Thursday, July 28, 2011

Older Dog Wisdom: Tux 24 - Summer Allergies

When summer came upon us, Tux’s allergies hit him like a ton of bricks. They'd been less severe during the winter and spring. He is allergic to beef, all grains, probably chicken, lamb, pasta, and the list goes on. The only things we’re sure he’s not allergic to are fresh duck breast and yams. 
His constant itching and scratching was finally diagnosed by a vet we were seeing when we lived overseas. His recommendation was to feed him fresh duck breast and boiled yams. Very soon after starting his new diet, his allergies cleared up and he was allergy free while he lived overseas. When he returned to the US, his allergies kicked in again. 
In case you don’t know it, fresh duck breast in the US is expensive, very expensive and very hard to find. Yams, while plentiful, do not make a diet for my carnivore as he was quick to point out. 
I tried a variety of commercially made dog foods and even prepared his food myself, but still the allergies continued. It wasn’t until a friend suggested that perhaps we should add grains to his list of allergies that I found a solution to most of his problems. I found a grain-free dog food that had duck in it, and again his allergies cleared up. 
Tux’s allergies returned with the summer. This time, though, his allergies are not food specific. He may be allergic to grass. Yes, grass. And only in the summer. He is virtually allergy free in the winter as long as he stays grain free.
Tux has tried to convince me on more than one occasion that he’s okay with the scratching and itching so it’s okay to feed him beef - steak preferably. I’m not okay with his scratching and itching. Not when we can do something to alleviate it.
Lesson Learned
Sometimes we have to give up that which we love in order to live a better life.

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