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grain free food for itchy dog - how long 'til it works?

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  • grain free food for itchy dog - how long 'til it works?

    Just what the headline says... I'm switching my dog to grain free because he's SO FREAKING ITCHY. Like, he quivers when you touch his back, hoping for a scratch. He was previously on petmsart Authority for large breed, lamb & rice, weight management, plus wild salmon oil for the dandruff. That seemed to control it until late October when he got fleas at the beach house.

    This is NOT fleas. There are no fleas and he's on capstar and sentinel. He's a lab and has always had dandruffy skin, but this is just taking it to an entire new level. He's in the cone of shame right now, but that's not stopping him from scratching scabs on himself.

    It is so hard to watch. I know I can't expect to see results from switching to a better food right away, but how long should it take before I know it's working? He's at about half and half with the old food now and in about 2 weeks should be all grain free.

    Thanks for any words of hope

  • #2
    A couple of weeks. Is he on a limited ingredient food? That's what I used for my very allergic dog. I used Natural Balance, I think it was fish and potato. It works very well.


    • #3
      A couple of weeks after he is completely switched. Make sure the food is not only grain free but uses an alternative protein source. Many food allergies are to common proteins, like chicken, beef and lamb. Taste of the Wild High Prairie worked for my dogs. It is Bison/Venison.

      I'd also try bathing him with Microtek Anti itch shampoo. That seems to help many dogs.


      • #4
        Couple of weeks is what we found, too. Make sure you give NO other food, no scraps, no bird seed, no grain from the horses, nothing.

        We use Mal-A-Ket shampoo from our vet on our super allergic WonderMutt. Really helps her general itchiness.

        We feed TOTW High Prairie as well. They also make a wet food.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          We adopted a wonderful Border Collie who was the itchiest dog I have ever seen. The rescue that we got him from said that he was almost hairless when she got him but was improving on a quality dog food (Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover I think it was). I continued feeding him that and he was still itchy. We tried everything for the next year including every kind of shampoo, food and even steriods. Out of desperation we had him allergy tested and found that he was allergic to almost 40 allergens. He was allergic to poultry which was exactly what we were feeding him. Trying to figure out on your own what a dog is allergic too is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack really. If you can swing it I totally recommend having the dog allergy tested.

          We ended up having a special serum made for our dog for his allergens and he gets a shot once a month and is a normal non-itchy dog now. It truly gave him his life back!!

          Once we started the monthly shots and changed his diet it took a full 9 months to see a complete difference.
          RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
          May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
          RIP San Lena Peppy
          May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the responses! He's switching to taste of the wild salmon-based (I figured we'd start with that since the salmon oil did seem to help him before). He's still getting some of the old food... but he almost seems itchier than he did. I don't know if it's just because I keep hoping he's getting better and so it seems worse, or if it's really worse. I was giving him baths with T-Gel but that didn't seem to do any good, and it's gotten pretty cold, so I stopped. I can't afford to have him tested right now - I'm stretching to feed him more expensive food, honestly. But hopefully this will help... I know I can't expect to really see results until he's on only the new feed. It's just so hard not to pull him off the old stuff cold turkey to see results more quickly! Argh!


            • #7
              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              A couple of weeks. Is he on a limited ingredient food? That's what I used for my very allergic dog. I used Natural Balance, I think it was fish and potato. It works very well.
              We've used that on several of our super itchy foster dogs, and you can see the difference almost at once. Its incredible stuff. I'm not sure if its grain free though. But I will say I've seen it work wonders.
              "I think animal testing is a terrible idea, they get all nervous and give silly answers."
              -fry & laurie


              • #8
                it can take up to a couple months to know if it's helping. just stick to it, treats must be the same ingredients, or use kibble as treats, No table foods, Etc..My dog was allergy tested and she is allergic to flea saliva, Cat dander, House dust mites and Storage mites. She also can't eat Chicken, Beef, Corn, Wheat or Soy. I am sure she has other triggers, but i just don't know them. We give her a shot of a serum made specifically for her every 2 weeks.


                • #9
                  I'm curious. Why are you still giving him ANY of the old food? You really just need to make the switch. At the worst, he will have a bit of loose stool for a few days, but better to cold turkey switch than keep him on a food to which he is allergic.

                  I, too, recommend Taste of the Wild Salmon to start. If in a couple months he still has problems, try Taste of the Wild High Prairie.
                  Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.


