New to raw (allergy discussion included)

Postby KimJay Pits » November 25th, 2009, 1:45 pm

Well I am sort of new..LOL. I fed raw many years ago and I have a feeling I was not doing it right because the dogs had issues with vomiting etc.

I have a female now that is a year old and is having terrible issues with her feet and sometimes yeasty ears. My vet, friends and the lady that runs the holistic pet store all think it's a garin or rice intolerance. I have tried taste of the Wild dog food, Wellness and some other grain free diets and none seem to help. I have even tried a different protein source other than chicken.
So I am switching to raw because I can't stand to watch my girl gnaw at her feet any longer, I am hoping it will help.
I am starting off on premade patties but I want a cheaper way to feed it but I want to make sure I include all of the right *ingredients* this time. Is there a good website that can explain it..kind of like for dummies..LOL?

I Have beed reading some of the posts on here and it all looks so overwhelming!
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Postby amazincc » November 25th, 2009, 1:55 pm

KimJay Pits wrote:
I Have beed reading some of the posts on here and it all looks so overwhelming!


I felt the same way when I first started out... here's a link to my thread from a couple of years ago. VERY good info, and broken down to make it easier.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14447
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Postby Marinepits » November 25th, 2009, 3:19 pm

Has your pup been tested for environmental allergies?
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 27th, 2009, 7:05 pm

No my vet thought this would be the cheaper route to try and then go to the allergy testing.
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Postby Marinepits » November 27th, 2009, 7:59 pm

Well, if it's not a food allergy, then all the food trials are for nothing, know what I mean? In my experience with allergies, itchy feet are more of a contact allergy -- such as grass, dirt, dust mites, etc. (That's not to say that itchy feet are not caused by food allergies because that can sometimes happen, too.)

Itchy yeasty feet can also be caused by dogs that like to swim or wade through wet areas, splash through puddles, etc, and the feet don't get completely dry before getting wet again. That's prime breeding ground for yeasty-beasties to live in between her toes. Licking just makes the problem worse and worse, and the more the yeast grows the itchier she'll get and the more she'll lick. It's a vicious cycle. You can also check this link for more info: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2028

How long do you give a new food to work (or not) before you switch to the next one? You need to feed a new food exclusively for at least several weeks to see results, either good or bad. If the new food turns out to be high-allergen for your dog, you'll probably see a reaction almost immediately. If not, then it can take several weeks or longer for the old allergens/food to work their way out of your dog's system and for the new food to take effect. Start with one protein and one grain (or no grain at all), then build up very slowly from there. If the dog has a reaction after you add that one new ingredient, odds are good that the dog is allergic to that one ingredient.

If cost is a concern, maybe get a blood allergy test done. That's relatively inexpensive and tests for a LOT of different allergens. Plus, it's way less expensive than getting the patch-allergen test done -- the one where the dog's hair is shaved and common allergens are applied to the skin (the name escapes me right now, LOL :rolleyes2: :oops: ).

I've had good luck controlling the yeasty-beasties with acidophilus supplements, BUT they are used in conjunction with Mac's allergy shots (he's allergic to several different environmental sources, including dust and storage mites and several types of molds and grasses) and the one food he processes best -- Evangers Pheasant and Brown Rice. If he has yeast flare-ups, we use the peroxide mixture mentioned in the link above until his skin calms down again. Since he's been on the allergy shots, his allergy flare-ups have been far fewer in occurance and we've also been able to cut way back on the frequency of the shots.

All this just touches on the allergy issues we've had with Mac and now with Tucker. If you have other questions, I'd be happy to elaborate further. Allergies are VERY frustrating and are a multi-focal problem -- most often there is not just one cause of allergies. It's figuring out the puzzle that's a major PITA, LOL. :wink:
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Postby LMM » November 27th, 2009, 8:24 pm

Good points Jen. My mom's Molly, we thought she was allergic to chicken. But when we switched to a chicken-free diet she was still having periodic breakouts. My mom had the blood allergy testing done and she is highly allergic to both grass and mites.
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Postby Marinepits » November 27th, 2009, 8:58 pm

With allergies, there are so few things that will help you definitely rule out causes -- the blood allergy test is one of them. If the test comes back positive for certain allergens, YAY! You can treat that. If the test comes back negative for allergens, YAY! That means your dog has either food allergies or is allergic to something very unusual and you can start food trials or looking around your house for some freaky allergen -- like the bathroom potpourri from Siberia or the mittens made from elk fur that shed all over the house, LOL. The testing gives you a starting point, either way.

