I have a 7-month-old Boston Terrier pup. When I got him at 8 weeks, I noted he chewed a lot on his legs and feet. He had been fed chicken, so I changed to turkey, later duck, tried beef, you get the idea. Seems he chews on his feet a lot. I did get a prescription allergen diet that was sooo processed it made me nervous. I listened to the video about rotating his diet but at this point, I am at a complete loss.
Do I put him on a restricted diet with nothing else for 2 months to see if he stops chewing on his toes? Do I rotate anyway since it seems he chews on his feet a lot and consider a nonfood allergy? I just don’t know what to do.
Thank you in advance for advice.
If you truly believe his issues are food-related (keep in mind that while it’s definitely possible his issues are food related, it could also be something environmental or behavioral), I’d recommend doing a food allergy elimination trial. Identify the primary protein and carbohydrate source in the foods that have caused the issues and pick a new food that doesn’t contain these protein sources or carbohydrate sources. I’d also go with a high protein/low carbohydrate food and supplement with probiotics and enzymes as this will strengthen the dog’s gut, help to begin the detoxification process and allow for less opportunity for inflammation. I know Dr. Karen Becker recommends her patients keep their dogs that are experiencing food allergies on a hypoallergenic diet like this for three months. After the three month period, reintroduce other protein sources and carbohydrate sources slowly and monitor your dog’s reaction to find out which items cause issues and which don’t. Try to find at least two or three other foods with different protein/carbohydrate sources that you can rotate your dog to every few months to help prevent the development of other allergies later down the road. If it’s something your open to, a lot of dogs with severe food allergies thrive on raw diets. The food is less processed and easier on the digestion system and it’s much easier to tailor a homemade diet to your dog’s needs. Check out healthypets.mercola.com – this is Dr. Karen Becker’s website, she’s a holistic vet and has a lot of good articles. I’m sure others will chime in with more advice. Good luck!
I actually do prefer a raw diet, and when I got him as a puppy, I started him on one. I still am having great difficulty finding one to suit. My favorite raw is Darwins, they are just amazing, but so far I haven’t been able to find a formula that works for him, which makes me wonder if it is not food but as you said an environmental one. I have tried an alternate diet, but I was unaware of the 3 month time line, perhaps that is where I have gone wrong? I have not given enough time between foods so I don’t have a realistic idea if it is food or not. I found a kibble (blech) that is kangaroo and red lentil, he seems to like it, it is me that doesn’t like to feed kibble. Perhaps I should keep him on that until say the end of March and then start reintroducing Darwins raw? Does that sound reasonable? And for what it is worth, thank you so much for your reply, it is difficult to feel so confused about the right thing to do. He isn’t a pet, he is family! 😉 I will look at the website you suggested in the morning. Thanks again!
Hi oceandog –
When you fed raw did you use a novel protein source? Honestly, if he was experiencing these issues on a grain-free raw diet with a novel protein source, I would be inclined to think it’s more likely to be a compulsive behavior or something in the environment. Since raw is not an issue for you, rather than messing around with kibble I’d put him right on a raw diet. I’d personally go with a grind from hare-today.com or mypetcarnivore.com (the grinds contain muscle meat, organ meat, bone and nothing else) – pick one with a protein he’s never eaten before (they’ve got some pretty novel proteins like goat, duck, quail, rabbit, etc.). I’d feed him the grind with a vitamin e supplement, fish oil, kelp/alfalfa blend and a high quality multi-strain probiotic with nothing else for 2-3 months (no treats either!). After 2-3 months, assuming the issues have cleared, gradually start introducing new protein sources and other food items such as vegetables, fruits and eggs. Introduce each item one at a time and closely monitor his reaction. Keep a journal or something noting which foods cause reactions and which don’t. After you figure out which foods trigger his reaction you can start looking into pre-made raw foods (if you wish or you can keep making your own) that don’t contain any of his allergy triggers. If something like this doesn’t work, then I highly doubt his issues are food related.
I have had him on raw until the vet prescribed a specialty anallergen kibble (not good stuff in my opinion). I have a kibble now because the raw I have been using does not have novel protein sources. They have turkey, chicken, duck and beef. I am going to be honest and since I don’t know anyone here yet I hope that readers will be kind. 🙂
I am a 22+ year vegetarian/vegan and while I cannot eat meat myself, I don’t believe that I should force that on my dogs as I believe they are carnivores. The reason I say this is I don’t believe I could make my own raw. Unless you eat the way I do you cannot imagine how truly difficult it is for me to deal with the raw on a daily basis. I have to slightly warm it or he won’t touch it, the smell is my undoing. Not to mention the mess. So, having said all of that? I don’t think I am up to making my own. If I read your post correctly, those two links above have novel protein in a raw form? If so, do I have to do anything to it or can I just feed it as it comes? I will look for this information on the sites, and I so appreciate your feedback. This has been quite difficult. I thought we had it figured out a couple of times but I think my error was not keeping him on a restricted diet long enough.
