FOOD ALLERGIES

Note:  The author has had no veterinary or medical training. She has merely documented her experience with her dog's health problems. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before acting on any information you see here.

Call me crazy but I think feeding a beloved pet a diet of long-dead dry or canned food does your pet a disservice. Don't take my word for it. Check out Amie's Dog Food Links.

It just makes too much sense to me that different breeds would have different nutritional requirements. It seems like common sense that dogs need fresh vegetables. It is logical that dogs can also be allergic to artificial ingredients in commercial pet foods.

The list of all the food allergens reported in various books practically includes every common food. The foods most frequently mentioned that cause allergies are dairy products, beef, fish, lamb, chicken, wheat, corn, soy products, rice, eggs. Lesser named are carrots, celery, garlic salt, water, pork. Some estimate that over 30% of allergic reactions to food are not due to individual food items, but to the additives in commercial food preparations.

If I had it to do over again I would immediately start the step-by-step process of determining if there are food allergies. The Elimination Diet is served for a period of time and then gradually you introduce foods to test for an allergic reaction. It is certainly the least expensive path to determining food allergies, but the Elimination Diet takes time and discipline. In Amie's case, it is what saved her life. Even if you discover mange or a bacterial infection, do the Elimination Diet anyway to see if your pet is allergic to any of the food ingredients you've been feeding.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Note:  The author has had no veterinary or medical training and is certainly not current about this specialty. She has merely documented her experience with her dog's health problems. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before acting on any information you see here. These notes are included so you can at least be aware of what some options are and become knowledgeable of what questions to ask your veterinarian.The following comes from books and Internet research.

Atopy - Inhalant Allergies
Inhalant allergies usually are due to mold, dust, ragweed. See Prednisone.

Bacterial Hypersensitivity
Treat with antibiotics. Some sources recommend immunotherapy.

Hot Spots
I used aloe gel on Amie's hot spots, but she licked it off.
Same for Scalpicin and golden seal root powder mixed in water.
Tried hydrocortisone and triple antibiotic ointments - licked off, didn't help. Tree oil ointment burns like crazy at first but works really fast. Just make sure the dog doesn't lick it off or bite you when you put it on. I think tree oil would work better. I had a bad rash and tree oil made it worse. Aveeno has an anti-itch cream which worked great on myself.

Dry Coat
A vet I found on the Internet recommended marble-sized cubes of beef suet twice a day. Toxins are stored in fat so it didn't seem like a good idea to me, but what do I know? The first day she began feeling greasy and smelled like McDonald's. Within a few days it was obvious that this was no solution.

Immunotherapy
Otherwise called "allergy shots". They work about 75% of the time. It's a slow process, maybe taking a year before improvement is noticed. This can be costly. In my own human experience, I believe my shots made me even more sensitive. If your pet is taking pred, the testing won't work.

Antihistamines
Some sources recommended vitamin C as a natural antihistamine - bad for calcium oxalate kidney stones and I didn't notice a change. Some say vitamin C is toxic to dogs. Medicines work in maybe 1 out of 3 cases. They are relatively safe, but cause sedation. They are much safer than steroids.

Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids
These are natural anti-inflammatory agents. They may be helpful and have minimal, if any, side effects. They are derived from lineolenic acid and can be found in evening primrose oil, borage oil and fungal oil. I tried fish oils and supplements. Didn't notice a change.

Baths
Comb well before bathing. Be sure to use a dog shampoo because human shampoos have a pH too harsh for dogs' thin skin. I use Hy-Lyt brand. Rinse three times for every lathering and rinse once more than you think is necessary.

Don't use a vinegar or lemon juice rinse. I wouldn't use conditioners, either. The condition of the coat, like human hair, is more a function of body chemistry than the effect of the products you put on it. Pay dry, rather than rub and then blow dry on a medium heat setting.

When the skin is very inflamed, use Aveeno brand oatmeal shampoo. It's soothing. I've also used ground oatmeal mixed with arrowroot as a dry shampoo.

Infections
Once a dog has an allergic reaction, it is common to have a staph infection. Treat it or the condition can get worse.

Immune System
Since allergies are related to immune deficiencies it seems logical to find ways to boost the immune system. I would like to know what is appropriate for dogs. My friend's dog responded to homemade chicken soup and vegetables and I saw on TV some research showed immune deficiencies were bolstered by boiled chicken bone broth. Amie's custom recipe has turkey broth and vegetables.

Misc
Keep the dog's coat trimmed to 3/4 to 1 inch long. Short is best.

I tried the Tellington Touch but she's been untouchable for most of her life. Will try again.
 

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