Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum

I just read another post and it made me think about Hunter's itching.

Hunter is an itchy dog, not that I have anything to compare her to, but to me she seems itchy in paticular places quite often.  She tends to scratch the right side of her face, there is nothing on the skin at all that I can see.  She also scratches her belly in one spot with no visual reason.  It seems to come on all of a sudden and she will jump and start scratching.  I have used many different types of shampoo's and some tend to work for a short time and she starts scratching again.  I have been giving her 1000mg of EPO daily but it doesn't seem to have made a difference, she has been taking it for months.

She eats Canidae All Life Stages, do you think there is something in it that could be causing this?  Would you recommend trying a different Candae formula?  She never has problems with bowel movements, throwing up, etc. so I hadn't really thought about that being the issues.  

Thoughts? Recommendations?

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If Hunter's symptoms are allergy related, the odds are 10 to 1 that this is not related to food in any way. Food allergies are relatively rare in dogs, despite what many people think. Bowel movements, vomiting, etc are also not usually related to true food allergies.

If you want to try switching foods, I'd suggest going with a grain free formula that uses a different protein source than Hunter's current food. That may be difficult. You are also going to have to avoid all treats that contain any grains, and any proteins that she is currently eating. And you will have to do this for 8-12 weeks to see any difference, assuming it is a food allergy, which of course it probably isn't.

Antihistamines in conjunction with fatty acids can help, if the itching is caused by a histamine reaction to some allergen.

Try generic Claritin (NOT "D") or Zyrtec. Benadryl is not effective for this.


How often would you give the Claritin?  Would you give the adult dose?  Do you think it would be effective to switch to another Canidae formula?  Or another brand all together? Any recommendations?

I have food allergies so I have done a TON of research on the human side of it but that's been it.  

If there is a food allergy, which again is doubtful, it would be to a particular ingredient and not a brand. So there's no reason to change brands. When dogs do have food allergies, the culprits are almost always an animal protein, grains, or soy. So if you do want to try this, you must find a food, it doesn't matter what brand, that does not contain any of the same animal proteins as the current formula. And since grains can also contribute to inhalant allergies for other reasons, I would go with a grain free formula.

It's hard to give you the Claritin dosage. Antihistamines are given once a day, every day, but JD takes three times the human dosage. That's for very very severe itching, though.  And when we tried Zyrtec, the dosage was the same as the human dosage, one per day. So I'm not sure what to tell you regarding dosage. I got that from JD's derm. specialist, and the regular vets know nothing at al about it, in my experience. Most of them have never heard of giving a dog anythingbut Benadryl.

It can also take 2 weeks to see any results.

There seem to be a lot of doodles with these issues, I have been wondering if maybe it's possible they could be gluten intolerant of maybe have a sort of Celiac Disease and if they is why they seem to do better on the grain free diet.


I've explored those issues, Donna, but it appears that dogs don't get Celiac disease and gluten is not mentioned in the veterinary literature either. The biggest differences between dogs' digestive systems and humans' digestive systems are the way they handle (or dont; handle) complex carbohydrates. It is much more difficult for dogs to digest and utilize grains than it is for humans, even perfectly healthy dogs.

Grain-free diets help for a few other reasons besides that they are easier for dogs to digest and there is much less waste material. One is that when there are inhalant allergies, storage or cereal mites are one of the most common allergens. Foods that are grain-free obviously help with this, since there are no grains and much less particulate matter.


This is from the Honest Kitchen web site.

What are the signs of gluten Intolerance in Pets?

Consumption of glutenous grains in sensitive pets, can lead to:

Chronic GI upset – intermittent or continuing diarrhea and / or constipation including mucusy stools. Vomiting may also occur in more severe cases.
Dermatitis – chronic dry and flaky skin, hair loss, redness, bumps, rashes and constant scratching are classic signs of a food intolerance.
Chronic ear infections – over-consumption of grain can lead to a buildup of excess sugars in the system. This in turn can contribute to yeast overgrowth, leading to dark, smelly waxy debris in the ears, head shaking and scratching.
Other health problems that may be related to food intolerances such as grain sensitivity include: arthritis, epilepsy, abnormal behavior, allergic and inflammatory reactions (including inhalant allergies due to a compromised immune system), pancreatitis, hepatitis, as well as an increased susceptibility to infection, Cushing’s, Addison’s, and thyroid problems. Of course not all these conditions are directly related to grain consumption, but the overload of grain in most modern commercial pet diets is thought to deplete the animal’s natural state of good health over time, leaving him more susceptible to these problems occurring.

