Pet Food for Lab with Allergy

tigerdunesOctober 8, 2009

Have 6 yr old female yellow lab. Currently feeding Iams Lg Breed Dry Dog Food. It is very apparent that dog has developed a food allergy that causes ear infections. I have tries Hills Prescription Science "Low Allergens" dog food. It has helped but this dog food is too expensive. Over $75 for 35 lb. Probably because you have to purchase from a vet.

Can anyone make some other suggestions?

Thank you for reading and all advice.

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Look into feeding a raw diet or home cooked diet. I had a collie/shepherd mix with allergies, and once I switched her to raw, they went away. Use Google to find lots of info on either.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 9:18PM
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My lab seemed to have a lot of food related allergies. Eventually we ended up settling on ProPlan sensitive stomach formula, which I believe is a salmon based dog food- talk about doggie breath! She ate that the last several years of her life and did much better. (That wasn't all she ate, we use to give her some nutritious home cooked foods on the side- she really loved veggies.)

We had tried many other formulas from all price ranges, but for whatever reason that one worked for her. DH and I use to go to the store and just read ingredients labels trying to find something where the first several ingredients were different enough from anything she had tried (and had problems with) before.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2009 at 11:15AM
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You have to feed a single protein and single carbohydrate source that the dog has never had before, and NOTHING else. You have to do that for at least 8 weeks to see if there is any effect. Then give the old food for a couple of days and see if the allergies return. There is no magical ingredient or food that anyone can recommend because any individual dog can be allergic to anything. It's a matter of trial and error, nothing else.

With allergies, the body senses an "invader" (the food protein or carbohydrate or something else like artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives) and decides to destroy the "invader." The body then sends histamine and leukotrienes to do their job, which causes itching, ear infections, and such. The hydrolyzed foods (Purina HA or Science Diet Z/D) are made such that the body doesn't recognize the food as an invader(the proteins are cut up very very short), so no allergic reaction. At least, that's the way it works in theory. I've seen dogs react to those foods.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 3:38PM
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There are a number of options for you. All of the following use human grade ingredients. This means that you aren't getting contaminated ingredients or parts of animals that the FDA does not allow for human consumption. Keep an eye out for wheat, corn, beef, soy and maybe chicken since these are the first ones that many vets try to eliminate when diagnosing allergies. Many times it does the trick.

Nature's Recipe: No wheat, corn or beef. I know for certain the Venison flavor has no soy as well (I just checked the bag in my closet) though is does have chicken fat. Wide variety of flavors and formulas including sensitive skin and sensitive stomach. The large breed formula is chicken based. Preserved with rosemary oil instead of BHA which is now believed to have cancer-causing properties. Where I get mine, NR is the most cost efficient on average of anything I'd give my dog.

Blue Buffalo: Also Wheat, Corn free. I read the ingredients on the large breed chicken and brown rice flavor. It has no beef and no soy. Preserved with rosemary oil. Also has an organics line. Processes the protien and veggies/vitamin separately so that the vitamins are not broken down in high heat. You'll see two different colored kibble. Made by the same people that started SoBe.

By Nature: No corn, no wheat, no soy. Some of their wet dog food has beef, but I don't think any of the dry does. Preserved with rosemary extract. All of the flavors have tiny kibble. I thought they had a large breed formula, but I don't see it on the website. Also has an organics line. My pug used to be on this, and now we use it as treats because he loved it so much (slurped it down too fast, though... silly puggy).

I've heard good things about Avoderm, Science Diet Nature's best (not regular SD), and Nutro Ultra. I'm not as familiar with them, though so your online research would be as good as mine.

I work at Petsmart, so I know they carry all of these. I hear Petco has some good ones (Wellness and Dick Van Patten are requested a lot), but I've never had a chance to look at the bag. I'd probably trust something from Old Mother Hubbard or Newman's Own as long as the ingredients were acceptable.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 12:17PM
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The best thing to do would be to have your dog allergy tested. Until you find out exactly what foods she is allergic to it becomes a guessing game trying out various foods. The easiest would be a blood allergy test as opposed to skin allergy testing. Many more allergens can be tested for with a single draw of blood. When my female Shiba Inu developed allergies I had her allergy tested. I cannot remember the cost... maybe $150? I had her tested for over 180 items not only for foods but for environmental as well. Once I had the report back and saw what foods she tested positive and borderline for I looked for a food that would be compatible. What I found that works is the Wellness Simple Food Solutions. She still has environmental allergies that I can manage with an antihistamine and if needed supplemented with a low dose of prednisone for more serious allergic reactions.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:23AM
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I think the very best idea is to consult your petÂs doctor. It is very scary to give our pet medicine that was not prescribed by their doctors. But of course please be sure to choose the correct stuff for your pet.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pet Supplies

