Do you have a dog with allergies?
Meet Patches, my dog with allergies. He is the reason I started this blog. He was just over a year old when his allergies began with an ear infection. That was treated and resolved.
Over the next 2 years he was back and forth to the vet for skin scrapings (negative for mites/mange), various rounds of treatment with antibiotics, antifungals, and steroids. With each dose of steroid the allergy symptoms would subside, but as a side affect of the steroids he would need to urinate every 2 hours. Most of the time his fur was waxy feeling with yellow crusty scabs on the skin – even with frequent baths. I worried we would need to live with our periodic treatments of Patches flareups. I feared that the steroids would shorten his life or cause other problems later.
We were unable to determine any triggers – food, grass, etc. Since he had outbreaks year long, that typically indicates a food allergy, but could mean both environmental and nutritional. He had no energy or desire to play with the other dogs. His allergies were so bad at one point he had scratched the skin on his neck so raw so I bought him a harness. Between his lack of energy, use of a harness, and the condition of his skin we had to give up on his agility training. I knew that the medications were only treating the symptoms. Our vet would refer us to a dermatology vet, but I wasn’t ready to go that route.
Research and Testing:
So I struck out on my own to find answers. I found an allergy test where I needed to send in a sample of his saliva and hair. The results indicated he was allergic to almost everything. We used the supplements recommended from the company that conducted the allergy test and several $80.00 bags of specialty food for over 2 months with no change. When I showed the test results to our vet, he did not hold much stock in the results. I continued my research with tons of recommendations from friends and the internet. Don’t laugh, I was desperate to find my boy some relief. There were the apple cider vinegar rinses, the oatmeal shampoos, the conditioners for his super dry skin, salmon oil, chamomile tea dipped on his hot spots, coconut oil internal and external.
I began reading and researching dog food and treat ingredients. I hadn’t paid much attention to treat ingredients, and was shocked that so many treats have sugar as one of the first few ingredients, not to mention other unhealthy ingredients. Patches was on Blue Buffalo Salmon (in case he was allergic to chicken). An article came out that Blue Buffalo was using chicken meal or by-products in the salmon flavor. I switched him to Taste of the Wild.
During the Spring of 2016 someone recommended I feed him a raw diet. I was not comfortable with the “raw” idea. I was worried that would not provide him with all the appropriate nutrients. For two months I home cooked his food and treats. While some of the issues subsided he began to lose weigh even though I was giving him a substantial amount of food. It was expensive and time-consuming. So, I put him back on Taste of the Wild.
Finally Something Worked:
In November 2016 when a friend on Facebook (don’t laugh) posted about a pet nutrition company that had natural and holistic products – I had to know more! The first products I tried were the topical skin spray (only 3 natural ingredients) and freeze-dried treats (no sugar, no carcinogens, no soy, no by-products, no additives). I was skeptical so that is why I actually took initial pictures of his elbows, tailbone, and heel. When I compared the week #1 pictures to the before, I was SOLD! As I read more about other products that Patches would need to help with his allergies, I added more to his nutrition plan.
In January 2017, I took a printout of all the products I was giving to Patches and the topical spray to the vet. Patches was looking better and had put on some weight since his previous visit. The vet recommended Cytopoint injection and to continue with his nutrition plan. Patches receives his Cytopoint injection periodically and is on a nutrition maintenance plan. He has NOT had steroids, antifungal, or antibiotics since we began with his nutrition maintenance plan. Patches gained 8 pounds and has lots of energy to play with the other dogs. Take a look at this healthy, happy boy now.