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Thread: Itch = Food Allergy?

  1. #1

    Question Itch = Food Allergy?

    Tyson is a 2 year old staffy cross bull mastiff. He weighs about 35kg and stands about knee height. He has an itch that has progressively gotten worse over the past few months. He scratches, licks and chews himself until he is red raw on his belly, makes his nipples bleed and takes the fur off his skin from around his ribs and tail.

    A vet diagnosed it as ring worm and prescribed a topical cream (Lamisil) and a course of antibiotics. It seemed to clear it up for a bit but then it came back.

    I went to a pet supply store and the lady I spoke to asked me what I was feeding him. I told her I feed him 1kg of the VIP dog rolls from the supermarket per night and the only biscuits he seems to eat is Pedigree. She told me he probably has an allergy to beef and gave me a few alternatives as to what to feed him. She suggested the following:

    250g biscuits - lamb, chicken or fish base and preferably something for sensitive skin. Any suggestions? I was looking at Eukanuba.

    250g biscuits
    500g wet food - again, lamb, chicken or fish base and preferably something natural. She suggested a brand they sell called Scotts. Should I be considering fresh cooked or raw meat / mince and veggies?

    She suggested chicken necks or some big bone shaped biscuits that don't contain beef. Any suggestions here? He loves his bones!

    She also said it would take about 8 weeks for him to get better.

    Sachi, my German Spitz, is fine. Will she also be ok on this new diet?

    I know the problem isn't fleas. I'm diligent in keeping fleas at bay not only from the dogs but also anywhere in the back yard and their sleeping areas.

    Any comments or suggestions are IMMENSLEY appreciated! Thank you!

  2. #2


    Hi there and welcome

    It sounds like an allergy to me. How long has he had it?
    Is he an inside dog and if so have you changed ( or use at all) any carpet products? Even detergents?
    Do you have any unusual grasses/weeds in you yard?
    Have you been anywhere different then usual that could perhaps equate with the above?

    It doesnt sound like ring worm to me,not if its covering his whole belly.And sometimes all it takes is one flee/insect bite to set off an allergy.
    Bathing him with an oatmeal based shampoo will also help sooth the poor boy.
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  3. #3


    He had back in September last year and thats when I got the antibiotics for him. I didn't really do anything different, and he is an outside dog. I don't think it's the grass as we've recently moved and it doesn't seem to be different than before. I only started him on those dog rolls earlier last year. Before that he was on cans so that's why I'm tending to agree with the lady at the shop. She said it takes about 8 weeks to clear up so if I don't see any improvement on the changed diet at least 3 to 4 weeks in, he'll be straight to a vet.

    Apart from being itchy and the little scabs on his chest, he doesn't seem to be in pain. I just feel bad that I've been feeding him this food that making him sick!

    Thank you for the oatmeal shampoo suggestion. The lady also suggested making green tea, letting it cool then sponging it over him or even getting some gentle aloe vera cream.

    It's just so frustrating that they can't tell you whats wrong!

  4. #4


    its sounding like its not ringworm, but when i was in high school working in racing stables whenever a horse came in with ringworm it was washed in an iodine solution so putting some betadine in with some shampoo couldnt hurt

    i use betadine on tessa for her severe skin allergies when they flare up,
    (tessa allergic to fleas and is sensitive to alot of other stuff, we keep up to date with frontline kind of stuff but every now and then one little bugger gets through and sends my little girl crazy)

    treat for fleas even if you check and cannot find any, i can check over what i think is every inch of her body, not find any and frontline her anyway and it clears up,

    my vet also reccomended using johnsons baby shampoo and not to use any of the flea shampoos as the chemicals used in them can irritate the skin.

    there are several premium dog foods that are suitable for sensitive skin
    just googled it to name a few;
    (the bags may be more expensive to buy than a bad of supermarket food but you feed less and its complete nutritional wise so dont need other supplements, better poo's than eating supermarket food, and a money back guarantee if the dog doesnt like it.)

    alot of the others on this site have alot more experience than me in all aspects of dog food

    i dont really know much about feeding raw (fed combination of raw/and proplan but got too expensive and got told proplan was no good so have changed to something else)

  5. #5


    To be honest I would really be looking at grain allergy before I looked at beef.
    Check out the ingredient list of the food you are buying- does it have any corn/soy/wheat?

