A-Chew!

  Hi folks! This week I want to discuss allergies. English Bulldogs are a breed known to have allergies to quite a few things. From my understanding, from conversations with other bulldog parents and the little research I have done,  common allergies seem to be wheat, grains, and poultry. French Bulldogs also have allergies and several coworkers have Frenchies. A co-worker who has a Frenchie recommended their vet who does allergy testing

  Since Bogey is a rescue, there was no way to know much, if any prior medical history. I’m sure I’ve said this in a prior post, but it breaks my heart that anyone could treat this little love so terribly. I wanted to get him allergy tested to make sure that we weren’t feeding him anything that could be causing an issue.

  There are several allergic reactions that bulldogs can exhibit. I do not have a list of all of them and not all dogs, like humans, display the same reactions. Some of Bogey’s allergic reactions included gas, pimples on his chin, and red paws. Bogey tends to lick the air quite a bit. We noticed that when not feeding him foods that caused, what we would find out were allergens, he seemed to decrease the licking.

  We are super thankful to our coworker who provided us the information for All Vet Animal Care Hospital. I’ve not been asked to promote them, but I am thrilled with the experience we’ve had so far and am quite sure that they will become our regular vet. I may be getting ahead of myself, but our vet there is all for saving his customers money and I truly appreciate that. 

  There were two options with the allergy testing. We could do food allergy testing and/or environmental allergy testing. The vet said that there are four major concern areas with dogs (I assume with other animals too): fleas, food, environment and I’m still trying to remember the fourth! He said so long as you have good control over 3 of the 4 you’re doing well. We have fleas under control with the flea medication. I wish I could remember what the 4th area was because we had control over that.

  The vet recommended just doing food allergies, as even with knowing his environmental allergies we might not be able to do much to prevent them. We certainly don’t have plans to move anywhere anytime soon that would present different conditions. I just try and keep Bogey’s paws as clean as possible in case anything is getting in there and irritating him.

The allergy test was a blood test and the results took about a week to get back. We didn’t see the blood draw, which I am thankful for. Bogey has allergies to dairy, wheat, pork, peanuts, potatoes, fish and lamb. Not all of these allergens will cause a severe reaction, but as I’m sure you’d agree, cutting them out is the best way to make sure he’s the happiest.

Of course, when we received the results, I just finished making a batch of PB & Ginger snaps. Those were given to my mom’s dog and a few dogs in the office. The vet recommended that his food be grain free as well. Let me tell you, trying to find a food without potato or fish meal was difficult! Now, to clarify, we do give Bogey fish oil because the fish protein has been removed (by the pressing I believe) and won’t cause the reaction. It’s the proteins in all those items that cause the problem.

We took a few weeks to adjust him and, as of this past Wednesday, he is now fully on his new food. He’s a big fan! One of the most noticeable results was the decrease in his flatulence. Within the first week or two of the transition, we did a slow transition, the decrease was drastic. We started with 1/4 cup of the new food to 3/4 cup of the old. That was done for a week. Then 1/2 and 1/2. Then 3/4 and 1/4. That didn’t seem to upset his stomach much at all.

His new food is a chicken and sweet potato based food. He loves it! He’s not allergic to rice, but I am now testing how he does with treats that have grains in them. I use oat flour and oats occasionally in his treats. If I notice an upswing in his gas or any other symptoms, I will make the next batch without and see how he does. I didn’t do this before because there would be no way to guarantee that we had removed the allergen as we were changing foods.

I’ve also added coconut oil for him as his dessert. I read that coconut is useful for it’s antibacterial properties and that a friend of mine uses it and some other natural ingredients to make a salve that also works as an ear cleaner. I haven’t gotten brave enough to make that yet, but he does get frozen treats. In fact, it was the recipe I just posted.

The adjustment has gone well and Bogey loves his homemade treats. I have a dehydrator and use that to make treats for him as well. He’s a huge fan of the chicken jerky. He was a fan of the sweet potatoes, but not so much any more. He gets frozen treats with pumpkin in them as well. It’s good for his tummy and he doesn’t like it straight on his food.

The frozen treats now have some banana in them to sweeten them up. I just use Google to find recipes, but I want to start making a recipe box of my favorites so that I don’t have to leave my iPad up and going. It’s not really a hassle, but I think it would be easier to have the little cards and then not digging through multiple links to find the exact recipe I want.

So far, the sweet potato crisps seem to be the only thing that Bogey has changed his mind on. I tried making dehydrated training treats of canned dog food. It worked, but the treats were too small and not as tempting as we were hoping. I’m going to try making them out of ground beef next time. I think that should go well. I really love getting to experiment with everything.

I think that with some testing we will figure out the right balance for everything. He’s such a sweet boy and seems happier on this new food and goes nuts for his treats. It is so uplifting to see him get so excited to get one of the treats I made for him.

Stay tune for another recipe and more Bulldog Blog posts!