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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
So we’ve had Kali for approximately 2 months now. She is 5. Her prior owners told me she didn’t have any allergies and thought that any scratching might have been caused by Advantix, but I’m starting to suspect “something else” based on the saliva stains on her hind feet, privates and watching her scratch. She went on 2 weeks of Apoquel to be more comfortable but the scratching was never completely eliminated & I see her licking more now that it’s ended.

We have a vet visit Saturday. I’m sure I will be offered an option to do allergy testing. However, I’m wondering if it’s a good allergy since so many poodles seem sensitive. she is currently eating Iams chicken kibble, what her former owners fed for years.
I’m wondering if it’s just worth switching foods and picking something with limited ingredients or if it’s worth the extra money for testing? Are there things allergy testing can tell me beyond just the food aspect?
Also, are the food allergies an “all or nothing” exposure situation or can you typically reduce exposure and have the dog generally not react? I’m wondering about how restrictive I will have to be to avoid chicken, for example, in a situation with multiple dogs at a play date & perhaps the treats aren’t her special food?
 

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i just looked at ingredients of the Iams kibble and I would be concerned. Corn, meat by products, etc. Corn is a cheap protein and meat by products is junk protein. Go to a natural dog food store and talk to them. they will have good suggestions on food and allergies. chicken could be the allergen. Most stores will honor if the food does'nt work as long as it is still in the bag. Start slow to switch food because it will be a better food and new to the system. Don't go to Pet smart petco look for a natural store near you. Try that before spending money with the allergy testing and the vet will suggest Science Diet, Purina, Royal Canine do research on those products before you buy
 

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It could be a food sensitivity. Rather than just switching or doing vet based allergy testing I woul suggest you consider doing a Nutriscan analysis and making an informed (rather than a shot in the dark) food switch. If you have insurance it should cover the Nutriscan.
 

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In general dogs are more likely to be sensitive to animal proteins than plant proteins (unlike humans, who commonly have allergies to things like nuts and wheat gluten.) Therefore, putting the effort into limiting the animal protein tends to be more productive than limiting the grain sources. Many vets these days recommend against grain free diets, as there seems to be a correlation to heart issues. The reason for this correlation isn't clear; one theory is that the substitution of large quantities of legumes for grain might be the problem.

Chicken is a very common allergen. My vet has also encountered the occasional dog allergic to beef or fish. Avoiding chicken, in particular, requires careful label reading. Even foods labeled as "Lamb and Rice" often include chicken in the ingredients. Purina makes two sensitive skin formulations, one based on fish and one based on chicken. A number of other manufacturers have limited ingredient formulations based on fish, beef, lamb, and even kangaroo. Read the labels carefully if you are trying an elimination diet to ensure you are getting what you expect. Both Purina and Royal Canin have prescription hydrolyzed protein formulations you can get from the vet or from Chewy com. Galen and Ritter both think the Royal Canin brand is quite tasty.
 

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As a puppy, Peggy scratched herself silly after eating a lightly cooked egg. Same thing happened after she ate a corn chip. It started within hours and lasted for days.

At the same time, she was fine with a kibble that listed egg in the ingredients. So I don’t think it’s all or nothing. And after a year or so, I was able to feed her a lightly cooked egg again with no issue. (Yes, I had to try giving her a corn chip again, too. Lol. No issue.)

I don’t know if there’s any science behind it, but I do think taking a break from allergens can be helpful. I also think that daily feeding of the same handful of ingredients can eventually lead to sensitivities.

Personally, I’d transition to a high quality food, with as few overlapping ingredients with her current food as possible, and just see what happens. Peggy loves her Farmina, Honest Kitchen, and Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken.

Be sure to keep daily notes for at least a month or two.

I’d also be mindful of environmental triggers. For example, it took a while to find a shampoo that didn’t trigger Peggy’s allergies. That was trickier than identifying the food triggers, as the effects took a day or two to show up each time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I texted the vet tech, they have something called “Derm Complete,” and it’s a 12 week diet with total elimination of everything else. Being that the little opportunist just helped herself to a whole loaf of fancy bread yesterday, and will gladly lick my floor, this seems somewhat of a high bar for us. I’m also trying to de-sensitize her to grooming practices, which includes some extra cooked salmon to survive the scary bath & drying procedure at the self groom place. Of course they have prescription treats, but I’m not sure if those will have the power of attraction needed?
I could just switch foods, but the vet said it’s a lot of potentially wasted money just trying to do a shot in the dark method.
How much is the Nutriscan? I don’t have pet insurance but maybe I should?
 

