Okay, so my dog (Chance – Great Dane/Lab mix) has been having terrible problems with his ears. For a while, he just kept getting ear infections. Now, he keeps scratching at his ear and cutting open the skin. He’s currently wearing a cone and I spray his wound with anti-septic a few times a day, along with cleaning out his ears. Along with all of this, he also has really terrible dandruff.
I was wondering if anyone knew of a good dog food for helping with his dandruff and other skin irritations. There are entirely too many options and it’s completely overwhelming. I know this isn’t the place, but if anyone has any other advice on what to do about his ear, that would be appreciated. I have taken him to the vet many times. Every time his ear heals, he just goes right back to cutting it open.
Thanks in advance for any helpful tips.
The best thing for you to do is to see what you feed him now (maybe let us know), and then do an elimination diet – I think it’s something like cooking a basic homemade chicken and rice diet and slowly adding other ingredients from the food he is currently on to see if he reacts to one or more of them. But some of the pros on here could maybe able to better explain how to do an elimination diet.
Some more common allergens are various grains, corn, sometimes chicken or another protein, sometimes peas or tomatoes (or tomato pomace), sometimes yeast. So doing an elimination will help you know what to avoid in a food and it will make it easier for us to know what to recommend.
As for skin/coat issues, fish oil and coconut oil do some miracles. Also fish-based foods and treats. For my dog who had the worst case the vet has seen of fleas and wounds and hair falling out when he was found and taken to a vet, The Honest Kitchen’s Beams (dried fish skins to be given as chews/treats) did some miracles and then a teaspoon of coconut oil every other day continually enhances this miracle and his skin is nice and healthy and his coat is as soft and shiny as ever, I love it. No trace of wounds or missing hair – he is double-coated and his coat is very thick, soft, shiny on top and healthy. 🙂 He is also on mostly a fish-based food now so that probably helps too.
But as for pet dander – sometimes the above measures may help, sometimes not – the dog may just be genetically predisposed to extra dander. But it’s worth a shot to see if you can help it some too.
I might have to try that elimination diet. He’s just on Dog Chow right now, because he was living with my parents and their 3 other dogs. I really want to get him on a healthier diet. I started pouring a multivitamin on top of this food the other day. I thought he was going to take off my hands to get more of it.
I also got Chance some fruit based treats, but I’ll definitely be picking up those Honest Kitchen’s Beams. I saw the worst case of fleas on him too. He was far more affected by the fleas than the other 3 dogs. Hopefully the fish and coconut oils will help rid him of his remaining wounds.
Thank you so much for the advice. At least now I can narrow down to fish-based foods. I think that will help him a lot. My goal now is to get him out of that cone.
Hi, what foods do you feed Chance, I put Patch on an elimination diet about 2 months ago cause of his itchy skin & red sore paws inbetween his toes & itchy ears… Patch has seasonal allergies around Summer & Autumn at his worst, when I started doing Patches elimination diet he was doing good then as soon as I added sweet potato with his boiled chicken breast 2 days later his ears started to itch & I had to use his Dermotic ear drops, excellent product clears his ears up straight away, so I stopped the sweet potato & he stop ripping at his ears.. Ive read you need to choose foods with low Gi carbs for itchy skin problems helps to keep the sugar levels constant…stay away from kibbles with potatos, sweet potatos, peas found in a few grain free kibbles…Have you tried a good fish based kibble…Holistic Select has Anchovy Sardines & Salmon meal, this kibble helped my friend Staffy, he had terrible red itchy skin when he was 9months old, she tried vet pescription diet kibble, then she tried the Wellness complete health the whitefish with sweet potato recipe & it didnt help, then she tried the Holistic Select Anchovy,Sardines & Salmon meal & now Bronson has beautiful itch free skin, she also mixes a couple of tin sardines in spring water with his kibble..but not all dogs are the same, you can only try & see if you see any change… look for a low carb diet with fish as the protein & see if things improve…
Those ear drops sound like miracle workers. That’s what I need for instant relief. I’m sure that Chance will hate me for an entire day, but he’ll get over it. I’m going to try the Holistic food. It has rave reviews and there are very few controversial ingredients. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try the elimination diet, but it sounds like it would be a great choice for him. Thank you so much. I don’t feel as overwhelmed by the options now.