                  • #10
                    you also need to deworm for tapes. do a dose of praziquantel now, and three weeks from now. When a dog gets fleas they are very likely to get tapeworms, which will cause that dandruffy stuff at the base of their tail.

                    cell turnover rate for the epidermis is 21 days, so expect to see a change from the food within the first 3 weeks. if you aren't seeing some positive progress 6 weeks into 100% new food, i'd suggest changing protein sources.
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • #11
                      I have my dogs on Taste of the Wild "Pacific Stream" and it has helped a lot.

                      I also feed them Dinovite, which helps.

                      My Lab/Sharpei still has skin issues but nothing like he used to. He's 10 and has cushings too

                      If I weren't so old I might threaten Mr. WTW with a divorce lawyer because he thinks it's cute to sneak people food to all the dogs, including this Lab/Sharpei.

                      I know the nights he does it because Luke will get me up in the middle of the night to go outside I make sure to make enough noise to wake DH out a sound sleep. We both have to go to work so I don't care how much sleep he loses because he fed the dog in the first place


                      • #12
                        My brother has this problem with his dog and I've had friends have the same problem with theirs. One friend tried Taste of the Wild and others for her itchy beagle and nothing worked - she finally just started cooking for her. It sounds like a pain in the butt, but she has a good system for it - they have a freezer in the basement and she'll make several months' worth of rice, vegetables like broccoli, and ground turkey all at once in a slow cooker and big pot. Then she freezes a day's worth of food in individual containers. She says it's a lot cheaper than the other kind of food and has worked better for her dog's allergies.


                        • #13
                          My vet is not a fan of kibble diets for dogs and adviced me to feed them sardines for the omega 3's, pumpkin (or squash), any cooked vegetables, honey, cooked eggs, pineapple, mango or watermelon. It was a long list that included cooked protein sources.

                          Unfortunately one of them is predisposed to struvite crystals so I can't take him off completely but I have cut him down significantly.
                          \"You have two choices when a defining moment comes along - you can either define the moment, or let the moment define you.\" Tin Cup


                          • #14
                            YOu can also try to find standard processes Antronex - it's a glandular antihistamine ( all natural) works miracles - I ran out and regret it!


                            • #15
                              just for what it's worth, my dog has skin allergies, too, and this winter (normally a quiet allergy season for her since most of her allergies are environmental and not food related) she's been itching a lot. the usual steroids don't seem to help much.

                              i've done some reading and it appears that dogs can suffer from the itchy dry winter skin just like humans. i'm going to try adding some more olive oil to her diet to see if it helps.

                              good luck with your dog! hope the diet change solves the problem
                              TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


                              • #16
                                At least a couple of weeks and that is assuming that the cause of the itching is the food. In many cases it is not the food but environmental issues, or simply dry skin due to the heat being on.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks for the input! He seems to be doing a bit better - although I am really wondering if I need to see the vet about a round of steroids. Can he be in the habit of itching? Looking at his skin, it is not red or irritated or really dandruffy but he quivers when you even touch the middle of his back. He wants to be scratched SO badly. I remember reading something in people about how nerve endings get overstimulated and you basically have to give drugs to break the pain cycle, even when the original trigger is removed. I am wondering if there's an itch cycle like that??

                                  Also, I'm changing his food gradually because he has a sensitive stomach anyhow. He has had a few moments of really loose stool with this change - I can't imagine how bad it would be if I had just gone cold turkey!

                                  Worming for tapes - how does one do this with dogs? Do I need to get the praziquantel from the vet, or can I buy it somewhere like with horse dewormer?


                                  • #18
                                    JUST ONE WORD - DYNOVITE!!!!. This stuff is fabulous. I have a welsh corgi who was really itchy around his ruff, hot spots on his paws, etc. Just miserable. Figured it was just the dry summer, as he's nine and has never had problems and his food hasn't switched. Stuff comes in a tube, like liquidy toothpaste. Smells like wet hay. Put on dry food. He loves the taste (ok, he grazes on sweet grass now and then) and in just two weeks his coat was healthy an no more itching. Stuff's a bit pricy, but well worth it. Good luck.
                                    Just remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.


                                    • #19
                                      hamburger and rice a few days to clear his system. I would also put him on some clariten

                                      also would suggest keeping the kibble in the freezer.. it may be mites that he is allergic to and the freezer will kill them
                                      I can explain it TO you,but I can't understand it FOR you


                                      • #20
                                        A tablespoon of pure canned pumpkin (not spiced) in his food will firm up the stools. Dogs seem to love it and it really works.