Need help for a dog with allergies!

I love our dog Mowgli, a lot. He’s my favourite pet of all time. He’s my best friend. But lately, I’m losing sleep over him. At the end of September, he developed an allergy (an ear infection brought us to the vet but he has been scratching for a few weeks prior). The vet prescribed an ear cleaner as well as an antihistamine. When the allergy pills ran out, he was okay for about a week…and then he became terrible again. So we went back on the pills. Then even while on the pills he was itchy so the vet suggested stopping them (as they aren’t so great for him) and just give him one Reactin a day. So we did that, which seemed OK at first…but you know what happens next. Yes, he got so much worse. He was scratching so much that he bled. Now we are back on the meds but this can’t be a long-term solution.

This is getting expensive. And he’s not getting better.

So far we’ve tried switching his diet (which can take 2-3 months to see improvement from), but maybe the food isn’t quite right. His fur is amazing on it though! His shedding is down by 50% or more. This is Purina Sensitive Skin & Stomach (main ingredient is Salmon). Even though the vet could find no evidence of fleas on either one of our dogs, we will treat the dogs (cats too) just in case. Our options left are: putting him on a stricter food diet and slowly introduce ingredients to watch for a reaction (this can take 2-3 months, additional time and money) , and/or environmental skin care testing ($$).

I would love to hear people’s opinions on what they think may be the cause of his allergies (food or environmental):

– when we adopted him, he had an ear infection. he hasn’t had one in 4 years since then! i’m wondering if he may have had his ear infection due to allergies? his ear infection in fall of 2014 was in the same ear as when we adopted him. back to 2010, could changing his diet (as we had no clue what he ate before he was adopted by us) have helped him with food allergies? and now he’s built up an intolerance to something in his food?

– in the summer-time, he eats grass. i know you’re thinking all dogs eat grass…no, he resembled a goat! he won’t play in the yard because he was too busy eating grass. could this be to sooth an upset stomach? or he just loves grass?!

– when Mowgli first went off his allergy pills, it was a Monday. that Friday he started having diarrhea (needing to go out every 2 hours) and it lasted for 3 days. could him initially being off the meds caused a hyper reaction to the food he was eating?

You can see here that I’m leaning towards a food allergy. But I would LOVE your thoughts…did anything I write make you think of another possibility?Ā  I seriously pray that we’ll be able to find a solution soon. It’s even more difficult with the vet bills + stress of him not getting better with a baby on the way. Our vet said that dog allergies are vets least favourite to work with.Ā  I’m desperate for help. Thank you for your time!

12 thoughts on “Need help for a dog with allergies!”

  1. Our dog’s stomach problems and skin itching seems to be related to her food. After trying nearly all the high end, limited ingredient dog foods available, the only ones that work for her are Now and Natural Instinct. We’ve learned pork based foods do not sit well with her and we just avoid grains now because all the limited ingredient foods don’t have it. And we now supplement her food with salmon oil (it really helps with the itching) and dehydrated salmon by NRG. None of it is cheap, especially considering she is 90lbs, but we don’t really have a choice.
    Anyways, we figured it out by switching her to boiled ground beef and rice for a few weeks and then trial and error with different brands of food. It was exhausting and annoying, but now we have it under control so long as we don’t break from her routine.
    I hope you guys can figure it out!!

      1. You can absolutely figure it out, so long as you are patient! I suggest buying dog food at places that give you a 30 day return period if the dog doesn’t like it. It will help you save a bit of money (so long as you don’t accidentally throw out the receipt like I tend to). šŸ™‚

  2. I too have a dog with chronic ear issues, skin itching, yeast build up, etc. and she’s currently on Now formula. None of the solutions are cheap for a 95lb dog unfortunately. I did try the royal canin skin support from the vet but saw marginal improvement from it. Chicken is her main trigger, any food that was mainly chicken based, she’d be totally inflamed. Soy obviously was a bad scene as is wheat. I actually cut out all dry food and did raw for 3 months exclusively for her and then reintroduced kibble that I thought would work. I also add fish oils to her meals every night and in the winter I also throw in a raw egg (she’s a long coat, German Shepherd…thankfully my malamute and other GSD are easier lol). Fish based foods work the best for her skin and coat. If it’s super bad, I don’t even blend the food when changing it over. I just make the switch and if diarrhea or constipation happens, I always keep a can of pumpkin on hand. It’s a wonder food for dogs šŸ˜Š good luck figuring it out! Food issues can be hard to pin point with hounds for sure.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! Ugh, it is so hard to pin point. Our Mowgli is a lab and border collie mix. I’ve heard that food allergies can be bad in labs and golden retrievers (who knew!). Anyways, I appreciated reading your story and what seems to help you. All the best!

  3. I know you and I have talkedā€¦ every dog is different, and for our lab fish was the culprit. One thing I forgot to mention is when we were testing the food, we would buy the smaller bags to do a “test” instead of a big one that would last a month. We were lucky in that we figured out it was the fish almost instantly, but maybe starting with a smaller bag of, say, a different meat than salmon and grain free would be a start? Then you can start eliminating options, or you might find that switching to a new food has instant results as long as it doesn’t have salmon. I’m not sure, but I do know the fewer ingredients you can start with the better, because then it’s easier to pinpoint where the issue is coming from. Good luck. I know first hand how frustrating this can be.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the support but wish that you weren’t experiencing this as well. I’ll have to check, but I’m pretty sure that his last dog food (which he had been on for 4 years) didn’t have any salmon or fish in it. And he developed allergies on that food. That’s when we switched to a chicken free product (Salmon only). It’s been amazing for his coat but we haven’t seen improvements like we would like to. The vet said that it can take 2-3 months but you’d think we’d see some relief sooner? I think we are going to have to play around with his food again. Keeping it simple. Ugh. Thanks šŸ™‚

  4. Had a small dog I did the testing on well over a decade ago…came back allergic to most everything, did the allergy shots – it helped, but she still needed topping up with meds from time to time to keep her okay. Lived a long healthy and happy life.

    Before we did the testing, my vet recommended that I put her on lamb and rice diet for months, told me to get the crock pot out and just put those two ingredients in as it was way cheaper. Then I portioned it out and froze it. It helped a lot. Can’t remember how long I did that, but at least close to a year, if not more, then I found a good lamb and rice commercial food.

    She also was very sensitive to ear infections…

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve heard of the lamb and rice diet before. I guess I feel overwhelmed and hesitant to make my own dog food as I don’t think I’ll be able to continue doing it in April when we are due with our first child. But maybe I need to focus on baby steps, one day at a time.

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