Food Allergies Out of the Blue?
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  • My 5-year old basenji has been itching and scratching his whole body for a few days now. I called the vet and they told me to give him Benadryl for a few days and if the itching is still happening, to bring him in. In the meantime, I went to our local pet store and spoke to the owner about what she thinks it is. She asked me if he was biting his feet and I said that he was. She said that's most likely food allergies. When I explained that I've been feeding him Chicken and Rice food from California Natural for about 5 years and he's never had an issue, she told me that food allergies sometimes just appear. She also explained that the top food allergies in dogs are chicken, wheat and corn. I also feed him Mother Hubbard biscuits, which are apparently made of wheat too. So, she suggested that we slowly introduce new food which has a non-chicken protein base. Based on her recommendations, we're now going to introduce new dry food, wet food and biscuits made from fish and sweet potato.

    So, my question to the group…

    1. Has anyone else ever experienced food allergies that appeared out of no where.
    2. Does her explanation have any merit to it?
    3. If you don't think he has food allergies, what else can be causing all this itching? I've already ruled out fleas.

    I was hoping to treat his condition at home and not have to bring him into the vet and pay a huge bill. But, if I need to bring him in - then I will. I thought this was going to be an easy problem to solve.

    Thanks!

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  • Something that appears suddenly, with no changes in routine, is suspect. Did you by any chance just purchase a new bag of your usual food? (or treats, or whatever?) It is possible to get an improperly formulated batch of food. Of course, it could be an allergy to something else that is new in his environment. e.g. my guy appears to have a ragweed allergy that shows up in the fall.

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  • From my experience… I had a bitch that for the first 3yrs of her life would have problems every now and again with what we thought was seasonal allergies... then as a late 3yr old, she had a tooth problem... after an extraction with a Vet that was not careful, we had a girl that had a reaction to the anesthesia used and after that was put on food high in corn. It took 15 minutes to see the reaction to the corn in the food. Now this was a bitch that has food with corn since she had been born (and in my home).... was pretty easy to tell that she had an allergy to corn. So while you might think that it is sudden... maybe not.

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  • We buy a large bag of food and biscuits every few months and store it in a large bin. The batch that he's eating now has been in the sealed bins for at least a month at this point. So, I don't think it's the food. We haven't changed a single thing in his diet and this just popped up.

    I'm baffled by this whole thing. Thank you for the feedback!

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  • @GriffinsMom:

    We buy a large bag of food and biscuits every few months and store it in a large bin. The batch that he's eating now has been in the sealed bins for at least a month at this point. So, I don't think it's the food. We haven't changed a single thing in his diet and this just popped up.

    I'm baffled by this whole thing. Thank you for the feedback!

    Just because you don't think it is the food, you never know… I thought that to with my Kristii, she had been on the same food for all her life... it was not till she was over 3yrs that it got to the point that it showed that it was the food

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  • Any chance he has had exposure to something during his walks, or that someone in the household has introduced a substance that you might not have considered? (e.g. there is another thread active right now about dogs reacting to topical hormone replacement therapy) Sometimes you need to think outside the box. My friend had a horse that was so allergic to fly spray that she had an anaphylactic reaction when someone at the next trailer sprayed her horse! Could there have been an exposure to some kind of chemical? Maybe from another animal, as at a dog park? I wouldn't rule out food allergy, but to suddenly have an obvious problem after years of eating the same thing sounds unusual….

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  • @tanza:

    Just because you don't think it is the food, you never know… I thought that to with my Kristii, she had been on the same food for all her life... it was not till she was over 3yrs that it got to the point that it showed that it was the food

    I think the post was that she doesn't think it is a new formula or something different about THIS batch than previous, not that it couldn't be the food.

    To the OP, yes I have seen food allergies come on pretty quick.
    Dog allergic to beef and chicken– switched to lamb and rice. Good, then 6 mos later, WHAM, runny ears, feet itching. Switched to venison. Also worked for about 6 mos. Finally read that the proteins in lamb and venison still close to beef. Switched to fish and potatoes and she never had another issue for the last 6 yrs of her life.

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  • Could be Debra, but I will add that many times you use the same food for a long time and then wham… problems. I have had that happen and it always seemed to be when I got a new bag or fairly new bag of kibble. Switch to another bag and all is fine. So first thing I would try and to get a new bag. Also, I am not a fan of buying big bags that last for months. Food can and does go bad... so I opt for smaller bags that are used up in 3wks or so. Please note, this is my personal opinion.

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  • Pat, no I totally understand and agree with your point! I just meant their RESPONSE was that it wasn't a new bag. :)

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  • D

    It might be a combination of food and seasonal allergies. The food/biscuits might be a slight problem but then added to the seasonal allergies, the allergies become major. Arnie has allergies and he rarely gets treats because of this and his kibble dog food is his treat.

    Does your dog also have a rash on his stomach area or the inner part of his rear legs? Arnie usually starts off with this and then if he is biting his feet I know the allergies are bad. He has not had this for a few years though! I would clean the area and this would help tremendously. Allergies are difficult to diagnose.

    The allergy season here in OH has been extended because of the crazy weather. If you have leaves on the ground that are/were wet, there could be mold, fungi, etc. on them and your dog is getting it on his paws.

    Jennifer

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