    Roscoe developed a terrible itch on the fresh pet mince from aldi- I am pretty sure it was the preservative in it. one week after stopping the itch was gone and never came back...

    Our experience is that BARF or raw has helped hugely with chronic ear infections and arthritis- both 100% better- I am pretty sure the grains in kibble were shocking for my dog.

    So yes- I do think diet can make a big difference, its just the time and energy to figure out what it is that is the trigger. Beef or grains or preservatives....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Wheat is rarely an allergen.

    The most common food allergens in canines are BEEF, CHICKEN and DAIRY. Allergens are protein related. Haphazardly changing a dog's diet does little to fix an allergy.

    If you want to do a controlled test to determine a diet related allergen, then you must put the dog on an elimination diet.

    Start the dog on a protein source that they have never had before. Most dogs have not tried rabbit, camel or goat. Almost ALL kibbles contain chicken or beef in some form. Add a carb to the diet, such as sweet potato. THAT IS ALL THE DOG IS TO CONSUME apart from water for up to 6 weeks (unless conclusive results are shown before this time).

    If after this EXCLUSIVE (I can't stress this enough) diet th dog begins to improve, then you begin, one at a time, to introduce other proteins such as chicken and watch for a reaction.

    Many dogs who suffer from diet related allergies also suffer from atopic allergies (dust mites, grasses or whatever). Only a SMALL proportion of dogs suffer from diet related allergies overall.

    Your best bet is your Vet. Speak to them about possible allergens. Try to determine what the allergen is and eliminate it. It takes time and many tests to determine, you can not resolve this kind of issue overnight. Work with your Vet for an answer.
    Last edited by Anne; 05-01-2011 at 07:24 PM.
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  7. #7


    My mil dog had really bad skin, and she was put onto a no beef diet.... chicken and rice only and she got better really quick ( she is a sharpei)
    The oatmeal wash is great and topped with the conditioner gives great relief.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Australia, Queensland, near Brisbane


    It sounds like your dog is really suffering.

    Let me ask you a few things:

    You mentioned that the vet diagnosed his condition with ring worm, was that the same condition he is in now or was that before? Sounds a bit like he got another issue on top of it...

    With all due respect, but his nutrition is not the best. It could well be a reaction to his nutrition, especially his breed is very sensitive in this respect. If he was my dog, I would change his diet and feed no carbs at all and feed mainly raw meat, meaty bones would be fantastic, especially as he loves bones!

    To help him with his itch, you can wash him with a soothing oatmeal shampoo. Avoid tea tree products, his skin is to sensitive at the moment. I would also consider Witch Hazel which cools and reduces the itch quickly. Please bear in mind, those things give only temporary relief. We have to get to the base of his problem and it can well be a combination of a few things.

    You mentioned you are dilligent in keeping fleas at bay. What do you mean with 'keeping them at bay'? Are there occational fleas or is there NO chance at all that there is a flea?

    Is he on any medication?

    Itchy dogs sometimes require a kind of a detective work, but once you found out what causes the itch you can easily deal with it.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Why no carbs and all meat for a dog that has an allergy? My view of your advice gets dimmer with every post.

    Your sig states you are an "animal therapist"; what is an animal therapist exactly?
    A pessimist sees the glass as half empty;
    An optimist sees the glass as half full;
    A realist just finishes the damn thing and refills it.

  10. #10


    I agree carbs are not the issue, if anything is would be artificial additives causing skin reactions.

    Raw diets can be good as long as the dog can stomach the richness of it.

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