Post # 1
About 2 months ago, my SO and I adopted a 4-year old german shepherd mix. The rescue lady told me she had recurring ear infections but I didn’t think much of it. She even made snarky comments about people who were previously interested in adopting her but decided against it because of this. Now that I have a full picture, I don’t find these people unreasonabe at all. After many unsuccessful treatments, the vet told me yesterday that my dog is probably allergic and that I should buy her some REALLY expensive allergy food and that in the long term it would cost me less than having to take her to the vet and buy medicine all the time. She said that people whose dogs have allergies spend enormous amounts of money. I’m really sad, because I can’t afford this but I certainly won’t give her back. I was prepared to spend money on the dog if something occured, but not to spend more on her food than on mine for the rest of her life. Does any of you have an allergic dog? Does it really cost that much or was the vet exaggerating? I found some less expensive allergy food and I’m thinking to start with that and do my best, but I’m still feeling guilty and like I can’t meet my dog’s needs.
Post # 2
Is she eating grain free food? Is that the type of food your talking about?
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!
My MIL’s dog is allergic to everything. Her skin is always red and she’s always itching herself, to the point where she’s rubbed the hair off around her eyes from rubbing her head on the floor. MIL spends $40/month on steroid shots for the dog (the vet gives her a deal since he sees her every month he doesn’t charge an exam fee). She has to feed her grain free food from an animal that the dog hasn’t built up allergens to, so usually more “exotic” foods like venison/duck. She spends a TON of money on the upkeep of the dog, and the poor dog is always pitiful because of her allergies.
I don’t have much advice other than try the food the vet suggests and see if it helps. Also, I’m not sure if you’ve completely ruled out bacterial/yeast infections in the ear, but my Frenchies get them frequently so I keep a bottle of Zymox wash and Zymox ointment to treat them.
Post # 4
My little Jack Russell is allergic to TONS of things! One of the best things we did was have her allergy tested. That helped us rule out everything should couldn’t have, so we are able to purchase food for her that contains nothing she is allergic to. It’s not neccesarily more expensive. I mean, the food is good quality food, but it’s not some special allergy food that costs an exorbitant amount of money (she eats Wellness). Any snacks we buy her we also check the ingredients to make sure it’s nothing she is allergic to, and since the allergy testing, we know what “people” foods we can give her and what we can’t.
We give her Benadryl when she’s extra itchy (she has seasonal allergies, too), and we have a medicated spray that we wipe onto her extra itchy spots. She has had shots before, but we’ve only done it once or twice because she’s well controlled otherwise.
Post # 5
- Wedding: April 2015 - City Hall NYC
My dog had some allergy issues when he was a pup but once we switched over to a raw food diet he has had no issues at all!!! Feeding raw is a bit more expensive then going to the supermarket and getting a bag of kibble but i’m sure it is much cheaper than having to buy the food the vet recommends. If you are interested in starting a raw diet feel free to message me and I will give you some tips. I was grossed out at first but it gets easier and you get used to it after awhile. My two have been on a raw diet for the past three years and are super healthy!!
Post # 6
I adopted my mutt almost two years ago and she has had more problems than any dog I ever owned (allergies, knee surgery, ear problems, etc!)! She is the love of my life though (well, other than my FI… 😉 ). I have yet to live somewhere with a competent vet that can help me with her dietary issues. One suggested really expensive vet food ($100+/bag) that made her stool tar-like and the others just shrug it off saying they don’t know. I suggest going grain free (but since she’s a female, also go potato free if you can, mine got yeast infections from foods with potato!). I buy higher quality food, but it’s half what the expensvie food costs. Honestly, the best thing I’ve found is mixing her food. It gives the most solid stool and the least amount of itch! It’s been a long process and when I can afford RAW, I’ll switch to it, but it is much too expensive for me right now. Good luck!!
