Allergies & Diet
Allergies are due to having a compromised/damaged immune system. Some allergic reactions, have been connected to what we feed our pets. All of our rescued Westies, that have suffered from allergic reactions to grains (& sometimes other things). Some common grains are: rice, bulgur, corn (maize), wheat, sorghum, spelt, barley, millet, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, rye, teff, flaxseed & any other seeds (which are classified as grains).
The Wheat-Free Organisation has written a very informative article on Wheat Allergy Dogs. They list some of these allergic reactions to wheat being:
itchy skin, shaking of the head, ear inflammation, licking front paws, rubbing face on carpet, vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence, sneezing, asthma like symptoms, anal itching, behavioural changes, seizures.
Initially, to get on top of any yeast infection, you really need to treat your dog with not only a change of diet & appropriate external treatment, but also with antibiotics & sometimes a steroidal drug, that is prescribed by your vet. That way you're totally attacking the allergy & it's effects, all in one go. It will be much quicker in helping your dog to recover & once you've found the triggering source/s, you shouldn't require any more veterinary drug treatment for it (unless your dog is accidentally fed the food that he/she is allergic to).
For a more indepth information & treatment in dealing with dogs with food triggered allergies, we recommend that you read this very helpful webpage, written by Dr Karen Becker.
Our only grain allergy prone Westies, have had great success with "Meals For Mutts" grain free dry food. Buzz is a just one example of how taking grain out of his diet, eliminated his allergies prone skin.
However after trying so many products, it's obvious that no company can produce a diet, that is catered to each & every dogs needs, when they suffer from food allergies & other diet issues. So the answer to finding out exactly what (& if) your dog is suffering from food allergies, is in fact very easy. It follows the rule of "KIS" (Keeping It Simple), because we've found that the more that is added, the more it increases the chances of complicating & "muddying" the water, that prevents finding the source that causes allergic reactions. It's called an "Elimination Diet" & you start by feeding one & only one meat source for 4-6 weeks. We've had great success with feeding fresh lamb mince. Human grade mince, has a good balance of meat & fat, which prevents weight loss & less likely to cause diarrhea. We feed around 250 grams a day, to our Westies (8-10kg). So gauge the right amount for your dog.
You should start seeing some hints of progress, by 2-4 weeks. If your dogs skin gets worse, then you know that you can cross off that food source & start again with another fresh meat such as goat, kangaroo etc. Once you reach your goal of around 6 weeks & looking great, then it's time to add another food such as mashed sweet potato, pumpkin etc.), to your dogs diet. Again for the next 2 weeks, monitor your dogs reaction (if any). If none, then you clearly know that it's not an allergic trigger for your dog & finally some answers.
What we have found, that any natural sugars/sweeteners within food sources such as apples, watermelon, banana & other fruits etc. have been triggers. more than helpful. It's likely due to the fact that yeast feeds off sugar & therefore the yeast infection growing on their skin, thrives off it too.
Please don't sabotage your dogs diet, by feeding them anything other than their elimination diet, during the time that your dog is on this diet. So no treats, or any supplement such as omega oils mixes (a lot are flaxseed based), as it is likely to backfire & your dog will suffer for it.
Best of luck.
External Products That We've Used & Have Had Success:
Malaseb shampoo to be a great product to get on top of serious yeast infections. We've also found that after treating flare ups, weekly washes with Malaseb afterwards, will help maintain & prevent any build-up on the skin.
Please make sure that you have your dog fully vet checked (including skin swabs tests), before starting this program, just in case there are underlying health issues causing your dogs health problems.
3 Year Old Westie, "Buzz", Suffering From Grain Allergies
5 Year Old Westie "CJ", Suffering From Grain Allergies