Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ziggy has allergies...

If you don't know much about what is in the food you're feeding your dog, here is a great resource:  Dog Food Advisor. I had fun looking at the various brands of food that I am familiar with and seeing how many stars they received. I've developed a recent interest in dog food ingredients, thanks to Ziggy. He has been having ear infections, which can be a result of allergies, so we recently had him allergy tested for food. We got the results back last week. It turns out he is allergic to peanut butter. In fact, he's allergic to peanuts in general. He's also allergic to beets. And corn. Sweet potatoes. Barley. And rice. Oh, and did I mention beef, chicken, and fish? Yep, allergic to all of that too. At this point you may be asking yourself, well what ISN'T he allergic to?! That list is a bit shorter. He has no allergies to carrots, cow's milk, oats, potatoes, wheat, or venison. So here is Ziggy's new meal plan:
A potato?!?

Mom, are you serious?

Okay, I'll give it a try.

Although I do prefer to eat inside...

on the comfort of my futon.

Hey this potato is pretty good!

Fortunately Ziggy seems to enjoy raw potatoes. On days when I'm feeling especially generous, I may throw in a few carrots for variety. But he's out of luck on the venison - he's going to have to catch his own deer!

Alright, I'm not serious about feeding him only raw potatoes. I know dogs need protein. And in addition to venison, there were a few sources of protein such as lamb, pork and turkey that were borderline on the food sensitivity test. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of dry dog food products out there, other than a few very expensive brands, that don't contain either corn, rice, or barley. Really, go check your dog food. If it doesn't have any of the prohibited items, and it's not incredibly expensive, please let me know! Because we looked at EVERY brand at PetSmart except the prescription brands and they all had at least one prohibited ingredient. The rescue group where I volunteer went to a specialty pet store and found a food called Natural Balance Limited Ingredients that has basically two ingredients - duck and potatoes. Duck wasn't on the list of tested foods, so I am hoping he is not allergic to that. And since potatoes are safe, this appears to be a good, if expensive, option for Ziggy. And if it turns out he is allergic to duck also, we'll either have to try another more expensive brand, or I figure we can always resort to the old standby... raw potatoes and birdseed. (just kidding!)

By the way, I know there are some excellent raw diets or canned food options out there that would also work for Ziggy, but again, cost is always a factor. I am very fortunate to volunteer for a wonderful rescue group that pays for food for the fosters, but they need the limited donations they receive to pay for vet bills, and buying a very expensive food for Ziggy will take away from them being able to help as many other pets. And since I'm sort of out of funds to donate due to buying the new house, and since I don't cook, Ziggy has limited options. Although he did offer to help...

Hey mom, just open the gate, and I'll go get me a deer!

Hahahaha...just kidding!


Mango said...

Hey! Thanks for the link. PeeWee recently switched to Natural Balance limited ingredients and it totally agrees with him even though it only got three stars. There are just so many foods to choose from.


P.S. I am still eating half Natural Balance and half medicine kibble, but we get lots of supplemental stuff like fruits and vegies and tinned fish.


Pibble said...

Poor Ziggy! I love the pictures, though!

Two Pitties in the City said...

I never realized food was such a big issue with dogs. In the beginning Miss M was really itchy and would break out, and they thought it might be allergies,but she has been doing well with her new food. Ironically, Miss M would eat about anything too.

Frankie Furter said...

I wish my mom could send Ziggy a jar or two of her.. home canned Deer (venison) It is sooooo yummy. I like both Irish and sweet potatoes.
Poor Ziggy. He has a rough row to hoe. Good that he has a super place where he is taken goooood care of.

brooke said...

Poor Zig!
I cant believe he ate the whole potato!
I love that food site. I had found it before when I was debating about switching Darwins food... not due to allergies, but just to rotate to something new.
Good luck on your food search!

Amy and The House of Cats said...

We have tried the natural balance for cats - they were not fans, but then again that doesn't mean much. Taste of the Wild is super popular at our house - I checked their site, and they do make a dog version with bison and venison (it is grain free). It is usually less expensive than the other grain frees (at least the cat food version is) and honestly at least at our house it is way more popular. Their website is I have never seen it at PetSmart or PetCo but I know you can order online and there is a store locator on their site too. Again, I can only vouch for the cat food side of it but they do have a dog version (actually a few). Oh, and the dry is what we have had but I know there is a canned too, so probably one for dogs is available as well.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Ok I just double checked - the bison and venison has chicken meal, so that is bad, but the Pacific Stream looks safe. And I checked and Natural Balance has a Sweet Potato and Venison formula - but I don't know how pricey it is.

