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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

This is officially my first post on this forum. I joined because I need some much needed help for my little girl Bella.

Bella is a black Labrador and Border Collie Mix. She is 2 1/2 years old and has been experiencing lots of problems. It makes me so sad to see her sad and so I would really appreciate any advice you have!

Since we got Bella, we have had her on Blue Buffalo Wilderness. At first it was the chicken formula but she got sick of it. Then we switched her to Salmon. It was around this time that she started having problems. Last year, I noticed her starting to bite at her bum. I took her in and was told her anal glands were full. So the vet emptied them and Bella was fine for 6 months after. She then started having anal gland problems almost every month after. I assumed at this time it was from the switch to Salmon so the vet suggested we switch her to Hills chicken high fibre formula to bulk up her stools. Well, we switched her and while she seemed to go to the bathroom better, she still is having anal gland issues. She also recently ended up having an ear infection and seems to be itchy. She also has a slight bit of gunk coming out of her eyes which looks clear but is still unusual for her. I thought about switching her back to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken formula but was told that just because she didn't show signs of allergies then, she may have them now to chicken which is why the Hills isn't working. Apparently, most dogs develop their food intolerances and sensitivities after 2 years of age. So I don't know what to do!

We try to keep her as healthy as possible and take her to the vet for check ups all the time. She gets lots of attention and exercise. We have spent a fortune just going to have her anal glands expressed and her ear infection cleared up. It seems as though the switch to Hills hasn't helped. The last time we went to the vet (about 3 weeks ago) they suggested we slowly transition her to the Hills Z/D formula with is hypoallergenic. She is now licking at her private area and I'm wondering if she has a bladder infection. It seems like one thing after another and it's evident it's a food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance.

At this point I feel hopeless and just want her to be happy and healthy again. I am trying to switch her to the hypoallergenic food but feel this will take forever to try to find out what's causing this. She also don't like eating the Hills Z/D.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice as to what I can do to help speed up the process and help her in the meantime. I appreciate any advice you have in advance!

Also, I would love to post a picture of my Bella on the site but am unsure how to since I'm new. Does anyone know how I can do that?

Thank you,
Kerri
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For posting a picture just click the paper clip button and upload whichever one you want (it helps to crop it first so it doesnt turn sideways)



My memory is failing me at the moment but i think its @Rain that has some extensive experience with food allergies. I haven't had to tackle this issue personally but I know there are plenty of folks here that will be able to help!http://www.dogforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 

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My boy seems to have a sensitivity to both Chicken and Salmon. He develops anal gland problems when feed food with either of those ingredients and develops soft poo, not diarrhea thankfully, but it's to soft to empty out his anal glands. My vet wanted me to put him on Hills prescription W/D and I tried it for a few days only to have his poo get softer. Since I hated the ingredients in it I had no problem taking him off of it. Just this past week I tossed the whole bag into the trash.

What I feed him is Fromm pork and pea formula, it has 0 chicken in it Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Grain-Free Pork & Peas Recipe Dry Dog Food, 26-lb bag and I pay very close attention to what is in his treats and the canned food I use as a topper, making sure there is no chicken or fish in them.

In addition to that I give him around 2/3 teaspoon of oatbran . I just mix some in with his topper and he loves it. The oat bran helps firm up his stool and since I've been using it he seems to be doing great. This is the one I use to give you an idea of what to look for, Amazon.com: Hodgson Oat Bran Hot Cereal, 16 oz: I do NOT buy it off amazon, my local grocery carries it for around $2.50 . Zody is a 11 lb dog and I could give him around a teaspoon of it. If you try it make sure to start out with around 1/2 a teaspoon and work your way up to what is best for your dog, maybe a tablespoon, if you give to much it can cause a dog to have soft poo.

If you are trying to figure out what she's allergic to and are not sure it's chicken or Salmon, then your best bet is an elimination diet. Find a food that Limited Ingredient like Natural Balance and pick a food that has a protein she's never had before, feed her that and only that for a month to 6 weeks and see if the problems clear up, if they do then you can start slowly adding foods back into her diet one at a time. Feed her one and wait a few days to see if she reacts, then feed another. Once you know what she can eat you can try finding a better food that matches those ingredients or you can leave her on the LID food. If you need to feed her treats for training purposes during the trial find one that matches the food, Natural Balance is good about having treats like that.

