Just as in humans, the body’s immune system can turn a everyday substance into a allergen. Suddenly something in their environment such as dust, perfume, mold and even pollens can begin to trigger events. Food can suddenly become the enemy which usually consists of beef, chicken, pork, corn wheat or soy. Fleas can cause allergies in addition to the itching from their biting. Certain breeds are at a much higher risk for allergies such as terriers, setters, retrievers and flat faced dogs like pugs.
   Common things seen with food allergies are skin itching, paw chewing and licking, chronic ear infections and GI problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. A dog itching once in a while is a dog but a dog itching every 10 minutes it is more likely fleas which tend to be around the base of the tail or allergies.
   So you think your dog has allergies. What is next? Look at the ingredients in your dogs food. Is there corn, wheat, soy or chicken in it or possibly pork or beef. If there is one of these culprits in it stop that food immediately and find a dog food that has no grain and change the meat source such as you were feeding chicken, switch to beef. However one caveat to this is if a allergy has started it is likely they will develop a allergy to the beef as well. Today there is such a variety of meat sources available that changing should not be a big problem. Just switching food, changing meat sources and eliminating grains most dogs will begin to clear up in a week of so.  Then there are those 1 or 2 dogs that do not respond such as my dog. Then you have to get drastic.
   Initially my dogs were switched to Royal Canin Hypoallergenic food both can and dry at almost 150.00 for both. They would barely eat it and most times sit down and stare at it. I threw out more cans of food than they ate. After a few months of this, they were losing weight and very unhappy I said enough. I finally looked at the ingredients in their cans of food and thought “I wouldn’t eat that,” and I should not be paying 90.00 a case of food for that! I decided right then and there that if I was going to fork out that kind of money it was going to be for nutritious food.
   Besides grain, my vet and I decided she was allergic to poultry so chicken and turkey were removed completely from her diet. That means no treats with chicken in it! Have you ever looked at ingredients in treats? There is chicken in everything. I means foods that say they use duck and potatoes but they put chicken liver in it! If your pooch has a allergy to chicken get ready to read everything because almost everything has chicken in it!
   I had to learn to prepare my dogs food as well as do further research on brands that had a odd meat source and a certain way they prepared the meals. My dogs were changed to a raw diet and absolutely love it. When I prepare their food I do it all at once, it takes me approx 2 hours once a month and makes a months worth and I immediately freeze it. I also buy their raw food from a company in Seattle called Darwins. It is reasonable, costs me 110.00 for 6 weeks worth of meals (for 2 small dogs)which actually lasts me longer, comes frozen and they have a excellent customer service. Darwin’s food is meat and vegetables with vitamins period. 
   People have asked me how I travel with my dogs on a raw diet. Easy! Sometimes we take a cooler with dry ice other times I buy them freeze dried duck from PRIMAL.
   Now that I prepare their food and Darwins does the other meals I no longer worry about what my dogs are getting. I know their nutrition is as good as mine and more important they are now healthy and very happy.
   Next I will address meal preparation basics as well as low, moderate and expensive pet foods to choose from.

Be well, Be happy


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