Christina – if you want to try the fish kibble, you should – what Sue recommends are good foods, also Victor Yukon Salmon and Earthborn Coastal Catch (what I currently feed) are good. Others are Wellness Core Ocean-something and Nutrisca Salmon – also pretty good. Just make sure the food is meat-rich with fish and fish meals.
But definitely try an elimination diet so that you know what to avoid because otherwise you may find yourself constantly switching between fish kibbles because one or another ingredient may cause him to flare up. The THK beams should help though, and hopefully he won’t be allergic to fish. Definitely start him on good raw UNREFINED coconut oil at 1 tsp/day and work up to 1 tbs. daily.
Good luck, keep us posted! 🙂
I just read ur later post, you’ll need to get rid of his fleas buy a flea product either Comfortis this is tablet that Ive heard is really good for fleas, giving monthly but make sure its given with food & you know his correct weight or I use Frontline that you put on the back of their neck but I dont have a flea problem only when we go for walks at the park & fleas jump onto Patches legs…also the Dog chow is problably full of grap not good for a itchy dog, will make him itch more..Ive read on this site that a few people buy Pure Balance or Rachel Ray sold at Walmart these kibble are better then the real cheap kibbles also 4Health sold at tractor supply.. maybe someone else knows of a good cheaper kibble that they use….Im in Australia & we dont have alot of ur good cheaper kibbles over here.. Good-luck
He only had fleas the one time. My parent’s back yard turned into a swamp after their neighbors drained out their pool. That’s when the fleas (and turtles!!) took over the yard. Chance is living with me now, so I don’t think they’ll be a big problem.
The price isn’t really a concern for me any more. My boyfriend offered to buy the food and he told me to get good food, regardless of the price. Dog Chow is certainly worst of the worst according to the reviews.
Okay, I’ll try the elimination diet first. I fed him just chicken this morning, because that’s all I had other than a little bit of leftover Dog Chow. He was thrilled, so hopefully he doesn’t have any intolerance to it. It looks like I’ll need to get some anchovies, sardines, and salmon meal type ingredients to be sure that he’s not allergic to the fish before making him eat the Holistic food.
Do you know what I can get THK beams?
Christina, sounds like you are off to a good start! 🙂 For the diet, you can just use canned salmon in water, and some other fish (mackerel, sardine) to test him out (or use raw and either feed it like that or cook it up). Doesn’t have to be in the form of fish meal. And do try him with rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas (frozen or canned), tomatoes, and, if you desire – other meats and grains. Or you can just go grain-free and not worry about trying him on other grains, but it is good to switch up the proteins every once in a while. So after the fish session, when he’s fully healed, you could try him on lamb, or bison/beef, or venison, or rabbit, etc., or chicken, if he’s good on it.
Once you know what to avoid, you can find a suitable food for him among the brands we mentioned above and others.
I got my THK Beams from http://www.petexpertise.com but I think you can fond them at the THK website as well: http://www.thehonestkitchen.com . Also at local pet boutiques or specialty stores near you. This website has a Store Locator tab somewhere, just go to the homepage and type store in the search box, it should pop up. Then you just enter your zip code and go from there.
Thank you, that sounds a lot easier than hunting down the exact ingredients in the forms listed. Should I add something new each day or try each meal for a couple of days? I know that he won’t eat tomatoes. He just spits them right out, but I might be able to mix it up enough to hide them. He’ll lick them a lot, so I know he likes the taste, but he must dislike the texture or something.
Awesome! There’s a store not too far from me, so I should be able to go get those beams within the next few days.
Christina, I would say probably give it a few days (2-3-ish) before you add a new ingredient just so you know if he would react for sure. As for tomatoes, I guess you could put them in a blender or food processor for a few seconds until they are pretty much mush, then try them. Make sure the whole elimination diet does not last too too long, as it is not a balanced way to feed a dog, so hopefully within 10-14 days you will know if he reacts to a particular ingredient. If he doesn’t react to any of the ones listed above, I would go with a grain-free diet, or a rice-and-maybe-oatmeal-or-millet-or-barley-as-the-only-grains diet. But grain-free is generally safer for an allergy-prone dog.