There are two ways to post pictures the first is to host the picture somewhere like Photobucket and past the IMG code from there into your post. The second is what Sullyrules posted.
 

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I'm not a kibble feeder, but if it were me I would take her off the Hills, for sure. Its one of the worst out there. And from what I understand, Blue Buffalo is having some legal problems involving false advertising about their ingredients.

All kibble in general has tons of artificial ingredients and preservatives, but some less than others and some with more quality ingredients than others, and some with less ingredients than others. It can be near impossible to pinpoint exactly which ingredient is causing the problems.

Others on here with knowledge on the better kibbles will give you lots of ideas on some to try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you sullyrules for the information. I will post a pic of Bella asap! :)

Rain, thank you as well for all of the information. My vet did try to give me another food (before the Hill's hypoallergenic) thats main protein was Kangaroo but Bella wouldn't eat it so I was advised to go back to the the Hills. It seems as though we have mostly fed Bella chicken or salmon since getting her which are highly allergenic foods. It must not have been present though until recently because, as mentioned in my first post, dogs are more likely to have food sensitivities come up after 2 years old. I have to admit, for a while we often gave her portions of our food (such as eggs) as well because I like to spoil her. However, after I finding out some of our food was highly allergenic as well, we have totally cut out giving her our food.

We had the exact same experience that you had with Hills. The high fibre formula bulked up Bella's stools but seemed to still cause anal gland issues. The hypoallergenic formula seems to causing really soft stools and more issues than the high fibre though which I can't understand if its supposed to be hypoallergenic. My partner and I were very hesitant to put her on the Hill's food because we figured since the vet was selling it of course they would try to suggest it but in the end we took their word for it. I'm kind of regretting it though because she seems worse on it. We are definitely going to switch off of the Hill's brand then because it seems as though it's not the best and clearly it isn't working for her. I will take a look into getting her Natural Balance (or something similar) and will try the oat bran. Do you know of which proteins and starches are the less likely to cause allergies? I just feel so bad for her because we keep switching her foods and I am sure it causes her some stomach upset! :(

naturalfeddogs, I think you are right about Hills. I can't believe my vet would recommend it! It seems as though it has worsened Bella's symptoms. Although she still had issues on the Blue Buffalo, it seems as though it was still better than Hill's! However, I still will stay clear of Blue Buffalo if they aren't living up to their name. If you don't mind me asking, what do you feed your dogs? I have been very curious and interested in taking the most natural route possible! I have thought about raw diet but I just don't know where to begin with that. If you have any advice that would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you everyone!
Kerri
 

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Thank you sullyrules for the information. I will post a pic of Bella asap! :)

Rain, thank you as well for all of the information. My vet did try to give me another food (before the Hill's hypoallergenic) thats main protein was Kangaroo but Bella wouldn't eat it so I was advised to go back to the the Hills. It seems as though we have mostly fed Bella chicken or salmon since getting her which are highly allergenic foods. It must not have been present though until recently because, as mentioned in my first post, dogs are more likely to have food sensitivities come up after 2 years old. I have to admit, for a while we often gave her portions of our food (such as eggs) as well because I like to spoil her. However, after I finding out some of our food was highly allergenic as well, we have totally cut out giving her our food.

We had the exact same experience that you had with Hills. The high fibre formula bulked up Bella's stools but seemed to still cause anal gland issues. The hypoallergenic formula seems to causing really soft stools and more issues than the high fibre though which I can't understand if its supposed to be hypoallergenic. My partner and I were very hesitant to put her on the Hill's food because we figured since the vet was selling it of course they would try to suggest it but in the end we took their word for it. I'm kind of regretting it though because she seems worse on it. We are definitely going to switch off of the Hill's brand then because it seems as though it's not the best and clearly it isn't working for her. I will take a look into getting her Natural Balance (or something similar) and will try the oat bran. Do you know of which proteins and starches are the less likely to cause allergies? I just feel so bad for her because we keep switching her foods and I am sure it causes her some stomach upset! :(

naturalfeddogs, I think you are right about Hills. I can't believe my vet would recommend it! It seems as though it has worsened Bella's symptoms. Although she still had issues on the Blue Buffalo, it seems as though it was still better than Hill's! However, I still will stay clear of Blue Buffalo if they aren't living up to their name. If you don't mind me asking, what do you feed your dogs? I have been very curious and interested in taking the most natural route possible! I have thought about raw diet but I just don't know where to begin with that. If you have any advice that would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you everyone!
Kerri
Np! I did want to add though that vet's know next to nothing about dog nutrition as a general rule of thumb. It's not a part of their training and I would suggest never taking advice on food from a vet because of that.

