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Over the last few weeks Ive started suspecting a food allergy in my 4 1/2 month old Saint. He's been through 3 foods, Alpo, Iams puppy and now Exclusive. The "breeder" was feeding him Alpo (yes, I should have run from this one but I'd have missed out on a a wonderful puppy...), we picked up the Iams the night he came home...grocery store foods were our only option at 10pm. And Exclusive was recommended by someone we know. I didnt realize until we bought the 2nd (current) bag that it contains corn.

Buster is an indoor pup, outside to potty and go for walks. Up to date on all shots, Heartguard and Frontline Plus. Brushed at least once a day (yes, at least...he enjoys the attention, I enjoy any chance I have to pamper him), bathed as needed. He's been dewormed, last fecal (2 1/2 weeks ago) showed no eggs.

We noticed within days of him coming home that he was trying to scratch the backs of his front legs and he'd lay around the house biting at his paws (this happened a lot during playtime, he'd be chewing a toy and then grab a paw). Over the last week his chest has become itchy, yesterday we noticed he chewed 2 sore spots on the base of his tail. He loves his face rubbed, if I dont rub it he'll walk up to me and rub his face on me (especially if Im wearing jeans).

We've had constant tummy issues with him. He's always had soft stool, between being formed and pudding. 2 1/2 weeks ago we ended up in the vets office due to diarrhea, all parasite tests came back clear and he was diagnosed with "garbage gut" (no clue what he could have gotten himself into...) and put in Flagyl & probiotics. He firmed up while on the meds. but once those stopped he slowly went back to being soft, yesterday he was back to pudding poo. This boy clears the room with his gas...at the very least Im sent running for fresh air while gagging (I have 4 kids, I can handle some nasty smells...).

We're eliminating corn from his diet. We're heading to the feed store in a few hours to decide on a new food. Its between Taste of the Wild (top choice, I can remove all potential allergens and its grain free), Canidae (2nd choice, I can still likely remove all allergens and can go grain free), Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lovers Soul (3rd choice, I can remove corn from his food but there's still the "what if its chicken he's allergic to" issue).
 

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From what i understand and from experience, to much wheat tends to be the cause in many cases, my 7 month old Beagle/Lab mix was having a reaction to Purina puppy chow because of the amount of wheat from what the vet told me.

She was itching and developed and ear infection that took medication to clear up.
 

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Our dog, Paxson, has had what we thought to be serve food allergies for the past 3 months we've owned him. He is now 6 months old and our vet is saying he might have Inflammatory Bowel syndrome. I feel your pain of trying to find the right food. He is currently on science diet z/d (prescription dog food) for severe allergies and it's not getting much better, so we are heading to an internal specialist with him.

We tried **** Van Patten's food (fish & sweet potatoes) from Petco. It's a really good food and it made a little difference for him, but we have two friend's who swear by it. The food is a limited ingredient food, literally only fish and potatoes... no grains, chicken or beef. If I were you i'd visit Petco (the only store that carries it) and try it.

I have two recommendations:
1. transition the food gradually over 7 days so you don't shock the dogs system. That sometimes makes it worse.
2. buy the fish & sweet potato treats too... you can't figure out the allergy unless you eliminate all other treats.

Hope this helps!
Nicole
 

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I think food allergies are far more common then even vets want to say. My first dog Carter, was a wreck when I brought him home. He was loosing hair on the base of his tail from chewing on it so much. 2 different vets one said it was "normal" because he was in a new environment, and the other said it was fleas even though there was no fleas to be found. When I asked both of them if it was possible that it could be a food allergy (since I had just read something on the dog forums about another dog with very very similar issues) I was told by BOTH vets "unlikely" and that they wanted to do more test before even considering a food allergy.

I decided to risk $15 and buy a non-corn based food and he was as good as new in under a week.

Being a cashier at work, I've had a lot of conversations about dog food with people and they have a similar issue as we do. One lady was going every 2 weeks for a $30 allergy shot because the vet couldn't figure out what was causing the dogs allergies. I asked her if she tried a non-corn based food yet, she had no clue what that was. I took a break and sat down and spoke to her about it, and 3 weeks later she came back in and personally thanked me because her dog had improved more in the past 3 weeks then ever under the Vets care.

Another girl at work had a similar issue as the lady above. Again I suggested a non-corn based food and with in a few weeks her dog was also 100% better.

It really does sound like a food allergy and you are doing the right thing. Just remember, you might go through 5 or 6 foods before you find one that works for your dog. My current dog Nubs when I first brought him home was put on Solid Gold (which Carter did great on) and it was too rich for him. I have him on Natural Balance and he does great.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies.

The more I read, the more Im convinced he is allergic to something. Im starting with food mainly because its the easiest to fix, corn seems to be a very common allergen and he is eating a food that contains it. If nothing else, removing corn from his diet at least improves his nutrition.

I do have some experience with (human) food allergies. My 6 1/2 year old had a peanut intolerance, she has thankfully outgrown that. Hannah taught me to read the label of every single food she may come in contact with, I will do the same for Buster. Removing corn from his diet means we lose a favorite treat (Lean Treats), not the end of the world though considering Ive already stopped giving them.

Food brands are rather limited due to living in a fairly small town. The nearest Petsmart or Petco are over an hours drive from here, a drive we dont make very often.

I know its not fleas causing him trouble. All biting bugs love me and my girls, none of us have bites...well not flea bites. Along with the fact he's on Frontline and he's brushed often which gives me a chance to check him very closely.

Even with the issues we've faced with Buster, the $ spent on vet bills already, the fact I should have turned tail and run from the "breeder", I can honestly say I wouldnt trade this boy for anything in the world...I would have missed out on an absolutely amazing puppy had anything gone differently. For whatever reason, he's meant to be in my home. I am thankful to have found a puppy that matches our family so perfectly, within the first week we all felt like he's been here forever, my girls often refer to him as their little brother.

I ended up getting my top food choice and its only roughly 20 cents per pound more than I was spending :D Buster is now eating Taste of the Wild High Prairie. We took him with us to the feed store this afternoon. He ignored every other bag of food but wouldnt leave the TOTW food alone, kept going back to it and sticking his big ol' nose as far into the bag as possible. When we got home he no longer had a need to sniff the food, he gobbled down a handful of the food with more interest than Ive ever seen him show in anything.

I had 3 of my girls smell both foods & tell me what they thought smelled better. All 3 chose the Taste of the Wild over the Exclusive....it does smell a lot better.
 
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