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I Think My Dog Has Food Allergies
July 20, 2011
My Canine Best Friend Is on a Special Diet.
In an ironic twist that isn’t lost on me, it turns out that Buster, my mixed-breed dog, has started reacting to something in his dog chow. I say it’s ironic because, as editor of Living Without magazine, I’m writing, thinking, reading, talking about and living with food allergies and sensitivities every day. I’m so attuned to the possibility of someone having celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a food allergy that my adult children regularly tease me that I tend to think everyone has a food issue.
My daughter: Hey, Mom! I just broke a nail. Do you think I’m having a reaction to gluten?
My son: Hey, Mom! Looks like I got a bug bite on my arm. Do you think it might be celiac disease?
Ha, ha. Very funny, kids.
But back to Buster. My concerns about him started several weeks ago when I noticed that he was scratching a good bit and chewing on himself. It’s true that he was shedding his thick winter coat at the time--but still, there was something funny going on with his fur. It was beginning to look like he was losing it. And there were dark patches of skin showing up where his fur should have been.
I took him to the vet who said he had a yeast infection on his skin. She gave me anti-fungal medicine and a medicated shampoo.
This is all well and good—but I couldn’t resist heading to my computer when I returned from the vet to look up more about his diagnosis. Could it possibly be related to a food allergy? (I did not mention this suspicion to my kids.)
A quick Google search revealed that an allergic reaction was enough of a possibility to warrant taking Buster off his regular kibbles and trying him on a temporary diet of boiled chicken and rice. (I threw in some peas for good measure.) No more preservatives, grains, additives, chemicals. I figured, what could it hurt?
Buster loved his new food. He slurped his dinner up every night with extraordinary gusto. Over the next several weeks, the changes I saw in him went way beyond the anti-fungal medication. His scratching stopped, his skin healed, and his coat began to grow back in more shiny and lustrous than ever before. In addition, he dropped 15 pounds (a welcome weight loss for this chunky guy) and he rediscovered many of his lively puppy ways. Pretty good for an old boy of 9 years.
Looking over the lengthy ingredient list on the label of Buster’s dog food, I’m still not certain what he reacts to. It could be a number of things. What I am certain of is that he’s looking and feeling better than he has in many years--and I credit his special diet for this.
Not very scientific, I know. Don’t tell my kids.