Any food recommendations?

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Any food recommendations?

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    05-13-2012, 01:19 PM
Any food recommendations?

I'm going to be taking my dog to the vet soon to get him allergy tested, but I just wanted to see if anyone had any ideas here first.

I have a five-year-old 60# australian shepherd/st bernard named Cash. I've had him since I adopted him from the pound at 10-months-old. When I got him, I had him on Purina (I know, it's crap...but I didn't know any better). We were going through it way too quickly, so I did some research and found out which foods were better. I upgraded him from Purina to Purina One (didn't have the money that paycheck to go any higher), then upgraded him to Blue Buffalo. He was on Blue Buffalo for nearly a year and did wonderfully on it.

When I moved back to my hometown, I was going to school full-time and my parents were paying for everything, so I had to compromise on his food. My parents absolutely refused to pay $30 for a 15# bag of dog food (nevermind the fact that it took us two months to go through that 15# bag), so I found a cheaper brand that still had a decent ingredients list. We fed Kirkland's Signature lamb and rice for the next two years until I got my job and could pay for my own food. When I started paying for my own food, but switched him to Canidae All Life Stages, with the chicken, turkey, lamb and fish. It gave him such horrible gas that he actually refused to come inside until that bag of food was gone. After the All Life Stages was gone, I changed him to Canidae Lamb and Rice formula. He did great on it and loved it.

Fast forward a few months to when I got Aires. I ended up having to move out of the (rent-free) house I was in and move into a friend's converted garage (paying $250 a month in rent), so money became unexpectedly tight and I switched him yet again to Diamond Naturals lamb and rice. He's been on the Diamond Naturals now for the past year or so. I just recently (this last bag I bought a couple of weeks ago) started him back on the Canidae lamb and rice for reasons I'll explain in a bit.

Okay, so here's what's going on, now that you know his feeding history. When I started feeding him the Diamond Naturals, he started itching more. He would randomly sit down and scratch himself hard. I thought it might be fleas (he was mainly outside when we moved to my hometown and could get under my deck, which wasn't the cleanest), so I started him on BioSpot flea treatment. It seemed to help a bit, but he still itched. After we moved to our new place, I figured the itching would stop since he wouldn't be exposed to under the deck anymore, but it hasn't stopped at all. Here's the thing, though. I have NEVER seen a flea on him or any flea dander. Granted, he has a thick coat, but you'd think I'd see them in the shorter fur around his face. Anyway, I just had him groomed yesterday (first time EVER at the groomers and he did AMAZING! They said they absolutely adored him and he was a complete gentleman) and I specifically asked them to check him for fleas. No fleas or dander were found and they even washed him with a flea shampoo, just to be on the safe side. He is still itching up a storm.

So, this leads me to believe that he possibly has allergies. His itchiest spots are his shoulders, his chest, his legs and his butt (right at the base of his tail, usually). He very rarely scratches his ears or face, as one would expect from a dog with fleas. I thought about environmental factors, but his itching remains consistent through the seasons, never intensifying during any one season, so I don't think that's it. That only leaves food allergies.

So, does anyone know of any good dog foods for allergies? I was thinking maybe AvoDerm? He is kind of picky and won't eat anything chicken flavored (he loves real chicken, but it took him four days to finish two cups of the last chicken and rice flavored food I bought him), so I would prefer something not chicken. Cost isn't a huge deal, either. I'd love to put him on a large breed formula (he already has problems with his hips at 5...yay for st bernards ), but they're all chicken and rice (at least that I've found) and he won't eat them.
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    05-13-2012, 01:30 PM
You could try a grain-free kibble. But other than a hypoallergenic food from the vet, I'm not sure.

I have my dog on Nutro Natural Choice because I can't afford how much my 100lb Bernese Mt. Dog mix eats buying Blue Buffalo. I have him on a food with Glucosamine & Chondroitin for healthy joints. I know Nutro also has a lot of grain-free options too.

Blue Buffalo also has grain-free foods, but those are much more expensive.
    05-13-2012, 01:34 PM
Itching above the tail base is what I expect for a dog with fleas. Around the ears and face is what I expect of mange.

Even one flea bite can cause a flea-sensitive dog to flare up, so while it's good that he isn't infested with them, if he's not on a flea treatment that works, he needs to be. Biospot is crap. I have dogs come into my clinic all the time who are covered in biospot and still covered in fleas. You need something like frontline, comfortis, advantix, etc.

Is he on a fish oil supplement yet? If not, try it. It takes several weeks to kick in, but really does help some dogs. Otherwise, you need to find a food he's never had. That means nothing he eats can contain ANY Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Turkey or Pork. Try something 'weird.' Venison works for some dogs, Fish for others, and others have to be on the veterinary specialty foods to fix their issues IF they are food based.

Atopy (inhalent) allergies can unfortunately be year round too, especially if the dog is allergic to humans, dust mites, wool, cotton, or all those other things we have in our homes. Make sure he has NO exposure to cedar in his bedding or outdoors as that is another common allergen for dogs.
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    05-13-2012, 03:04 PM
I also think it's more likely to be fleas or some other allergy other than his food. :)

Didn't notice that you use Biospot. Yeah that stuff doesn't work. Go with one of the suggestions Sharpie gave you.
    05-13-2012, 08:07 PM
Do you notice his itchiness more at certain times of the year (Ex: Spring/Summer, or Fall, or just spring?) It could be environmental allergies.

