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Hi All-
Would appreciate your input on good grain free food and where to find. We’re pretty certain our GR has allergies. He’s also super picky so we’ve had a hard time finding a food he’ll dig into. Thanks! 😁
 

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While a dog can certainly be sensitive to food ingredients, true food allergies in dogs are rare. While you can do testing (which may or may not be accurate), the tried and true way to figure out exactly what they are allergic to is a strict elimination diet. To do that, you feed either a single protein and carbohydrate diet, or else a prescription hydrolyzed protein diet until your dog isn't showing any signs of a reaction, and then start reintroducing a single protein or carbohydrate at a time.

Environmental allergies are way more common, and can be darned hard to pin down. Again, testing may or may not yield accurate results. My GSD has allergies to something, and has been on Apoquel for the past three years or so with good results.

Since your dog's a Golden, I would be leery of feeding a grain-free food, since they have been implicated in incidences of food-related dilated cardiomyopathy in Goldens. A grain-inclusive limited ingredient diet with only one or two protein and carbohydrate sources might be a better option.
 

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What do you think he is allergic to and what are his preferred main flavors? As in, does he hate fish based foods or does he get itchy on beef? Etc.

What has he done best on?

What has he done worst on?

Have you done a true allergy elimination feeding trial with zero treats, zero additions and only a single protein food for at least 6 weeks straight?
 

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I'm not going back to look, but is the same OP who mentioned an 8-week old GR in another post? I wouldn't be doing a strict elimination diet on a puppy - nutritional deficits can cause too much damage when they're growing. I don't think it's common to see signs of food allergies that young either, at least I've never heard of it before. I'd look for other causes of itching first.

If I'm wrong about this being a puppy, sorry, ignore this post.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Since your dog's a Golden, I would be leery of feeding a grain-free food, since they have been implicated in incidences of food-related dilated cardiomyopathy in Goldens. A grain-inclusive limited ingredient diet with only one or two protein and carbohydrate sources might be a better option.
Thank you for the warning. I’ll look further into that.
 

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I'm not going back to look, but is the same OP who mentioned an 8-week old GR in another post? I wouldn't be doing a strict elimination diet on a puppy - nutritional deficits can cause too much damage when they're growing. I don't think it's common to see signs of food allergies that young either, at least I've never heard of it before. I'd look for other causes of itching first.

If I'm wrong about this being a puppy, sorry, ignore this post.
He’s 4 yrs old but I do appreciate your response. Thanks.
 

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e’s 4 yrs old but I do appreciate your response. Thanks.
Well, oops. In that case, I'd do allergy testing rather than trying food after food, but then I have no patience. I've only ever had one dog I suspected of allergies, and she isn't a picky eater, just had constant hot spots from itching. An adult dog can stand the temporary imbalance of an elimination diet, but again, I have no patience. So I had the blood allergy testing done, which I know a lot of people don't think is reliable, but a friend who has had several dogs with allergies recommended it to me. (They're usually food sensitivities, not real allergies I understand, but since it causes much dog misery, they need handling.) My friend did say that she didn't recommend testing from the place people here in Colorado would tend to use as she'd tried them and the results were not "duplicable," by which she meant if you sent blood from the same dog to them a year later you got different results and of course they were less helpful. She recommended Spectrum Labs so I used them. My vet had never done such a thing before but drew the blood and sent it off.

It's expensive, but I was fortunate to be able to afford it, and as I said I'm not patient. The results for my girl were worth it. Her food sensitivities were to pretty much all the common dog food ingredients other than meats, which left me unable to find a kibble that didn't have something on her list. So I ended up going to a raw diet. Once I did that, she went from constant hot spots, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time, to 1 or 2 a year. And that was just with adjusting diet. The test also showed some some environmental allergies but thank goodness not to things like household dust or others that would be horrible to try to deal with. I've pretty much ignored the environmental ones, and still she's much better.

Now and then I do come across something Spectrum didn't test for that shows a reaction. For instance, after all the hoopla about coconut oil, I tried adding some of that to her diet. She started itching immediately. At least when that happens, you know what caused it.
 

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Well, oops. In that case, I'd do allergy testing rather than trying food after food, but then I have no patience. I've only ever had one dog I suspected of allergies, and she isn't a picky eater, just had constant hot spots from itching. An adult dog can stand the temporary imbalance of an elimination diet, but again, I have no patience. So I had the blood allergy testing done, which I know a lot of people don't think is reliable, but a friend who has had several dogs with allergies recommended it to me. (They're usually food sensitivities, not real allergies I understand, but since it causes much dog misery, they need handling.) My friend did say that she didn't recommend testing from the place people here in Colorado would tend to use as she'd tried them and the results were not "duplicable," by which she meant if you sent blood from the same dog to them a year later you got different results and of course they were less helpful. She recommended Spectrum Labs so I used them. My vet had never done such a thing before but drew the blood and sent it off.

It's expensive, but I was fortunate to be able to afford it, and as I said I'm not patient. The results for my girl were worth it. Her food sensitivities were to pretty much all the common dog food ingredients other than meats, which left me unable to find a kibble that didn't have something on her list. So I ended up going to a raw diet. Once I did that, she went from constant hot spots, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time, to 1 or 2 a year. And that was just with adjusting diet. The test also showed some some environmental allergies but thank goodness not to things like household dust or others that would be horrible to try to deal with. I've pretty much ignored the environmental ones, and still she's much better.

Now and then I do come across something Spectrum didn't test for that shows a reaction. For instance, after all the hoopla about coconut oil, I tried adding some of that to her diet. She started itching immediately. At least when that happens, you know what caused it.
Thanks. Will consider that 😁
 
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