One of my classmates and friends told me that her dog was extremely itchy eating Pedigree and Beneful, so I told her what I know, and she got him on a grain-free diet – said the itch has been considerably reduced to just an occasional “normal” scratch here and there. She didn’t do an elimination diet, just straight up eliminated the grains, and she was lucky her dog did not react to anything else. So that is also another way you can approach it – just try a good quality fish-based kibble and add the THK Beams as treats and coconut oil, and see how that goes. I would probably still do an elimination though, just to be sure for myself. But, it may work out that he just needs good-quality grain-free kibble.
In case you want to just try the kibble round, some good grain-free kibbles (I will just list them for your ease, in no particular order) are:
Wellness Core – I want to feed in the future
Orijen – I want to feed in the future
Acana Grain Free – I want to feed in the future
Victor Grain Free – I feed now
Earthborn Holistic Grain Free – I feed now
Dr. Tim’s Kinesis Grain Free – I have fed, no issues
Holistic Health Extension Grain Free – I have fed with no issues and I feed one of their grain-inclusive formulas now
Now! Fresh – I have fed a small bag (less than 1lb) with no issues
Nutrisca – I have fed, no issues
Nature’s Variety Instinct – I will feed (have a bag lined up under the sink, lol), and I have fed samples with no issues
Back to Basics Grain Free – I will feed the grain-inclusive one (have a bag lined up under the sink also)
NutriSource Grain Free – I have fed samples with no issue but it is severely overpriced in my area so I’m not sure I would buy a bag to feed it
Taste of the Wild – some don’t like it as it is produced by Diamond and that company had a huge recall issue in 2012 that they handled poorly, but 3 friends feed/have fed it with no issues
Blue Buffalo Wilderness – I have fed with no issues but some owners report tummy and stool issues with their dogs when on Blue food. However, 2 other friends have fed/still feed Blue with no issues.
I am sure others can pitch in with more recommendations, plus, if you can afford it/want to, it really is better to feed canned/dehydrated/homemade/raw. Or you can mix them up – I feed kibble and canned/THK food/fridge add-ins (like eggs, yoghurt, raw bones, etc.). But yeah, just start off with determining what works for Chance, you can always add new things once he is at least on better food. 🙂
I just have one thought to add to the conversation. If/when you decide to try a new kibble I would suggest you transition to one that has similar protein/fat/fiber percentages to Dog Chow to start with. Some dogs don’t have any issues switching between foods, but some dogs have digestive issues when transitioning to a new food with higher or lower protein/fat/fiber percentages.Kim HMember
where can you find UNREFINED coconut oil at 1 tsp/day and work up to 1 tbs. daily.
You can find it at health food stores, grocery stores, wholesale clubs (usually the best price), and I have picked up my last couple of jars at Wal-Mart. They have Spectrum organic unrefined for $8.99. I believe it’s on their website also.
Coco oil is great to use topically as well. I use it on my cat’s dry skin and used it last summer on my dog’s flea bites. Hopefully we won’t have a flea problem this year. Here’s a few links to some more info on coco oil and its uses:
With the Elimination diet you must only give the 1 food for at least 2 weeks, my vet said 1 month, but I saw Patches reaction within 2-3 days after giving sweet potatoes, you cannot give any ather foods, nothing else, no treats, no oils nothing, then if ur dog isnt scratching or has diarrhea then you add another food like rice or I added pumkin, its very hard & takes time, Ive stopped at the Chicken, pumkin, boiled egg, bannana, But if u can afford the Holistic Select this is an excellent kibble the Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon, meal for scratching & itchy skin, its the best seller at our Pet Barn with the itchy dogs, I cant use that flavour as my boy has Pancreatitis so Ive got Patch on the Senior, Holistic Select cause the fat is low 10%..then when his itch clears up, Holistic Select has Duck Meal, Lamb & Rice meal & Chicken & rice they also have a grainfree turkey & lentils. you can rotate feeds so when 1 bag has finished buy him a new flavour & see how he goes the Duck kibble is just duck as the protein so is the lamb meal so if ur dog does have any food allergies but its rare for dogs to have food allergis only 5% of dogs, but stay away from the high carbs potatoe, sweet potato, rice is OK its a low Gi carb its a good carb.. it gets complacated, so Ive been just sticking with the Holistic Select & Patches Vet Pescription kibble as he has a few health problems & he’s been doing good with his skin, stomach & bowels, I dont want to push it…Good-Luck hope Chance is looking beautiful & shinning in a month, you watch his fur after being on a good premium food..he’ll shine…
I ordered the Holistic Select in the anchovy, salmon flavor. Until then, I’ll be feeding him chicken so that I don’t have to give him any more of the Dog Chow. Hopefully the transition goes well, I really don’t want to get anything too close to Dog Chow since it is so terrible. I also think I saw that the Holistic Select comes in a canned food, so I might do a mixture of dry and canned. I’m sure that he would enjoy it.
