Grain Allergies in Aussies
by Paul Bildstein
How common are grain allergies in Aussies? Our 13 yr old Aussie/Lab mix Molly suffered for years with skin problems. We spent thousands on Vet bills and treatments that at best only temporarily helped. Within a month off the medications the scratching, chewing, and hair loss would start up all over again. As she got older the problems started getting worse and where becoming harder and harder to treat.
Finally a few months ago her Vet suggested that maybe she had an allergy to grains. After doing some research and talking with some wonderfully knowledgeable people on the subject we switched her to a grain free, salmon based dog food made specifically for dogs with food allergies (Blue Buffalo Basics). In less then a week we saw a dramatic change not only with Molly's skin but with her diminished energy level as well (something we had mistakingly attributed to her advancing years). She stopped scratching and chewing, her skin cleared up and her fur started growing back. Most importantly though, she is like a puppy again! Running, playing, keeping up with her baby sister Willow (our 4 month old Aussie pup). It's amazing to think that such a simple solution (changing her diet) could have saved her from the years of pain and misery she had to endure, not to mention the money spent on useless treatments. A grain free diet is the only diet I will ever feed my dogs again.
This brings me to my original question of how common are grain/food allergies in Aussies? I noticed when I did some research on Australian Shepards that one of the very few drawbacks of the breed is that they tend to have a predisposition for skin problems (similar to how German Shepards are predisposed to hip dysplasia). I also noticed a lot of questions from owners on this site pertaining to Aussie skin issues and or problems. This makes me curious. I realize grain/food allergies is a fairly new concept in the dog world (if not new, at least more widely recognized today) but has there been any research done on the correlation between grain allergies and the Australian Shepards predisposition for skin problems?
What if Aussie skin problems are just symptoms of their actual predisposition for grain allergies? If this theory is true not only will it save Aussie owners time and money spent on useless treatments and Vet visits, it would be an easy simple preventative of having another dog suffer like our poor Molly had to. I would love to hear back from any owners whose Aussies skin problems where cured by simple diet change or if anyone has any information or opinion on the subject I would really appreciate your input.