I am new to the site and wanted some insight on dog food. I have 3 pugs 10,9, and 4 years old. My 4 year old itches constantly and I have taken her to vet 3x with no answers. I think my first step may need to change her food and I am at such a loss on where to begin. I feed them dry blue buffalo now.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
What did the vet suggest? If the symptoms have been going on for 1 year/4 seasons without a significant response to treatment by the regular vet, the next step would be to go to a veterinary dermatologist and get intra dermal skin testing, you need an accurate diagnosis.
Hair and saliva mail in tests are not allergy tests, don’t be fooled. use the search engine here to search allergies. This subject comes up frequently.
Has your vet referred you to a veterinary dermatologist? That is where I would start.
Have you checked the search engine here, example:
From a previous post:
Allergies can be broken down into inhalant, contact, or food allergy origins. Flea allergies, grass allergies, and environmental toxin induced allergies are the most common causes of skin conditions in Cairns. Allergies can be chronic or seasonal. They can be minor or severe in occurrence. They tend to become worse with age. Treatment is much better than in bygone days. Environmental controls, antihistamine treatment, and desensitization injections have made huge strides in the last few years”.
“Glucocorticoids should be used only as a last resort due to serious side effects. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic or severe cases by a Board Licensed Veterinary Dermatologist is recommended”.
(excerpt from:) http://cairnterrier.org/index.php/Static/health
This was copied from a site regarding Cairn Terriers, however, the information applies to all dogs (imo)
Example: Have you consulted a veterinary dermatologist? If the allergies are environmental, changing the diet will have very little to do with alleviating the symptoms.
Environmental allergies tend to wax and wane, without getting Intra dermal skin testing done by a specialist (veterinary dermatologist) it’s pretty much impossible to tell what the allergens are, what is working, or not.
What you describe sounds like environmental allergies, food would have little impact, if any, on this condition.
I would continue to work with your veterinarian, however, for best results, I would go to a specialist, a veterinary dermatologist.
“Food allergies are rare. Food sensitivities tend to result in GI disturbances such as vomiting and diarrhea. Environmental allergies tend to show up as pruritus, ear infections and such”.
“You could try a limited ingredient grain free food. My dog does well on Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea. Wipe down her feet with water and gently dry when she comes in from outdoors”.
“Bathe her using a gentle shampoo, I use Malaseb (see chewy dot com).
I tried all kinds of things times 1 year (including going back and forth to the veterinarian), but, did not get results till I took her to a dermatologist for testing. Allergen specific immunotherapy worked in her case”.
Unfortunately, steroids and such are often necessary (for brief periods) to stop the suffering and prevent infection.
Allergen specific immunotherapy is the most natural treatment.
Also, I have heard that some dogs do well on apoquel, you may want to consider talking to to your vet about that.
You could be a fool like I was and spend hundreds of dollars changing different brands with absolutely no luck, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you truly believe your dog is reacting to food (which is rare in dogs), doing a proper elimination diet to test for food allergies is the best way to spend your money.
Where is the dog itching? “Ears and rears” are usually what starts to itch when food is involved.
Hi Shannon, food change is good place to start & weekly baths, it’s not rare for dogs to have food sensitivities & become real itchy or have smelly ears & skin, rub bum on floor, it’s rare for dogs to have “food allergies” & when a dog does suffer with food allergies they normally have IBS symptoms & Skin Problems….
Have a look at “Canidae Pure” formulas, most formulas have single proteins with only 5 to 7 ingredients & grain free, Canidae Pure Sea is a really good formula for itchy dogs, the omega 3 is nice & high, what’s need for itchy dogs, Canidae have just brought out their small Pure Petite formulas, they’re lower in fat & lower in protein then their other Pure formulas, have a look at the Petite Pure Salmon formula for your itchy dog or Pure Sea & the Pure Meadow Senior for the 2 older dogs or they can all eat the same formulas just don’t feed a new kibble that has the same protein what they are eating in the Blue Buffalo formula, try & change ingredients…
also start weekly baths, I have found Malaseb medicated shampoo to work the best, Malaseb can be used daily to wash off any bacteria, allergens, pollens & dirt off their coats & skin, relieving their itch & killing any bacteria on the skin, I bath weekly thru Spring & Summer months & as Winter approaches I bath fortnightly, Patch suffers with Seasonal Environment Allergies & Food Sensitivities….
Once you change diet, give no treats, unless the treats are the same brand as kibble & have same ingredients as the kibble, Canidae has matching treats & wet in food & diet is higher in omega 3 fatty acids & you start bathing twice a week, you’ll start to see a big improvement with the itchy dog, keep….
There’s no true testing for food sensitivities or food allergies, the best thing to do is a elimination food diet or feed a vet diet or a novel protein, limited ingredient kibble like Canidae, then once dog is stable & isn’t itching or smells real yeasty like a corn chip then you can start adding 1 new food to diet for 6 weeks, it can take from 1 day to 6 weeks to show any signs of a reaction to a food…..
