Questions and Answers
Does anyone know if there is any medical link between vegetarianism/veganism and developing multiple food allergies?
All I can tell you is that if you increase certain foods that you may be allergic to because you are trying to find a substitute for meat, you will react more to them. You may not have noticed an allergy until you started eating more of something. Also, eating a lot of a particular food can help "develop" an allergy to it.
I have a 2 yr old white boxer who has never had skin allergies before. We moved to virginia from massachusetts and during the summer he started having serious skin allergies. Hes a mess, the vet put him on like 10 meds and it helped his skin, but the side effects are not good, hes not the same dog on the meds. Does anyone have similar experience with their dog?
Allergies often take time to develop and can pop up at any time. Plus you have moved...it is not at all uncommon for dogs to react to pollens and other environmental allergies in one state/region but not in another. Plus, boxers in general and white boxers especially are predisposed to skin problems such as allergies.
You can try switching foods. Although it seems pretty clear that these are environmental allergies (since they popped up right after you moved) dogs with environmental allergies often also have food allergies. Plus, changing food to a higher-quality diet may help your dog's immune system cope with the allergies better. Avoid corn, wheat, and soy as much as possible (these are three of the most common allergens in dogs and are often used more because they are cheap filler materials than for their nutritional value). Also avoid any artificial flavors or colorings. Many vets, trainers, and owners of allergic dogs recommend going with a totally grain free food (such as raw, homecooked, or nature's variety grain-free kibble) to support the skin and immune system.
Dogs with allergies usually benefit from adding vitamin E and omega fatty acid supplements to their diet. I have a dog with environmental allergies. Whatever he's allergic to starts in late July/August and runs until it gets really cold out...and it causes him to develop raw hot spots on his face. He is on an antihistamine (we alternate between benedryl and hydroxazine) and that does seem to help somewhat....at least his ears aren't quite so red when he's on the antihistamines. But what REALLY makes a difference in his itchiness is the vitamin E/omega fatty acid supplement (we use EFA caps from the vet, but fish oil and vitamin E available at any drug store seems to work well for others too). When his allergies are flaring up he is constantly itchy, but if we skip a dose of the EFA caps he gets SUPER itchy!
For dogs with environmental allergies, frequent bathing can help a LOT. From August through November, my allergy dog gets baths once a week. He is MUCH more comfortable after a bath and towards the end of the week, when he is due for his bath again, he is much more itchy. Since my dog's allergies are associated with secondary bacterial skin infections I use a medicated shampoo that kills most microbes (both bacterial and yeast) as well as a skin and coat conditioner to counteract the drying effects of the shampoo and frequent bathing. Between baths, I often use medicated wipes on trouble areas (his face and the inside of one foreleg where he licks himself raw) and follow up with a topical leave-on conditioner that is supposed to make him less itchy (I don't know if it does or not, especially since he probably just licks it off, but it makes me feel better that I've at least tried it).
As for the medication, I hope you're guestimating/exaggerating a bit...10 meds seems like a LOT. Even when my dog is having hot spot flare-ups, he is never on more than 6 or 7 medications/supplements (antibiotics, antihistamines, EFA caps, maybe a probiotic, medicated shampoo, medicated wipes, leave on conditioner). Some vets like to use steroids on severe allergies...but I would try all other options before resorting to these drugs because of the side effects.
We have 4 dogs and took them all into the vet for their check ups and shots and we were told to put them on Science Diet because they were all overweight. 1 was a recent rescue and his skin was really dry so we tried it (they've all been on Pedigree for well since we've had them) Anyway --- they've been on SD for 2 months now and its been HORRIBLE! My golden retriever has horrible itching problems along with my brothers beagle. The vet says it may be the food but he doesn't understand because SD is top of the line... Well I've looked around on here and other places and SD doesn't seem to rate too high... Any suggestions? All of our dogs are itching A LOT! Their fur is softer and glossy, but the itching is unreal! And the beagle his stomach is all red and bumpy! And please don't suggest I take them to the vet --- They already have a vet appointment for Monday with a new vet because I think the SD is the problem. (3/4 have been tested for allegergies and 3/4 have them)
Thank you all for your answers so far! My vet said that SD is like eating a gourmet meal and that Pedigree is like eating McDonalds 3 xs a day. Anyway, we've been measuring out their food since the switch 2 months ago and their weight is dropping at a good pace, but now I'm a little nervous that w/ the SD maybe thier starving a little bit because of the junk in SD? I hope not! I'm doing research on pet foods as I write this! Again - thank you all!
