I started him out on Pro plan for puppies and he was scratching constantly. About a month ago, I switched to Natural Balance…he’s improving but still will scratch. Usually about 3am while I’m sleeping..ugggg….should I try a different food or stick with this one a little longer??
Food sensitivities usually result in GI distubances such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Pruritus (itching) usually indicates environmental allergies. If the condition is severe or continues for 4 seasons/1 year without significant periods of relief, consider asking your vet for a referral to a dermatologist.
Don’t be fooled by mail-in saliva and hair tests, food sensitivities fluctuate and food allergies are rare.
Helpful article below:
By Klaus Loft, DVM
Angell Dermatology Service
Anyone who suffers debilitating environmental allergies tied to changing seasons, pet dander or household dust mites knows first-hand the misery of a scratchy throat, itchy eyes or painful rashes.
Not everyone knows, however, that our pets can experience similar allergic reactions — and other very bothersome dermatological issues. But our pets need not suffer in silence. Modern veterinary science has evolved such that advanced, comprehensive treatments are now available to treat a range of skin conditions.
Top pet dermatological issues
Our four-legged friends suffer from some of the same skin issues as we do — and several that we do not. The most common conditions we see at Angell include:
•Parasites, such as mites, fleas and mange (scabies)
•Infectious diseases, such as Staphylococcal pyoderma (“Staph”) skin infections, yeast and fungal infections and skin fold infections
•Systemic diseases, such as autoimmune diseases
•Skin cancer, such as Squamous cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma, Mast cell tumors
•Allergies, such as flea allergy dermatitis, adverse food reactions, environmental allergies, etc.
All of these conditions can become serious and, if untreated, dramatically reduce quality of life. But the tremendous strides made in veterinary innovation, however, is very good news for our pets. Specifically, the testing and treatments for allergies now rivals human healthcare in its sophistication, quality of care and long-term health outcomes.
Unlike humans, dogs and cats cannot tell us about their dermatological health issues. So we as pet owners must look for the signs. The most common indicators that a pet is suffering from some kind of allergy involve frequent episodes of ear infections, red raised or open sores on the skin, constant licking or biting of paws or groin — sometimes causing wounds that will not go away.
Allergies present a particular challenge because there can be hundreds (even thousands) of potential allergens that impact pet health, from foods to pollen from grasses, weeds, trees, dust mites and more. Today’s specialty veterinary hospitals have access to the very latest diagnostic tests to get to the bottom of what’s ailing our pet. Among these tests is the Intra Dermal Test (IDT).
IDT is generally considered the gold standard of testing for identifying allergens that cause pets to suffer from chronic skin and/or ear diseases. IDT involves injections of a series of concentrated allergens into the skin to determine which of them generate allergic reactions in a given animal. The use of fluorescein — a chemical that illuminates the inflammation caused by the injected allergens in order to visualize the strength of individual reactions — is key to accurately diagnosing pet allergies, and is just one of the many ways veterinarians use new technologies to improve care and diagnostics.
The results of IDT (as well as a review of the pet’s medical history) can then inform comprehensive immunotherapy treatments to relieve suffering. Veterinary dermatologists rely on IDT to build customized treatment plans for patients called Allergen Specific Immuno Therapy or “ASIT” for short.
ASIT involves a series of injections specifically created for the allergic animal’s skin. These injections, of diluted allergens, are designed to make a pet less sensitive to their allergens over time. In most cases these injections must be continued for life to reduce symptoms, but they are highly effective. Seventy to 90 percent of pets experience a reduction in symptoms as a result of ASIT treatment. These treatments can be delivered even more easily via droplets under the tongue, perfect for pet owners who are squeamish about giving injections to their pet.
This treatment is very new to the North American field of medicine (both human and veterinary) and underscores just how far innovation in veterinary medicine has come.
When it’s time to see the vet
Many pet owners are understandably concerned about taking their animals to the veterinarian because the cost (to say nothing of the fear some animals experience when going do the doctor) may outweigh any perceived reduction in suffering. To help pet owners know when it’s time to bring Fido to the doctor I’ve compiled my “Top Ten” list of dermatological symptoms that should never be ignored:
•Intense itching of the skin (head shaking, running the face into the carpet, furniture, etc.)
•Biting at the skin that creates red, raw crusting areas of the skin
•Multiple ear infections (head shaking, odor from ears, scratching at the ears with hind legs)
•Paw licking or chewing and frequent infections of the skin in the webbed skin of the paws
•Staining of the fur of the paws and nails on multiple feet
•Reoccurring skin infections in the groin, under the shoulders, perianal areas (on or under the tail)
•Greasy scaling skin and/or fur with odorous skin
•Hair loss, or thinning of the fur
•Dark pigmentation of the skin that is chronically infected
•Sudden depigmentation of skin
Allergies and other dermatological issues can be as frustrating for pet owners and their veterinarians as they can be for pets. I encourage any pet owner whose animal is experiencing any of these symptoms to consult with their veterinarian.