Keep a diary, my boy starts getting itchy ears & shaking his head after eating carrot, red front paws & real smelly yeasty skin from chicken, barley, rice & oats…then in Spring he becomes real itchy from seasonal environment allergies, which ones I don’t know but there’s a skin test called “Intradermal Skin Test” where they shave a part of the skin normally the side of the dog, then they inject just under the skin the most common allergen & see if the dogs skin reacts, humans also have this test, then once they work out what in the environment your dog is sensitive too you give injections to desensitize your dog from what ever is making him/her itch.. that’s why it’s best to keep a diary & you’ll start to see a pattern, what month they itch more, was it after eating a certain food, or when Spring came, or on real windy days when the pollen count is high etc
Another good kibble brand people are feeding is “Zignature” but just check the fat & protein % in the kibble your feeding at the moment, the Canidae Pure Petite may be more closer fat protein & fiber & be around the same % to the Blue Buffalo….Zignature Kangaroo has the lowest fat, protein & fiber the other Zignature formula are higher in fat protein & fiber & might cause stomach/bowel stress especially the older 2 dogs… Your dogs may be OK when they change formulas, make sure you introduce over 7-10 day period, a lot of people do it tooo quickly then blame the new kibble when their dog has intestinal stress…
There’s a really good group on Face Book called “Dog issues, allergies and other information support group” a Dermatologist is in the group, Dr Karen Helton Rhodes DMV DACVC, after changing kibble & giving weekly baths in Malaseb shampoo & there’s no improvement with the itchy skin I’d join the F/B allergy group your dog may be allergic to dust mites or storage mites found in food or something in the environment, there’s a lot of new things on the market like Apoquel & CADI injections…
Here’s the Canidae formula’s… http://www.canidae.com/dog-food/products
I talk to several people on a daily basis through my job that believe their dog is having a reaction to their food when it is likely something else. Most of those people have already changed foods multiple times and even fed exotic proteins like Kangaroo to no avail. Many are not willing to accept that food might not be the issue because they don’t want the alternative of going to a specialist.
It has been my personal experience and my experience watching our customers that constantly switching OTC foods is a waste of money. Put your dollars into something that will get actual results on why your dog is scratching.
I’ve pretty much concluded that all of the itching/licking/ear issues aren’t food based. I’ve done elimination tests. During the last bout of issues, I switched immediately to Zignature based on a suggestion in this forum. Neither dog ‘loves; the kibble and I have to add apples and sardines just to get them to eat it. The itching seems better, but I’ve also been treating my dog’s paws with OTC meds that appear to be working, so I don’t know if the food helped or not. I’ve tried a dozen different food brands, mixing up the main proteins, and there doesn’t appear to be a big difference between them. The itching/ear issues just seem to pop up at random.
My dog is American Bulldog/pit mix and I’ve read that they’re just predisposed to itching and ear issues. As long as I catch flareups early in the game, I can usually treat the symptoms.
I read that you can give a dog benedryl for environmental allergies, but I’m always wary of giving them anything made for humans. Is it really safe? My vet always just wants to prescribe general antibiotics to clear the ears but the OTC drops work just as well for a fraction of the cost.
Other than consulting a veterinary dermatologist that has examined and done the testing to diagnose your dog. Noone can, nor should they try to give you specific advice as to how to treat your dog.
Also, you may be making matters worse by using OTC medications, supplements, ear drop solutions and such. Not prescribed by an examining veterinarian.
There is effective treatment for environmental allergies but, it tends to be lifelong. Environmental allergies don’t just go away, there is no cure
If you have not had significant results from treatment prescribed by your regular vet and the symptoms have been going on for 1 year/4seasons, I would make an appointment with a specialist.
Did the vet recommend benedryl? I have given one of my dogs benedryl on a few different occasions when he has had an allergic reaction to something in the yard. It has worked very well with no side effects. It was recommended by an emergency vet clinic. But, I’m not sure I’d want to give it on a regular basis without consulting with a vet.
Another thing I started doing was regularly cleaning their ears with Zymox Ear Cleanser. I have labs with floppy ears. They tend to get a little dirty and stinky. The cleanser has helped immensely and they have not had any infections. Zymox also has a solution for infected ears, but I have not used it and wouldn’t unless I was sure they had an infection.
Here is a link: https://www.zymox.com/zymox-ear-care I bought it at our local feed store. It probably can be found online as well. Good luck!
- This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by crazy4cats.
My cousin’s girlfriend is a vet tech at an emergency vet in another state and they recommend benedryl for temporary relief of seasonal allergies and/or if the dog touch/ate something that could cause an immediate reaction (like the time my dog tried to eat a toad). For the inflamed paws, they recommend Nu-stock.
Zymox ear cleaner is the medicine that my vet recommendeds to keep his ears healthy. And if they seem irritated, then I apply the Zymox solution.
Sounds like you have some great resources. I hope you can find the cause of the itching and get it under control. Best wishes to you!
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