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Dogs/Severe allergies and have not been using big company brands for 2 years!!!!


QUESTION: Hi Mr. McLeskey, I am writing you as a last resort. We honestly don't know what else to do. We have a male 9 year old full breed American staffordshire terrier who shows all of the classic signs of food allergies. The only problem is we changed his dog food from kibble and sh¡|$ to Zignature about 2 years ago and he stills has almost all of the symptoms. Ear infections, skin rashes, licking paws, crusty jowls and now eye irritation. He didn't always have all of these symptoms, it started with recurring ear infections, licking and skin redness. But as the years have gone by the other symptoms have started. We have spent thousands of dollars in vet bills, medications and trying different food. It's a vicous cycle, he gets to the point where we can tell his ears are beyond the point of being cleaned up with ear wash and Zymotic so we go to the vet get predisone, antibiotics, and benadryl, everything clears up for a couple of months and then the symptoms return and progressively get worse and then we start the process all over again. We buy our Zignature trout and salmon meal formula from a licensed dog nutritionist and she has helped us tremendously by giving us different ideas and things to try. We've tried giving him coconut oil, immune boosters & probiotics with no relief. He does get benadryl on a regular basis when his symptoms are bad. Our nutritionist has suggested we might want to talk to our vet about putting him on a very minimal amount of predisone for the rest of his life. We have an appointment next week. I know you're probably going to suggest that we try mixing raw food in his diet and he already does get raw food but not on a regular basis and it's not ground. I work in a restaurant so it's things like beef fat trimings and what not. Also we have not been able to give him a bath in anything without him breaking out in hives for days until recently our vet suggested we try Aveno oatmeal bath. We recently moved from the city to the country and decided to wait until we were here because even the water made him break out when we lived in town. He did not break out with the oatmeal bath!!! But it didn't do much for his smell!! Oh also he has recently started to get a rash down the front of his chest. That's another reason why we are heading to the vet. As far as his behavior he seems pretty happy for the most part, hes pretty lazy but we think thats because of his age. He does get bursts of energy at times and races through the house, jumping around. Please help us, at this point we are willing to do almost anything to make his quality of life the best it can be for his remaining years.

ANSWER: Hi Colleen,

Sorry to hear you are having so many issues with your baby. Also sounds like you ave tried almost everything. About all I can do is make a couple of suggestions and we can take it from there.

The one thing that jumped out at me reading your story was the smell you mentioned. If it smells something like corn chips or similar, you could be experiencing a yeast infection.

This is very common and even right after baths dogs with yeast infections tend to start smelling right away. This will usually effect the ears with infections. Smell his ears and see what it smells like.

The thing about yeast infections is that the antibiotics that the vets gives just makes it worst. They destroy the good and bad bacteria and leave no defense against the yeast infection. The predisone may keep it at bay for a while then when that leave his system, the yeast flares up again.

If this is a possibility and he does have the smell of something like corn chips, let me know and we can discuss measures to combat that. If you've already ruled this out, then we have to look elsewhere.

The Kibbles and bits probably destroyed his immune system, or mostly anyways. Dogs with this weak of an immune system are subject to all kinds of allergies. It may not just be from the food. It can be laundry detergent, floor cleaners, chemicals in the lawn or other types of contact allergies. He can also develop allergies to airborne pollen's, grasses, fleas, etc.

Even the Zignature food can still cause problems in severe cases. I've seen dogs continue to have problems with foods that contain flaxseed and or alfalfa. Zignature has both in it. Even the salmon meal makes some dogs sick because it is so rich.

Right now he is so sensitive to everything and you will continue to have problems until we can build his immune system back up and keep the problem stuff out of his life.

You can try to combat this yourself by providing him with immune support type supplements like wheat grass, spirulina, pet kelp or other super green formulas or whatever you have been using for the immune booster you spoke of. Keep that up.

I would also give him a different food. You can go back to the dog food nutrition person and find the best grain free, highest protein content, lowest carb content foods. Preferably something in turkey or chicken and get away from the fish right now. Or even a lamb formula has good omegas in it.

I would not feed any dry if you can afford it. Dry foods are too hard to digest, void of needed moisture and usually contain too many carbs which feed yeast. Find a good high protein canned food like Merrick's 96% or similar.