Plus, the test is only a couple of hundred bucks (if that), depending on your vet clinic. You can easily spend that much switching foods and supplements around and not ever finding a cause.
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Postby LMM » November 27th, 2009, 9:01 pm

Hahahahaha@potpurri from Siberia!!!! lol

Yea, you'll easily spend that money on food switches as I told my mom so she would just get the dang test done :rolleyes2:
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Postby dlynne1123 » November 27th, 2009, 9:16 pm

Marinepits wrote:Well, if it's not a food allergy, then all the food trials are for nothing, know what I mean? In my experience with allergies, itchy feet are more of a contact allergy -- such as grass, dirt, dust mites, etc. (That's not to say that itchy feet are not caused by food allergies because that can sometimes happen, too.)

Itchy yeasty feet can also be caused by dogs that like to swim or wade through wet areas, splash through puddles, etc, and the feet don't get completely dry before getting wet again. That's prime breeding ground for yeasty-beasties to live in between her toes. Licking just makes the problem worse and worse, and the more the yeast grows the itchier she'll get and the more she'll lick. It's a vicious cycle. You can also check this link for more info: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2028

How long do you give a new food to work (or not) before you switch to the next one? You need to feed a new food exclusively for at least several weeks to see results, either good or bad. If the new food turns out to be high-allergen for your dog, you'll probably see a reaction almost immediately. If not, then it can take several weeks or longer for the old allergens/food to work their way out of your dog's system and for the new food to take effect. Start with one protein and one grain (or no grain at all), then build up very slowly from there. If the dog has a reaction after you add that one new ingredient, odds are good that the dog is allergic to that one ingredient.

If cost is a concern, maybe get a blood allergy test done. That's relatively inexpensive and tests for a LOT of different allergens. Plus, it's way less expensive than getting the patch-allergen test done -- the one where the dog's hair is shaved and common allergens are applied to the skin (the name escapes me right now, LOL :rolleyes2: :oops: ).

I've had good luck controlling the yeasty-beasties with acidophilus supplements, BUT they are used in conjunction with Mac's allergy shots (he's allergic to several different environmental sources, including dust and storage mites and several types of molds and grasses) and the one food he processes best -- Evangers Pheasant and Brown Rice. If he has yeast flare-ups, we use the peroxide mixture mentioned in the link above until his skin calms down again. Since he's been on the allergy shots, his allergy flare-ups have been far fewer in occurance and we've also been able to cut way back on the frequency of the shots.

All this just touches on the allergy issues we've had with Mac and now with Tucker. If you have other questions, I'd be happy to elaborate further. Allergies are VERY frustrating and are a multi-focal problem -- most often there is not just one cause of allergies. It's figuring out the puzzle that's a major PITA, LOL. :wink:


A true food trial should last 8- 12 weeks to rule out a food allergy. Then, try again. It may not be grain at all. Could be egg, could be barley, could be a filler. We suggest limited antigen foods, not necessarily grain free. Or, the big route it hypoallergenic all the way. No protein sources are recognized by the body. They are hydrolyzed.
Then, only then rule out food allergies and go to environmental. At our allergy clinic we learned only 10 % of our allergy atopic dogs are a food primarily. The other 90% have environmental allergies or both. Also, you have to have to have to switch back to a joe food after the trial to rule out a coincidence (i.e. seasons change, something left the air, etc.)
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Postby dlynne1123 » November 27th, 2009, 9:18 pm

Marinepits wrote:With allergies, there are so few things that will help you definitely rule out causes -- the blood allergy test is one of them. If the test comes back positive for certain allergens, YAY! You can treat that. If the test comes back negative for allergens, YAY! That means your dog has either food allergies or is allergic to something very unusual and you can start food trials or looking around your house for some freaky allergen -- like the bathroom potpourri from Siberia or the mittens made from elk fur that shed all over the house, LOL. The testing gives you a starting point, either way.

Plus, the test is only a couple of hundred bucks (if that), depending on your vet clinic. You can easily spend that much switching foods and supplements around and not ever finding a cause.


The only thing, is we are finding that allergy tests are only diagnostic of allergies. The actual reactivity, and sensitivities are not relative. And, they change. We have a westie that had testing done last year, and again this year, and its changed significantly. We see mites a lot, and mold too. Neither of which you can really get rid of. If its a tree or a food, its fine, but its likely to change over time.
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Postby Marinepits » November 27th, 2009, 10:30 pm

dlynne1123 wrote:
The only thing, is we are finding that allergy tests are only diagnostic of allergies. The actual reactivity, and sensitivities are not relative.


Agreed, but the test is at least a starting point that can send you in the right direction. Without that test, I would have never known that Mac is off-the-charts allergic to molds and mites. We made quite a few lifestyle changes around the house and now he is FAR more comfortable than he was, for sure.

