I have a 4 year old golden retriever/maremma/chow and the poor guy will not stop itching. He has been like this for the past few years and we have tried all different kinds of dog foods. He is currently on a vegan formula and he doesn’t itch as bad but he still itches, he was previously on natural balance, canine caviar, a kangaroo based food and a bison based food to name a few. The vets have told me they do not know what to do which is leaving me confused, does anyone have any suggestions or natural remedies to try? I would like to stay away from raw food as the cost is too much as he is a large dog.
Thanks for your help!
You need asystematic approach to discovering his allergies. He is likely allergic to more than one thing, and it isn’t just meats that you have to figure out. Plant matter has protein in it too and can cause these reactions. I understand that you don’t want to do a raw diet, but you need to do an elimination diet at least temporarily. You need to give him one protein and one starch for a few weeks, nothing else, and see if that takes care of the itching. If not, you need to try a different protein and a different starch for a few weeks and see if that stops the itching. Once you find something that he doesn’t react to, you can start adding back one ingredient at a time to his diet every couple weeks to see if he starts reacting. Then you will be able to figure out what specifically to avoid.
Some people get lucky and can find a Limited Ingredient Diet that works to start this process with, and if you want to try that route, your best bet is to try different varieties of Natural Balance or maybe Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Rabbit. You need to keep ingredient lists of foods you have tried that didn’t work and try to figure out what they have in common. If you find a food that works, you need to compare its ingredient list to figure out what it doesn’t have in it.
It’s quite a bit of detective work, but once you know what to avoid it is easier.
And don’t forget to consider the ingredients in any treats you’re giving your dog. Sometimes we get so concentrated on the food we forget the treats we or others may be giving your dog.
The elimination diet is best, like Paddy said, home cooking then freeze meals… also what are you bathing him in, I found Dermcare Malaseb Medicated shampoo to be the best but its a Australian made shampoo, its excellent, I dont know if you can get the Malasab where u live I suppose u’d get it on the net, it removes scale, degrease the skin and kills cutaneous micro-organisms which can cause dermatitis..I bath my boy every 5 day as soon as I see him start to itch, also I have creams I put on him so the itch doesnt get out of control…u need to treat the inside & the outside, alot of people reconmend fish sardines etc have u tried a fish diet & nothing else.. Ive noticed when my boy eats a Jazz biscuit within 10-20 mins one of his paws swells up all red & he licks & licks it, I put a cold washer around it, so he must be allergic to wheat & whatever is in Jazz biscuits.. its hard but u’ll start to see & find out what makes his itch itcher..
I have tried many types of dry food for my Shepherd, we have even had him on two different types of prescription food. He still has itching. The vet suggested allergy testing, not sure I want to go that route. My boyfriend wants to try the raw diet, but I am not sure about that either, because he itches so much I am not sure where we would eve begin. Any suggestions?
Have you tried the elimination diet where he just eat 1 food for 1 month like kangaroo or chicken or fish Etc then if that meat seems ok then after 1 month add something new here’s a diet for yeasty itchy skin
1cup ground beef human
1/4 cup beef liver or kidney
2 eggs scrambled or boiled
1/2 cup steamed or boiled broccoli
1/2 cup cooked yellow crookneck squash
1/2 cup yogurt
serve meat cooked or raw combined with the cooked vegetables eggs & yogurt, If serving the meat cooked wait for it to cool before stirring in the yogurt..
intstead of the beef mince u can use chicken mince, pork mince or a tin of salmon or mackerel drained..
This was from this book called ‘Raw & Natural Nutrition for dogs’ The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals by Lew Olson PhD… an excellent read explaining all health problems & what to feed dogs, there was more meals for skin problems, I just borrowed it from my Library…its raw & cooked Healthy meals, also a good shampoo is needed like Oatmeal shampoos..
It does sound like you need to take a slow approach to food, Patty and Sue gave good suggestions – starting with only a couple ingredients at a time, since he probably has many allergies.
There’s the slight possibility that he’s reacting to environment as well. Maybe try an anti fungal shampoo to see if it helps, and if it’s environmental allergies, possibly trying to give him coconut oil and raw LOCAL honey daily? That seems to have helped my sensitive lab a whole lot when diet alone wasn’t quite cutting it. Plus, the coconut oil helps oral health and makes super soft fur 🙂
Hi K a,
Could you please describe his scratching. Where, when etc. Why do you think it is a food allergy?
I think you should switch your dog food with the “Hills Science Plan”. The prime aim is develop special food to cater to all the demands of your pet and constantly improve the new products in their reporter ire. Hills know the value of taste in your pet’s food it is made with balanced nutrients and is made to be palatable for all cats and dogs.
I have just discovered this forum! Where were you 4 years ago?
Anyway- I have a 45 lbs rescue border collie chow mix, now 8 years old. She is wonderful but has severe itchiness. We have done allergy testing and found she is allergic to eggs, corn, wheat, catfish, rice, milk. Tried allergy shots- no difference. Tried elimination diets- she just lost weight. Tried just about every dog food out there. Even tried making dog food. Went to dermatologist who suggested Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Venison. Still itchy but somewhat less. (I have often wondered if this could be environmental) Discovered some arthritis recently, and has been on adequan with good results. Any suggestions for supplements, food, treats, etc for either of these conditions?