These seem to pretty much cover all the issues most often discussed by doodle owners. I have no way of know if it actual fact or if it is just a way to promote their foods.

This is from a website called VetInfo

The celiac disease in dogs is due to an intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in many foods such as wheat, corn and rye. When a pet with celiac disease consumes foods that contain gluten, there will be an immune response that focuses on the intestinal tract. If the reaction is ignored, the dog can suffer from digestive tract issues and malnourishment.

Causes of Celiac Disease in Dogs

Celiac disease is caused by gluten intolerance. The celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disease, as the dog’s immune system reacts when the dog eats gluten containing products. The disease is idiopathic, but it is believed that there are genetic factors contributing to the development of the celiac disease. Certain dog breeds such as the Irish Setters are more prone to this condition. The condition can be observed starting from the age of 3 to 6 months old.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Dogs
The gluten intolerance will cause symptoms such as:

•Chronic diarrhea, with mucus, due to the irritation of the digestive tract
•Constipation—the dog may not eliminate for several days
•Weight loss or the dog is not able to gain weight, regardless of the amount of food he consumes
•General state of weakness
These symptoms may occur if the dog consumes products that contain gluten (i.e. wheat, rye or barley derivates). If gluten is present in the dog’s daily diet, he may have a poor skin and coat condition and he may even lose hair. You may also notice skin lesions and the dog is very likely to shed more dander. His skin can be itchy and this will cause frequent scratching. Secondary infections are not uncommon in dogs with celiac disease.

Celiac Disease and a Lack of Nutrients
The celiac disease will affect the way the nutrients are absorbed in the dog’s body and next to the obvious symptoms of poor skin and coat condition, the dog will also be malnourished. This is due to the fact that the celiac disease will manifest through an immune system reaction, which produces antibodies. The antibodies will attack the villi, which are substances in the small intestine that help in the absorption of food and send the nutrients in the blood stream. In dogs with celiac disease, the nutrients won’t be properly absorbed. Even if the dog eats a lot of food, he will still be malnourished.

Diagnosing Celiac Disease in Dogs

Blood tests and a biopsy of the intestine will suffice to have a clear diagnosis.

Preventing Dog Celiac Disease
If your pet is diagnosed with the celiac disease, you will have to switch to a different diet and make sure that all the foods given your dog won’t contain gluten. This includes the treats, which often contain gluten. Check the labels of the products that you buy and make sure they are gluten free. Avoid any meals that contain wheat or grains.

Read more: Celiac Disease in Dogs - VetInfo

I have to do some more research but I find this very interesting. I have a BIL with Celiac disease and he shares most of these symptoms, especially the dry itchy skin and bowel issues.


The Honest Kitchen info is not accurate. That much I know. i like their products, but their website is full of misinformation, especially on allergies and immune issues.

I had been told that dogs son't get Celiac disease, but I will have to look into that. With all of the many vets and specialists who have examined and tested JD in the past few months, and all of the possible illnesses and conditions that were mentioned, Celiac disease never came up. Did not see it in any of my reading, either. But I can't say that it doesn't exist in dogs with certainty.

Nope, I cannot find a true fact-based veterinary website that even mentions Celiac disease in dogs. Even the Merck Veterinary Manual does not have anything at all about it, not even a mention. It only comes up in horses.

Nothing at all in the Pet Web Veterinary Library either.

But even if it does exist in dogs, I remember something F once said she learned in medical school: "If you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras." That doesn't mean zebras don't exist, but look to the most likely explanation for a symptom first.

Maybe I'm just hoping it exits, it would make treating these issues so much easier.

You have no idea how well I understand what you just said. When JD's allergy issues started, I wanted so much to believe all the people in the various on-line forums who kept telling me it might be food related. If you could just eliminate certain things from the diet, and that would solve the problem, I would be the happiest person on earth.

But I do think eliminating grains is a good idea anyway. I don't have a list of high-gluten foods handy, but it probably wouldn't be too hard to eliminate those from a dog's diet, either. Easier than a human's diet, I think.

Best I could find on a quick perusal. Some people say there is celiac disease in dogs but as to hard science, not so sure.

My lab mix, King, had similar issues.  He scratched a hole in the side of his face.  It turned out he was allergic to grass, and I gave him a generic Claritin every day. He never had the issue again. It might be worth a try to see if it helps?



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