It is of course possible it is a habit or environmental. Yesterday though he was chasing his leg in circles to chew on it. So I just don’t know. I have the kangaroo kibble that I will continue on until I can review and possible order from the suggested sites. I have kept kibble on hand for training purposes. Do it seem reasonable to keep the kibble for this purpose if I can find an appropriate raw?
Sounds like you’re on the right track diet wise. However, diet & environment go hand in hand. Both need to be addressed in order to eliminate your dogs issues. If you click “forums” again, then choose “Diet and Health Issues” you will see a number of threads. I’d encourage you to read the “Detoxing” thread on page 2, for a good understanding of how the immune system works, and the “Vaccinating” thread on page one. The symptoms you’ve listed for your pup are symptoms of vaccinosis.
Here’s the bottom line, when you remove all dietary & environmental toxins, and detox the body, the “allergies” go away.
I feed Brother’s Complete Fish formula, for the kibble portion of my girls diet (& raw). Brother’s has encapsulated probiotics. Gut health is the foundation of the immune system. I also use Mercola’s astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant to help their detox.
Hi oceandog –
That’s great that you still feed your dog a meat based diet and are willing to feed raw even though you’re vegan, it must be tough to do! 🙂 While I completely respect vegetarians and vegans, I see too many that try to force their lifestyle on their dogs and cats and I personally don’t think it’s fair…
Hare-Today.com and Mypetcarnivore.com sell pre-ground mixes with muscle meat, bone and organs in the correct proportions – so you wouldn’t need to chop up any meat or anything, it comes looking just like a pre-made raw (it just doesn’t have the supplements or veggies). They have several novel protein sources. Hare Today sells goat, goose, llama, pheasant and quail and My Pet Carnivore sells alpaca, goat, muskrat and rabbit. I’d just recommend adding the supplements I listed in my previous post – vitamin e (a capsule for humans a couple times a week), fish oil (for omega 3’s), kelp & alfalfa (trace nutrients) and probiotics (to help strengthen his gut). I’d leave out any other ingredients and just keep it basic during the elimination trial so when you start re-introducing ingredients you can know what the issue is. Only feed one protein source and don’t give any treats.
I have looked at the sites and hare-today.com certainly has a tremendous variety! Do you feel there is a better choice of unique protein than an another? Also, at what point would I be able to determine if it is food vs. environmental? How would you know? I wish there was something as easy as a blood test, though that is stressful, that would determine once and for all!
Without any treats (wow!) what would be the best way to train? He is completely food motivated. He looks for his little nibble as I am traning.
I am at a loss which protein to choose for him. Is it a matter of cost, personal preferance or do they each have advantages? I will look into the other suggestions as well, about detoxifying and vaccinosis. Thank you both!!
I don’t think it matters which protein you choose, just go with one he’s never eaten before. You can give treats, but it should be simple single ingredient with just the protein you’re feeding him. So say you go with goat, any treat you feed should be just goat nothing else. Just during the period of time that you’re trying to figure out what his food-triggers are (if there are any). If you’re feeding, say, a raw diet with goat and starting giving a biscuit that has chicken and carrot and sweet potato and peas then he has a reaction, you would have no way of knowing if the reaction was caused by the goat, the chicken, the carrots, the sweet potato or the peas – you know what I mean? So during the ingredient trial period simple is best. Once you get past the 2-3 month period and start re-introducing other foods and figure out which (if any) ingredients are triggering his actions you can buy treats with safe ingredients – but before you can do that you need to figure out which ingredients are safe. And as, as I said in my previous comments, I would strongly encourage a high quality pro-biotic supplement (Mercola’s and Garden of Life’s Primal Defense are two of the best) because, like Toxed just pointed out, a healthy gut is the foundation of immune health.
Ok, I think I get it now. Of the proteins on those sites, I believe I can find Rabbit and fish treats, so they would be the best protein sources to choose, so he has treats too. Then after the trial of 2-3 months, add 1 and only 1 ingredient at a time and monitor.
I will look into the probiotic supplements as well. I did read the thread about detoxifying and I do understand the difficulties. I have celiac disease and am intolerant of dairy. So I have experienced the extreme discomfort these things cause. I avoid processed foods or pay the price. Short story.
As far as vaccines, I had Addisons dogs prior to Brody, so I didn’t vaccinate like most do. I do not plan on yearly vaccinations for Brody either. He has had his puppy shots and that is that. I suppose since he had had 1 shot already when I got him that could explain the chewing on his legs and feet.
For now, I will get in an order of rabbit or fish (so I can find treats) and give it some time and see what happens over the next few months. I do know my local pet store has some crunchy fish skin treats that he loves, so that maybe a good direction. Thank you again, I will keep updated with his progress.
He means the world to me, I lost my mother from cancer in July and 12 days later my Boston, Bosco. So Brody has literally put life in my life again. I want more than the best for him. His food budget is greater than my own!
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