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DrBridget, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16
Experience:  11 years veterinary experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
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I have two pit bulls. One is a staffordshire pit terrier and

Customer Question

I have two pit bulls. One is a staffordshire pit bull terrier and the other is an american pit bull terrier. They are both around 7 to 8 years of age, not exactly sure because they are rescues. I am concerned that I am not giving them the best food because they ate starting to get allergies. I have tried to do some research online in what is the best type of food to give them.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if the bull will be able to digest that. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the bull?
Customer: no that is it
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

Hi! My name is***** and I am a small animal veterinarian. Thank you for your question. With so many dog food brands available it can be very difficult to choose and of course the decision making process is not made any easier by all the marketing hype about the food brands.

Do you mind answering a few more questions so I can get a better history on your dogs?

What food are they on currently and how long have you been feeding it?
Please list any other foods or treats you feed including human foods.

What symptoms are you seeing that make you concerned about allergies?

Are the dogs up to date on vaccines, flea and heart worm prevention?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They are currently on ALPO which is what they were getting at the shelter. I do not give them human food and the only treats I give them are the real bones that are shaved smoothe with the marrow inside. The symptoms for the American pit is he is itching really bad and he has formed a small skin cyst on his shoulder which the vet said what not positive or anything and tried to get me to buy some very expensive food. I don't mind paying for the better food I just feel like most of the vets around here take advantage of the owners and I'm searching for another vet. Sorry to say this but I felt like I had to explain why I wasn't taking their advice on the food
Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

Thanks so much for the extra information.

I'm currently typing up my reply. This may take a few minutes. Thank you for your patience

Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for the extra information it was very helpful. I do still have one question, are the dogs up to date on vaccines and monthly flea and heart worm prevention.

Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

I'm still working on my response about diet recommendations....

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
they are both up to date on all their shots and heartworm tests
Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

I am sorry to hear about you experience with your veterinarian. I too have noticed how very expensive foods are often promoted despite other more affordable brands being available.

There are a number of possible causes for the itching that you described, food allergies are a possible cause but often they are less likely to be the culprit. The most common causes for itching are flea bite dermatitis, and fungal or mite infections. The reason why I mention this is that it is more important to diagnose/treat the more common problems that exist before you spend money on buying new foods. As flea allergy is the most common problem that causes itching, and all it takes is a flea bite to set it up (which may happen outside and you may not see) it is important that you give all animals in the household a monthly flea control. An effective flea control is Advantage - you can even buy this on Amazon, it is sold based on weight. Don't waste your money on flea shampoos or sprays, they don't work.

As for testing for skin infections - that is something that you would need to have a local vet do, usually a skin scrape and fungal culture. Also once a pet is so itchy and causing damage to the skin they may often need medications to reduce the itching or antibiotics, shampoo. Even if it is a food allergy sometimes they will not respond well without they use of other medications.

Ok now about the food, just a reminder I would not even consider switching the food until you try some flea control as food allergies may not even be the cause. But about good foods....Alpo is not as good quality as some. I really like the Nutro brand, it is a good food and not very expensive. You should be able to find it at most pet stores e.g. Petsmart.

When a dog has a food allergy it is usually in response to the protein in the food, for example a lot of dogs have allergies to chicken, beef and lamb so the best step when choosing a food is to pick a novel protein such as duck, salmon, venison etc. These foods may be labelled as "limited ingredient diets or LID" Make sure the food or treats do not contain any chicken, beef or lamb, unfortunately you should not continue to use the dog bones.

There have been no scientific studies that show that grain causes any allergies in dogs so I would disregard all of the hype around "grain free" diets. Ultimately it is ok if the food you choose is grain free, for example I think the Nutro salmon, duck is also grain free. Just don't buy a food because it says "grain free".

So to wrap should make sure the dogs are on flea control and then choose a food that is based on a novel protein - look for salmon, duck, venison and rabbit on the label. Make sure not to feed chicken beef or lamb. If you do decide to start the dogs on a food trial for allergies make sure to switch the food slowly by intitially mixing the foods together then weaning the old one out. Then feed only the new food (no treats, unless they are hypoallergenic i.e. no allergenic proteins) for at least 3 months, you will need this much time to see if the dogs respond.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions. I wish you the best of luck.

Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet. Please rate me by clicking on the **stars** at the top of the page as this is the only way the site credits me for helping you. Thank you!

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your advice and I have them on flea treatment. I have used comfortis for about 2 years now.
Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

Ok that is great news that they are on Comforts, it is a very effective flea control as long as they are absorbing the full dose - just make sure to give it with a meal. Having said that, I do think that there are more affordable brands available.

So the next step (if not already completed) is to consult a local vet for any skin testing or medications that they recommend. There are some very good and affordable medications that can be used for itchy dogs but they require a prescription.

I hope that you have found my food recommendations helpful. Check out this link to one version of the food I suggested

This website also shows were you can buy it.

This is an adult food but will be ok even though you dogs may be over eight years old. You could add in an OTC joint supplement such as cosequin (sold at pet stoes, costco, amazon), this is beneficial as dogs age.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. If you found my response helpful please "accept" my answer and rate me by clicking on the stars at the top of the page - this is the only way I receive credit for my assistance.

Kind regards,

Dr Bridget.

Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

I hope all of the above makes sense? If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION (I am not compensated in any other way).

Best wishes ,

Dr Bridget.

Expert:  DrBridget replied 7 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?