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 8:45PM
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There are no accurate tests for food allergies. There are companies who offer allergy tests for food items, but no board-certified dermatologist I know trusts those results. I don't trust those results for food allergies either because I've seen dogs react to proteins they didn't test positive for in the test and vice-versa. They only rely on trial and error using novel protein sources as I described above.

As far as other allergens, testing is good. It seems that intradermal testing works better than blood testing by a little bit. But I wouldn't recommend allergy testing unless you were willing to go for immunotherapy shots too. Otherwise you just get a list of things your pet is allergic to and no way to avoid them.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 8:58PM
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I've been feeding Taste of the Wild, prairie mix, grain free diet, to my allergy prone dog and we've had good results. Its available at Tractor Supply Company.

Its primarily a venison, buffalo, sweet potato mixture. And its still pricey, but its less expensive that the allergy diet from the vets.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 11:22AM
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Usually dogs can handle Quinwa, Sweet potato, buffalo, venison and sometimes beef.
This is a good time of year to try some things. Get in touch with a local butcher. Ask if he has any unclaimed Venison he would be willing to part with at part cost.
Go home and chop up the meat, boil Quinowa per instructions and roast sweet potatos with herbs.
Make sure you have approproviate vitamin suplement for your dog.
Mix all ingredients together and store in 2 quart serving containers. All but two go into the freezer, roating daily and making more each weekend.
You may add in a cup of the SD Allergy food daily just to give him something to crunch on, but DONT use treats. They are the WORST for allergies. Save dehydrated pieces of meet (jerky) as a treat.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2009 at 11:41PM
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I have a dog with allergies since a pup and had him for 8 years. I did a lot of research about food and found California Natural. It has 3 ingredients and is based on an "elimination diet" as a few mentioned above. It has 3 ingredients - lamb (or chicken), rice, and sunflower oil. That's all. All human grade. It is based upon the assumption that you could slowly bring in other ingredients to find out what the dog is allergic too -- much like a pediatrician would do with a child.

It is expensive. However, it has done wonders for my Mocha. I no longer feed that food, but it truly helped with his allergies to identify the problems.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 2:43AM
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Along with the food changes suggested by others, you might want to try giving him a fish oil capsule each day. It's done wonders for my dog's seasonal allergies and works by boosting their immunities. It will take two or three weeks to see improvement and you'll probably notice a shinier coat, too. It's also great for their hearts.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 7:33AM
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I think maybe I can help here. I have a labradoodle with very sensitive ears to smelling very poorly and always shaking her head.

We had to take her off of everything, no biscuits,, no treats for three months and put her on a Fish based dog food and we chose the Purina Pro Plan, Salmon and Rice. It says for sensitive stomachs. Then I could after the three months introduce one thing at a time back to her. Turns out if she has beef based products,, her ears break out. She can have a bit,, but not too much. We have kept her on the fish based food with no problems now. Hope this helps. It is certainly worth the try.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 10:48PM
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Dogs don't need carbs. Not significantly, anyway and are possibly the cause of the increase of diabetes in dogs. In the wild, the only carbs a dog would probably ingest might be from some windfall fruit, and maybe stomach contents of prey - although in the wild, it'd be more grassy-cellulose type stuff.

A raw natural diet would probably be the safest to eliminate odd, unknown allergens.

Worked for my dog, as far as we know it wasn't allegies, we're not sure what it was - but she improved on raw and is in perfect health.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 3:17AM
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We used to have a Springer with allergies and we fed her Avoderm, can't remember who makes it but that was the only thing that worked for her. It wasn't very expensive either.
We have a Lab now that I think is having allergies too. Hot spot on her foot, lots of licking, and kind of pink raised skin on her lip I guess you would call it. Better try some Avoderm too!
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:33PM
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"It is expensive. However, it has done wonders for my Mocha. I no longer feed that food, but it truly helped with his allergies to identify the problems."

