I have a 14 year old black lab mix with terrible skin problems. The vet said it is food allergies, tha she might be allergic to the red dye in some foods, and or allergic to beef. We have had her on Natural Balance Potato and Duck for years and her problem has never gone away for good, keeps coming back and “flaring up”. The vets solution is steroids but then she drinks too much and has accidents in the house and I can’t give her the steroids since I work 10-12 hours/day. I am looking for suggestions/help. I want to switch her food but am not sure where to start. Thanks in advance.
I’m new to your forum and truly new some advice! My JRT is 6 yrs old. 2 1/2 years ago, she woke me up at 3am in the morning whining. I turned on the lights to see what was wrong. To my shock and amazement, you could see how red her body was through her white fur. Her body had small lumps and her face had literally changed and looked like a pug! She was scratching, runnining round the house, jumping in & out the tub it was totally frightening and horrible for her. I rushed her to the ER pet hospital. Where she was given a cortiszone injection and Benadryl. I, half bent over the metal cold table coddling her as the lumps, redness,scratching and whining subsided and a whopping bill. It was ok to take her home a 8am in the morning and told to give her the Benadryl 2 times a day for 7 days. 6 months after that episode, she started scratching her ear and body, shaking her head excessively, her shedding, I could have made another dog with the fur that was falling off her although she wan’t balding. So I took her to the vet and he too gave her meds and irrigated her ears. It wasn’t ear mites. She scartched her ear so bad that it bled and she had to wear an e collar in total about 4 months. This went on and off for another 6 months. Her vet never tested her for what could be the problem. He said it may be allergies. Maybe is not the answer I wanted to hear and my JRT & I were both miserable not to mention the bills which was exhausting my finances. I love my Xena and could not stand to see her suffer any more! So I started doing some on line research of what could be the problem? I learned that putting her on a “Raw Food Diet” might be the answer. So I set out to find which one would be helpful.
I stopped feeding her chicken, anything that had potatoes in it and any other grains & cut out the dry kibble. I started her on Steve’s. After about a month, I started seeing that the scratching had subsided the shedding had not. I kept her on it for another half month then introduced her to others like Bravo, Primal, Darwin’s Instinct & Stella and Chewy’s. I even tried shampoos with out success making sure there was no oatmeal in it. For sure that made her scratch & ear cleaning products. I also founf Dr. Karen Becker’s site and bought the “Probiotics, Krill Oil & Ubiquinol” The last 3 products I ran out of. When I can afford it, I’m thinking of purchasing Dr. Becker’s product the “Detox” bites.
Her coat is soft and shiny, but the scratching has come back, she is licking her paws now and her privates & the shedding continues which I serioulsy vaccum 3 times a week. Don’t wear black to my house 🙁 lol although not really funny. Please someone HELP!!!!!!!!!
Well here I am again and the scratching has crept up on us both.
I would not give her steroids unless you just have too. I can speak from expierence on this level because time after time my vet put one of my dogs on steroids and now from her being on it so long it is taking her longer to go through a detox period. I wish I would have found Dr Karen Beckers info a long time ago because then I wouldn’t have to be dealing with so many issues with my girl.
I feed her now Brothers Allergy Formula and I use Mercola brand probiotics and enzymes on her food. Dr Becker and Brothers recommend a no potato, grain and no sugar diet. Now I have been on Brothers Allergy since Sept 2012 and it has been a rough road and still is a bit bumpy at times but things have improved alot. My girl still would lick her feet constantly and so I read Dr Beckers solution for this and it has worked so far. She advises to mix 2 cups of white vinegar to one gallon of water and soak your dogs feet and do not rinse but towel dry. ( Keep mixture away from your dogs eyes) Also when giving your dog a normal bath only use a shampoo that is tea tree oil and Aloe. Using oatmeal baths only feeds the yeast. I don’t mind getting my food shipped in if my little dogs are going to be comfortable with the out come of their diet. Now I tried the white meat formula from Brothers and this made us go on a set back once again because of the sweet potato and fruits added in it so we are back on the Allergy and things are getting back to almost where they were. Good luck with your sweetness. Oh and if your dog has problems with yeasty ears then Dr Becker has recommended “Witch Hazel”
I would get a chicken, beef, potato and grain free food. Look in the dog food ingredients forum, for the stickie on top
I foster a pug who was surrendered because of her severe allergies. She’d been through all the allergy tests and basically was found to be allergic to everything. They’d had her on meds, steroids, baths, dips–you name it, they did it. They took her to the vet to be put down because she was so miserable and they couldn’t afford it any more. Thankfully, she was rescued. She’s now on a med called Atopica which is unfortunately pretty expensive, but has been a miracle worker for her. When I got her, her skin was raw and bleeding and now she has a beautiful coat. She eats Nutro Grain Free Lamb and Potato. We found 2 things she’s really allergic to are wheat and sweet potatoes and this food seems to be working for her. (knock on wood) And she’s learned to like baby carrots for treats! 🙂
Becky, my pug is on Atopica – but the generic, which is cyclosporine. We save money by getting the generic. Thank you for rescuing that pug! 🙂
Becky, thank you for rescuing the pug. How long have you had her? Do yourself a favor and write down the ingredients in the food she was eating before you got her, if you know and the ingredients in the Nutro. That way, if she ever backslides, you will know what works for her & what doesn’t.
