wild has different ingredients than the primary label states. Ie Taste of the Wild Bison’s second ingredient is lamb and then chicken meal. So if someone’s dog is allergic to either one of the secondary ingredients, the ‘bison’ dog food can make the dog ill. It can be very tricky!!

  • CaninePal

    Please ask your vet about a food allergy blood panel. It’s EXTREMELY effective both medically and financially as I posted previously. It costs roughly 160-200 dollars but, as you know, repeated purchases of dog food and cleaning supplies, etc is much costlier!!! Not to mention the discomfort to the dog!!! Also consider canine probiotics to build up your pets GI tract which, along with the bone marrow, spleen and kidneys, makes up your dogs immune system (predominantly). When healthy flora are reduced in the GI tract (antibiotics, worms, giardia, diarrhea, etc) the dog can experience fungal infections, skin rashes, sores, etc.


  • CaninePal

    Please ask your vet about a food allergy blood panel. It’s EXTREMELY effective both medically and financially. Also consider canine probiotics to build up your pets GI tract which, along with the bone marrow, spleen and kidneys, makes up your dogs immune system (predominantly). When healthy flora are reduced in the GI tract (antibiotics, worms, giardia, diarrhea, etc) the dog can experience fungal infections, skin rashes, sores, etc.

  • CaninePal

    Depending on how old your puppy is he may not have a fully developed immune system and would show signs of such with skin rashes. Your vet may want to suggest probiotics specifically designed for dogs to be added to your puppies meals to aid in his development. While fleas/ticks, vaccines, etc can give him this type of reaction it can be alleviated by healthy GI flora development.

  • CaninePal

    Your regular vet can take a blood allergy panel, 4DX test for anaplasmosis/Lyme, etc and a stool sample for worms/coccidian/giardia (more than one stool test should be performed). These are the first three avenues to take to determine cause of your dogs illness. If these reveal anything then CMP/CBC should be performed.
    Your dogs immune system is compromised/overwhelmed that is why the antibiotics worked only for a short time. The issue your dog is facing wasn’t eradicated with the treatment.
    Remember that when you read dog food labels that tocopherols (EPA/DHA) can be chicken derived so if that’s an allergen you have to choose another product. Also some products will list ingredients in their primary label and several others on the main label so double check.
    This saves you the issue of an expensive allergist until such time as your regular vet sees that the above listed results require you seek specialist care. There is a chance that your pet is battling worms etc and the allergist wouldn’t help.

  • theBCnut

    You are welcome. There are many of us here that would love to hear what you end up doing!
    Sent from my iPod

  • LisiePooh

    Thanks for the “cook book” ideas!

  • connie

    my gsd had problems since he was a pup i had to feed raw and started useing a product called nzymes you can look it up on line it help save my dog they haft to stay on it for the rest of there lives but its natural so its alot better then meds and it works and a lot cheaper then going to vet good luck !!

  • Peggy

    I have a 5 year old rescue pittie. She’s had skin issues ever since I got her 2 years ago. Numerous trips to the vet, antibiotics, prednisone, anti fungals, etc. All the stuff that ruins the immune system. I took her last night and he’s suggesting a prescription limited diet, which I will most likely attempt in about two weeks when she’s done with Taste of the Wild. He says I must give the food for two months and nothing else (except veggies) to see if that’s her problem. I know how you feel, it’s a constant battle…..I don’t have enough $$ to go to the doc myself!

  • Jean Kaduk-Gallagher

    check out

    My beagle needed grain and potato free pork
    and their food saved her, Over the counter Zyrtec also helps dogs with itchy skin, seasonal allergy-ask your vet.

    We went to Dermatology Vet Specialsts for work up and advice and it paid off, only about 400.00 (They are in Southern Calif, have a website.)

    for tests, visits, check up. we no longer need to go
    after 3 visits.

  • theBCnut

    We had a discussion over on the forum side about a couple people that had dogs react strongly to Gain laundry detergent. It’s really hard to pin down what dogs might be reacting to.

  • Marie

    Our bulldog had similar issues with skin, looked diseased all over. Huge $$ spent on drugs and tests at vet but eventually discovered it was the floor cleaner (mr. clean) she was allergic to. No issues anymore

  • theBCnut

    Since you are already making your dog’s food and having such success with it, it behooves you to learn more about what makes a balanced diet, so your dog gets all the nutrients it needs, like calcium. Look into Steve Brown’s book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” or Dr Karen Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats.” They are both excellent.

  • Cuty Casablanca

    I make my dogs food I het Turkey ground meat and mix vegetables organic brown rice and mix it all together make packages for the week and freeze it the itching has stop and working on ear infection he a lot better now will continue making his food also I make him lever he enjoys his food hope your dog get better

  • theBCnut

    Gotcha!! Natural Balance has a variety of limited ingredient foods, so does Nature’s Variety Instinct, Canidae Pure, and Canine Caviar. Using a limited ingredient food helps you to find a safe food so your dog’s reaction can calm down. Then you can try adding in single ingredients to determine what he is safe with and what he reacts to. Good luck! It takes a bit of work, but once you figure out what the trigger foods are, it is so much easier.

  • Bob K

    Perhaps it is time to see a dog allergist, Yes they do exist. You can spend a ton of money and time guessing and trying all sorts of thing while your dog is suffering. There are specialists, The American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD)