Blue Buffalo Dog Food and Allergies

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If your dog has food allergies, it can be really difficult to find a good brand of dog food. Symptoms of allergies include chronic ear infections, licking of the paws or rubbing the nose after eating, hot spots, excessive itchiness, and red eyes. (Of course, all of these can also be symptoms of other, more serious health conditions, so always talk with your vet when you notice symptoms like these.)

Previously, we fed our allergic dog Canidae and he liked it very much. We liked that it was known as a high-quality dog food and the price was still affordable. Sadly, they changed the formula. Fortunately, Vance’s only problems were an upset tummy (other dogs have gotten much sicker), but we were disappointed to have to begin the dog food quest again.

Choosing a new dog food is such a headache–there are so many brands on the market (and not every pet food shop carries every brand), and then within each brand there’s an excessive number of varieties. It’s enough to make me feed the dog nothing but rice and beans! (Don’t worry, I wouldn’t really. But it *is* frustrating.)

So, this last time, we tried a number of premium foods including California Naturals, Flint River, and Evo. He had allergic reactions to all of them (and we fed each for a month, just to be sure it was the new food and not residual allergies).

I was starting to feel very frustrated, and our vet had no specific suggestions (other than to keep trying new foods until we found the right one). Enter Blue Buffalo. Vance is now on his third bag of dog food (he’s 80lbs and the bags typically last about 5-6 weeks, though he’s been eating a bit more lately because it’s been so cold). He loves the stuff and gobbles it down with a vigor he doesn’t usually have for his morning meal. Alone, that wouldn’t be enough–just because I love ice cream doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

But, the ingredients list of Blue Buffalo is really solid, and we did extra research online and with our vet to find out if it would meet all of his nutritional needs.

And, best of all, no allergic reaction to the dog food! His ear infections have cleared up, he’s not itchy, and he doesn’t spend 20 minutes licking his front paws after eating.

We’re feeding the Adult Lamb and are very happy with it so far–Vance’s coat looks great, thick and healthy and shiny, and he’s got plenty of energy. If you’d like to support this site when you pick yours up (and get a discount, to boot), use the link in the sidebar to purchase from our favorite dog food supplier Pet Food Direct.

What do you feed your dog? And have you had any trouble with allergies?

Flea prevention favorites?

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Because our dog has allergies, we had to stop using a flea prevention skin treatment (Frontline). It irritated his skin (causing flaky, itchy patches where we’d applied it, even though we tried not to apply it in the same spot twice) and made my eyes water both to put it on him, and also to be around him for several hours after application.

So, we talked to the vet, and got a prescription for Sentinel instead. This has worked really well for us. It’s a once-a-month flea and heartworm prevention tablet, and from our vet, the cost is comparable to what we were paying for both heartworm and flea medicine before.

Because we try to keep things as chemical free as possible, we don’t use any chemical flea treatments, and have yet to have any fleas at all, which is really wonderful. This year, we are planning on using some of the suggested all natural flea abatements to eliminate mosquitoes (some all natural products do both but are marketed more for flea control). I’ll definitely let you know how that turns out!

Today, though, I’d like to know what you use for flea prevention. Do you use something applied topically? A flea collar? An all-natural approach? And how do you (and your dog!) like it?

Allergies and the dogs we love

Filed under: Dog allergies, Healthy Dog | Comments Off on Allergies and the dogs we love

Canine allergies are frustrating–it can be difficult to diagnose what the source of the dog allergies and even once the source is pinpointed, it can be hard to avoid the allergens.

For instance, many dogs are allergic to certain ingredients in dog food. (The most common source of dog health allergies when it comes to food is the protein source, so often switching your dog to a single protein source food can make a big difference.) Other dogs are allergic to pollen or other environmental elements, or even everyday household chemicals like laundry detergent.

In short, if you can be allergic to it, chances are good so can your dog. And, given that even though allergy tests for people have come a long way in the last few decades, doctors can still have trouble isolating exactly what’s causing your watery eyes or other symptoms… Well, let’s just say veterinary medicine isn’t much better when it comes to diagnoses.

So, what can you do to help your dog be healthy with allergies? Three things my vet recommended:

1) Start by talking to your vet, but explain that you’d like to avoid medication if possible. Vets often assume pet owners want the easiest solution, and that’s usually allergy pills, so be clear that you’d much prefer resolve the problem than mask it.

2) Reduce allergens in the home. It’s a lot easier to determine the cause of allergies if you restrict as much as possible for a little while–keep your dog home from doggie day care, keep him inside as much as possible, and wash everything he comes into contact with with the simplest detergent you can find.

3) Simplify your dog’s diet. Talk with your vet and find out if you can feed your dog rice and chicken for a few weeks (that tends to be the easiest choice–but any two-ingredient, home-cooked diet would work). Do get your vet’s guidance on this as portions will vary widely by dog, and for some dogs, restricting their diet can be harmful in other ways.

Getting to the root of dog allergies can be a little time consuming, but improving your dog’s health and resolving those allergic reactions is well worth it! Do you have an allergic dog? What have you done to help reduce allergens?