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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12186
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 42 years of experience
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What are the foods that dogs are most commonly allergic to

Customer Question

What are the foods that dogs are most commonly allergic to? My dog is constantly scratching and my vet believes a food allergy, since prednisone injections only last about a week. She also has a bad pancreas, so I have to be careful about what food and treats I give her. Can you help--I hate to see her scratching and biting herself all the time.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Hi - In approximate order of frequency: the animal proteins beef and chicken, then the grains corn and wheat, then soy. Pork, horse, eggs, rice and food additives are also possible antigens. Hypoallergenic foods available from Baby's vet (or you can make them yourself) can be utilized as a test for food allergy. Patience is necessary because these special foods can take up to 12 weeks to be helpful. They contain just one novel protein source such as venison, salmon, or even kangaroo - proteins unlikely to have ever been ingested by Baby and so more likely that she's not allergic to them. A particularly useful food is the prescription Hill's Z/D. In this hypoallergenic food the proteins (chicken source) have been hydrolyzed (chemically altered) to the point that Baby's immune system doesn't recognize them as something to be allergic to. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish. (Even a single potato chip can negate the benefit of allergy foods! Picking the lowest fat content hypoallergenic diet would be appropriate considering Baby's bad pancreas)
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12186
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 42 years of experience
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. My best to Baby!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Since Hills z/d is quite costly, do you have any other suggestions of wet food? The z/d wasn't totally effective when she was on it for 9 months, as she still scratched and her skin was (and is) flaky.

 

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
The most cost effective hypoallergenic diets are those you make yourself. A good source for these is Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets The Healthful Alternative by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM available from Amazon or perhaps from your local library. An example of such a diet found in the book is a follows:

1/2 cup rabbit, cooked, diced
2 cups rice, long-grain, cooked
2 teaspoons vegetable (canola) oil
1/10 teaspoon table salt
4 bonemeal tablets (10-grain or equivalent)
1/5 multiple vitamin-mineral tablet (made for adult humans)
This provides the daily caloric needs of a 20-pound dog.

You can substitute the more easily found and less expensive pork for the rabbit. Keep in mind that she may be allergic to environmental allergens as well - dust, dust mites, pollens, molds, e.g. That may explain the partial response to the Z/D.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well that example of an "allergy" diet confuses me, because you said the most common food allergens include rice and pork (which is suggested as a substitute for the rabbit!) That's why I'm climbing the walls--one says this is an allergen, another says another thing!!!! I believe the z/d diet contains pork and egg as well!!! Another suggestions?

 

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Every food protein can be an allergen. We try to find a protein that is less likely to be an allergen, for example pork is less likely to be antigenic than beef and long-grain rice is less likely to be antigenic than common white rice. It's trial and error. Unfortunately, testing for food allergy using scratch or blood tests is worthless. Z/D Ultra Allergen Free has no intact animal protein - no matter what the source of the protein originally was. I understand your frustration but with experimentation and a little luck you can help Baby.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the explanation. I will begin the process again, being very select with the treat selection I let Baby have. We'll need all the luck we can get!

 

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Great! Believe it or not, even the small amount of meat protein in the heartworm preventatives (Heartguard (beef) and Iverheart (pork), e.g.) should be avoided when testing hypoallergenic foods. Good luck to you!

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