Dog Foster Mom said...

Ziggy is allergic to sweet potatoes - and they are in a lot of hypoallergenic foods, including the Pacific Stream and Natural Balance. I didn't realize sweet potatoes and regular potatoes were so different, but apparently Ziggy's stomach knows the difference!

Sue said...

Be careful. One of our dogs found a five pound bag of potatoes and ate them all. She had diarrhea for a full week. It was no fun for her or for us.

Erika said...

You said I would love today's post and do I ever it is even funnier because I live in the country...AND my family hunts deer every year. Ziggy would fit in perfectly, venison to eat and trees galore to chew on. If you could just hold onto him for me until the BSL is gone that would be great haha

Amy and The House of Cats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy and The House of Cats said...

Ok, well, I reread a few more times - fish is out too and salmon is fish (I had thought salmon but then wait, that is a fish.) And I totally missed the sweet potato thing. And then I thought I found one, but nope, barley, or another, nope, chicken fat. California Natural might work but not sure of the cost - but they do have a venison that looks kinda basic (and yes I am looking on the internet - it is kind of an obsession now - I get that way, where I have to find something sometimes). Not sure on cost but they do have a kibble formula.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Oh, I was going to add that Pet Food Direct online sells California Natural and they are having a sale - it is pricey but with the sale maybe not as bad.

Dog Foster Mom said...

Thanks Amy - California Natural Grain Free Venison Meal would definitely work for Ziggy. It looks like they sell it at a nearby store too. Hopefully this Duck and Potato formula will work for him, but if he keeps getting ear infections I might switch him over to this and see if that helps.

Brandi W. said...

I have a dog with food allergies as well. I know how frustrating the hunt for decent, non-allergenic food can be. Anyway, here are a few that might fit Ziggy's needs:
California Natural Grain Free Lamb
California Natural Grain Free Venison
Pinnacle Holistic Duck and Potato
Nature's Logic Venison Meal Fare
Acana Lamb and Apple
Go Natural Duck

I have no idea of the prices on all of these, but if the Natural Balance won't work, maybe one of these would be an option.

Stanislaw said...

Ziggmeister! You sound like me! I've got a laundry list of allergies and most are the same as yours, but since getting them under control (for both Big Pupi and me) we've only had one ear infection between the two of us in 6 years. Not too shabby!!

I too am allergic to chicken (turkey is okay but duck is not), but after a break from it of about 5 months I can eat it 1-2 times per week without a reaction.

Some dogs react to raw meats but not cooked ones, and vice versa. And to be allergic to "fish" could mean that you can't eat sardines, but there are a million other types out there. It's also possible to be allergic to brown rice but not white. And allergy tests don't give results for food intolerances. So... it's really a trial and error thing.

Has your mom checked into canned food? There are some that are mostly meat and don't have grains. In fact, it's far easier to find a grain-free canned food than a kibble, and canned has more nutrients in it to boot.

It might also be worth looking into a raw feeding co-op to get meat at a cheaper price and in bulk. I'm not saying that you need to feast on raw, but it can be a really cheap way to stock up on meatables. There's a list of them here:

Finally, some folks think that because potatoes are in the night shade family that they can exacerbate certain conditions, like arthritis and swelling (like in your ear canal). So that's just something to consider. Celery and bell peppers also make for some mighty fine fiber along with your carrots. Cottage cheese is a great protein (but can't be fed as the only protein source).

Sheesh. I have so much to say! Send me an email if you have any questions - rawfeasting at gmail dot com.

Kari in WeHo said...

wow thats tricky since most limited ingredient diets use sweet potatoes... hmmm

Anonymous said...

Ziggy - I didn't think it was possible for you to gets any more "special," but then you did! Mom feeds us Taste of the Wild High Prairie formula. It's grain-free but I'm not sure if it has any of that other stuff in it you can't have.

Wiggles & Wags,