Well I am eating my own words. I tried switching foods this last year again... and guess what? It's back to Cali natural for us. Mocha's hotspots are acting up again (the others are healthy as horses, i swear I could feed them cake and onions every day and they'd be fine). We've decided to switch back to Cali because his constant thumping and itching is driving both us and him crazy. I can't stand to watch or hear it. I think the "3 ingredients" are what helps him. He has allergies and we have to live with that fact.. forever.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 12:14AM
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I know this an old thread, BUT...........

After switching back to Cali, Mocha's allergies are now abated. He is no longer scratching and itching like he was, and no more hotspots -- at least for a while.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 2:47AM
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My Toller had 2 ear infections by the time he was 10 months old. I switched him to a raw food diet (meaty bones, chicken parts, organ meats, raw eggs, carrots, apples, peppers, etc.) and 2-1/2 years later, he's never had another problem. His coat is gorgeous, his teeth are so clean they glow in the dark, and he always smells nice (I've never bathed him). We just adopted a 6-month-old Sato, and when I took her to the vet for a checkup, the vet expressed surprise to find tartar on such a young puppy. We started her on a raw food diet too, and when I took her back two weeks later to be spayed, the vet noticed that even her back molars were tartar-free.

The raw food diet is not too much work, and it's also empowering and fun. Just getting rid of the specter of recurring ear infections (with a fuzzy, floppy-eared retriever who swims every chance he gets) was enough for me to make the switch to raw.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 3:49PM
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I would recommend going RAW. I have been on the raw diet for a few months now and my girl is doing great. The decision to go raw was made because of the itching, scratching, licking biting, shedding, sneezing and other issues that she was going through and the vet could not provide a reason for the symptoms and would just provide to us advice and meds. I have found after food trials and product eliminations that she cannot take any of the Dry Kibble, Canned Food, Treats, Biscuits, Heartguard or Flea Preventatives, nor can she use most of the shampoos on the market. I feed Natures Variety Raw. We kicked everything to the curb and went cold turkey. My first choice was the Rabbit. She licked the bowl clean and the symptoms were gone almost immediately. I would say within the week the symptoms calmed down. I also learned that when you mess with the omegas in the foods by adding something such as a fish oil, you mess with the balance of the omegas. The best thing to do is find a meat based food with balanced omegas and if you choose to add additional omegas choose one that is balanced. I chose to use Ultra Oil with omegas 3-6-9. Yes, there is a 9. Who would have thought. All and all, after almost a year of food trials, my girl is eating raw, getting oil'd up for a healthy skin and coat and is using Dinovite Canine as her supplement and I will not change a thing for as long as I can help it. Oh! I forgot to mention that because I do not use a flea preventative, i do bathe my girl more often now. How is her coat and skin you wonder? Her coat and skin are great. They say bathing too much will strip the coat and skin of essential oils. Well heck...why not use products with essential oils. I use Dr. Harvey's Shampoo and Dog-O-Suds from Dinovite. Read up on Natures Variety, Ultra Oil, Dr. Harvey's and Dinovite and even check up on the website for the Great Dane Lady...all websites helped me alot. My girl is due for her annual next week and I can't wait for the Dr. to see her. If you want to discuss, give me a shout.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:47PM
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I just took my 8 year old Shih Tzu to the Vet today and my Vet recommended the Hills Science food and I definitely agree, it is a bit pricey, $32 + tax for an 8 pound bag.

I know this is a difficult question, but how long until I notice results?

I'm really hoping this works but also dreading if it does because of the price. I also have a Yorkie and he has no problems at all. I plan on feeding them different foods but they are used to sharing and the Yorkie knows I love the other one more and takes everything away from him, so it may be difficult to feed them different foods.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 12:34AM
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mnguye5: DON"T fall for the "Hills Hype"! Read the ingredients on the food bag. It's high priced garbage! I'd recommend a meaty dog food, as this is actually what carnivores/dogs are supposed to eat. Here's a great place to start by reading this article about dog food and it's good information.

Don't let a vet, who takes maybe one single class in nutrition, recommend a total diet for a dog. Especially a high priced, filler loaded prescription diet that of course, vets sell!

Here is a link that might be useful: How to choose a good dog food

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:20PM
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