Post # 7
- Wedding: April 2015 - Family Farm
melissamaria: HEY! So sorry to hear about this. I have a dog who is allergic to most dog shampoos and I always feel so terrible when I have to bathe him. Groupon has a pet allery test and diagnostic on sale right now that I was thinking of doing. Maybe it will help you as well.
Post # 8
melissamaria: I am going through this with my dog. There are a couple of schools of thought on this. What you need to do is figure out what is causing your dog to be allergic– 90% of allergies are environmental, while the other 10% are food related. For the food, it is traditionally the protein in beef, chicken, dairy, wheat, or soy.
Many vets recommend that you go on a limited ingredient diet (like this: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Balance-Limited-Ingredient-Diets/dp/B0019CW0HE/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1414159690&sr=1-2) and only feed them their food for 12 weeks or so. Absolutely no treats. See if they get better. If they do, it is a food allergy. Then you can slowly start adding allergens in, one at a time to figure out what it is. So let’s say you try chicken first. You give dog some boiled chicken once a day for 6 weeks and see how his bowels, skin, and ears are. If there is no reaction, you know chicken is okay and can switch to a cheaper chicken food that is just chicken and rice (like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00COIAWFO/ref=rcxsubs_mys2_product_title)
Because I have food allergies, we are taking the opposite approach. We know it could only be wheat, chicken, or milk. Wheat was clearly causing some of the problem, but not all of it. So we are now taking away dairy and seeing how she is doing. If she gets better, then we know that wheat and dairy are the problems and can keep her off of them.
It is expensive, but isn’t that expensive. Feeding my dog is $1.30 a day (plus treats, which are normally human food). That is for a high quality food, so it really isn’t that bad.
Post # 9
melissamaria: My dog had reoccuring ear infections. We buy the special food ( no grain, no chicken, no wheat) and we still do. He is a 65 lb dog. A 28 lb bag of Natural Balance lasts us about 3 weeks and is $70 dollars.
Worth it, our poor baby was miserable and I am glad we figured it out. Ear infections are linked to food allergies. Part of being a dog owner is taking on the costs if anything goes wrong. I had sticker shock at first but now it is just part of the monthly budget.
If you can find a cheaper alternative great- just make sure it has similar ingredients to the vets food. You can also take the food label and she can tell you if there are any aggravating allergens in it. She should be open to different brands. If she is not then find a new vet.
Post # 10
Olgarie: Thank you for this! We are going to order one of these to be sure.
Post # 11
What are you feeding currently? There’s definitely other options to try before going to a prescription type food.
Post # 12
My family dog had constant ear infections, and it was awful. We finally found the right food for him, and the ear infections totally went away. He had been on a lamb and rich based dry food, and we switched him to the fish and potatoes based dry food of the same brand, and that did the trick. It wasn’t any more expensive than the previous food.
Post # 13
Definitely lots of options to try!
Like PP suggested, grain free is a good first thing to test.
You can also try vaccuuming more to get rid of environmental issues. My dog was constantly getting minor skin infections (hot spots), and I was at my wit’s end with how to stop them without running to the vet every time the season changed. Eventually, I started giving her fish oil and she’s been fine since!
FI’s cat was super stinky (probably why he was at the shelter). When we cut grain from his diet, he was 100% fine.
So do a little reading online — there are lots of solutions that won’t cost a fortune! Good luck!
Post # 14
Thank you all! She is currently on chicken&vegetables kibble. I will probably put her on a limited ingredient diet (either dry or I’ll cook for her) and then slowly introduce one thing at a time to see what she if allergic to. I might also try salmon oil to see if that helps. You have been very helpful!
Post # 15
PaisleyMedic: Thank you! How did you get your Jack Russell tested? I asked the vet if the special diet was permanent or just to rule out allergens one at a time and then buy normal food that doesn’t contain whatever it is she is allergic to, but she said it might be permanent. I mean isn’t there a way to figure out what is causing this and just avoid it,like with humans? She only mentioned there are some tests for enviroment allergies.