Unfortunately I don’t know much about her before I got her. She came to me through a couple of other people and I know what they had her on but not what her original family had her on. I’ve had her for 7 mos; a long time for a foster! She’s with SEPRA, Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption, so please spread the word if you know anyone who’s interested in a very allergic pug! (but VERY VERY sweet)
Jill, have you always had her on the generic or did you start on Atopica and switch over? If you switched, could you tell any difference? EllieMae was so severe the vets said we should start on Atopica and then we might be able to switch over. She’s doing so well I haven’t tried changing anything yet. The poor thing probably hasn’t felt this good in her whole life.
Hello everyone, HELP PLEASE!!!
I posted a comment as you can see back in March of 2013. I read your forum as often as I can. I would please like some suggestions and help with my post. I have her on Ziwi Peaks Venison and that is over with now. My Xena isn’t even digesting this food anymore. She threw it all up after two full hours after eating it. Xena can’t eat any fowls, beef, fish. I gave her some boneless skinless very very low sodium sardines and the girl would have crawled out of her skin if she could scratched like the dickens and had to wear a e-collar for 3 weeks. She can’t eat any form of potatoes either. The pet stores don’t really offer a long line of products and I have to travel by public transportation just to buy her food. I was thinking of putting her back on the Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit Formula.
Poor Xena. She sounds as miserable as my foster was when I got her–maybe worse. Ellie has been eating Nutro’s Grain Free Lamb and Potato but if Xena can’t eat Potato, that won’t work anyway. What helped Ellie was the medicine Atopica. It literally saved her life. Her family was going to have her put down because she was so miserable but they couldn’t afford the Atopica. Our pug rescue group got her, thank goodness. Within 2 or 3 days of taking it, she was a totally different pug–comfortable, able to lie down and relax, not scratching and rubbing all the time, the inflammation went down, etc. She also was on an antibiotic because she scratched till she was infected. Anyway, that was a year ago and she’s still doing well on Atopica, the lowest dose.
There’s also Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein food. Maybe you could look into that. I’m not sure how it works, but it’s something with the way they take apart the proteins or something. So even if they’re allergic to chicken, for example, they can still get the chicken protein. I may have it totally wrong, but you might look into it. It’s a prescription food available from your vet.
I hope Xena starts feeling better soon. I know these skin allergies are terrible.
I’m teary eyed that you responded so quickly! God Bless you and thank you so very very much. I don’t have the funds now to buy that prescription and I have exhausted my Xena taking her to soooooo many vets pumping her with steroids she is way over her normal weight and each vet recommends that I give her that hills science diet food.
It’s also available as a generic–cyclosporine. It’s still kind of expensive, but much cheaper than the brand name. Have you looked into that? Even if you can get her on it for a little while to give her some relief. I’m serious when I say it’s a miracle drug. Another place you could check is http://www.thehonestkitchen.com They’re not real cheap either, but they have some good info on there about nutrition. You mentioned Hills Science Diet–that’s not the same as the Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein. One bag of that cost me about $36 which is about what I was paying for the Nutro, so it’s not a whole lot more than a good quality dog food (and less than some of them!) Worth looking into…. Good luck! I know how frustrating it is.
