My allergic-to-life Basset Hound

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  • #56145 Report Abuse
    Michael H

    Hi everyone! Not sure if this is the right forum section to post this, but I’m in dire need of some help.

    We have an almost 9 year old rescued Basset Hound, who we have been struggling to manage yeast and chronic inflamed skin since we’ve had him this past year. The vet has him on persistent hydroxyzine and prednisone, of which I try to give the least effective dose, as especially prednisone I’m not that comfortable using due to the side effects.

    Upon shelling out for an allergy test (environmental and diet [Spectrum Groups Spot Report]), we’ve found out he’s positive for 19 things and borderline for another 7 out of a total of 91 tested items.

    His symptoms are always the worst in the spring/summer, as one of the main allergens is grass, which as far as I know I can’t do much about. I’ve replanted our yard to grass that he’s supposedly not allergic to, but anything that blows our way from a neighboring yard cancels that out.

    There are a lot of dietary items as well, and finding a food for him has been a nightmare. I’ve considered cooking food for him, but unsure what’s considered “balanced”, and raw feeding makes me a bit nervous as I’ve heard that grocery-grade meats can possibly be tainted since they are meant to be cooked until a safe temperature, and I don’t want to hurt him. Any outlet in our area that sells organic/free range/etc. isn’t very accessible or is very expensive.

    The list of foods he tested positive for are:


    Borderline Foods:
    Dairy (Milk)

    Poultry Mix
    Brewers Yeast
    Fish Mix
    Green Pea

    So, I have to avoid conventional grains. Due to his yeast issues/dermatitus, I’m also assuming that the lowest starch/low glycemic food would be in his best interest. The main issue I’m running into is that most grain free foods use potatoes, eggs, or carrots, which he’s also allergic to.

    On one had it seems that wet food may be the way to go, but as he’s older, his teeth aren’t the best. They are all still intact, but he doesn’t really gnaw on anything at all (can’t really with his droops, they are probably easy to chomp down on and would hurt) to clean them, and brushing hasn’t seemed to do a whole lot, so I’m fearing that wet food may make it worse. I’ve bought knuckle bones for him and our other dog, but he only eats the tasty stuff on the outside and his sister gets the hand-me-down since she will actually gnaw and grind it down. Her teeth are excellent in regards to tartar.

    From the test it looks like he can have peas, lentils, or chickpeas as a binder, but again I’m unsure of how much starch content may be in the resulting food. I’m finding sweet potato in a lot of the foods as well, but it wasn’t tested for, and I’m unsure of how related they may be.

    So far I’ve tried Taste of the Wild Wetlands & Pacific Stream (which we feed to our other dog), but they didn’t do a whole lot for him-both contain either sweet potatoes, potato, or egg. Our other dog doesn’t seem to have any issues thus far at 3 years, thank goodness, and hopefully it stays that way.

    The best looking food I’ve come across is Orijen 6 fish, but it’s very expensive. It doesn’t start listing carb sources until the 12th ingredient, but I can’t really tell if that’s a good or bad thing-chickpeas, red lentils, green lentils, and green peas all have protein as well, and they seem to count that towards the protein % for the food, so their ingredient %’s could be just as high as if it were listed as the second ingredient, like I find in a lot of other, cheaper foods.

    If we can get any help with this, it would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time!

    Mike & Beth

    #56150 Report Abuse

    I would recommend InkedMarie’s sticky post at the top of this page as a starting point. It has a list of grain and potato free foods, then you just have to hunt through a few more ingredients.

    My forewarning is that those tests are pretty shifty, and if you took it again, you could get different results. Use it as a guide for trying out some foods, but still keep every ingredient panel and keep a close eye on him, as he could still be reacting to something in the food.

    Canned foods tend to have less in them, and dry food cleaning teeth is a myth, so if you’re willing to feed all canned, that’s better anyway

    #56151 Report Abuse

    Orijen is a great food from what I’ve heard, though it is quite expensive. I’ve been looking at other foods, Nulo freestyle is free from almost all of these, but it does have carrots about halfway through the ingredients. Since the biggest obstacles might be grains and potatoes, InkedMarie’s topic on grain and white potato free foods might be a good place to start. /forums/topic/grain-and-potato-free-dog-foods/

    Nature’s Variety Instinct L.I.D Turkey meal formula is also free of all his allergens, but it is rather carb heavy and doesn’t look that healthy otherwise.

    Also, I have heard that cutting down on just some allergens can be helpful, if it is not possible to eliminate all allergens. Good luck!

    Edit: Just saw aquariantgt’s post, agree with the thing about the canned food.

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 1 month ago by Dog_Obsessed.
    #56169 Report Abuse

    Sweet potatos aren’t related to regular potatos.

    If you are willing to cook for him, try going to dogaware dot com. They have some recipes for homemade food. Just substitute any foods he can’t have.

    Allergy tests for dogs are known for both false positives and false negatives, so think of your list as a starting place but not the final answer.

    Canine Caviar may have some formulas that will fit your needs.

    When I had an idea what my dog was reacting to, I went to chewy dot com and looked at the ingredient lists for every food they sell and made a list of possibles for my dog. It took a few hours to complete my list. Then I ordered small bags of a few different ones to try. So far I have 20 foods that he can have. Some I won’t feed because of quality control issues with the company or other reasons, but I know which foods he can eat in a pinch.

    Good luck in your hunt for the right foods for your dog.

    #56217 Report Abuse

    I’ve got a dog almost exactly like yours. We finally out him By Nature 95% canned food (around $20 a case on PetFlow) and he cleared considerably. Then I put him on a raw diet with See Spot Live Longer pre mix (the lowest carb pre mix I could find, and thankfully the cheapest!), and he’s gotten even better. He still, however, chews his feet from the grass, but there’s just no stopping that. He’s finally got hair grown back in all over body after chew himself bald from his ribs back, and he’s less red, other than his feet and tummy where the grass touches him.

    #57698 Report Abuse
    Michael H

    Thanks for all the input everyone! Right now I’m mostly considering raw, but that in itself is a deep rabbit hole to go down. I’m going to make a post specifically about my questions on that in that forum.

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