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My 1.5yr old GSD has allergies to something. We don't know what to but we have a good idea it's dust as well as pollen in the warmer months. He's taking Apaquel year round and it helps quite a bit. We thought he had food allergies/sensitivities but now we're not sure because he's on some high end hydrolized Purina Veternarian Diet at the moment because his last food gave him bouts of diarrhea.

We can't afford to give him this food forever, and the vet didn't think we had to. He has never done well with white meat proteins (lamb, duck, chicken, etc), we are looking to get beef and would like to stick with Purina. Question is, with his allergies and possible food sensitivity, is it likely he won't have success with grain in his diet?

We've tried so many foods, but never tried food with grain. We need to put some weight on our boy but mostly need a food that agrees with him.
 

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There is Pro Plan Salmon Sensitive Skin & Stomach, and then 2 Pro Plan Sport varieties - one beef and the other salmon. Those are the only ones I know of that aren’t chicken or lamb.
 

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What food were you feeding before? As said already above, Purina has a fairly limited range of options. I have heard good things about the Pro Plan sensitive salmon & rice, but I don't believe they have what you are looking for (Beef as a single protein / grain free). Not all dogs with allergies are allergic to grains so it might not be a requirement anyway.

I personally feed Victor or Diamond Naturals brands, they have a better range in my opinion so it might be worth looking into those brands if you can't find anything else.
 

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I’m using prescription rabbit and potato, and all water is filtered. No more tap water. It cleared up all the skin problems. He still scratches sometimes but it’s not serious enough to do more.
 

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I had my girl on the Pro Plan Salmon Sensitive Skin & Stomach for years and she always did well on it. However that said she never had any issues with allergies she was just a picky butt who preferred salmon and had occasional tummy troubles.
 

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If you want a cheaper hydrolyzed protein option, Diamond Care Sensitive Skin is hydrolyzed salmon for around $53 per 25 pounds (vs. over $80 last I checked on the RX food from the vet).

That said, most food allergies are protein (but not all). Classic food allergies are most likely to show up with a bright red "stop sign" butt -- inflamed anus -- when you lift up the tail, you can see it (when it's healthy, it's pink, not red). However, most allergies are environmental.

Are you giving him medicated baths frequently with chlorhex shampoo to remove the suspected contact allergens and calm down the skin? It's the key to solving a lot of problems -- staph attacks where there is inflammation already, so allergic dogs often get it secondarily (but it can also be a primary cause of itching). See my post here for examples of this shampoo and how to use it:
 

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What exactly were/or your dog's symptoms that led to putting him on Apoquel? It might be worth backing up and starting from scratch (no pun intended) instead of masking symptoms. I would start with a diet trial. Try a novel protein that he has not had before and go from there. BTW some of these hydrolyzed diets are LOADED with peas. I'm assuming you've heard about the problems with peas and taurine deficiency and heart problems with dogs. My 2 yo GSD had problems with diarrhea, yeast infections, blackened skin, ear infections, etc. from almost day one. I finally got him cleared up on Earthborn Venture Turkey and Squash with either added cooked turkey or Dave's 95 canned turkey. He can't do ANY grain, potatoes, peas, etc without a set back. He is not on any medications but if he gets licking his feet I apply a spray of Miconazole Nitrate 2%, Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2%. All his blackened skin is pink again and his hair has all grown back. If he ever gets an itchy ear I use Zymox Ear Solution. Good luck!
 

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What food were you feeding before? As said already above, Purina has a fairly limited range of options. I have heard good things about the Pro Plan sensitive salmon & rice, but I don't believe they have what you are looking for (Beef as a single protein / grain free). Not all dogs with allergies are allergic to grains so it might not be a requirement anyway.

I personally feed Victor or Diamond Naturals brands, they have a better range in my opinion so it might be worth looking into those brands if you can't find anything else.
The food he was on before the prescription diet was natural instinct with rabbit being the protein.
 

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What exactly were/or your dog's symptoms that led to putting him on Apoquel? It might be worth backing up and starting from scratch (no pun intended) instead of masking symptoms. I would start with a diet trial. Try a novel protein that he has not had before and go from there. BTW some of these hydrolyzed diets are LOADED with peas. I'm assuming you've heard about the problems with peas and taurine deficiency and heart problems with dogs. My 2 yo GSD had problems with diarrhea, yeast infections, blackened skin, ear infections, etc. from almost day one. I finally got him cleared up on Earthborn Venture Turkey and Squash with either added cooked turkey or Dave's 95 canned turkey. He can't do ANY grain, potatoes, peas, etc without a set back. He is not on any medications but if he gets licking his feet I apply a spray of Miconazole Nitrate 2%, Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2%. All his blackened skin is pink again and his hair has all grown back. If he ever gets an itchy ear I use Zymox Ear Solution. Good luck!
He was put on the apoquel because he had developed a skin infection due from scratching and giving himself lesions. This was basically the vets recommendation to cure infection. We've tried a ton of food and different proteins. It's either his coat looks great and has diarrhea or coats more dry and itchy and his poops are good.
 

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I’m using prescription rabbit and potato, and all water is filtered. No more tap water. It cleared up all the skin problems. He still scratches sometimes but it’s not serious enough to do more.
Rabbit was the last protein he was on and this did not sit well with his digestive system. Really bad diarrhea.
 

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Rabbit was the last protein he was on and this did not sit well with his digestive system. Really bad diarrhea.
You will find something. It may not be the rabbit in the Natural Instinct that made your dog sick, but other ingredients. Prescription single protein diets are usually better for serious food allergies. If nothing else works, you may have to keep your dog on hydrolized protein.
 
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