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Giving treats.. our poodles think that 5 pennies are more valuable than 1 nickle. So, give 3-5 treats back-to-back-to-back to show "mom approves" rather then a super elegant flake of salmon. I'm not saying doing spoil your poodle with salmon, because I do the same LOL. But shift your mindset on communicating "You just did a behavior that I like, and I really like when you did that" so your furbaby thinks, "I did something good, oh, Mom I just did something really really good! nom nom nom nom"

Example:
(behavior) "Marker word. (Example: "Yes!")" [or click] (treat) (treat) (treat) (treat) (treat)

I'm not sure if you're using a clicker or not, but it's the function as a marker word.

Then, also remember that our poodles are people pleasers. This is where the over-enthusaistic furmom come in place. Sometimes we forget and take our foot off the enthusiasm pedal, but this is your gentle reminder to turn it up 2 notches. Don't worry about what people think around you. You are communicating, making eye contact, and bonding with your furbaby and this is how they feed on your approval. Just like your first kid scored their first soccer goal, that's the level of enthusiasm that you need. You need to be that parent.

I like to layer them ontop of eachother. So, as I'm on treat 3-4 for Basil, my voice is getting higher and her tail is swinging faster and faster and I'm giving affirmationand praise for who is a good girl and pottying still or going in the hoop. I still get excited about going pee after 1 yr and 4 months because it means we get to go inside.
 

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If you care to read about Beckie’s journey to find the right food (she has been diagnosed with food allergies) :

It’s not really about raw food. That part didn’t last long, as she was allergic to animal protein, as most dogs who have food allergies are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you care to read about Beckie’s journey to find the right food (she has been diagnosed with food allergies) :

It’s not really about raw food. That part didn’t last long, as she was allergic to animal protein, as most dogs who have food allergies are.
Thanks - I saw this thread but it didn’t look like there was a final feeding situation that worked? My neighbor has a dog with a similar issue - she had the dog on Zignature after a total elimination diet and added foods in, now she thinks he may have developed an allergy to that food so off to the allergist they go. But her dog’s issues seem more severe. As far as Kali, I’m guessing it’s more in the “sensitivity” vs “intolerance” category? I’m wondering if there are common foods that dogs with insensitivity seem to tolerate, like salmon?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Giving treats.. our poodles think that 5 pennies are more valuable than 1 nickle. So, give 3-5 treats back-to-back-to-back to show "mom approves" rather then a super elegant flake of salmon. I'm not saying doing spoil your poodle with salmon, because I do the same LOL. But shift your mindset on communicating "You just did a behavior that I like, and I really like when you did that" so your furbaby thinks, "I did something good, oh, Mom I just did something really really good! nom nom nom nom"

Example:
(behavior) "Marker word. (Example: "Yes!")" [or click] (treat) (treat) (treat) (treat) (treat)

I'm not sure if you're using a clicker or not, but it's the function as a marker word.

Then, also remember that our poodles are people pleasers. This is where the over-enthusaistic furmom come in place. Sometimes we forget and take our foot off the enthusiasm pedal, but this is your gentle reminder to turn it up 2 notches. Don't worry about what people think around you. You are communicating, making eye contact, and bonding with your furbaby and this is how they feed on your approval. Just like your first kid scored their first soccer goal, that's the level of enthusiasm that you need. You need to be that parent.

I like to layer them ontop of eachother. So, as I'm on treat 3-4 for Basil, my voice is getting higher and her tail is swinging faster and faster and I'm giving affirmationand praise for who is a good girl and pottying still or going in the hoop. I still get excited about going pee after 1 yr and 4 months because it means we get to go inside.
Thanks! Hi don’t really know how to clicker train, but hope to learn. I think at a time! I’m mostly handing out salmon bits when I need to give a super reward, like going near the scary dog wash area after she’s been washed. I figure a bunch of trips with no bath but plenty of salmon and time to acclimate to the noises will help. And hopefully she’s not allergic to the salmon! 😅
 

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I always recommend going to a veterinarian allergist, instead of trying this and that. One and done. See www.skeptvet about the saliva testing. It’s usually food and environmental and the specialists know all of the most effective shampoos, foods. My son and his family were dog sitting for his MIL, and her sweet boxer mix, Sam, kept my son awake all night with his scratching. “Call my Mom about his allergies or we are never dog sitting for you again”. (He knew I had dealt with severe allergies with my previous Scottie’s and was at the time a new dad.) One appointment, not inexpensive, but it was sorted with a special shampoo and food regimen. The Scots had to do the antigen shots.
 

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I’m wondering if there are common foods that dogs with insensitivity seem to tolerate, like salmon?
I think generally it's a matter of previous exposure. Humans eat a lot of chicken, and just about every dog food has chicken in it. It's almost certain he has eaten a lot of chicken. At the other end of the spectrum, he probably hasn't been exposed to much venison or kangaroo. Venison and kangaroo are also hideously expensive, so I probably wouldn't start there for an elimination diet. I'd probably try fish, lamb, or hydrolyzed protein.
 

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Talking about food allergies with one of the vets that's rotated thru the clinic we've stuck with, he mentioned that chicken and beef tend to be the prime food allergy suspects in his experience.

