Food Allergy - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Food Allergy

Has anyone feeding taste of the wild had issues with itching and skin allergies?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:51 PM
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I don't feed TOW but I know their formulas contain a lot of ingredients. Your dog could be allergic or sensitive to one of many of the proteins, animal or plant. You might try a limited ingredient diet and build from there to see what is causing the reactions.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:18 AM
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If your dog is digging and scratching then the best thing to do is have testing done. It's under $400 for both Heska panels (food and environmental). I screwed around for years thinking my dog was allergic to chicken and trying to figure out his digging while he wasn't even comfortable in his own skin. It was dust mites and grass. Zero protein allergies. Food was white potatoes and green beans. You will waste time and money trying to figure all this out while your dog is uncomfortable.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 10:53 AM
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There's an internet mythology that all itching is food allergies -- but many other things should be higher up on th list of potential causes. Food allergies exist (I have a dog with severe ones), but they're much less common than environmental allergies. They actually typically manifest with an inflamed GI tract, not skin itching -- with a true food allergy, you usually get a bright red "stop sign" anus (and all sorts of poop issues). You can lift up the tail and take a good look at the dog's butt--pink is healthy, red is not.

Enviro stuff is much more likely to cause your dog's itching -- especially this time of year (Spring is a tough season for many dogs with enviro allergies). Grass is becoming an increasingly common allergy -- I've lost track of the number of GSDs I've known with grass allergies diagnosed in the last few years.

Parasites and infections also need to be ruled out (usually with a skin scrape). Even simple nutritional deficiencies in EFAs can cause itching -- and adding fish oil helps, eventually, and it's a good idea for most kibble-fed dog since EFAs may not survive heat processing inside kibble, depending when and how they're added to the formula and how long it sits.

I would start at the vet with a skin scrape. If it's inconclusive, or shows some suspicious microbes, my next step would be simply bathing the dog with an antimicrobial veterinary shampoo with chlorhexidene -- it removes allergens and knocks down the opportunistic microbes that set up house on inflamed skin (like staph). It can be used weekly without stripping coat oils (but follow directions on the bottle EXACTLY -- never use it above the shoulders, and keep well away from eyes). Here's an example -- note the reviews about how it's helping allergy dogs:

You can also get chlorhex wipes for the paws whenever the dog comes back inside, if the feet are a major point of irritation.

If your vet isn't sure of the cause, don't hesitate to ask for a referral to a vet derm for help sorting it out though! They know what they're doing in getting to the bottom of skin issue.
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Last edited by Magwart; 05-24-2019 at 10:55 AM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 01:11 PM
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My dog's itching has almost always been related to their diet. My 1 yo GSD would itch and get yeast infections of the ears and skin if he ate too many carbs or chicken. He would also get diarrhea if he had certain foods. He's now on Earthborn Venture Pollock & Pumpkin supplemented with fresh meats. My 12 yo GSD, who passed away last year, itched when she ate peas, sweet potatoes, chicken or rice. She did fairly well on Canine Caviar alkaline dog food. And all my GSDs itch when they have dry skin and not enough oil in their diets. When I had dachshunds 30 years ago I encountered the same problems with food and itching, a diet change helped them as well.
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