And, they change. We have a westie that had testing done last year, and again this year, and its changed significantly. We see mites a lot, and mold too. Neither of which you can really get rid of. If its a tree or a food, its fine, but its likely to change over time.


Agreed. I have a feeling Mac may be back in next year for another test -- he's now showing sensitivity to some grasses and leaves that he never had before. It's been the same way for me over the past 40 plus years, too. I was deathly allergic to chocolate and strawberry shampoo (?!?) when I was younger. Now I can eat chocolate with no problem, but the strawberry shampoo is no longer made so I don't know about that. However, now I have a high sensitivity to latex products and can't even look at mineral oil products without breaking out in massive hives. I don't want to test the whole bee-allergy thing -- I'm assuming I'm still allergic until proven otherwise, LOL.

Mites and molds of course cannot be completely destroyed, but you can vacuum more often, change dog bedding frequently, and tear up carpeting for the mites, and be a clean-freak for molds. Keep the dog out of a damp basement, watch out for leaky pipes in the walls that may spread mold into the drywall then shed off into the air, etc etc.
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Postby dlynne1123 » November 27th, 2009, 10:39 pm

Yeah, ditto. My brothers couldn't even look at poison ivy and they'd be in the hospital with IV steroids and antibiotics. I used to not be bothered by it at all. Wham 22 years old, I'm rolling around, miserable after working yard scaping, and had to revamp a grown in yard. Bad move, had it everywhere. Now i'm looking to get the allergy injection for poison ivy/oak my reactions are so bad!

Also used to be allergic to chocolate, couldn't eat it. Now its no problem anymore.

My girl, ended up having to go on Atopica after 4 years of the juggling tests and food, and steroids. She seems to be much more comfortable now and hopefully it will last a lifetime! Without cushings disease too.
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Postby Marinepits » November 27th, 2009, 10:46 pm

Poison ivy! *shiver* I get big wonking blisters from it. I had it on my right hand once and my fingers actually got "webbed" with blisters. My hand looked like Mickey Mouse's. :puke:

dlynne1123 wrote:My girl, ended up having to go on Atopica after 4 years of the juggling tests and food, and steroids. She seems to be much more comfortable now and hopefully it will last a lifetime! Without cushings disease too.


:woowoo:

Mac can't be on any steroids at all. He seriously "rages" and has hamster bladder so he pees all over the house. I don't know what's worse -- the scary attitude or the pee. :neutral:
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Postby hugapitbull » November 28th, 2009, 9:22 am

You have a great deal of good advise here, but I want to add just a couple of items. I've had an allergy dog for 10 years, and she is a foot chewer, so I feel your pain.

1.) Be cautious with the raw, and imbalance or too much protein can throw them into a violent allergy reaction. I overdosed Trouble on beef and did we ever pay the price for it. That was the end of my raw experience.

2.) Food trials should last at least 6-8 weeks with NO other food items - no treats, no tablefood, nothing

3.) Atopica is a great medication for those allergies that just cannot be controlled. We tried the shots, but one day Trouble decided she wasn't taking shots anymore and after I bent 3 needles in a week's time, I decided we'd do it her way. I couldn't see having a needle surgically removed being a great option.

Good luck. Allergies are no fun.
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 28th, 2009, 6:05 pm

I had never heard of the allergy blood test that is good to know. My vet is the opposite of most vets. She is a little too laid back sometimes when it comes to treatments. Would a contact allergy cause yeasty ears also? My vet had originally said the samething but when the ears started having problems she went to food. The ears are not bad but if I don't stay on top of them they get a stinky smell and one ear in paticulr will get a little red and a tad bit swollen. She is a little itchy on the body but not much. Her coat overall is shiny and healthy.

I realize alot of vets know the very basics when it comes to nutrition. But now I am confused because my friend works at a vet and my vet said over 80% of the dogs they see are food allergies and not contact allergies? And that most of the dogs have a protein allergy and not so much a grain allergy. I think my dogs has the same symptoms as alot of the dogs she is seeing with food allergies so she is *assuming* that's what it is.

I normally try a food for 6 weeks. Right now she is on premade patties which is high but I have found someone that can order in bulk ( instead of buying at a specialty store) that will save me money.
I have not been feeding her anything but her specific food she is on at that time. No treats or table food.

I don't mean to sound like I will not pay to have my dog checked out because I will do anything to make her comfortable. I Just think my vet is not as proactive as alot of vets are.

