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I found this website while looking for info on skin allergies that appear to be environmental. My lab is 11 months old & was bred to be a guide dog. I was her puppy raiser and recently adopted her when she was released from guidedog program due to the skin allergies, which first appeared when she was 6 mos old. Have changed her food several times (currently on Purina sensitive systems; no difference in level of allergies than when she was on other foods); she takes Omega3 fishoil supplements; weekly oatmeal baths -- these things relieve the itching, but haven't changed the outbreaks. The pattern is she gets pus-filled postules on her belly, scratches alot, then I take her to vet and she goes on Cephalexin for infection and Temaril -P for the itching and/or benadryl (diphenhydramine). While she's taking all those, the postules dry up and even disappear before the next outbreak after a few days of only being on benadryl, or sometimes we go a few days of being med-free before the postules reappear. All her treats are grain-free/organic/all natural. The vet says she is probably allergic to so many different things in the environment that trying to narrow it down thru testing would be an exhaustive process and would still never cover everything she could be allergic to. One time he found 2 live fleas on her when she had just had a new outbreak of postules, so we assume fleas are one cause of allergies. Same is true of fire ants--she once had an outbreak after being bitten by fire ants. But she's also had outbreaks when there has been nothing like that to blame the outbreak on. We live on the coast of South Carolina, where many humans find they acquire allergies upon moving here -- sand gnats, pollen, marsh land, so many environmental factors at play.
I would welcome any suggestions re: the value of testing; other generic treatments like the oatmeal shampoo & fish oil supplements; any food recommendations.
 

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I'd start with the food. No offense, but Purina is loaded with grains and other ingredients that dogs don't need and that aggravate a sensitive dog's system - I don't care what the bag says. I'd recommend putting your dog on a grain free kibble. There are many good choices out there. A fish based kibble may be helpful. Some good ones that come in grain free varieties are Fromm, Acana, Victor, and Taste of the Wild (there are many others). You can Google the companies to find a supplier near you.

Environmental allergies are also common - dust and mold are common ones this time of year; grasses in the summer. I would bathe the dog weekly in a very mild pet shampoo, and see if it helps. You can also mix organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water (1/2 and 1/2) and dab it on the outbreaks a couple times a day. If her feet are itchy and red, you can soak them in this mixture, then pat (not rub) dry a couple of times a day. ACV is antibacterial and antifungal. I have a very allergic westie mix (food and environmental), and I have to do this when she gets really itchy.
 

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My minpin (passed away 3 years now) would get hives/pustules from eating Purina One. I won't touch it now because of that.
Try weekly bathing and rinse really well. That will wash off the environmental allergens. Launder any beds that he sleeps on at the same time.

Food is SO important. I love Fromm 4 Star (the grain free lines: Pork, Beef, Fish, Duck/Salmon and I think there's one more) but if it were me, I'd try surf n turf (the salmon/duck) since it is high in Omega 3 and really puts coat on my guys (and I have 4 different breeds).

Another food I've had great success with is Petguard Lifespan (only this formula from pet guard, not the vegetarian or organic ones). My super sensitive itchy, yeasty allergic bichon will clear up completely when she eats this one. Although I'm currently rotating her on Fromm Beef and she's doing well.

I know Fromm is expensive, but I'd give it a try, or even the Petguard. You can find both on chewy.com and the shipping is free if you spend 49.00 or more. I use it all the time even though I can get it locally for the same price, I don't have to lug it to my house :)

HTH and hope your sweetie feels better soon!
 

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I generally do recommend trying to eliminate the possibility of it being an food allergy before the environmental due to the fact that it is nearly impossible to eliminate all environmental allergies. Some of the biggest allergy issues I have come across with my customers are chicken meat, corn, wheat and rice. I would recommend staying away from any of those. Generally, I lamb, venison or fish based food is what I recommend because those aren't as common in most foods and tend to be more hypoallergenic. For such severe allergies, I also do recommend going completely grain free.

As far as supplements go, the omegas 3 and 6 are generally helpful, but with that treating the symptoms more than the source, that isn't going to completely fix it. The allergy testing is definitely something that is good to know what all your dog is allergic to do you can limit the exposure to those sources but as I said, its going to be very difficult to compeletly get rid of those issues and might cost quite a bit.

I hope your dog feels better!
 

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Like others have said, start by going grain free. It may be that simple.
Brands I'd recommend:


Horizon
Annamaet
Now
Go
Fromm
 

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Oh and if you do decide to change her food, stop everything! No other treats. No medications. Give it 1-3 months, before you decide if its working or not.
 
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