Our one and a half year old female has been scratching like crazy for months...we switched her to raw and had our backyard redone in wood chips withing the same few weeks so we assumed her scratching was due to the cedar wood chips. However the yard has been covered in several feet of snow for months now and she is scratching more than ever. I took her to the vet this morning because she developed a lump the size of a quarter within the span of two weeks. They drained it and luckily it was just blood, they said it was most likely caused by scratching.
The vet said her allergies are most likely related to food and not environmental if she's this itchy in the middle of winter.
He recommended we switch her to vegetarian kibbles ! I reminded him she's currently eating raw meat (chicken,horse,turkey )and he recommended feeding her duck, kangaroo or horse meat. Has anyone experienced this and had success after making the switch ?
We're in the same situation right now. We switched our dog to a hydrolyzed protein diet temporarily to give his immune system a rest. It will also result in better results should we do allergy testing once this food is done. Day 10 and we aren't impressed but it can take 3 months for allergies to calm down after exposure. This was done upon the recommendation of a vet that's fine with us feeding raw, a tech friend that has a keen interest in canine nutrition, and a canine nutritionist. None of them have made a penny off of us switching to kibble so I'm not worried that they made that suggestion for financial reasons. I expect to be criticized for feeding this food however we're at the end of our rope and are doing whatever we can to get our dog comfortable.
The issue is the allergies could also be environmental. Dogs can definitely develop allergies to things like dust mites and human dander which would explain why the allergies aren't going away in the winter.
I would be careful about the horse meat though. The standards on horse meat are pretty lax and you have no idea what contaminants could be in that meat.
Just a few things I have discovered going through similar things with my girl.
Food allergies/sensitivities/intolerance are a pain in the butt to figure out. Mostly because it can take just one meal/treat to trigger a reaction and weeks for it to clear the dogs system.
Raw diet is frequently recommended and I don't disagree that it is easier to manage food issues feeding raw. The problem lies in the way most start raw diet feeding. Chicken is the easiest protein to come by in the US and is the cheapest protein as well for most. However, chicken is frequently the culprit in the allergy scenario. The majority of kibbles are chicken based as well. Thus why whether we feed kibble or raw we don't see any improvement.
In my personal case, that was part of the problem. My girl can't have chicken (or any poultry for that matter). It only took letting her have 1 raw pork rib with meat to discover pork was a total no-no, too. She had a full body rash and relentless itching in just a few hours after consumption. It took a week of dosing with Benadryl before we saw improvement in symptoms.
You have to be diligent in checking ingredients in everything your dog consumes. Especially treats. I turn down offers of treats all the time when we are out for this reason.
Without testing, it is impossible to know if it is a combo problem with environmental allergies as well. It's winter but where I am we don't have much snow. We still have some itching, but it's minor.
Before you know it, you can spend a fortune playing the trial and error game, like I did. And, you dog is miserable all the while. If I had to do it over again I would have just allergy tested in the beginning and saved myself and my dog the misery.
I have heard great things about Dr. Dodd's Nutriscan food intolerance testing. I personally want to do the test to be certain what my dog can and can't have to eat. As soon as I have the money (which I'd have if I hadn't tried so many different dog foods and fed chicken)I will do the test.
I currently feed raw. Beef, venison and goat seem to be safe so far as I can tell.
If you and your vet suspect allergies I personally would just spend the money upfront and test, if you can afford it. Know what your dealing with and go forward.
This has just been my experience and I hope it helps you.
Best of luck!
Same problems here. Just started raw-chicken. I know Stella has environmental allergies....birch trees, grain mites and mold. Not too concerned about the birch trees right now as we are covered in snow....but mold is unavoidable around here. Don't know about food.
So I am stopping chicken and trying turkey. Her mom had allergies to beef so I am hesitant to try beef, although she has certainly eaten beef and I haven't noticed anything crazy. Then again, she has also eaten chicken, cooked and also canned and I haven't noticed anything immediate.
Unless it is the beef marrow bones I have started giving her the past few nights as a snack???
One of my clients is a vet tech who feeds all her dogs raw, I had a chance to speak with her this evening about Lola's issues and it made me realize I can't pinpoint her allergies until I get really strict about her diet which I'll admit I haven't been. She gets store bought treats during training and leftovers a few times a week, not huge portions but I'm sure it doesn't help.
So I'm going to crack down over the next 3 months and see if it helps.
To TRULY test for food allergies you need to do what I call the Ingredient Inclusion Diet.
You start with a single INGREDIENT, keep the dog on that one ingredient for at least 3-4 weeks and then evaluate. If their symptoms did not change you mark that ingredient on the NO list and switch to a different ingredient.
You cannot use kibble when doing this type of testing - there is no kibble that has a single ingredient - so you can either do home cooked or raw.
Again - ONLY ONE INGREDIENT. No vitamins, no oils, no treats (unless made from the same ingredient) - just the one item.
I always recommend people start with chicken. It's the easiest to get hold of and the cheapest to start with.
Forgot to add ...
Not sure what the weather has been like where you are but here in SE Wisconsin it's been cold and dry - and even dryer in the house with the heat constantly going! My dogs are starting to get dry skin issues, too.
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