Thanks for all the responses and links, it's gave me questions to ask my vet. Or maybe it's time for a second opinion.I hope I can find a resolution in the near future!
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Postby Marinepits » November 28th, 2009, 10:11 pm

KimJay Pits wrote: Would a contact allergy cause yeasty ears also? My vet had originally said the samething but when the ears started having problems she went to food. The ears are not bad but if I don't stay on top of them they get a stinky smell and one ear in paticulr will get a little red and a tad bit swollen. She is a little itchy on the body but not much. Her coat overall is shiny and healthy.


Oy, poor girl sounds just like Mac when it comes to ear issues. Speaking from my experience only, it seems to me that yeast infections become systemic when the infections aren't caught quickly (or stay aggravated for a period of time). Mac's yeast problems would usually start with his feet and, if I didn't catch the infection right away, his ears would flare up and sometimes his armpits would get icky, too. The yeast just seems to spread all over his body the longer I let the infections go. Personally, I never noticed a food correlation to Mac's yeast problems -- his always came from consistently damp feet. The late winter/early spring is the WORST time for his yeast problems, mainly because we get a lot of rain then.

I realize alot of vets know the very basics when it comes to nutrition. But now I am confused because my friend works at a vet and my vet said over 80% of the dogs they see are food allergies and not contact allergies? And that most of the dogs have a protein allergy and not so much a grain allergy. I think my dogs has the same symptoms as alot of the dogs she is seeing with food allergies so she is *assuming* that's what it is.


Working in various vet clinics and talking to specialists, what I've heard about contact/environmental allergies vs food allergies is the same as what dlynne said -- true food allergies are not common. Your dog may have a sensitivity to certain foods, but the underlying allergy usually makes that sensitivity worse. Once that allergy is under control, the sensitivity seems to diminish dramatically. Mac used to be horribly allergic to beef -- his mouth and throat would get angry-red and he'd ITCH his face raw. His skin would also get very very red and itchy. Once he started his allergy shots (the serum is specific for molds and mites only), he was able to tolerate beef FAR more easily. No more rubbing his face raw. I still don't give him a lot of beef, just a treat sometimes, but he has very little sensitivity to it now.

I don't mean to sound like I will not pay to have my dog checked out because I will do anything to make her comfortable.


Nope, not taken that way at all. Times are tough for virtually everyone so if I know of a less-expensive option, I share it! I love a "bargain"! :wink:

Or maybe it's time for a second opinion.


If you have access to an allergy clinic or a good doggy dermotologist, it might not hurt to have her seen. "Fresh eyes" on a case can be really helpful!
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Postby amazincc » November 29th, 2009, 1:30 pm

Has your dog gotten seriously sick in the past w/something? How is her immune system?

One of mine had parvo when he was very small, and it has left him w/a poor immune system... he was also dx'd w/"allergies" (contact/environmental AND food). He's currently eating low-allergen kibble and is doing very well on that (Natural Balance Duck&Potato). I was feeding him RAW, but switched him on advise of my vet.
I haven't done the allergy blood test yet, but plan on it in the near future.
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Postby KimJay Pits » December 1st, 2009, 4:18 pm

I think my first coarse of action is I am going to try another vet. I love my vet but I feel like we are past the shampoo and benadryl stage and further testing needs to be done.
This has been ongoing since the end of August and it only seems to be getting worse. The shampoo brings temporary relief but like this morning I saw a spot on her front leg that she has been chewing on. So now it's not just the feet and ears now. :(
My vet had suggested prednisone but I feel like that's just masking the problem and I want to know what's causing it! Besides I HATE prednisone and I don't want to use it unless I have to.
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Postby Marinepits » December 1st, 2009, 5:31 pm

I haven't had the best luck treating Mac's allergies with any type of steroid, but pred specifically. Mac drank constantly and then peed CONSTANTLY, plus his resource guarding and bad attitude got REALLY bad. :shock:

I know some people have had good luck with steroids, so hopefully they will post about their experiences.

There are also MANY antihistamines out there that may provide some itch relief for your girl. Mac built up a tolerance for Benadryl very very quickly. He went through about 10 different ones before we found the one that works best. It's amitriptyline, also known as Elavil -- an antidepressant that just happens to be a marvelous antihistamine in dogs.

Let us know what happens with the new vet! Keeping my fingers crossed for you.....
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Postby mnp13 » December 1st, 2009, 5:53 pm

If you're trying raw anyway, this is an excellent time of the year for trying a "novel" protein. Look around online and find a few "home" deer processing places and call them and ask if you can get some scrap.

I recently got a few hundred pounds of free venison for our dogs, many people suggest trying an uncommon protein source to rule out allergies to chicken, beef, etc.
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