When your dog has allergies…

About a month ago, we noticed Mowgli (our lab/border collie mix) scratching and scratching. He’d bite at his stomach like a person eats corn on the cob. We were afraid that he had fleas but didn’t notice any of the tell-tale signs of them. Then one day, we noticed that he had scratched his one ear so badly that it bled. As much as we hate the $70 vet visit fee, it was time to take him the vet. Derek deserves a metal for putting up with Mowgli @ the vet, he’s terribly anxious when brought there! Turns out that Mowgli had a terrible ear infection in the one ear he was scratching and the biting is most likely due to allergies and not fleas. Problem now is…we don’t know what he’s allergic to!

Regardless of his allergy, the treatment recommendation was the same: a course of antibiotics and another medication for allergies. and of course medicated solution for his one ear! We didn’t think that it was possible to do his ear once a day. He hates his ears being touched! But much to our surprise, we were able to do it (with two people) if one person fed him a treat (slowly – piece by piece) while the other did his ear from behind. Now just last week, Mowgli’s meds ended. Unfortunately, he’s right back to scratching and biting himself. The meds were a temporary solution, not a long-term one. We are left trying to figure out what to do next!

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Mowgli’s symptoms: itching, obsessive licking, paw biting, skin rash, ear infection.

When it comes to dog allergies, the two main categories we are exploring are: environmental and food related. You can pay a TON of money to have your vet do allergy testing on your dog, or you can try to be your own detective through an elimination process.  We chose the latter. Because we really have no clue where to start re: environmental allergens for dogs, we are starting with food. Yes, after our dog being on the same diet for 4 years, we are switching his food to one that is chicken-free. Surprisingly, research shows that dogs develop an allergy to the meat (chicken,beef) in their dog food more often than to corn or grains. This online research was confirmed by the lady at the pet store who was helping us pick a new dog food. She shared that her dog is allergic to the chicken in dog food. She recommended choosing a dog food free of chicken or beef and suggested salmon as it can help dogs with dry skin. She also shared that she gives her dog 2 Benedyrl pills in the morning and 2 at night during seasons where his allergies tend to flare up. So after our purchase of expensive new dog food for our allergy boy, we went off to Walmart to buy Benedryl. After gradually changing his food, Mowgli is now solely on Purina’s Sensitive Skin and Stomach dog food. His dog treats are now vegetarian. Unfortunately, he’s still super itchy 😦 But it’s been less than a week since we introduced his new food. We are hopeful that a food change will make a difference. Dealing with allergies in dogs is frustrating, expensive, and yet, we can’t help feel bad for him when he bites at his stomach out of discomfort.

Have you ever dealt with allergies in a pet? What seemed to help?

2 thoughts on “When your dog has allergies…”

  1. Ugh, we have this with Chloe. Her allergies are SO BAD. Poor thing. We discovered a few years ago that she was allergic to fish. Turns out there was fish in her food, and we were also feeding her a fish oil tablet once a day for her health. Once we eliminated both those things, her ear problems disappeared. Now we’re dealing with the skin itching problem. We think that is environmental, since it flares up in the spring and lingers until we get a steady frost in the fall. In the winter she’s completely fine. She’s been on prednisone (a steroid) every other day, and benadryl on the days she’s not taking prednisone. That seems to keep it at bay, but I hate pumping her with all that medicine and wish there was another way to tackle the allergies.

  2. Thanks Kristen. I’m sorry to hear that you deal with this too. It’s very frustrating. We had to put Mowgli back on the allergy meds for now (they are in pill form) as he was so itchy 😦 I’m hoping that winter will provide him some relief. And maybe the food change will help? Here’s hoping.
    *sorry for the delay in responding – we’ve been on vacation.

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