Also, via the search engine here: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/allergies/
BTW: Allergen Specific Immunotherapy does not address food allergies (rare) or food sensitivities.
A common environmental allergen is the household dust mite, also known as Cockroach, American and Tyropagus putrecentiae. And, no, you don’t have to have cockroaches in your home. These microscopic particles are everywhere, airborne and on the skin of all living things…including you! Constantly being shed all year round.
Frequent bathing (Malaseb) might help but it won’t completely solve the problem. Also, allergies tend to get worse as the dog gets older.
Folks will recommend an elimination diet, but how will you know if the dog is responding to environmental allergies, which is causing what? I didn’t find elimination diets helpful.
excerpt below from: http://www.2ndchance.info/Apoquel.htm
Food Allergies are probably over-diagnosed in dogs (they account for, perhaps 5-10%). Hypoallergenic diets are occasionally, but not frequently, helpful in canine atopy cases but you should always give them a try. Food intolerances are more common – but considerably more likely to result in digestive disturbances and diarrhea than in itching problems.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by anonymously.
Hi Jennifer C,
What formula of Natural Balance are you feeding him?
I’m feeding the puppy formulaSusanMember
Hi, I use creams either the “Sudocrem” sold in the Baby section at Supermarket or I use Hydrocortisone 1% cream you can buy over the counter at the chemist apply Hydrocortisone cream thinly also check for fleas & give him a bath…when he’s scratching have a look where he’s scratching, my boy was going mad & scratching thru the night 2 weeks ago, something he never does then I found 2 fleas, we must of pick up at the park so I bathed him in his Malaseb medicated shampoo, also give tin sardines in spring water give 1 little sardine as a treat daily, when a kibble is low in “omega 3” dogs get itchy dry skin, does he have dandruff little white flakes?
Please do not add any supplements to the diet or apply over the counter creams to the skin, especially those intended for human use. Unless prescribed or recommended by a veterinarian who has ideally examined the dog. You could irritate his condition and make things worse.
I say this because I made this mistake and was told the above by the emergency vet….that’s where we ended up.
Are you using the Lamb & Rice or the Chicken and Duck formula? If you are using a chicken base, it could be the chicken causing the problem, since that’s the common protein in both formulas you’ve used. Has he had a vet check for fleas or a skin scrape for demodex?
I’m using the Chicken and Duck puppy formula.
If you see a bright red rash on his chest, I would go to the emergency vet. Best of luck.
If he’s already been checked out by a vet to make sure there are no parasite issues like fleas or mange, you might consider switching the protein first. If you don’t see improvement, you could try a grain free food.kathleen fMember
I have a beagle cross which I rescued 7 years ago. He is now eight years old. When I first got him he scratched himself and bit his legs until they were bleeding. After many visits to the vet they finally did allergy tests and found he was allergic to beef, chicken, duck and just about everything growing. I tried fish, lamb and turkey based grain free foods. They helped a bit but he was still scratching a lot.The vet prescribed atopica capsules which worked well for ages but then started to make him a bit sick and lethargic. so stopped them.A friend suggested yumega oil. I bought a bottle over a year ago and put a measured amount over his dry food every night. He has stopped scratching and biting his legs and his coat is looking great. I also give him a monthly bath using ruggle-it shampoo which works a lot better than the malaseb from the vet. I hope this is of some helpAnne BMember
One of my dogs, a pit bull mix, is allergic to dust mites and mold, which are nearly impossible to totally eliminate from the environment…..We found this out through allergy testing…..We know he is having an outbreak when he starts scratching and his skin becomes inflamed with little bumps all over………..My vet told me to bathe him twice a week with Malaseb, and she prescribed some Omega 3 capsules….Can’t remember the brand name of the capsules, but they were on the expensive side………Supposedly these prescription Omega 3 are formulated for better absorption…….We have been doing the bathing and the prescription Omegas and have seen a lot of improvement, but he still has a couple of outbreaks per year during the summer when the weather gets warm, and then we have to take him to vet for antibiotics to prevent skin getting infected…..We also have his sister, a littermate, who has none of these problems at all….And they both eat the same food–so we’re pretty sure it’s not the food causing his problems….
So to sum up, his allergies are controlled, but not totally cured, because it’s impossible to eliminate all the allergens from his environment…..Having a dog with environmental allergies is a lot of work, but I suggest getting your dog tested to find out if he’s allergic to anything, including ingredients in his food, and getting a skin scrape done.
Thank you for posting, I often feel like an outsider here because I recommend taking a dog that is suffering with allergies to a dermatologist.
It was the only thing that I found helpful, the regular vets mean well…but if you have a serious condition that doesn’t respond to treatment and diet changes, seek out a specialist.
I’m glad your dog is stable, I agree about occasional flare ups. It is what it is.
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