I'd start with a conservative approach and just change the protein to beef or lamb, something easy to find, from the chicken. If she's been on this food since before you got her and the scratching has been since before you got her, it's the easiest to test. Concerning ingredients and reading labels, I've found this source to be very helpful.

Why you shouldn’t judge a pet food by its ingredient list
Although ingredient lists are commonly used by pet owners and most pet food rating sites to determine the quality of pet foods, this approach has many pitfalls and usually is not a good way to select a food.
vetnutrition.tufts.edu


To be considered a healthy food, the food needs to be nutritionally balanced. This isn't a question of which brand particularly but very much what that company does to produce nutritionally balanced foods.

Balanced diet isn't just having a range of ingredients, it's also a proper combination of nutrients and how those ingredients mix with each other to provide proper nutrition. A food doesn't need to be expensive to be very good. Your poodle will likely have the final say.

Environmental allergies are a possibility but I'd expect the Apoquel to help more with food or environmental allergies.

Cytopoint is also used to reduce itching. Has that been suggested or tried?

If the scratching is more like an acquired habit,rather than an active allergy response, a different direction might be worth a look.
 

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It's rare for dogs to food allergies, food intolerance are not allergies but can cause discomfort, like belly pain, belching, vomiting, soft stools to diarrhea. APOQUEL won't help with that..
I was advised by my vet to try novel proteins, my girl Pia can only comfortably eat one kibble, I have tried raw, dehydrated, frozen and home cooked. Pia eats Health Extension little bites White fish and Buffalo without issue and yes it is grain free, I had to stop worrying about that and focus on she is thriving on this food. Pia has fish and cheese chews.
No chicken, no beef or lamb, yucca in her diet.
 

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Trying to find what triggers the itch is definitely a process. I hope you can figure out things soon. Agree with twyla that Apoquel won’t help if the itching is caused by food allergies or intolerances. But from experience here, Apoquel doesn’t work for all dogs with environmental allergies. If you determine that it’s not food related and possibly environmental
Cytopoint is something you could discuss. Bobby has bad seasonal allergies in the fall. It’s temporary thank goodness. The Cytopoint, a shot that works up to 6 weeks, really helped Bobby get through this fall. The Apoquel didn’t work at all for him this year. Is it allergy season where you live? It still is here but it is winding down. A hard freeze is a gift to allergy sufferers. Of course it could be food related and it’s good to look into that but because of the time of year and the fact the owners said she didn’t have itching problems before it makes me wonder if it’s environmental and maybe wait until the allergy season is over and if there is still a problem, then explore the food? Ruling out the environmental, I think, is easier than trying a bunch of new foods and possibly creating more problems. The last two months is prime allergy season for many parts of the country. Once the season is over I think you would know fairly quickly if you should start exploring foods.Good luck!
 

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My chi-mix was diagnosed with Canine Atopy- symptoms a dog with atopy is usually itchy during specific seasons of the year, although some atopic dogs may have non-seasonal signs. "Affected dogs chew, lick and scratch all over." Affected dogs chew, lick and scratch all over, especially on the feet and face.
My first starting point is bathing regularly, Gracie has been bathed every other week since she was a year old to help with the symptoms. Benadryl worked some what but Apoquel helped her the most. She still licks her feet during allergy season but thatis way better than chewing herself bald.
 

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I texted the vet tech, they have something called “Derm Complete,” and it’s a 12 week diet with total elimination of everything else. Being that the little opportunist just helped herself to a whole loaf of fancy bread yesterday, and will gladly lick my floor, this seems somewhat of a high bar for us. I’m also trying to de-sensitize her to grooming practices, which includes some extra cooked salmon to survive the scary bath & drying procedure at the self groom place. Of course they have prescription treats, but I’m not sure if those will have the power of attraction needed?
I could just switch foods, but the vet said it’s a lot of potentially wasted money just trying to do a shot in the dark method.
How much is the Nutriscan? I don’t have pet insurance but maybe I should?
If you go to a natural dog food store they should help you, that means trying new foods, ask if they have samples, and if they will refund the food you return to try another one. It won't cost so much that way. Hope your dog gets some relief. Some people feed raw and that helps, some cook for their dogs a balance diet. Research all you can. Ask lots of questions.
 

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the owners said she didn’t have itching problems before
I think the scratching was present with the previous owners but they attributed it to the Advantix, not allergies.

As you can see, finding the source can be complicated. If you're going to try to pin it down without doing a lot of testing be sure to change only one thing at a time so you get a clear yes/no result. This will take time.

Did the previous owners mention just how long she'd been scratching?
 

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When I had it done several years ago Nutriscan was $395 as I recall. twyla is right more dogs have food intolerances or sensitivities than outright allegies to different food ingredients and that is what Nutriscan analyses.
 
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