My Zoe is an itchy puppy, always has been, and earlier in the year we switched her over to Natural Balance LID to see if that would make a difference. It did, for a while. We've given her both canned and kibble of the same brand, changing her protein to give her variety, from venison to duck to fish & sweet potato. While it's done wonders for her coat and overall appearance, since being on the fish, she's been incredibly itchy. Her belly and thighs seem to be always red as well as underneath her armpits, and her hind end is always being itched. We've had to apply hydrocortizone cream to those spots, they just looked so irritated. We also give her a Benadryl in her food each day. nbspPoor baby :(
So I picked up a small bag of Grain-Free Canidae, and we'll see how that works for her. Although it's entirely possible that she has a seafood allergy, not a grain allergy.
She also loves yogurt, and ice cubes. I have a pack of ice cube trays for bottles (they're long and skinny) and poured the yogurt into them to make some yogurt popsicles as treats. She'll be getting two tablespoons of yogurt a day with one of those cubes, which I think would be sufficient for a 55 lb dog as far as portions go. Yum Yum!
My question is, how long before you see a difference (as far as allergic symptoms go) when changing foods? Is it within a day, or does it take a few to process the allergens out of the system?
If Canidae doesn't work, there's one more food to try. After that, I'm going to the elimination diet, dammit! LOL
even if the new food has nothing in it that your dog is allergic to, it will take some time just to settle down the aggravated areas of her body.
have been working with a food-allergic dog since early Jan; used elimination diet as a beginning along with 2x day benadryl. long story short, he's doing very well now on a grain-free, gluten-free diet. no more itchies, no more nasty ears, and his coat is growing back nicely. since he doesn't feel crappy anymore, he's running and playing and has regained muscle tone.
this dog gets raw chicken backs for about 65% of his meals, other meals are cooked or raw, but the only commercial product he gets is Honest Kitchen Preference (freeze-dried veggies & fruit). Canned mackerel is a good mixer with the veg; so is raw ground beef or raw ground turkey. Sliced apples make a good snack for him.
Even when you have figured out what food(s) cause the reaction, be careful; it doesn't take much for a dog to flare up. my boy had an ear flare-up because i used latex gloves to handle the chicken - just the tiny amount of constarch on the gloves affected him. he went south again when he snacked on the birdseed fallen from the feeder as it had cracked corn in it. with this boy, the first indicator is carrying his left ear lower than usual.
whatever approach you take, keep a log of everything the dog eats, and the reaction to it (including what the poop looked like). it will help you find patterns that can lead you to the right food for this dog. be aware of subtle signs of allergy so you can prevent a major reaction.
good luck! pm me if you'd like more info.
Thank you Krista! I appreciate your input :D Luckily Zoe isn't allergic to latex, but we have also stopped feeding her treats, as those are TERRIBLE as far as grains and crap meats are concerned. The treats she does get are ice cubes and rawhides/regular bones. Those not only last her longer but also help keep her teeth and gums healthy. She also likes all kinds of fruit and meat, and if I'm slicing apples or something in the kitchen, I'll offer it to her to munch on. Luckily she's not a fussy eater! LOL It's just her body that is fussy.
We know it isn't a grass allergy, as we don't let her run around in the back yard unsupervised, and when we work with her, it's usually on pavement. We use a hypoallergenic detergent for our clothes and when we wash her bedding too.
So far she's really enjoying the Canidae, and I'm sure I'll start noticing less itching in a day or so if it's doing the trick.
the allergy test is only a place to start. i have the results of my dog's allergy test, and i know what the worst culprits are for him. IMO the test does not identify enough to be truly useful. he reacts to many more foods than the small handful indicated by the blood test.
I spent a lot of money on allergy testing and it came up NO ALLERGIES - zip, zero, nada!!!!!
Poor Pharaoh had a rash on his belly, armpits and itchy between his toes.
I ran into a local trainer that I know who works with a lot of rescue dogs. He asked me if I had shredded redwood bark on my property. A few years ago I had the weeds wacked and covered the hillside with shredded fur bark. for long term weed control. It worked for weed control. Now the redwood has disintegrated into dust and is mixed into the soil. I had a gate installed on my deck so he no longer has the freedom to fly around the hillside. No more wild abandon.
On the positive side, no more rash, no more itching. He does not have food allergies at all. We hike around near my house and no problem.
I had hidden his jolly ball because I thought he might be allergic to it. Many dogs are allergic to plastic. I washed it thoroughly twice and then dried it with a towell. He hugs and sleeps with his jolly ball and no rash on his muzzle. He loves his jolly ball.
Is this crazy or what? I have a half acre fenced in and he can't spend time out there. I wonder how long it will take for this to go away?
Has anyone heard of this before?
There is a lot more to Allergy Testing then just food. Some dogs need to have extensive testing done to find out what the problems may be, IE my GSD is very allergic to Sycamore Trees....but No problem with Fir trees. Each dog is different and you can only test for so many things at each testing...submitting the things that your dog is most likely surrounded with. Just food allergy testing may not be enough. One of my GSD's main problems is Human Dander.....yes..it sure makes it rough on him..when he will do just about anything for a hug. Anyway, food tests are a place to start, but no way are they all inclusive. A full battery of allergy tests may be what is needed. You can play magical food switches for months and never hit the problem(s). Oh, sorry...the question was not answered. I have had 3 different Vet's tell me it can take 2-4 weeks to get rid of the last food's effects, before seeing a difference. So weekly switching or even every two weeks is not giving enough time to get the true effects. I was told to go with a total Hypo-Allergenic food for a month first. If after a month on that...and no positive effects...then it may not be an allergy that has anything to do with the food. Thus the need for Allergy testing..not just taking a SWAG and wasting time.
From a human standoint (dad is an allergist) is about 4-6 weeks. True elimination diet is very basic and bland. Strip everything out for 6 weeks. Then add in 1 food every few weeks.
Allergy tests are a good idea, but they don't test for everything. Tests can be done for most foods, pollens, etc. but few of us can afford to test for everything the dog might eat or breathe or encounter. For an elimination diet, it's best to start with either something the dog has never eaten before or something you are absolutely sure he is not allergic to. My experience - and I'm not an M.D. or vet - is that 2 - 4 weeks of the basic diet should calm the allergy symptoms. You can't be giving benadryl, cortisone or any other steroid or antihistamine when you add in a new ingredient. It will disguise any reaction and won't be a true test. Do keep a daily log of what you fed, how much, what poops were like, where the dog played that day and what he played with, any allergy symptoms, etc. It's very easy to forget something. With a log, you can go back and see what you did and what the results were.
With my allergic dog, I found out within 24 hours of adding egg to her food that she was allergic to eggs. Of course, egg was the 4th or 5th ingredient I tried. It's a very common ingredient in dog food, but it's usually not among the first 3 or 4. If you do the diet, it's a good idea to start adding the most common ingredient first, then the next common, etc. And of course, this takes weeks and weeks so be prepared to be patient and not rush things. If a dog is only mildly allergic, it may take some time to figure out which ingredient is the culprit.