I don’t think there is a cheap solution to your problem. Xena needs a food that does not have any of her triggers, even if that means you have to make it yourself. If Stella & Chewy’s Rabbit worked for her then that is where I’d start. You might want to look at what protein sources Hare Today has available, but as I said, it isn’t cheap. Good Luck!!
Could you go through the ingredient list on Stella and Chewy and use some of those ingredients to cook a meal? I also thought about Wysong has a rabbit canned food that’s all rabbit. You could maybe try that and cook some of the vegetables that are in the Stella and Chewy food? Just give some of the rabbit canned mixed with veggies that are OK? That would make it less expensive!
TBH, at this point though…if I were you, I would buy some of the vet dog food and try that. I’ve heard of dogs that have really good results with it. I just would try it if I were you. Maybe your vet can give you a sample of it? At least you could know if she reacts to it.
Seriously Somebodysme? I would never recommend a Vets choice in food for any dog or cat . Simply because Vets have had no Canine or Feline training on feeding the proper diet. Most Vets sell science Diet prescription diet and if you look on here at the ingredients you will see it is not a good choice for a diet for any dog or cat.
That’s not necessarily true of all vets. My vet doesn’t push any particular food and always goes for any natural, holistic treatments first. But, those don’t always work in every situation.
But when you are dealing with a dog that’s almost DIED from an allergic reaction to food, I believe that a prescription food is warranted! Obviously her food choices she is making are not working, her dog almost died from it! I really think it’s ridiculous for us to be saying that vets know nothing about food! I think it’s crazy to think that we know more than our vets!
definitely–and that’s what we pay them for! If you can’t trust your vet with your dog’s food, you might want to find another vet.
For those of you dealing with extreme allergy issues, have you had allergy tests performed by your vet?
I seem to recall a conversation a long time ago about the reliability of those tests and can’t recall what some of the opinions were regarding that, but it seems like your vets would’ve at least suggested it by now.
I could have sworn that in this conversation she mentioned that her dog was tested and basically allergic to everything. Without going back and reading it all…
I was lucky enough to discover that my dog is allergic to peas. Once I started feeding her a “healthy” grain free diet is when it all went to heck. I finally listened to my vet and fed the food that he suggested (he did NOT sell it to me) and that is when the rash went away. Once I had a food that I knew she could eat, I then went through every ingredient and found the only same ingredient of all the grain free foods she had eaten and that gave her a rash, was the peas. The new food has potatoes and no peas. I kept trying new meats to find a cause of a terrible rash she had.
Had I LISTENED to my vet, I could have saved my dog a few months of misery. But NOOOO, I thought I knew more than my vet! We are not giving our vets enough credit for all the experience they have with working with thousands of animals for many years. So maybe they aren’t trained a lot in nutrition in college…so what, can’t a vet do reading and research on their own just like we can. And to generalize and say “vets know nothing about dog nutrition” is just wrong to say! There are way too many self proclaimed experts on the Internet these days! I’m not saying to just not do your own research but when a dog is so sick they have almost died, it is time to listen to our vet’s advice! Time to stop self diagnosing!
Somebody’s me: how did your dog almost die?
I’m the one whose dog had the allergy tests and it showed she was allergic to everything. But she’s my foster and it was her original family who did the testing. One strange thing, though, it showed she was NOT allergic to corn! But as I’ve had her for over a year, I’ve also found she’s allergic to sweet potatoes and barley. Or at least she gets diarrhea when she eats something with that in it, so I’m assuming she’s allergic or sensitive to those.
She’s on a food that agrees with her, she eats carrots and blueberries for treats and I found some Nutro grain-free treats without barley she can eat and she’s happy. (with her Atopica) She’s getting adopted Sunday after a year! I’m going to miss her so much but it will be good for her to have a forever home.
Does anyone else use acidophilus? That seems to help with her stomach issues, too.
Marie, my dog didn’t almost die, the person asking questions here had a dog that almost died. Had a reaction and swelled up and had to be rushed to the vet. Dogs die from that! Heck humans can die from that. Your throat swells up and you suffocate! This is not something you dilly dally around with and ask questions at the forum…you have to do what you have to do!
Marie, my dog had a terrible rash all over her back and tail for months until I finally fed what the vet suggested in the first place. What I said was that I could have saved my dog a lot of misery if I would have listened to what my vet told me instead I tried to research and self diagnose.