Raw is the best for fighting yeast infections and other allergies but in your case with his weakened immune system, I would hold off until you can get this under control a bit.

You mentioned giving him probiotics. Don't stop that, give him therapeutic doses. And don't forget the enzymes as well. These are very critical especially in your case. If he has a problem digesting his foods, he could be nutrient deficient and thus cause a weaker immune system. I recommend to everyone that no matter what you feed your dog or cat, the most important thing you can do is add enzymes and probiotics. Even if you feed a raw food diet like we do, we still both to every meal for our guys.

If you don't want to attempt to battle this yourself, there are a couple alternatives. First, you can take him to a specialist that deals with dog allergies and they can test him and give you a report on everything that he is allergic to. Then you work on his immune system and keep everything he is allergic to out of his life. Many times they can provide some meds to help some allergies.

My best advice right now would be to find a holistic vet and take him there for a check up. Talk to your nutritionist to see if they can recommend one in your area.

These people are usually great. They are trained in all the regular vet duties and then they are trained in healing holistically. We recommend and use them ourselves.

They can provide supplements to build his immune system to fight off a lot of this. They can also help with diet recommendations. They will give him an exam that will help determine what's going on. They will usually be able to contact your vet and have his records faxed over so they know everything that has been going on with him before your appointment.

We have a 12 year old beagle that we rescued, we also do rescues and rehabilitate through nutrition and find homes, but he had such a severe case of food allergies that it took us almost a year to get him all cleared up. We gave him regular baths once a week with Zymox shampoo as well as a raw food diet and immune support products. His skin looks great but he still itches a lot. I think a lot of it is habitual. But this whole process can take a long time, you just need to make sure you got him on the right path.

So basically those are my thoughts at this point. I know it can be expensive and very frustrating to go through this.

I'm sure he is grateful that you continue to try and not let him suffer. If it boils down to it, you may have to give him a low dose predisone. We've seen that often when the immune system and/or other organs are just beyond much help. I believe there are more natural ones that a holistic vet can give that are not as hard on his system.

Severe cases can get worst before getting better as the bad things leave his system. Once you have him on the best regimen, give it some time.

After reading all this, please write down any thoughts and/or additional questions or other input you may have so we can rule more things our and try different things. Then get back to me with any thoughts or more questions. Especially if he does smell like corn chips and you haven't ruled out a yeast infection.

Hang in there, there's always a way to get a dog better. It just depends if you want to tackle it yourself or get help from one of the alternatives I mentioned above.

Talk to you soon,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Roger!! Thank You SO so much for getting back to me so quickly!!! Yes he does smell like corn chips, I thought it was normal tho as I've heard friends talking about their dogs smelling that way!! Also the vets have told us in the past that was what his ear infection was. Also, as of about a month ago our chihuahua has been showing signs of skin issues. But we recently changed his food as well to a softer food because his teeth are getting bad, we noticed he wasn't eating as much of the dry hard food. Again, thank you very very much!!! Just what you've said to me in your response has made more sense to me than anything else anyone has said in a very long time. Look foward to hearing from you soon.


ANSWER: Hey Colleen,

Yeah, the corn chip smell is far from normal. Dogs should never have any kind of bad smell, that's just not normal. Yeast infections are fairly common in today's dogs because of their diets. They were never meant to eat a cooked food diet and especially ones that contain a high amount of grains. It's not only the grains causing issues but the processing method that it goes through. Many holistic vets attribute that chemical process to so many sick dogs.

People are blowing out their dogs immune systems and don't even know it. They believe what the bags of food tell them that this is all healthy and complete nutrition. The vets are no help because they are not trained in nutrition. We have to fight off what vets tell our customers all the time. Most of the time the customers will listen to us and their dogs get better.

So we are looking at least at a yeast infection among possibly other things. My basic thoughts on feeding from the first message holds. High protein, low to no carbs in his diet. Carbs feed the yeast. Get rid of the yeasts' food supply and add a therapeutic dose of probiotics daily. It may take a little time but starving the yeast is the best method along with external treatments.

At this severity, he may also need medicated baths along with some anti-fungal medication from your vet. Keep up the coconut oil, 1/4 teaspoon per 10lbs twice a day. A little bit of garlic is also good for yeast infections however dogs should not have too much garlic.

One online holistic vet that we follow and read her articles is from Karen Becker. She's great and parallels our beliefs in food and treatments. You can read her article on yeast infections for greater detail on how you can treat your guy yourself. She goes into greater detail on external treatment on ears and feet. You can find her article here:

You would do good to read a lot of her stuff and follow her information.

My wife and I also published an eBook that is available on Amazon. It basically covers why some dogs foods are bad and what are some good ones and how to feed on a budget. I think you are beyond this basic information but if you want to check it out,it's at:

You could probably keep your vet appointment if you want and see if he/she will diagnose yeast infection as well. There is often secondary infections along with this and that is why they usually prescribe antibiotics. If they ever do again, just give probiotics on opposite times of the day from the antibiotics.

Another good natural antibiotic is colloidal silver. We sell it in our store as a natural antibiotic for internal and external applications. This does not destroy the good bacteria in your dogs system. You can search this to find out more.

And for your chihualhua, feed grain free wet foods as well. As dogs get older they just don't need any grains, even the good ones. Grains feed cancers so just keep them away. He will also need good enzymes and probiotics. Extra multivitamins/minerals and other immune builder supplements will go a long ways as well.

So follow these and Karen's recommendations for getting rid of his yeast problems, feed mostly wet foods and/or some of your own home cooked lean meats and veggies added in. The less processing food goes through, the better it is for us and them.

If he does have any secondary infections along with this, he may need some antibiotics. But the more you know how to introduce the good bacteria along with these, the better he will get soon.

Let me know if you have any other questions or thoughts.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Tank and Peanut
Tank and Peanut  
QUESTION: Roger. Thank You so much for all of this useful information!! I'm absolutely loving finally finding some answers. I completely agree with what you're saying about the vets, we've surely been down that road with them and for a long time at that. I at least hope the thousands we've given them helped put one of their children through college!!! Anywho, I went and read Karen's article about yeast and plan on starting that process as soon as I get out of work tomorrow. I have a few questions though first. At this time we have not found ANYTHING(shampoo) we can safely give him a bath with that doesn't result in him breaking out in hives a few hours/days later. We've tried everything from OTC, prescribed antifungal shampoos to an all natural shampoo our nutritionist gave us to try. So with that I'm very leary about bathing him with any type of shampoo. BUT we haven't tried anything with tea tree oil. What would you suggest I try?? And should I buy something or should I make something?? Either way works for me, as long as it works for him. I just would really hate for him to end up with hives right now as itchy as he already is. Again, thank you so much!!! We live in a more rural area and there's not many people in this area that could even begin to help us with this. We would definitely have to drive a few hours find a holistic vet. So again we all thank you very very much!!! Especially Tank and Peanut!!

Well Tank and Peanut are very welcome. They look like best friends.

Hard to say what might set him off as far as shampoo goes. We sell and use Zymox for the itchy and sensitive skin cases. It's a very mild shampoo. But each dogs severity is unique to that animal so we really don't know if he'll have problems until we try it.

You can either try Zymox or hold off on the bath right now until you've started treatment on the ears and feet. Giving him the canned along with the supplements will help as well to buy some time.

If you do try the Zymox and he does break out, you could try applying a 50/50 mixture of organic apple cider vinegar and water.

To relieve pain and itching, get him all wet with warm water, apply the cider vigegar/water mixture all over his skin. Let this sit for 5 minutes then rinse off.

This will balance the PH level of his skin and provide relief. We've used this a few times for dogs with great success.

Can't guarantee it will work for Tank but it would be worth a try.

You could also try to email Karen Becker as well and ask her about shampoo. If you can get through to her, she might give you a good answer that we are thinking about.

One more thing, my mom had some issues with her dogs and did not want to take them to a new holistic vet because they get so scared going to any vet. So I found Dr. Tillman online. She is a holistic vet that answers questions online. I think she charges like $9 per question or I think she has monthly plans.

She gave me some good answers to help my mom with her kidney failure dog so I have recommended her to customers from time to time.

You can find her info here:

OK, so you've got some work to do. Best of luck with all of this. And if there is any other questions that come up tomorrow or whenever, please feel free to just write, I'll help if I can.

Let me know how Tank progresses. It helps me to know what people find that works for them so I can pass that info along.

Take care,



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Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our pet’s natural diet and caused most of today’s problems.

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