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.

Comments for Grain Allergies in Aussies

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by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

My 1st was an Aussie/ Lab mix, too. He also had allergies, but they were nasal allergies. He constantly had sinus infections until he was put on flax oil and the sinus infections cleared up. He still suffered from some allergies, but he was significantly better. He also took a benedryl every day of the last few years of his life and lived to be 14 1/2. I don't think that skin problems are big with Aussies. I have had 8 and never a skin problem and only the mix had allergies.

Grain allergies
by: Anonymous

My 2.5 year old aussie girl has no problems with food allergies, however, my 2.5 year old lab does. They both are on a wheat, corn, and soy free diet. The ear problem in my lab goes away in the winter, then comes back in the spring through fall. I put prescriptions ear drops in her ears and that does the trick. Too bad the little bitty bottle cost $30.00.

Grain Sensitivity
by: Kathie Isenberg

Our 11 year old Blue Merle male developed grain allergies - itching - hot spots - etc. We took him off any grain food - even his treats are grain free. The only time he has a flare up - is if he gets into the Siberians food. Our other two Aussie bitches have not developed any signs of allergies or sensitivities. My one bitch has an oily coat problem that the vet cannot find a cause. I tried taking her off grain feed - but no change. Still looking for as solution to that issue.

by: Anonymous

My Aussie boy (now +2yrs)developed skin problems at around 1 yr old. Vet medications helped only as long as he was on them!I even tried the duck and rice kibble but that didn't help either.

I took him off kibble altogether and he soon showed signs of improvement. He is now 99% over his allergies: his fur has grown again and his dry skin is so much better. Such a simple (and cheap) solution. He is on a raw food diet with chicken, beef, ostrich, tripe, veggies AND rice. I am wondering if it is not something to do with the processing of/preservatives in kibble not just the grain??

Anyhow, this works for me so I'm not changing!

My aussie has allergies
by: Anonymous

During the end of July until November my aussie can't go outside except to potty. He has terrible allergies. He was allergy tested and there isn't anything outside that he isn't allergic too. Hay Fever is the worst season for him and any fall molds or pollens. He take 3 benadryl a day and stays inside. He loses his hair and constantly itches. He is totally miserable during these 3 months.

Once vet wanted to put him to sleep but no way, we deal with it with shots monthly and make him comfortable during his allergy season. He get weekly baths during those 3 months and his feet and fur have to be wiped down befor he can come back in the house. THe entire house has to have windows closed and totally sealed.

We love him and if this is what it takes so be it...

Good luck, aussies do have allergies.

Aussie mix with allergies
by: Anonymous

I am having a difficult time with my Aussie mix. He is St. Bernard, Golden Retriever and Aussie ????. He is a rescue that I adopted about 1 1/2 years ago. He was around 12 and had terrible allergies....had/has sores all over especially on his legs, chews on his feet and is now chewing areas on his back where his hair is matted and falling out(From licking, chewing) and skin underneath is red. He also has a "smell" about him, not unbearable, but not pleasant. I have had him to the vets, but due to monetary limitations and a three dog (all rescues) household my visits must be limited...damn this recession. Anyway, he is on Nature's Balance, wild game and sweet potato food. I purchase both venison or him a bit of variety...but mostly bison. He also only gets treats of same maker/variety. I try and put up other dog's food, but perhaps he is sneaking bites. He seems to have gotten worse over last couple of weeks...more itching more sores and the back sores. He had seemed, few months back to get a bit better, possibly 50-60% less itching and open sores, but the sores have returned. It is now October and I do not know if that plays a role...certain allergies during this time of year. Due to switching to a grain-free, wild game food he did seem to improve, but now is now back to continual scratching and licking....unpleasant for him and heart-breaking to me. Can anyone offer any help. Thank you.

Aussie Male Blue Merle
by: Anonymous

Wow! My Aussie is 2 yrs 8 mo. He has been on antibiotics when he was under 6 mo. old for a torn nail. Then he was given predisone & other antibiotics for his itching. I have taken him to 5 vet & 1 vet dermatologist. I was told he may have mange, which I dipped him when he was under a yr I have given him shots for allergy which he was skin test & was told he was allergic to trees, mold, housefly, dust & the list goes on. I am now trying a place out of Texas - I heard about through a groomer. Healthy Bodies out of Texas which I was sent a litmus strip of paper & I put on his tongue & mailed it back & they let me know what he is lacking in vitamins & other things. My Aussie has been over-medicated w/antibiotics that his immune systems needs to get back to normal the natural way--that is what I am doing & praying alot. He looks worse before he gets better. This is a 6 wks program all the yeast is coming out of his body on to his skin & I have to bathe him a couple times a week because he smells & his skin is oily because all the bad stuff inside is coming out on his skin. My 6 wks will be up on Dec. 20 & he will be tested through the mail by Healthy Bodies 903-873-4442. Good Luck to you all I feel for you. Chesterfield, VA

Grain free dog food for Aussies
by: Anonymous

Our dog is an Aussie, and he also has had skin problems, until we started him on a grain free diet of salmon and sweet potatoes. The hot spot cleared up and the fur grew back. He scratches less often.

We also have used Frontline for fleas, as well as tea tree oil with aloe vera for his bath. The change in him has been incredible.

I think this grain free diet with other changes has helped our dog's skin condition considerably.

itchy skin - hot spots - biting legs and back
by: Anonymous

My 5 year old double merle aussie has developed crazy itchy skin -- we have medicated which seem to clear up the itchiness but shortly returned - vet said we would prob need to keep him on that for life. His ears seem to become smelly and requires drops, and his skin seems to flair. We have tried changing food. I am wondering if yeast is the culprit as the food that didn't contain grain nor egg (he seems to have seizures after egg) did have sweet potato and other "yeast avoidance" ingredients.
In addition to all of the above, this seems to have developed when we lost his companion. Any ideas?

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