Dakota’s Allergy Woes

When we got Dakota, we knew she had allergies, we just didn’t know to what; we still don’t. We thought she was doing better—since starting Prozac for her anxiety, she hadn’t had any infections. But a few weeks ago we found her shaking her head repeatedly, and the vet diagnosed a yeast infection in both ears. On two of her paws, she has acral lick granulomas, which are deep infections that are very hard to treat (when you Google it, you get articles declaring it a “dermatological nightmare.”) Given that she also gets a bi-monthly Cytopoint shot for environmental allergies, the vet suggested that what’s happening now might be related to a food allergy. Beef, Dakota’s favorite flavor, is apparently among one of the worst offenders for food allergies.

What we are doing right now to address the issue is strictly limiting Dakota’s diet to one protein: white fish (food and treats included). She can also have peanut butter, which we use to give her pills daily and which the vet said is probably not the problem. In a month or so, we can add new things in one at a time, and test each for a month. This is called an elimination diet. For example, we could let her try rabbit for a month, and if there is no reaction, we could move on to beef (just to be sure, since she likes it so much…) If she has a reaction, we know not to give her that food. It can be a long and painstaking process, but food allergy tests are quite expensive and, according to our vet, not entirely accurate.

I still stand behind the food Dakota was eating for most of the last two years, Pure Vita Beef and Red Lentils (a grain-free food made by NutriSource), because it truly changed her for the better—it’s what helped her gain weight when we first got her, and it made her fur super soft and shiny. The new food we are trying out is the Whitefish Formula from Zignature, and so far she seems to like it. (Both are dry foods.) We are also giving her some whitefish treats from Honest Kitchen. Basically any type of white fish is fair game.

I hope one day we will be able to figure out exactly what is ailing Dakota. Until then, we will just have to do the best we can to control and soothe her flare-ups.

Does your dog have allergies? What do you do to keep them under control?

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