edit: they obviously mean well, but it's not something they are taught and therefore their recommendation is as good as any random dog owner that you meet on the street.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
sullyrules, I totally understand what you are saying! It's true, we probably should have went with our instinct on this one.

Now that I think about it, I would really like to look into switching from commercial food to raw food. Have you or anyone else had any luck with this? I have heard a lot of good things about it in regards to relieving allergies (probably because it lacks additives) but have also heard negative things about it.

My thoughts on raw food is that its in its purest form, without any additives, and its what dogs ate before kibble was invented so its ancestral. However, I wonder what I would use if my dog is allergic to chicken and beef because these are the most common proteins for dogs. I think I'll have to do some research but any more info you have would be great!

Thanks again :)
Kerri
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As for the food allergy/senstitivity/intolerance, I am thinking about switching to raw food as I think this will cause her to be more likely to tolerate the food as it is whole and without additives. I will need to research what and how much to feed Bella. She is 55 pounds atm. Since this would be my first time going totally raw, I will have to do TONS of research. I am hoping this will help relieve her symptoms caused by allergies.

As for her anal gland issue (which is one MAIN and common issue believed to be caused by food allergy) I have read that along with pumpkin, coconut oil is also effective in assisting the anal gland function. Has anyone had any luck or experience with this?

Thanks!
Kerri
 

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As for the food allergy/senstitivity/intolerance, I am thinking about switching to raw food as I think this will cause her to be more likely to tolerate the food as it is whole and without additives. I will need to research what and how much to feed Bella. She is 55 pounds atm. Since this would be my first time going totally raw, I will have to do TONS of research. I am hoping this will help relieve her symptoms caused by allergies.

As for her anal gland issue (which is one MAIN and common issue believed to be caused by food allergy) I have read that along with pumpkin, coconut oil is also effective in assisting the anal gland function. Has anyone had any luck or experience with this?

Thanks!
Kerri
We do have raw feeders on here, most follow prey model raw diets rather then the barf diets. If I was going to go raw I'd do the prey model raw. You could also try home cooking if you are wary of feeding raw, The Honest Kitchen has really good formulas that are FDA approved meaning that humans can eat the food without fear of getting sick. It's dehydrated home cooked recipes, some have meat already added to them, others are base mixes and you add whatever meat you wish to it. There are also commercial raw companies that you can order from, they have pre portioned raw food for dogs, it's usually completely ground though so if you go with one you'll lose the teeth cleaning benefit of bones unless you feed your dog some separate from the meal. I know of at least 2 posters who's dog's allergies improved on a PMR diet so I can say it does work.

I've fed my boy coconut oil in the past but it did nothing for his allergies, it did have his coat looking nice but it's high calorie and was also contributing to his weight gain so I cut it out. I've tried pumpkin but it also did not help him and he did not care for the taste all that much. The other thing I've tried was prunes, Zody LOVES them but they did not help his anal glands, I've seen other posters swear by them, if I remember right a dog yours size would get 2 prunes every other day, make sure they are preservative free if you try them.
 

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I once had Cairns with really bad food sensitivites and found that it was best to feed them Limited Ingredient dog foods............the best one that they thrived on is Holistic Health Extensions 'Allergix' buffalo and whitefish formula......it's grainfree and meant for dogs with allergies and/or sensitive intestinal tracts. Also fed both pumpkin and green beans for fiber with good results. Every dog is different, and just remember, whatever food you try, it takes several weeks to know if it works! Chewy.com is a good place to search out L.I.D. foods.

