I have a 8 month old westie who has bee stratching and biting at her paws. She has been losing her hair on her legs. The vet claims that it is skin allergies and pushing doing all these test on her. I am trying to find out what I can do to help her. I had on Science Diet chicken food Vet recommend and she was pooping it undigeted and four days later she threw up just the food. The vet took her off the food and put her on her old diet. The vet never said she was allergic to the chicken. We just found the dry food that she has been on since birth was chicken based. We just switch her to lamb rice formula food. What can I do to help my dog? I don't have the money to spend for all the tests. Any suggections would greatly be appreciated. I have been searching on the internet for answers. I am also thinking of switching vets because they don't seem to be answering any of my questions and keep pushing more and more test.
Have you tried Benadryl? It helps my dog with her itching paws. I usually give my 25lb dog one 25mg tablet twice a day. I also noticed that the more often I bath her in an oatmeal shampoo the more under control her alergy problems are. Well, good luck I know how expensive vets are. Be sure and find a dog food that is free from corn. Maybe try lamb and rice, or fish and sweet potato.
Quickly: Most common allergies are to the protein (meat) and the carbs (corn, wheat, soy, etc...)
There is no difference between brands of food. There are only differences in ingredients.
If you start experimenting with food, which is a good idea, try to think of the following:
If you want to rule out chicken, then monitor EVERYTHING given to the dog, making sure no chicken is there.. this goes on and on for each ingredient. Keep in mind, it takes a month to two months for toxins to get out of their system, so you may have to stick with one food for two months, then switch again. It gets tedious.
Another way, is to go to the best known food for allergy suffering dogs. I am not sure what that is, but others will tell you. ;) but something natural and HIGH quality (which science diet is not)
Another thing, if it is ONLY on her legs or paws, consider the cleaning agents you use, or detergent used.. you will have to experiment with all of them.
My personal experience: my dog had a very red belly for a while. Evenutally, I switched her to a duck and potato food. She is doing great, but from time to time the redness reappears. I cannot be sure that she has a sensitivity to any food. But, for the most part, it works, and when she has "flare ups" it is most likely her getting her hands on "treats" that I didn't see.
Moral of the story: it is all very vague, and hard to track. But can be done. So good luck! And, if your dog is suffering, or is literally giving herself sores, then get the tests done.
***Edited By: kdubbs27 on 1/24/2007 9:56:12 PM*** Reason: add
I have a 2 year old Siberian Husky that IS allergic to chicken. Allergic to the point of tearing out fur and leaving raw and bleeding patches of skin from scratching and chewing on herself. I was feeding her Eagle Pack Holistic Anchovy, Sardine and Salmon. It cut down on some of the scratching till bloody, but she was still itchy. I recently changed to Timberwolf Organics Ocean Blue. It is also fish based. She has been on only it for less than a week and the itchies are down to almost nothing. Thank you to LifeofRiley for suggesting it. Riley is allergic to a great many things and Timberwolf Organics is the diet his mom feeds. It is definitely a high end food and will cost you more, but it will last a lot longer. Your dog won't need as much food and his body will get more nutrition from it. You'll also have less piles to clean up. I haven't found most vets to be very knowledgeable about nutrition or food allergies. Personally, I would much rather adjust the food and not have to give pills.
Best of Luck. Trying to find the food that works best can take awhile. Timberwolf Organics has Ocean Blue and Elk & Salmon. Both are supposed to be good for allergies. The also have a Bison formula. These are all protein sources that not in the normal low end dog foods.
The symptoms your describing are pretty typical for Westies. If your going to do allergy testing, this will tell you if the dog is allergic to something in its environment. But I doubt it. Get yourself a 40 lb bag of the Z/D Ultra from the Veterinarian, this should last you a long time being it a small dog. While the dog is on this diet, don't feed anything else, no extra food of any kind, not off your plate, no dog biscuits etc. Give the diet at least 8 weeks to see any improvement. And ask the Vet for a shampoo that is theraputic, and bath the dog occasionally, to remove any oils that are irritating the skin. After you find that the Z/D is makeing a difference, you can go from there and try some other things. Oh, and its not cheap food just so you know, but becasue you only have a small dog, you will have an advantage. The Vet can give you somehting to give while your on the Z/D, like an anti itch medication.