The first time that I heard dogs could have allergies was one fine spring day at the dog park. One dog mom complained about her dog's hot spots, patches of skin that her dog scratched and chewed at obsessively. Another dog mom was upset because her dog was chewing his paws. Coincidentally, my dog was also experiencing the same conditions.
According to my veterinarian, skin allergies are the most common canine affliction that he treats. He explained to me that come spring, a combination of growing grass, pollen, and the rain can have an impact on the dog's skin, particularly on the paws and that the paw licking was a reaction to the grass.
My vet suggested trying antibiotics, but after the 2nd round of the drug, my pet's rashes kept coming back. Furthermore, I didn't like the idea of using antibiotics regularly and the potential harm to his liver.
Skin conditions commonly seen in dogs and cats are yeast infections, miliary dermatitis and hot spots in dogs. Yeast is a sour smelling fungus often found in the ears of dogs and cats with chronic ear infections. It's accompanied by a lot of dark waxy build-up in the ear canal, causing the pet to scratch pretty much anywhere on the body. Hot spots are a nickname for a common condition called Pyotraumatic Dermatitis. It consists of a bacterial infection, usually staphylococcus intermedius, that causes a painful oozing sore to develop anywhere on a pet's body. Hot spots burn and itch terribly and can spread from the licking and scratching. Feline Miliary Dermatitis lesions appear as small, red, crusty bumps that itch and often result in sores from scratching.
Diet seems to be one of the major reasons for many allergic reactions. Dogs and cats today are being fed highly processed food that consists largely of grains. The practice of using large quantities of carbohydrates in pet food is fairly recent, since the pet food industry is approximately only 80 to 90 years old. Scientists know it takes thousands of years for a species to evolve in order to adapt to a changing environment. Pets being closely related to wolves and big cats, have not evolved quickly enough to tolerate such a radical change in their diet from carnivorous to omnivorous with poor quality ingredients.
After Big Ted, a fellow dog park friend, suggested that I look into the food (kibble) I was using, was when I figured that my dog might be allergic to the grain,additives, preservatives and chemicals in that big sac of dry crud...I mean kibble. Big Ted, a software engineer with a towering intellect, perfect build and flared nostrils suggested I try a raw diet to treat the skin allergies. And since you always listen to Big Ted, I went raw.
In less than 2 weeks on the raw diet, all of my dog's skin and paw rashes cleared up and ever since I have become a raw evangelist. Heck, I even started my own company because I didn't find the format, variety and quality on the market that I wanted to feed my dog. I can't say that feeding raw dog food will cure skin allergies in every dog, but it sure worked for me and a multitude of our customers.