The raw diet, like life, has many different successful routes. I have tried to detail some of the basic questions that you may have which will hopefully get you onto the raw diet track.
People have different ideas about the raw diet and my suggestion if you become confused, is NOT to go back to commercial foods, but start thinking about what is best for your dog (or cat).
Start with the basics - a range of different raw meaty bones, or preferably whole items, such as chicken, quail, fish, eggs. For the majority of raw feeders - chicken is the base of the majority of their dogs meals. However, if chicken is not available readily, use what is available locally - raw meaty - lamb, beef, venison, duck, rabbit, kangaroo, pig, raw whole fish. You get the picture.
Where possible you want to avoid using items that have been raised inappropriately. For example, avoid beef that was raised in feedlots. Preferably the food should be as organic and natural as possible.
Please note: Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Grains make up the majority of dog food company food sources. Many people find when they switch to an all natural diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is common.
Not only is feeding raw cheaper to feed than commercial dog foods, but there are enormous savings to be made by not having all those vet visits to fix your dogs' allergies. Are you asking yourself yet, "why hasn't my vet recommended this?" Yes, I would ask that of them too. Unfortunately most vets receive NO education at university on dog diet other than what the commercial dog food company reps tell them! (yes, this is the education they PAY to get - unbelievable. Luckily, some universities are realizing this mistake and are making amends).
So much for objective information! ... The Australian Vet Association's principal sponsor is a pet food company.
Check out whether your vet can give out objective information on a raw diet, or have they (like most vets) received their education sponsored by a pet food company?
A raw diet provides a range of benefits that commercial dog diets can never hope to even closely match.
These benefits include:
no doggy odour
naturally cleans teeth - no need for toothbrushes, de-scaling jobs, or gum disease
the time it takes for a dog to chew a raw meaty bones give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving
much less stools produced - and they are firm, and turn chalky after a couple of days
decreased or non-existant vet bills (your dogs are healthier!)
less cost for dog food - commercial dog foods are ludicriously expensive
mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild - and certainly even the modern day dog has a digestive tract exactly the same as a wolf
puppies develop at a more appropriate rate - and quick growth spurts are avoided. A GOOD breeder will want to stop fast growth in any pup.
The ripping and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles of the dog. Commercial dog foods will never assist in this important muscle development.
People who have switched their dogs to a raw diet from commercial dog foods have found the following:
dogs who were previously un-energetic, and sluggish become completely new dogs once the raw diet feeding begins
allergies their dogs previously had on commercial foods, disappear once they start with the raw diet
arthritis has significantly reduced or disappeared in some dogs switched to raw
better weight control
no more doggy odour!
Their dogs are living longer on a raw diet than what their other dogs previously had survived on commercial dog foods
that their bitches managed their pregnancies better
better weight and survival figures in puppies
Why is commercial dog food not good for my dog?
There are a range of problems with commercial dog foods. I will provide some links below, but in summary:
a dog's food should never be cooked. It should be fed in a raw natural state like nature intended. Cooking a dog's food ruins most of the nutritional value.
Dogs should have access to raw meaty bones. These clean their teeth, work and develop their neck and jaw muscles, and the chewing action prepares their stomach for the incoming food mass. Chewing bones also slows down the eating process considerably, making it far harder for a dog to over eat.
Dog foods have as their main ingredient cereals - the main ingredient your dog should be eating is raw meaty bones. And it is these very cereals that cause a range of problems such as allergies.
Commercial dog foods are laden with preservatives, colors (dyes), and salt. They have additives to make the food taste better so that the dogs will overeat.
The vast majority of commercial dog foods have far too much carbohydrates in them. High levels of carbohydrates are linked to over-eating, diabetes, weight gain, and numerous other problems. Dogs should eat a diet with only a small amount of carbs.
There is no substitute for a raw diet.
And most scarey of all:
your vet is most probably recommending a commercial diet because of financial inducements and a lack of independent learning.
Join a raw group list. I feed my dog a prey model diet and he does so well on it. His breeder feeds only raw as well.
Do what is best for your babies do some research find out what is Realy in teh Kibble crap you are feeding and make an informed dacision.
All the best