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What food for a GSD with allergies?

Discussion in 'Woof Memorial Critter's Corner' started by Jeremy_K, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
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    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    My 8 y/o female GSD is having allergy problems. Her skin is black around her belly and she has bumps or sores on the blackened area that she's always licking. I had her to the vet and he said it was an allergic reaction. He prescribed Prednisolone which seemed to help for a while. Then he knocked the dose down and the flare up came back. I was wondering if it's something in her diet causing the reaction. My neighbor's shi-tsu has to eat a certain brand of dog food or she gets allergies as well. I'd like to try a different food and see if that's the problem. Any recommendations?
     
  2. There are true hypoallergenic diets, but these are only available through veterinarians. Among OTC diets, avoiding beef and dairy proteins is usually the best options. Keep in mind that treats and table food can contain these proteins, and so should be avoided. Supplementing the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can sometimes help as well.

    True food allergy usually causes most itching around the feet, ears, mouth, and rectum, though.
     


  3. Our dogs had similar problems when we adopted them. They had lethargy, mange, etc. We switched their diet to all raw and the problems healed.

    I give them a diet of 3:1 meat and produce. The meat is raw chicken, beef, and pork. The produce is various blended fruits and vegetables. The really enjoy the food. The greatest benefit is that their health was restored and we really don’t need to take them to the vet.

    There are several good books on raw diets for pets. One is written by a vet named Pitcairn. If you’re interested in that book, you should be able to get it at the library.
     
  4. Platz

    Platz

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Indiana
    Until you know what your dog is allergic to, you can not truely find the right diet. If she's "sensitive" to certain, common, foods that many dogs and especially breeds such as the GSD are sensitive to (corn, wheat, etc) then you can certainly feed her a higher quality diet with fewer by-products, junk, and general fillers. However, her allergies could be deriving from anything and it may not have anything to do with diet. It may or may not help her allergies, but a good healthy food will certainly help her overall health. What is she eating currently?

    As a side note, mange is not caused by diet, so a good diet vs a bad diet isn't going to correct mange. Lethargic behavior is also not directly diet related, although it *could* be in a roundabout way if the dog is fed a very poor crappy diet and is 15 lbs overweight, and otherwise ill cared for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  5. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
    0
    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    When we adopted her we lived in NM at the time and she had no allergies. We tried Iams food and it gave her diarrhea. My cousin recommended trying Beneful which he fed his chocolate lab. We've had her on the regular Beneful for years now and have since moved to PA. She isn't lethargic or have any other symptoms. We have her on K-9 advantage or Frontline flea and tick so no fleas and no scratching to speak of. My wife stopped using carpet deodorizer the stuff you vacuum up in case that was it. She's getting older now so I was thinking of changing her to a senior dog food anyway. Any other suggestions on what it could be?
     
  6. Platz

    Platz

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Indiana
    Unfortunately due to mass media and people just simply not knowing any better, both of those foods are terrible quality ingredients and for the price you are paying, and the amount she will have to eat to get enough calories, you could be feeding a much better quality food.

    Here are the top ingredients of the regular beneful (regardless of which "variety" you are feeding, they are all the same):
    INGREDIENTS
    Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat


    Your pets food should never start with corn, ever. Under any circumstances. Dogs are carnivores and should be on a meat based diet. You are right to look into a different food because no matter how she may look, this is like us eating Mcdonalds ever single day. Except at least McDonalds at least has meat in it.

    Dogfoodanalysis is a great site to research various foods, although it is not the end all be all to dog food analysis (no pun intended). Here is the link so you can read a little for yourself on what you have been feeding, and perhaps your brother can take a peek too and consider feeding a better quality food.

    dogfoodanalysis.com

    Recommended brands, there are quite a few. What stores do you have access to? Petsmart, petco, pet supplies plus, any other speciality store, even TSC has some good quality foods available (look in the phone book, you'd be surprised how many little speciality stores exist that you'd otherwise never know about).

    Off the top of my head, in a reasonable price range, you can check out Costco kirkland dog food which is very good quality for the price it is, Natural Balance, Nutro Natural or Ultra (NOT nutro max), Eagle Pack, Blue Buffalo.