I also managed to fined the THK Beams on Amazon, so I got those too. Until then, I have some fruit based treats that the Pet Smart employees recommended. He seems to like them, and they certainly haven’t made anything worse.
I’m going grocery shopping tonight, so I’ll look for the Coconut Oil. I’m assuming that I’ll be able to find it in the organic section.TMember
Don’t forget to support gut healing (probiotics, digestive enzymes, L-glutamine, bone broth, etc.) while you are working on finding a diet that works for your guy.
For red, hot, itchy ears (with or without exudate), steer away from “hot” proteins like venison, lamb and chicken. Steer toward rabbit, turkey, white fish. Canned food, homemade cooked, or raw food are all “cooler” than dry kibble. Adding healthy fats like sardines and eggs can be very beneficial, too.
Green veggies can help cool things down, too. Just make sure you puree them or lightly cook or the dog may not derive full benefit of the veggies.
Also, I like Zymox or Zymox HC ear drops as an alternative to the strong meds most vets prescribe.
I might have to try those ear drops. It’s really hard to use anything on his ears, because he’s a big baby and he runs away when you say the word “ear.”
I just wanted everyone to know, I got the coconut oil (unrefined) and Chance LOVES it. I obviously don’t know if it will work yet, but he couldn’t get enough of it. I’m glad that I don’t have to force it on him
Christina – good luck with Holistic Select, really hope it works! But do rotate proteins too! 🙂
And I second Sue – when he is on a good food, you will see him shine – the coconut oil will help too – I was shocked at Bruno’s shine after a small bag of Blue Buffalo Wilderness and a lot of THK Beams – I didn’t even realize he wasn’t shiny before that, lol!
As for the coconut oil – glad you have found the good, unrefined stuff! Make sure you give him small (1tsp-1tbs/day) but regular doses. You can give it daily – for Bruno, I give it every other day. I am sure he would eat the whole jar if I just let him, lol, but it would be much better to do it slower but more regularly, plus, I think he may “OD” on the fats, lol (JK, but I can’t imagine that a whole jar would be good, lol).
And lastly, as for the transition – it is indeed good to add plain yoghurt with lots of probiotic strains (I use Dannon Plain and Stoneyfield Organic), or plain Kefir. Also canned plain pumpkin is good too. You can add a spoonful of each with his canned and kibble and alternate at feeding times. Or add both, whichever.
Just becareful he doesnt get the runs from the cocnut oil, Ive never used it but any oils can go thru them, so slowly introduce the oil also do you have an Aldis they sell tin sardines in spring water real cheap or local supermaket may also sell sardines in spring water.. I get 3 tins plastic wrap together for $2 at Woolworths..mix a couple in with his chow food until the Holistic Select comes or use as a treat..I hate the smell but the cat loves them so does Patch….
You guys have been so helpful. I’ll get some plain yogurt, pumpkin, and sardines to give him for the weekend. The Holistic should be here tomorrow, but it might make sense just to have a few days of transitioning before heading straight for the new food.
Something that I gave him yesterday really bothered him, so I’m not going to give him any of the treats he had yesterday. I’ll continue with just chicken for today. If he has the same problem tomorrow, I’ll know it’s the chicken. He was shaking his head all night trying to get his cone off.