While a grain free food could work for your dog, if you can avoid going completely grain free, I would. Dogs are omnivores, not carnivores and they can digest grains. They get good vitamins and carbohydrates and fiber from many of the grains.

Foods to try: (And thank you for being so concerned with your dogs food.)
- Natural Balance Venison/Sweet Potato
- Natural Balance Duck/Potato
- Natural Balance Fish/Sweet Potato
All of those N.B. Foods are limited ingredient diets. Those 3 are grain free though but they also are NOT high in protein/fat like many grain free foods are.

Blue Buffalo.
- They have Lamb and Fish formulas that you could try.

- Made by the Diamond brand but it's higher quality then the Diamond Naturals you were previously feeding. It has fruits, veggies, probiotics, by-product free, food coloring free etc.
- They also have a Fish formula and Lamb formula and are nicely priced. I feed this to my dogs currently (they like it better then our previous food, Canidae ALS) I pay around $30 for a 35# bag from Tractor Supply.

- I LOVE Wellness foods. They are amazing. I used to work in a pet store and it was my favorite food to recommend.

Really read the ingredient lists and stay away from:
- Chicken & Beef
- Corn, Wheat & Soy
- By-Products & Food Coloring

I have a dog that is allergic to wheat and within 1 week of eating it, he breaks out in a rash along his chest, belly and groin area and is really itchy. Poor guy.

I second (Third?) staying away from the "over the counter" flea meds like Bio-Spot and Hartz. Frontline PLUS, Advantix, Sentinol, Revolution are all wonderful and the only treatments I'll use on my dogs and cats, because...they work.

Adding some Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil to his diet could be good for his itchiness too. Maybe he just has really dry skin?

I see that he's a St. Bernard as well. Not sure how old he is, but a Gluclosamine/Chondroitin supplement will be extremely beneficial for him. The older he gets, the more stiff he'll get. Gluclosamine helps to repair damaged tissues while chondriotin helps to lubricate the areas allowing them to move more freely and pain-free. It also takes about 6 weeks to get into their system, so if he's showing symptoms now, it'll be approximately 6 weeks before you start to see a difference in his movement. My 2-1/2 year old 105# Lab is already on a supplement for his joints.
    05-13-2012, 09:19 PM
OK - here is where you go to find out about how good/bad a brand of dog food is. You will be very suprised where some of the "great brands" are on this list.

Dog Food Reviews - Main Index - Powered by ReviewPost

I feed Taste of the Wild. From the right feed store I pay $46 for a 30# bag counting tax. I am feeding a 15 year old sheppard, a 2 year old Rough Coated Collie, and a 3 month old Great Dane puppy - we go though that 30# bag in just over two weeks! I change up what flavor I feed as the collie gets bored with his feed and will stop eating if I buy the same flavor twice in a row.

But note - right now Diamand is going through a MASSIVE recall on thier dog food which includes like 15 different brands, including my brand - so google it and it will tell you which codes are on recall - it is not the dogs that are getting sick, but the people who handle the dog food are being hospitalized for saminalia poisining.
    05-13-2012, 09:34 PM
Green Broke
Oh boy... allergies in poochies are something I have first-hand experience in.

My Bull Mastiff is allergic to most grains and fish. He gets Fromm Large Breed Adult Gold.

My friend's Weimeraners are allergic to chicken and one is basically allergic to life, they get Taste of the Wild. The one stole eggs from my chicken coop and immediately broke out in hives.

If you want to see if the itching is food related, stop feeding him ALL prepared dog food and treats and give him cooked ground turkey and rice for a few weeks and see how he does.
    05-13-2012, 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by Delfina    
If you want to see if the itching is food related, stop feeding him ALL prepared dog food and treats and give him cooked ground turkey and rice for a few weeks and see how he does.
While this is a great idea, just turkey/rice is not sufficient enough to sustain a dog over the course of weeks. A few days for tummy problems, yes. But for weeks, no.

Then of course, there's always the issue that is could be turkey that is causing the allergy, or the rice. So it still isn't a fool proof way to diagnose allergies.
    05-14-2012, 03:45 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
While this is a great idea, just turkey/rice is not sufficient enough to sustain a dog over the course of weeks. A few days for tummy problems, yes. But for weeks, no.

Then of course, there's always the issue that is could be turkey that is causing the allergy, or the rice. So it still isn't a fool proof way to diagnose allergies.
That's what two different vets had me do to try and diagnose why mine was permanently itchy. Turkey and rice supposedly have a very low rate of allergies to them.
    05-14-2012, 05:33 PM
Try finding food with no soy product. It is notorious for causing skin problems in dogs. Unfortunately, the dogs often wind up on drugs like prednisone to give them relief but the root cause is not addressed. The steroid often causes the dog to become obese. One the dog is tapered off, it loses the extra poundage. Soy meal is a way to increase the protein in dry dog food and it's not necessary.
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