Hi Lea J. I feel like this is my mantra but I will say it again. I have a 4 1/2 year old Maltipoo, Katie, has had severe food allergies and intolerances as well as environmental allergies since we got her at 9 weeks of age. I’ve tried any and all suggestions out there. Went through a ton of food, most of which to no avail. What finally worked for her is commercial raw foods. I like Primal Pronto the best. I also rotate her foods with Darwins, and Answers raw. I’ve tried Stella and Chewy’s raw and Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw which I didn’t like at all. Anyway, I have three small dogs that I feed 1/4 cup twice a day. I do add and/or feed sardines (canned in water, not oil), coconut oil, probiodics, digestive enzymes, fresh fruits and veggies. Their treats consist of fresh fruits or veggies. I don’t use store bought treats. To many issues with Katies allergies. My 14 1/2 year old Maltese has arthritis in her right hip and also two degenerated discs mid spine. I rotate supplements as well as their foods. I haven’t found any particular joint supplement that has worked miracles. I have just ordered Sprintime’s Joint Health and Fresh Factor. Some people have been reporting that they are having good luck with these. Anyway, I think I’ve digressed here from my mantra which is: Grain, Soy, Poultry (in all forms), White Potato and Rice Free food as well as anything else you think your dog may be allergic or intolerant to. Your allergy list really doesn’t seem to be that bad though I wouldn’t doubt that she has more problems than just the ones you named. Full disclosure, I don’t believe that food allergy testing for dogs can be trusted. My dogs allergist/dermatologist as well as their traditional vets all would not do the testing. They said the tests are inaccurate, misleading and cost a lot of money. When vets tell you they won’t take your money, you know they are being accurate. To this date there are no known food allergy testing on animals that are accurate. As far as kibble goes, I can’t really recommend any because I’m not comfortable in my knowledge of their ingredients anymore. I figured out most of Katie’s food allergies by her reactions to the foods I was feeding and then comparing ingredients with other foods trying to figure out what was bothering her. She has many many issues. She just recently became allergic or intolerant to alfalfa. Allergic or intolerant to me is all the same. All I’m sure of is that either way, she can’t eat it so I don’t care whether some people say that it’s not really an allergy, it’s an intolerance. It’s all trial and error really and constantly researching ingredients. What works for my dogs may not work for others but eliminating the obvious typical allergens is a good place to start. It’s an incredibly long road in helping our allergy prone dogs but the work is well worth it for them. Exhausting on us. Oh, Spring is finally here in Atlanta where we live so for the last two days I’ve been giving her Benadryl twice a day. I hate having to do that but there is nothing I can personally do about environmental outdoor allergies. Trust me, if there was a way I would have found it by now. This is the first time I have ever had a dog with allergies and I’ll just say it keeps me on me on my toes with all things food related for her. Katie’s how I came across this site a couple of years ago and I, she and my other dogs have benefited immensely. Good Luck. If you need any clarification on anything I’ve said or any more questions please ask.
dchassett, appreciate your response. Did not put a whole lot of stock in allergy tests-and injections just seemed silly and did not help one bit. One vet had her on oral steroids- which helped but at what cost?! Needless to say, weaned her off. Currently, she is on Natural balance and home made “glop” (meat, veggies, fruits mixed in processor) I give her Benadryl when she seems uncomfortable by itching and/or drives me crazy with her itching. I am going to try the Springtime Joint Health as well. I am a bit reluctant to start the raw diet as I live in a small town in Alabama and resources for this sort of thing commercially are limited except via internet. We have been to five different vets over the years and each has a different expensive test to order! I am going to take your advice and try more homemade.
The vets have just been taking your money. To me it sounds as though this is entirely a food issue as well as the touch of arthritis. A fabulous commercial raw diet is Darwin’s. It can only be purchased on line on their site. If you ever think about adding a commercial raw you can try them. They are an auto delivery service also first time buyers get a great deal. Anyway you can check out their site and see what you think. A lot of us swear by them. And yes, commercial raw is more expensive than kibble BUT, you save so much in vet bills it’s not even funny. Since on raw my dogs only go to the vet for their yearly physical. That’s it. Before that I was with Katie at one vet or specialist constantly. Expensive, time consuming and lots of used up gas. I hate the fact that they put your dog on steroids. They cause so much damage, the steroids as well as some vets. I’ve never known of any dog or person (myself included) that was ever made allergy free with the injections. Please check the ingredients in the Natural Balance. If she’s itching on this food than I would change it. It’s obviously got ingredients that she can’t tolerate.
dogspotindia, really? Hills is full of junk, by-product, and tons of stuff dogs are easily allergic to. If you want the condition to get /worse/, then yes, you DEFINITELY want Hills! 🙂
Shasta220. I totally agree with you. I can’t imagine why anyone would recommend Hills to a person seeking help for their dog. It’s a horrible food.
There are a few of those guys floating around here….like those two that always recommend Hills and RC food, regardless of what the topic was. :/
I have a chi mix who is in the midst of a full blown fungal/ yeast invasion, poor little guy. My vet, who I normally adore, has been useless in this case. Anti fungal pills, antibiotics, and $30 bottles of anti fungal shampoo. He just kept getting worse. Finally I did my own research. Sugar feeds yeast – so no more sugars or carbs….no dog foods with rice or potatoes, no treats with corn syrup as the second ingredient, as most of the commercial ones have…and no shampoos with oatmeal – yeast loves oatmeal! The first change had to be the dog food, so no more Freshpet Select. Thank goodness freshpet just came out with their Vital line, which has no grains or potatoes. Temporarily, I am giving yogurt daily, to try to get his good bacteria back in charge, and trying to feed other immune system boosting goodies – liver, garlic, etc, all in limited amounts, of course. I am also doing every other day vinegar rinses on him. Little by little, he is getting better….but it has been a loooong road.
You might want to try a better probiotic. Yogurt usually has about 3 strains of probiotics. You can find kefir in the dairy aisle and it has 10 or more strains, or you can get a probiotic from some place like Swanson’s, Mercola’s, or a health food store that has 15 strains.
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