Hi Christina K:
Plain Kefir has more strains of probiotics than yogurt; you can usually find it in the yogurt aisle. Kefir has 10 different strains as opposed to yogurt’s typical 3 strains. If you do buy yogurt, read the label to ensure it states it “contains” live active yeast cultures.
I suggest adding anything new to his diet slowly, one at a time, and in small amounts building up to recommended portions. If there are any digestive upsets, this will help you pinpoint any possible culprits a little more easily.Shasta220Member
I’ve only skimmed through the posts, so I’m sorry if I’m butting in lol!
Our lab used to be on Dog Chow as well. She always suffered mildly from otitis (skin and ear infections). It eventually got so far out of hand. The poor girl was covered in gross raw patches. We put a sweater on her and a cone, but that was just preventing her from scratching, and not helping her feel better. Took her to the vet and they gave us tons of medications (they were really very little help. They just said “well, she has an allergy to food, environment, or fleas. It’s your job to find out which one, not mine!”)
I knew as soon as we ran out of those meds, then she’d be back in itchville. So I found DFA and then got her on a food without corn, wheat, or soy. In all her 12 years, I have never seen her NOT shake her head constantly and rub the ears after I clean them out. She stopped stinking, her fur grew back, she never scratched again, and now her ears are soft and she lets us pet them! Before, her ears were waxy and gross, and if we even touched them, it’d send her into an itching spree…
She also gets a raw egg, fish oil, and coconut oil daily (she gets a bit under 1tbsp, she’s 70lb. She was getting a bit over a tbsp, but then she refused to eat the oil. I dropped it for a few days, then offered her less, and she ate it all). I’m trying a grain free food with her right now, just to see if it’ll help with her dandruff. It’s very mild dandruff, so if the GF doesn’t help, I’m not worried at all.
So that’s my success story of a very similar situation 🙂
she’s pretty rotational with the kibbles. Let’s see, she’s successfully been on Dog Lovers Gold, Pure Balance GF, Diamond Naturals, Wenaewe, Paramount GF, and one or two others, can’t remember off the top. Right now she’s on the pure balance GF – I’ll probably move to NutriSource GF when this bag is empty. I tried her on NutriSource grain-inclusive…I don’t know if it was coincidence or what, but she broke out horribly (I might try it again in the future, as she’s been on worse foods without a problem)
Wow, that is very much like my situation. The vets were able to clear up his ears, but then everything just comes right back. I felt like a really awful pet parent for not taking him to the vet every single time, but I knew it was useless. It’s good to hear that everything worked out well.
Chance’s new food should be here tomorrow and I’m giving him the yogurt (or Kefir) with some sardines, pumpkin, and the coconut oil mixed it. It sounds gross to me, but I’m sure he’ll love it.
Hopefully I’ll be back with a success story soon.Shasta220Member
Hopefully you’ll have a success story as well!
Don’t feel too bad about the vet situation – we only took Cassy in a few times when she was younger. Not once did they suggest food/supplements, except for Beneful and flax oil (Beneful=garbage. Flax oil-they don’t absorb many of the nutrients). They just continued to give us expensive drops and washes, which seemed to make her worse.
We went several years without going to the vet since we knew it wouldn’t help… We finally had no other option when she got to the point of wearing the cone and sweaters.
The food change was night and day though. She acted /years/ younger, wanting to jump and play again. If I didn’t switch her food a year ago, I’m not sure she’d even be alive today (poor girl is starting to slow back down again. She spends most of the day sleeping on her fluffy bed lol)
I know it’s been a super long time, but I remembered this post today when I went to order new food for Chance. I took him to a new vet and they got his infection all cleared up. He’s now on an allergy medication and he ears have never looked better. He’s out of the cone of shame and I hardly ever have to clean out his ears. He still has a hematoma in one ear that won’t go down. The vet didn’t seem too worried about, so I’m trying not be. So far, I’ve tried the Hollistic Select in all of the flavors available. He liked them all (at first) and now he doesn’t like eating them as much. He apparently only likes junk food, because he gobbled up the food at my parent’s house when we went to visit.
Oh, he also hates the coconut oil now. I bought a huge new jar, and he decided that it wasn’t good enough. So, I switched to a healthy yogurt and his skin/fur still look and feel nice
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