The dog I own now is fed a rotational diet which includes raw, dehydrated raw, canned, home cooked, and kibble........at 4 years old she has not 'developed' any food sensitivities and has a tummy of iron!! I really feel that feeding a variety of foods has helped in this by exposing her system to small amounts of everything! I would not try this though with a dog that already has a 'challenged' system!!!
 

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Thank you sullyrules for the information. I will post a pic of Bella asap! :)

Rain, thank you as well for all of the information. My vet did try to give me another food (before the Hill's hypoallergenic) thats main protein was Kangaroo but Bella wouldn't eat it so I was advised to go back to the the Hills. It seems as though we have mostly fed Bella chicken or salmon since getting her which are highly allergenic foods. It must not have been present though until recently because, as mentioned in my first post, dogs are more likely to have food sensitivities come up after 2 years old. I have to admit, for a while we often gave her portions of our food (such as eggs) as well because I like to spoil her. However, after I finding out some of our food was highly allergenic as well, we have totally cut out giving her our food.

We had the exact same experience that you had with Hills. The high fibre formula bulked up Bella's stools but seemed to still cause anal gland issues. The hypoallergenic formula seems to causing really soft stools and more issues than the high fibre though which I can't understand if its supposed to be hypoallergenic. My partner and I were very hesitant to put her on the Hill's food because we figured since the vet was selling it of course they would try to suggest it but in the end we took their word for it. I'm kind of regretting it though because she seems worse on it. We are definitely going to switch off of the Hill's brand then because it seems as though it's not the best and clearly it isn't working for her. I will take a look into getting her Natural Balance (or something similar) and will try the oat bran. Do you know of which proteins and starches are the less likely to cause allergies? I just feel so bad for her because we keep switching her foods and I am sure it causes her some stomach upset! :(

naturalfeddogs, I think you are right about Hills. I can't believe my vet would recommend it! It seems as though it has worsened Bella's symptoms. Although she still had issues on the Blue Buffalo, it seems as though it was still better than Hill's! However, I still will stay clear of Blue Buffalo if they aren't living up to their name. If you don't mind me asking, what do you feed your dogs? I have been very curious and interested in taking the most natural route possible! I have thought about raw diet but I just don't know where to begin with that. If you have any advice that would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you everyone!
Kerri
Any foods vets sell they are getting a profit off of, not to mention the only nutrition information they know about only comes from large kibble companies like Hills.

I feed prey model raw. Its a variety of only raw meat/bones/organs.
 

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Hi! I recently switched my dog Bandit to the PMR diet, and @naturalfeddogs has been an amazing help for all of my never ending questions. I know I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I can absolutely say, with all of Bandit's allergies, that I have been so pleased with his progress and I will never put him back on kibble. I truly think that will help a lot of your dogs problems, and the differences are almost immediate. I convinced my parents to switch their 9 y/o pug to a BARF diet and I've never seen her with more energy its been amazing to watch. Good luck finding something that will help her allergies, and I hope my experience has helped a bit.
 

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I have a hound that is meat sensitive and also had problems with keeping his anal glands cleared. I recommend Zignature over Blue which I used for years. I like that the Zignature is chicken and egg free and had beans instead of potato which is good for those yeasty ears problem. Go sensitive and shine also has a couple of flavors that are very close in ingredients. My dogs did better on Zignature. The anal glands is an easy fix. Just buy some organic prunes and chop up 3 and put in the food 3 days a week. I don't know why but it works but it does. I have been using them for years for my hound. If I forget to add them the problem returns so I know it works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a hound that is meat sensitive and also had problems with keeping his anal glands cleared. I recommend Zignature over Blue which I used for years. I like that the Zignature is chicken and egg free and had beans instead of potato which is good for those yeasty ears problem. Go sensitive and shine also has a couple of flavors that are very close in ingredients. My dogs did better on Zignature. The anal glands is an easy fix. Just buy some organic prunes and chop up 3 and put in the food 3 days a week. I don't know why but it works but it does. I have been using them for years for my hound. If I forget to add them the problem returns so I know it works.
I am going to try the prune thing for sure when I notice problems with Bella's anal glands (i.e, scooting and licking). I have tried pumpkin and didn't really notice a difference so hopefully prunes help!