    An example of what you should be feeding in the above price range: Kirkland Lamb/rice, the top few ingredients
    Ingredients:
    Lamb,lamb meal, whole grain brown rice, rice flour, white rice, egg product, cracked pearl barley


    Higher priced but worth it would be examples such as Solid Gold, Merrick, Orijen, Taste of the Wild, California Natural, Canidae, etc.
    And an example in this range, here is the Orijen fish variety: (you'll note I listed a lot of ingredients here, however, also note that the good ingredients just keep going, and going, and going....which is why I listed the first half of the ingredients)
    INGREDIENTS
    Fresh deboned salmon, salmon meal, herring meal, russet potato, fresh deboned lake whitefish, sweet potato, peas, salmon oil (preserved with vitamin E), fresh deboned walleye, fresh deboned herring, sun-cured alfalfa, fresh deboned flounder, fresh deboned lake trout, dehydrated organic kelp, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, apples, cranberries


    As a general rule of thumb, if you can find it in your local grocery store or you see an advertisement on TV, it's not a good food. Eukanuba, Iams, Royal Canin, Pedigree, Beneful, Kibbles n Bits, Dads, Ol'Roy - they're all crappy foods. The ingredients in all of them are similar, although the price ranges depending on marketing. Sadly, people feeding the big name brands still think they are feeding great foods, when in reality if you look at the ingredients of those foods, many of them don't have an ounce of meat in them at all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  7. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
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    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    Very good information. Thank You. I'll follow the link and get her on a good food.
     
  8. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
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    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    I went shopping today and figured I'd try out the Blue Buffalo for Senior large breeds. I read the ingredients and compared them to other brands. One thing I did like is that it has high levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin which I'd just started supplementing her Beneful with. She's showing signs of hip dysplasia and the GC tablets really help a lot. The Blue Buffalo has as much GC as the tablets I've been giving her. Either way, I feel like a dirtbag for giving her junk food for so long. It felt good to see her chowing down the new stuff knowing she's getting better food. As for the allergies, I'm keeping my eye on possible causes.
     
  9. Platz

    Platz

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Indiana
    Don't feel like a dirtbag. You didn't know any better, many people don't. We assume that commercials and advertisements are accurate. Pictures of veggies and chunks of meat on the packaging, when in reality they are non-existant, should be false advertising. But for some reason the makers of the foods get away with it.

    If you switched her cold turkey, she may get a bit of an upset stomach, so keep an eye out for that. Ideally you want to switch gradually (if you aren't already). 75% old food/25% new for a few days, then 50/50, and so forth until she's weaned onto the new food completely. Some dogs swap cold turkey ok, but many don't. Especially going to a much richer food. Glad to hear she liked it. You picked a good food.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  10. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
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    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    Yeah I read the bag for the feeding amount but didn't read the mix 25% part until afterwards. It was her dinner time when I got home so I just gave her the new stuff. She chowed it right down. Tomorrow we'll start mixing the new stuff into what's left of the Beneful. She seems to be doing fine though. Thanks!
     
  11. Slobberchops

    Slobberchops WTF?!?!?

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    Apr 14, 2003
    My pup is 10 now, and has allergies similar to yours (likes to lick her tummy now...used to be her front legs). She was born with hip dysplasia and has eye mineral deposit problems (not pannis). So we needed to find a food that was lower in fat content for the above (10% or less).

    I also had to learn IAMS was not good early on, but that was what she came with, tried Diamond Lamb and Rice (she licked her front legs back then like a cat). Switched to Canidae Platinum Senior (I don't recall if the licking stopped, but she liked the food and the stools were much smaller and firm). Canidae changed the formula, she didn't like the change.

    Tried to do a mix with Innova EVO reduced fat and Innova Senior Dry. Oh my that was a mistake... she had explosive diarrhea... onto the walls yuck :shocked:
    Even mixed only 25% EVO it was too rich for her. (I don't know how long it would take for her to get used to it) I hope your pup does better with the switch to the richer food.

    Anyhow she has been on straight Innova Senior Dry (also has Glucosamine and Chondroitin ). It is costy and only a 3 star rating, but she has decent stools that are way smaller than the IAMs days.

    She licks her tummy the same as your pup does, but it seems to be only after I give her her favorite treat, dried sweet potato slices.
    Unless she is just bored at night...and decides to lick :dunno:

    Could the licking be do to joint discomfort? (top of the leg to the side of the belly?)

    If either of you go any ideas on the licking please share.

    If Blue Buffalo doesn't work for you...I've been thinking about trying
    Artemis Weight Management
    http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/showproduct.php?product=2307&cat=3

    But I didn't see Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the ingredients.

    That Orijen ingredients looks really good...just a little too high on the fat for us.

    Ohh, 3 months ago I started to add cod liver oil to her food to help her coat since the fat content in her diet is low, seems to help a little. As does medicated shampoo...but that is a band-aid and not fixing the problem.

    Please update if you pup stops licking with the diet change.

    Sorry for rambling...:embarassed:
     
  12. Platz

    Platz

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    Jul 1, 2007
    Indiana
    Here is the thing I've come to realize over the last several years. Just because something receives only a "3 star," "4 star," etc rating, does not mean it's the wrong food for your dog. I firmly believe that under no circumstances should dogs be fed really crappy bottom of the barrel foods (here I'm talking things like "dads" and "ol roy," etc).