I’m glad you finally found something that worked for your dog. And I’m sorry that it took so long for you to try that particular combination. But your vet could have just as easily steered you wrong since he did not suggest that food knowing your dog had an allergy to peas. His knowledge was not what led him to suggest a particular food, other than to know you had a dog with a food allergy and he was suggesting a different food than what you were feeding.
His knowledge should have led him to instruct you on how to do a correct elimination diet.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by theBCnut.
We live in remote Alaska and we have a traveling vet that comes through once a year! Our Lab, every since age 4 month old, fought with scratching her ears all the time. The traveling vet would just give her ear cream. And then later about age 2 she started chewing on her paws and butt. At age 5 I felt so sorry for I started searching the web (very slow internet) and found out about grain allergy’s ( I was feeding her Iams for 5 years) and yeast infections. We tried Dinovite and it did not work for her. So we contacted another vet in Anchorage (600 miles and $1000 plane ticket). She advised us to send in swabs of her ears, paws, and butt. Sure nuff she was eat up with yeast. She gave us 3 rounds of Ketoconazole 200mg. After each round she would clear up. And then with in 2 weeks start it all again. So I changed her diet to NO GRAINS (we like Annamaet grain free). Still after each round she would start back with all symptoms. We asked the vet for more drugs but she said no she wanted to see the dog. We were going on a vacation for a month so we took her in and boarded her for a month ($36 a day) and told the vet to make her better! So after some antibiotics and a daily dose of Ketoconazole the vet said she will need to have Ketoconazole probably the rest of her life. She is all cleared up. She is eating Annamaet and is now taking Ketoconazole 3 days a week. WE are so happy and so is she. The only thing we need help with now is her shedding hoping the Annamaet fish will help. Good luck and have the dog checked for yeast. The vet said it starts out with a little yeast in the ears and keeps going till it is coming out of skin everywhere!
It sounds like your dog is still having what may very well be a food intolerance. And, it’s definitely not a good idea to have your dog on Ketoconazole three days per week indefinitely. If I were you, I’d take a look at a grain free food that is lower in carbs than what you’re feeding now and that doesn’t contain any white potato – which Annamaet does. I’d even consider feeding a raw diet.
It takes time, but the body can heal and recover from systemic yeast.
It could also be an intolerance to the type of meat protein she is getting. The intolerance irritates the lining of the gut which eventually makes it permeable and the yeast that should be in the intestinal tract gets in the bloodstream. The way to get the yeast out of the blood stream is to starve it back for 8 or 9 months. That means really low carbs, preferably low glycemic carbs. Dinovite’s yeast starvation diet can be fed long term, but you might want to use locally hunted meats for it, instead of ground beef or chicken.
This may be too simple, but have you tried probiotics? It wouldn’t hurt, even along with new food.
I am new to this forum and mom to two cocker spaniels (ages 13 and 6), so I’ve seen my share of ear infections and whatnot. I adopted my youngest cocker a little over a year ago (September, 2012), and he had terrible elephant skin on his groin and chest and he stunk of yeast–it was all through his ears and on his little nose and paws. Just pitiful. He was a stray and his owner didn’t claim him although he was housebroken and sat on command when I got him. My vet initially suggested a “lifestyle” change–just being consistently cared for–might improve the skin. Unfortunately, it didn’t improve the near constant itching/licking, and we tried all kinds of medications on top of daily benedryl which just knocked the poor guy out. Much like spotcdb’s case, it would clear up only to come back. I tried the fancy, super expensive all natural dog foods for allergy prone dogs. We rotated foods to eliminate potential allergens. No substantial changes. It took about 5 months for me to make the decision to just test for the food allergies (about $200), and I’m so glad I did. He was VERY allergic to–surprise–OATS and SOY! Those would have been the last ingredients to be eliminated rotating the foods out. Today he is on a dog food (the company that does the testing gave me a HUGE list of foods/treats he could eat that wouldn’t trigger a reaction) that doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg but is still good for him. I just had an outdoor/indoor allergy panel done for him this week. Again, so glad I did because he was still having problems with his ears in the warm months, and it looks like he’ll need to go on allergy shots, which I’ll start before the spring to hopefully give him a head start. Never experienced anything like this with my older cocker, who I’ve had since she was 12 weeks old. Long story short, I really wish I’d done these allergy tests from the get-go, or at least in the first few months. I could have saved my little guy a lot of irritation and myself a lot of money. Incidentally, the elephant skin was completely eliminated shortly after getting him on the right food. He is SO much better, prettier, and happier than when I brought him home.
