My lab has had allergies for a long period of time where she will be very itchy. She has been like this for a while and the vet thinks its a food allergy but the only way to tell is to change her food. When she is itchy it doesn't seem as if it is seasonal. Can anyone suggest what food to feed her? Right now she is eating Beneful dry food and Pro plan wet food.
Whether it is a true food allergy or an intolerance to a particular ingredient, the best way to determine the source is to go to a very simple food and start adding ingredients until the reaction returns.
There are foods out there like California Natural that have a limited list of ingredients. It's unusual for meat (other than beef) to be the culprit, so try and find a food with one meat and no grains. Natural Balance has a single meat/carbohydrate food (Potato & Duck) that may work. Go simple, otherwise it is impossible to find the culprit. Try and stick with a food that has one carbohydrate and one meat - neither of which should be a common allergen (no beef, no grains, no dairy). Beneful has wheat, soy and beef so I'd definitely move her off of that.
IMO Vets always think it is a food allergy. I say do extensive allergy testing.
I would try grain-free. Grains are often allergens to dogs, which can cause the itching.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
I'd say try the food switch - if it works it likely is food based - if it doesn't you can persue allergy testing if you like (my vet has ZERO faith in it mind you - and much more faith in my observational abilities)
SIMPLE RESTRICTED diet is critical tho - no treats that you don't KNOW have exactly the same ingredients as the food you are feeding .. no table scraps etc
wait til you can committ to the new diet for at LEAST 6 weeks - and I'd expect to wait 8-10 before being sure it was or wasn't working (tho believe me if you introduce a problem ingredient you may know on day two!) then when you are sure the diet is not causing a problem you can add ONE ingredient/thing at time back wait a couple of weeks before introducing the next new thing and hopefully you'll have a solution
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
I'm going through the same thing with one of my dogs. His muzzle is very itchy and I was hoping that with the snow I'd be better able to tell if it's environment or food. Could also be something in the house - don't rule that out... dogs can sensitive to carpet cleaners, etc.
One vet I consulted said that if it is food, it's almost certain to be a protein (contrary to one of the other responses you got that said it was likely not meat). He also suggested switching to an all potato diet to see if the itching stopped, which would quickly confirm diet. I haven't tried it yet. I agree that corn and wheat are common, but those allergies typically manifest in goopy ears, not itchiness. The reason there are so many different meat source foods is because you might need to switch to one that your dog has never been exposed to.
I'm assuming this is referring to me, but I believe you are mistaken. It is true that proteins are generally the cause of an allergic reaction - almost by definition it is a reaction to the protein. However, proteins are not only found in meat. Protein does not equal meat. Grains have protein, corn has protein. Look on your milk label, milk has protein.One vet I consulted said that if it is food, it's almost certain to be a protein (contrary to one of the other responses you got that said it was likely not meat).
Meat is not a common allergen with the exception of beef (and chicken is on the rise, both of which are due to their common occurrence in dog foods, past and present).
If you're going to try a simple food change, the best bet is to first try eliminating the most common allergens - and for the most part that is not meat.
Riley is nearly bald with allergies/cratching. I am desparate. I am now trying at vast expense Hills ZD ultra which is specially designed for food allergies.The proteins are Hydrolized which is supposed to help prevent a reaction to them: Hills Ultra z/d
I have to say that at 3 weeks in, I dont think its wishful thinking, she is scratching less..... I wished I could say not scratching at all, but an improvement is better than nothing.
Riley has had blood tests which was no help as the list is long and shows both food and evironmental allergens; one of them is Olive trees and I cannot exclude 5 million Olive trees with the best will in the world! She has also had desensitisation injections which didnt work. The only things which gave her complete relief was cortisone, no future in that....
PS Sorry to say, Riley's started off as seasonal but now the seasons have joined up.... which is common.
The more people I meet the more I like my dog
Nick, I stand corrected... yes, protein can be from non-meat sources.
I'm in the same situation. Piper had bad allergies in the summer (itchy ears, rolling around a lot, runny eyes) and the vet convinced me to switch from Pro Plan chicken and rice to Wellness Rice and Vension. Piper was doing great on the new food - full of energy but has since developed an ear infection and a possible uti. So I'm not sure what to think anymore. I've also completely stopped giving her treats to try to pinpoint the problem.
While I like the wellness food - it is very expensive. I'd like to move her down to the Wellness core (still grain free) if she doesn't actually need such a restrictive diet.
As everyone said, I've heard it takes 8 to 10 weeks to fully assess the food situation. I'm going to start my counting again from today as her ear and UTI situation just cleared up.
The good thing is that Piper seems to like anything I give her!