    If you are feeding something that is even semi-decent (make no mistake, ANY Innova food is VERY good quality) and it's working for your dog, don't fix what isn't broken.

    However, if you are feeding kibbles n bits and think it's working, you need to reevaluate your definition of "working" and what your long term health goals for your pet are. People can, and often may, look just fine and they may eat the worst possible diet. But the odds are that eventually it's going to catch up with them. The same thing happens to pets. You pet may live the same amount of years eating a good quality diet as he did a bad quality diet, but the vast majority of the time there is a difference in the quality of life, even if it's not noticed until the end.
     
  13. Slobberchops

    Slobberchops WTF?!?!?

    2,353
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    Apr 14, 2003
    Point taken... I can tell by her coat, bright eyes, weight, energy and stools that she is getting what she needs and that it is a good food. Which is why we've been using it for a couple years. When she ate IAMs, her coat was dull and her stools were considerably larger....which tells me that she wasn't processing what she needed from that food. (I wouldn't even want to think about Ol'Roy!:scared: )

    I do look around occassionally and I saw the Artemis (no experience with it) and thought it could be an alternative for my pup.

    What I am trying to figure out is if there is a specific cause for the licking on her upper leg and the side of her belly that she does at night after receiving her food and sweet potato treat. I could hold back and not give her the sweet potato treat....but she is VERY good and vocal about reminding me about it! :rofl:
     
  14. Platz

    Platz

    977
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    Jul 1, 2007
    Indiana
    none here either, I've never even heard of it


    My dads dog grooms himself much like a cat, no irritation whatsoever on that boy and he is 100% healthy. He has groomed himself in all the areas he can reach much like a cat since he was a pup and he's around 8 yrs old now I believe. Does your look like she's licking out of irritation? Are their any other signs of irritation such as reddness, really itchy spots, etc?
     
  15. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
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    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    I read up on the licking as my GSD was licking her bed and our bed until they soaked completely through. All I could find is that it's a dog form of OCD. My dog licked through a comforter, electric blanket, top sheet, bottom sheet, mattress cover, and right into the mattress was soaked through. Lately she's been licking her own memory foam bed right through into the carpet. She licks between her hind quarter and her belly and there were red bumps and blackened skin but the Prednisolone clears it up pretty good. She's also been drinking an unusual amount of water with no real change in physical activity.
     
  16. Slobberchops

    Slobberchops WTF?!?!?

    2,353
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    Apr 14, 2003
    She has had red spots (1/2 the size of a dime ) on her belly, typically a medicated shampoo helps with that. She has black skin on her belly/leg area where she licks. (in fact, I just caught her licking...:crying:)
    I thought the shampoo helped for a couple day...then she started to lick it again.


    My pup licks her bedding as well , although I haven't seen that since she decided to start licking the belly....More weirdness... when I've caught her licking (always at night after her meal and treats) when she licked her front legs, the bedding was wet and I would catch her there doing it. She licks the belly on the carpet....no sign on the carpet.

    She doesn't lick the bedding as much as your pup, but sometimes it looks big enough to be an accident.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  17. Jeremy_K

    Jeremy_K

    1,190
    0
    Apr 6, 2009
    NY
    We'll be getting her a new bed. She had one with a fake wool top that she wouldn't lick probably due to the texture. Today my wife washed the outer layer of the memory foam bed, covered the memory foam mattress with plastic trash bags, and then put the outer cover over that. At least that will stop the foam from acting as a sponge. Such weirdos!:dunno:
     
  18. Slobberchops

    Slobberchops WTF?!?!?

    2,353
    0
    Apr 14, 2003
    I've made several beds for her, all have foam (either 6" thick or the egg crate type foam for back support), then a twin bed mattress pad folded in half, all covered with a sheet sewn like a pillowcase. I can wash the mattress pad and sheets as often as needed.

    Her favorite place to sleep is on the tile by the front door!:rofl:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2010
  19. WmHBonney

    WmHBonney

    719
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    Mar 30, 2010
    CNY
    We just went through this food thing with our year old Boxer. He has been very skinny since we got him. I know that boxers are supposed to be lean but it is actually embarassing to take him out because he looks so skinny that people think I don't feed him. We have been feeding Purina One which is what was recommended by the breeder when we picked him up. It is not top of the line but it is not the cheap stuff either. It turns out, it IS just like feeding your kids McDonalds every day. Anyway, the kennel we use recommended that we switch him to Tast of the Wild. I figured that they just wanted to sell us their expensive food so I started to research dog food. It is ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING what goes into commercial dog foods, and , how the companies can basically deceive you and I into buying their foods. Dogfoodanalysis is a GREAT place to start. There are a ton of good websites out there to learn from. Anyway, Duke just finished his first bag of TOTW and he has already started to fill out. BTW, the food is more expensive but it is also more filling and they eat less, so it lasts longer.