Hello, I am new here and would really love some help. I have two small breed dog (a cotton de tulear, and a Shih tzu) The shih tzu has had allergies from day 1, more than 4 years now. Unfortunately, I did not realize there was a problem with her food until a few years had passed. We first though it was an allergy to pesticide, or lawn treatment. From there we have tried pretty much everything before being told to switch her food. They were both originally on Wellness small breed, which always worked great for my coton. (The shihtzu came later and had a constant raw stomach). So I switched to the allergy formula (salmon and potato). That did not work, so 6 months later, I switched to the turkey potato version. When that didn’t work I tried switching brands. (Blue Buffalo allergy formula). Now, not only have I not seen a change for the shih tzu, but my coton is licking her paws constantly and she is suffering from ear infections all of a sudden. I have no idea what to try now,(homemade, raw, another brand) but I certainly wish that I had never started on the BB. I am hoping that someone can shed some light on what might be the allergy causing ingredient that is common in these foods. I am open to any and all suggestions. I can cook for them if I need to. Just if someone can point me in the right direction. My girls are very uncomfortable. 🙁
Hi Rachel, join this group on Face Book called “Dog Allergy International Group” https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogallergyinternationalgroup/
You will get all the help needed, look in the files Salvia/Skin Testing “Glacier Peak Holistic”
Debe Gywnn has joined the group, Debe is the CEO & Founder Glacier Peaks Holistic..
Allergies? If the current treatment is not effective and the dog is seriously uncomfortable, you may want to consider seeing a specialist/dermatologist, especially if this has been going on for 1 year/4 seasons without any significant periods of relief.
Or consult a homeopath http://theavh.org/
Dr Falconer’s latest blog http://vitalanimal.com/natural-dog-food-work/
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.
‘Doc, it itches when I do this!’
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.
Has your dog had the skin testing to identify environmental allergies? In my experience environmental allergies are much more common that food allergies.
People often refer to food sensitivities as allergies.
I would consider taking the dogs to a specialist/dermatologist, if you haven’t already.
My dog is doing well, she receives immunotherapy, she now eats a variety of foods with Nutrisca (fish) as a base.
My dog is not truly allergic to anything, but he does have food hypersensitivities. He reacts to all bird ingredients, tomato, flax, all grains, and possible alfalfa(we are still testing for that). Dogs can react to any food that has proteins in it, and there is some new research that is showing that it is possible to have reactions to fats too. The way to determine your dogs sensitivities is to do an elimination diet. If you can’t do that then you need to try foods that are Limited Ingredient Diets that do not have ingredients that your previous foods had, which means gathering and saving ingredient lists. You may want to look into Canine Caviar and Nature’s Variety Instinct LID.
Merrick now has a line of LIDs. Dogaware.com has a homemade diet section and You might check out BalanceIt.com and books Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats by Dr. Becker and Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet by Steve Brown.
Starting them on the Blue Buffalo (while I would personally never use Blue Buffalo products) actually helped to give you more information. What you need to do is compare the ingredients in all of the foods they’ve eaten and reacted to see what common ingredient they might have. Through trial and error, and many, many different foods, I’ve determined that my dog reacts to all fish (including fish oil), chickpeas, lentils, flax, probably garlic and likely tomato. Keep in mind that what might be a problem for one dog might not be the problem for the other and dogs that have food intolerances frequently have more than one. Randomly choosing a brand’s food labelled ” hypoallergenic,” will do nothing to help your dog if he’s intolerant of the ingredients in it.
I would look for a truly limited ingredient food with a meat protein and a starch that your dogs haven’t eaten before and see how they do on that for a while. Nature’s Variety Instinct LID is one of the foods I’ve found that my dog does very well on. Keep in mind anything you offer them could be a problem; ie: treats and edible chews.
well, this has definitely given me some things to think about. I did not know that there are dermatologist for dogs. (these are my first dogs, and although I try to research everything, I am still learning).
She has almost all of the symptoms listed above by LM. Head shaking, rubbing face (and stomach) on carpet, constant licking her belly area to the point were it is always red, scratching ears, and recently they have both developed yeast infections in the ears.
