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So my male GSD will be 2 in August. He was eating victor hi pro plus as a puppy and would scratch at his ears a lot and didn’t seem to really like it so I switched him to Victor grain free Yukon River and he was still a little itchy from time to time but no big deal. Move forward to the big DCM grain free scare and I switched him to Nutrisource chicken and Rice. He loves the food but is ripping his paws apart. No other part of his body just his paws. I took him to the groomer and they shaved his paw pads and said they could tell they were irritated but he didn’t have any sores anywhere. I have tried Benadryl and it doesn’t really help. I called the vet and they said that it would take longer than 2 weeks for the food to cause an allergy that it is probably environmental and to bring him in for a shot and they can prescribe allergy meds. My question is has anyone went through this? Is anyone changing so to the DCM grain free scare or am I just paranoid. Also, I thought allergies to food would start faster than a few months. I just don’t want to change his food again if I don’t have to. Long story. Sorry
 

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Well I don't what to call your vet crazy but I have a dog who is allergic to beef. Feed her anything with beef in it and within a couple of hours she has hives in her ears.
However, this time of year it could be an environmental issue.
I have no advice on food really but I feel your pain. Allergies suck.
 

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Could be the chicken...which would be higher in the nutrisource than the victor hi pro if he was already senstized to it. Also some talk that the rice and beet pulp could also be associated with DCM by interefering with taurine absorption so I am not sure jumping to them from a GF solves problem. I think right now the legumes are just part of the speculation.............and they have not really made clear conclusions

I have had some GSDs that had issues with chicken and the best way to tell is an elimination diet using a hydrolized protein diet until symptoms are gone (or maybe going back to the victor GF for long enough for syptoms to subside) then introducing chicken meat to see if you get a reaction.
 

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Enviro allergies are WAY more common than food allergies. Common things occur commonly, so start with what's common before rushing to food changes.


Another clue that's it's environmental is that it's his paws that are the worst itch area -- the paws are his contact points with plants and the ground. Grass seems like its becoming an allergen for ever more dogs, and Spring seems to be the worst season for those dogs.



I would start with chlorhex 4% shampoo once or even twice a week following bottle directions carefully. Like this: https://www.amazon.com/Dechra-TrizChlor-4-Shampoo-8-Ounce/dp/B00K4X8TF6/ (note the reviews!!!). Vets commonly sell this, or something like it, but it's cheaper online. (Only apply up to the shoulders... never put it on the head, as it cannot come in contact with eyes).



You can also get chlorhex wipes to wipe down his paws each time he comes in, in between his baths.


See if the medicated antimicrobial baths get him some relief. This will remove the contact allergens and knock down opportunistic bacteria that are attracted to inflamed skin, making the itching worse. You'll know quickly if it's going to help. If it doesn't help, I'd talk with the vet about Cytopoint or Apoquel to get some short-term relief.


The vet I've worked with on food allergies told me that the #1 classic sign of a food allergy is a red, inflamed anus. Lift up the tail and check for a "stop sign butt." If it's pink and normal looking, the likelihood of a food allergy is low. I have a severe food allergy dog -- it's a rough, rough road.
 
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