I am really going to look into the raw food diet. I think I'll really have to research it before starting it but am hopeful and excited to try it! In the meantime, I just bought Bella some Natural Balance LID lamb and brown rice. I'm hoping that after I transition her from Hill's to Natural Balance, I will see less allergy symptoms happening. I have read many people have had success with this one as well so it's well worth a try! Even the lady at PetSmart said its a great brand (far better than Hills) and was happy to see I did my research (LOL really though, thanks to everyone here)!!

I finally had enough because I took my poor girl to the vet today (2 times in 3 weeks) and it turns out she has a bladder infection. Now she is on antibiotics. The last time we went she had an ear infection. It just seems like it's never ending (and clearly caused my an allergy) so my fingers are crossed with the LID food. I was also thinking about keeping a journal about our plan, documenting any symptoms she has and when. I think this might help narrow things down too.

So in the meantime (while continuing to research raw food diets) I plan to fully switch her to Natural Balance, exercise her daily, and give prunes for anal glands. Hoping for the best!!!

Thanks again!
Kerri
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I am going to try the prune thing for sure when I notice problems with Bella's anal glands (i.e, scooting and licking). I have tried pumpkin and didn't really notice a difference so hopefully prunes help!

Just make sure to get organic prunes so you don't get the sulfured ones. The only thing I don't like about Natural balance it the potato is listed first which means there are more potato than meat. I like Zignature for the high protein and the fact that they use beans instead of potato. Go Sensative and Shine also has a couple of flavors with the beans no potato.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks again everyone! Dawnben, I will make sure they are organic prunes! Thanks for the tip, otherwise I may not have bought organic and then would have created more problems! I will keep everyone updated on Bella and her progress! Ultimately, I would love to switch her to raw.

Thanks!
Kerri
 

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I have to agree that Natural Balance is not a good choice in that it is very high on carbs and carbs = sugar, which can promote yeast, and yeast overgrowth, resulting in problems with anals AND ears!!! Go to Dogfoodadvisor and find a 4 or 5 star rated food with Limited Ingredients
(Natural Balance is NOT highly rated there) There are many better foods out there!
 

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There are a million theories and a million sensitivities...but here is my story. Pax is now a bit over 2 and has has food sensitivities since 8 weeks. Fist step was elimination diet...went through a few different high end foods and finally discovered Fromms and when I got him on that and only that he was much happier and firm stool. THEN you can integrate treat and see if there is a reaction one by one a week at a time.

Having gone through this, I would work on finding a high quality kibble and feed ONLY that till you find one that agrees with her...then start a bit of trial and error to see if you can isolate the source of the sensitivity but introducing new ingredients. Going Raw is just gonna be a guess...what if it is an animal protein sensitivity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have to agree that Natural Balance is not a good choice in that it is very high on carbs and carbs = sugar, which can promote yeast, and yeast overgrowth, resulting in problems with anals AND ears!!! Go to Dogfoodadvisor and find a 4 or 5 star rated food with Limited Ingredients
(Natural Balance is NOT highly rated there) There are many better foods out there!
Hey there!

I chose the lamb and brown rice formula which does not list potatoes. The carb/starch is rice. Figured this would be a good option given my dog has never had lamb. She seems to be enjoying it. Do you think since it is rice it should be ok then? I've heard a lot of good info about Natural Balance from other fellow members who have dogs with allergies. I'm hoping for the best! I opted out of potato because i know rice is healthier! :)

Thanks,
Kerri
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There are a million theories and a million sensitivities...but here is my story. Pax is now a bit over 2 and has has food sensitivities since 8 weeks. Fist step was elimination diet...went through a few different high end foods and finally discovered Fromms and when I got him on that and only that he was much happier and firm stool. THEN you can integrate treat and see if there is a reaction one by one a week at a time.

Having gone through this, I would work on finding a high quality kibble and feed ONLY that till you find one that agrees with her...then start a bit of trial and error to see if you can isolate the source of the sensitivity but introducing new ingredients. Going Raw is just gonna be a guess...what if it is an animal protein sensitivity?
Very true! I think I will try to find out the sensitivity by using Kibble first before introducing any raw food. How long in total did the elimination diet take place? Can you give me more info as to how you did it? I think this would be good to try given we just switched her food.

Thanks!
Kerri
 
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