When attempting to eliminating all possible environmental causes over the years, we now have a fenced area that receives no chemicals of any kind. Grass is always cut super low. I’ve tried having her belly shaved (as I thought maybe the licking was a result of tiny little knots in her belly fur), not shaving, just clipping the tangles, all to no avail. She’s had her bedding changed to different materials, and no bedding at all. Again nothing. Finally, the vet decided that it was a food allergy. So, we first eliminated grains. Then we started trying different proteins. (By the way, the Coton was fine on the Wellness for small breeds, but has begun to suffer since changing to the allergy formulas) I am now wondering if my Coton can not tolerate the potatoes. I am still at a loss for the Shih-tzu, but she has been suffering since being a pup. In fact, she has a terrible attitude and has a tendency to be a bit of a ‘B”. At first I did not even realize that her belly was irritated and causing her behavior, so we thought it was all a behavioral issue. It wasn’t until her first cut that we discovered the problem. She has always looked very healthy and she has shiny fur, and they have never had fleas. (In my ignorance, I just assumed that she was just grooming like a cat). Now, she is very comfortable and pleasant with me since I know not to touch her stomach.
I just feel so awful that I haven’t been able to solve this problem. I am about to look up the different dog foods and see if I can find a common ingredient other than potatoes. Also, I will be checking out those books that were mentioned above and reading up on similar topics from this site. Any help is greatly appreciated!
OK. I have looked them over and this is what jumps out to me in the Wellness line.
In the Blue Buffalo, there are so many different possibilities that I have decided to completely disqualify the brand. (alfalfa meal? Isn’t that for horses?)
I have noticed that Wellness has a lamb and oatmeal formula. What say you all to trying this? It will give a completely different protein and it also eliminates potatoes. The only other commonalities would be from the above list with the addition of rice.
Is there anything that I should be aware of about oatmeal or rice? I know that starches can exacerbate the problem, so I am almost at a loss at to what dry dog food I can use. Should I perhaps try the wet version? It does not have the rice. Thanks!
I received incorrect information from the regular vet.
It doesn’t matter what you feed the dog if the allergies are environmental, the dog will still have symptoms. Most allergens are airborne and impossible to avoid.
Allergies get worse as the dog gets older, not better.
My dog is doing so well, she may not even need to continue the immunotherapy (after 2 years).
We see the specialist once a year, he returns phone calls otherwise. The treatment is cheaper than going back and forth to the regular vet. In fact we haven’t gone to the regular vet in 3 years, get heartworm checks at Petco. Vaccinations for this dog are avoided.
PS: At one point I had 2 air purifiers and a dehumidifier going at the same time.
All they did was make noise, gave them all to the Goodwill.
And I never did find the perfect dog food, in fact, if a dog is allergic to the storage dust mite (common allergen), the specialist told me this allergen is in all kibble, regardless of how well you store it, they get in during the processing.
I think I’d take a pass on the Wellness Simple Lamb and Oatmeal. It still contains peas, tomato pomace, chicory root extract and millet. If you suspect potato or peas, I’d eliminate them from the next food you try first.
I’d take a look at a different limited ingredient brand. Not because I don’t like Wellness, I do very much, but you’ve tried it and continued to have problems so something isn’t working. My favorites are Nature’s Variety Instinct LID, Canine Caviar, Acana (not the Regionals or the new Singles), Back to Basics or The Honest Kitchen Zeal. I’m not typically a Merrick person, but I see they have some new limited ingredient formulas. I’m also not a California Natural person, but they have a very simple lamb and rice diet that might work. And, while I despise Diamond, Canidae Pure would be worth looking at, too. I almost hoped it wouldn’t, but I found a variety that my dog with food issues does great on. Not all of those brands I mentioned exclude your suspect ingredients, so be sure to look before you buy.
Like I said, I unearthed my dog’s food intolerances though trial and error. Keep notes on every single food you try, the ingredients and how each dog reacts.
Here is Dr. Karen Becker’s overview of environmental allergies…she has other good ones listed on the right side of screen. She highly recommends bathing for environmental allergies. We did her betadine foot soak and it helped stop the paw licking/chewing.
If you don’t already…use only natural, unscented laundry detergent, avoid fabric softener, scented products like room deodorizers, candles, body care, etc., use pure and non-toxic household cleaning and body care products for your family and dogs, avoid all chemicals including flea/tick treatment. For dog shampoo I stick with unscented health food store baby shampoo, and use Mercolas flea and tick spray. BioKleen household cleaners are very pure and effective. I stay away from Meyers…very toxic stuff, even though it’s sold in health food stores.
Carpet and Persian type rugs can hold a lot of allergens…consider steam cleaning but do not let them use the cleaning solution..use only the steam. Best thing is no carpet at all if it is environmental allergies.
I’ve found my dog does better with commercial raw freeze dried and frozen raw than kibble or canned. When I’m in a rush, I use Ziwi Peak or Real Meat Food Company…both air dried using grass fed meat. I think home cooking is also a good option if you can swing it.
Also, a good air purifier helps.
Keep at it and you will find the solution.
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