Vet says food allergies, but already eating an "allergy friendly" food. What now?
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Thread: Vet says food allergies, but already eating an "allergy friendly" food. What now?

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    sweet_pea's Avatar
    sweet_pea is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultVet says food allergies, but already eating an "allergy friendly" food. What now?

    We have noticed over the past six months or so that Gunner has been licking/chewing his paws quite excessively. He doesn't have any sores and still has all of his fur on his feet, but he just seems to do it all the time. I initially suspected food allergies, but didn't want to jump to conclusions so I have just kept an eye on him. He occasionally has dandruff but his coat is otherwise very shiny and healthy looking.

    His annual wellness exam was a few days ago and the vet discovered that he has a slight yeast infection in one ear. He informed us that the licking feet + dandruff + ear infection suggests a possible food allergy. He said that most dogs begin to exhibit food allergies around 3-5 years of age (Gunner is almost 2.5 y) and that he wasn't ready to diagnose him right now, but suggested that we switch to a lamb and rice food to see if this helps.

    From the research that I have done it seems like the idea behind a lamb and rice diet is to introduce a novel protein and utilize a carb source that is easily digestible and not a common allergen for most dogs. Makes sense. However, we have been feeding Gunner Solid Gold's Wolf King formula for the past 2 years. He gets no other treats/food ever. Here are the ingredients and G.A. for the food:

    Description
    Large Breed Adult Dog Food made with bison and ocean fish meal.

    Protein, Min 22%
    Fat, Min 9%
    Fiber, Max 4%
    Moisture, Max 10%
    Calories per cup, 364

    Ingredients
    Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Brown Rice, Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Millet, Rice Bran, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols) , Tomato Pomace, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Parsley Flakes, Pumpkin Meal, Almond Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Sesame Oil (preserved by mixed tocopherols), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Thyme, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate (a chelated source of iron), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Panthothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid

    I have searched for hours trying to find a good food to try switching him to, but I honestly don't even know were to start because most foods have many of the same ingredients as the food he is already eating. I"m not sure if it is the grains he is allergic to or if it is the meat source, so I don't know what to exclude first.

    Can anybody share some wisdom/insight on this situation? I would appreciate any food recommendations you might have as well. Thank you!
    Last edited by sweet_pea; 11-11-2010 at 01:59 PM.

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  3. #2
    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
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    Bison is very similar to beef, a common protein that dogs with food allergies can't tolerate. You've also got fish in there, I know a number of members here have dogs that can't tolerate fish. While lots of people say their dog is allergic to certain grains, true grain allergies in dogs are rare - it's proteins that are the problem. Chicken and beef are two big allergens in dogs. There are three big "allergies" that dogs get: fleas, food, and environmental. Your vet is doing the right thing by trying to get you to rule out a food allergy first - they're the easiest to rule out (STRICT diet trial for 8-10 weeks) along with flea allergy (rigid Frontline/Revolution application). Environmental allergies are tougher to diagnose (intradermal skin testing) and treat (immunosuppressants like Atopica or immunotherapy), so it makes sense to try for food and fleas first.

    Honestly, you're not going to find a commercially available food to use for a true food trial for your dog. The problem is this - most companies don't have their own plants to produce dog food - so they have little control over what is made before and after each of their batches. So if your dog is chicken allergic, even if you're feeding a beef-based food if that bag has a lot of the first run after a chicken food was processed you'll have enough chicken protein to cause a reaction. Even companies that have their own plants don't necessarily do enough to clean between batches to ensure zero additional protein "contamination." The hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein diets made by the "big three" pet food companies (Hill's z/d, Purina HA, Royal Canin HP) are guaranteed to be free from contaminants (Purina has a separate plant that only makes HA I've been told).

    Personally, and this is what I did with my food allergic guy, I would use a hydrolyzed protein diet for at least three months. If the ears and chewing clears up, great! You have a food allergic dog Then I would pick a new protein (say, rabbit or venison or duck) and cook that and add it in for two months as a "topping" to his food. If he doesn't have a reaction, great! Look for venison-based foods, see what the "carb" is in one that you like and add that into your food for two months. If there's no reaction try the new OTC food. I had Jake on Purina HA, then cooked beef (he was on a poultry-based food before), and then switched him to EVO Red Meat.

    Good luck!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    sweet_pea's Avatar
    sweet_pea is offline Junior Member
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    Wow, thank you so much for your information and suggestions. I will go out and grab a bag of hypoallergenic food tonight and get started! If all is clear in 3 months, our freezer is already stocked full of venison so I guess that will be my first protein attempt. How much should I be adding to his food? "Topping" to me seems like maybe 1/3c....does that sound right or should I aim for more/less?

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    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
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    Honestly however much you can afford to add is good I put about a handful of chopped up stew beef or ground beef in when I added in for Jake. 1/3 c should be good so long as he doesn't gain weight, and you can always cut back kibble if you notice an expanding waistline! It sounds like venison is plentiful for you - lucky you and Gunner!!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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