No, they should have been very early on your list. The expensive foods are grain free and soy free and almost all of the limited ingredient foods shouldn’t have had those either, since they should have one meat protein and one starch and only the vitamins and minerals needed to balance that. Allergy tests are still known to give false positives as well as false negatives. A proper elimination diet would have served you better.
CockerMom: as someone who has a dog with ear infections, can you please tell me what food you’re using?
Hi, InkedMarie! Since about April I’ve been feeding both my dogs the Iams Healthy Naturals Adult Lamb Meal and Rice dog food. They’ve both responded well to it, and it was included on the list of (literally, hundreds–at least one thousand) dog foods the allergy testing company gave me. Basically, it’s an average kibble, but it’s easily accessible in my area. Prior to that, I had my allergy prone cocker on Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Easy to Digest Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin dog food and my older cocker on Blue Buffalo Senior Turkey (both are considered limited ingredient foods). (I’d highly recommend both those foods; it was just a 20+ mile drive one-way every time I needed dog food.)
To put things in context, I got my allergy prone cocker in September, 2012. I was visiting the vet pretty much every two weeks and he was constantly on keto, benadryl, special shampoo for the elephant hide, and various ear medications. The shampoo improved the elephant hide somewhat, but he was still having problems with ears and itching/licking in general. Once I got him on the Nature’s Recipe, he slowly started improving (I was beginning to think we had a definite winner!), but then spring hit and his skin, eyes, ears just drove him crazy with itching, so he really didn’t enjoy a substantial change in his condition. I did the food allergy test first just because I wanted to eliminate as many of the most likely causes as possible before considering something like an allergy panel/allergy shots. After getting the results, I rid the house of any foods, treats, etc. he was allergic to and made the decision to put both dogs on the same food with my vet’s approval. There was a little adjusting of portions for my older cocker, and she definitely liked the Blue Buffalo much better (it has oats, and I didn’t want to risk my allergy prone dog getting a morsel of it), but she’s doing really well on it.
The warm months were a nightmare for the little guy. The exposed skin and the yeast and the elephant hide cleared up completely with the food adjustment but the ears were the worst I’d seen yet–literally Velveeta cheese at the worst, and medicines weren’t providing much relief. More bi-weekly vet visits, and I even participated in some trial drugs when everything else failed. Thank goodness for the first hard frost. It’s winter now, and his ears have cleared up, so I am pretty confident now the food issues have been ruled out. We’ve both gotten a much needed break from the ear agony. He looks far and away better than ever and the constant itching/licking isn’t going on now that it’s winter. That’s what convinced me to do the outdoor panel before his 2nd spring with me. The tests aren’t terribly invasive or expensive–they use only a small blood sample. I couldn’t imagine having a chronic yeast infection! I’m hoping the allergy shots will prep him for the spring allergens.
I could probably start a whole new thread about cockers and their ears, but I can tell you that having owned two cockers now, my experience with the younger dog has been COMPLETELY different than the older one. Basically, I’ve always exercised preventative care with my older cocker just because cockers are naturally prone to infections with their big floppy ears–cleaning and drying the ears once a week or so, keeping the insides or the ear shaved close, and letting them air out. She’s had maybe 3 or 4 ear infections in her 13 years, and her ears are very clean and healthy. My younger cocker’s ears are a mess–gnarly and misshapen on the inside with a lot of scar tissue particularly on the left ear and there is an ugly polyp on the left ear too. He is truly a special needs dog, and I’m thinking the product of overbreeding (resulting in a very cute but very issue-prone pup).
I know a lot of dogs do well on a food elimination diet, and I believe I truly gave that method a fair shake (the food he was on when he took the food allergy test was actually on the testing company’s approved list–although none of the prior foods I tried were), but my dog’s issues are caused by a variety of allergens that aren’t limited to just food. I spent literally thousands of dollars in vet bills for various treatments that treated only symptoms but not the true problem, and I have no regrets with the allergy tests. I truly believe we’ve reached a turning point. They might not be necessary for every dog, but if your dog is experiencing chronic allergies and a food adjustment isn’t completely alleviating the symptoms, the test is worth it.
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