Hi all. In December I got a healthy, active, 9 yr old male German Shepherd. he was eating Pro Plan Sport, the 30/20 kind. He had terrible gas so I switched him slowly to Innova Prime Chicken and Turkey. He has developed dry, flaky skin along his back and sides. Bathing actually aggravated his skin terribly. He is now also supplemented with fish oil (for people), 1200-2400 mg per day. I’ve seen improvement from that, but he’s still really dandruffy along his back. I’m brand loyal to Innova as that’s what we fed during the first China food disaster; my in-laws pets sickened and died on vet-prescribed food, but our pets were fine.
What should I try next? He is extremely active and lean; he doesn’t need any calorie reduction. He could use more fiber in his diet, I think, as sometimes it takes him a long time to finish his morning constitutional. I’m open to trying a different brand of food, although I have a hard time believing he’s not getting what he needs from the Innova Prime. I’m also open to mixing different foods if that would help. What do you think?
Fish oil is great – I would keep him on it for a while. You could also try a fish-based food for the sake of rotation and varying the protein intake. Lamb is good for skin and coat too, I hear.
As far as fiber, my pup is currently on a mix of Dr. Tim’s Grain Free (4.5% fiber), Nutrisca Chicken and Chickpea (7% fiber), and Vets Choice Holistic Health Extension Grain Free (5% fiber). He, however, suffers from hard stools, as high in fiber as his diet is, so kind people in this forum have recommended pumpkin and flax for him, and maybe even yoghurt – they are all good additives, and the latter REALLY seems to help him. All the foods he is on currently are 5-star rated (except for the Vets Choice – that is 4.5 stars I think) and grain free.
I am switching him to Earthborn Holistic Grain Free mixed with Vets Choice, and Victor Ultra Professional Grain Free mixed with Back to Basics after. All of that will have even less fiber than he has in his food now, but I will be adding the pumpkin, flax, and yoghurt daily, I don’t mind. I really like Victor and can’t wait to get Bruno on it, and they also have a salmon-based grain-free recipe. It is also very affordable and 5-star-rated.
That is for the fiber. As for the dandruffy-ness of your guy, I can just share my experience, and it is that my pup, when found, was so flea-infested, the vet had said she hasn’t seen a case this bad. He has had skin sores and wounds all over. With much TLC, grain-free food and daily fish skins (I used Beams by The Honest Kitchen), his skin healed up completely and coat is super soft and shiny. So this is why I may consider more fish in his diet, plus, I am sure more knowledgeable people in the forum will chip in with more advice.
Thank you so much! How often do you rotate your boy’s food? I just got back from the pet store(s) and have a bag of Orijen Six Fish. I’m blending that with the Innova Prime to switch him over and will continue the fish oil supplement and research. I would like him to have more than 18% fat but we’ll see how he does after getting off the Innova first. I’m very interested in the Victor as well. I hadn’t heard of the Honest Kitchen until just now, and it looks like Beams are sold at the same store I just got the Orijen. haha fish-averse hubby is about to rue the day I found this website. 😀
Sounds like you’ve already got some ideas for foods to try – I don’t know that many brands personally, so I usually say it’s safe to go with 4-5 star brands.
As for the skin. I wouldn’t expect a bath to help much, as soaps tend to strip the coat even more, unless they’re medicated and designed for dry skin (when my dog is super dry, I use an oil-based organic shampoo. Sometimes it’s almost too much though, and my dog doesn’t feel clean at all).
Some things to look into: possibly tests for food allergies? As almost all skin problems have something to do with food, sadly. It could be chicken, grains, tomatoes, fish, the list goes on. I’d try getting him on coconut oil – organic extra virgin cold pressed, about 1tbsp per 30lbs. That stuff has been known as a miracle worker around these parts! Salmon oil is very good, too. Keep that up, 🙂
Fiber additions – most people add a big spoonful of pumpkin (canned is fine) to their dogs food. If there’s no improvement in his morning routine, then possibly try some probiotic supplements as well.
And with the fish – I know many people give their dogs oily fish 1-3x per week. I think it’s usually sardines.
About anything good and oily is good though. Sardine, salmon, krill, algae, coconut, and my dogs get flax oil as well (although they don’t absorb it as well as with fish oils). Just be a little careful not to go too overboard, as it could produce a greasy coat after a while. I know someone who gives her 50lb dogs 4 capsules of fish oil daily AND 2-4tbsp olive oil. They’re in tip-top shape and don’t stink, but leave a bit of a film after you pet them a while.
I, personally, also swear by raw eggs. My lab, who’s suffered a dull drab coat and awful skin conditions all her life, gets a whole raw egg daily. She is looking much much better.
Hope we helped! I second everything Shasta said, from the pumpkin addition, to testing for food allergies, to the raw egg – Bruno will be getting one/week starting next Thursday! Also, I swear by coconut oil (make sure it is UNREFINED too though – extra virgin, cold-pressed, UNREFINED – it is the REAL deal) – miracle worker. 🙂 But the food you got sounds great, hope your boy likes it! And yay for fish, just hope he’s not allergic to it or something. Orijen is a great brand from what I read though! 🙂
I rotate Bruno’s food once his mix ends, which is about every 4 months or so. And I go through a few flavors/proteins of the same brand before I switch brands. Now he has enough food to last throughout March for sure, maybe even April. Next batch is Earthborn Holistic GF Coastal Catch (fish) mixed with Vets Choice HHE Original (chicken mostly, but other meals in there. Some grains too. Meh, I got it for free and it is 4-stars, so I’m good with it.), then Earthborn Holistic GF Great Plains Feast (bison and some lamb) mixed with Vets Choice HHE Lamb and Rice (I know. Rice. Not grain free. Oh well. There’s lamb in it too.), and then Earthborn Holistic GF Primitive Natural (chicken) mixed with Vets Choice HHE GF (chicken). THEN I have Victor Ultra Professional GF mixed with Back to Basics lined up, and then the Victor Yukon Salmon GF mixed with probably Back to Basics again. THEN I want to try Wellness Core. I think I have Bruno’s meal plan set for like 2 years to come, lol.
As for THK Beams – if you have any local boutiques that sell all-natural dehydrated chews (which is what the fish skins are), see if they have them in bulk – my closest pet boutique store sells them in a jar by the skin, and the big ones are just $1, and I can cut them in like 8 Bruno-sized skins! Bruno is a Jack Russel – (miniature?) Rat Terrier mix, @ around 1 year. I will claim April 1st as his Birthday. We are not 100% sure, he was found in some bushes… But was changing puppy teeth throughout August-September of last year… Any guesses on approximate Birthday? Anyone?
I just wanted to add…I use THK Beams as my dogs’ chews and they’re wonderful! They love them, they take a little while to chew up (I have small dogs) and they don’t mess with their digestion. They are used to eating fish, though, so that may be it.
This may be an intolerance to chicken and you should probably try a chicken free food.
I would agree with Patty. It may be chicken issue. I recently discovered my dog has a fish issue. I switched to a fish-free food, but it still contained fish oil, which in theory should’ve been OK (fat and oils are clarified and should have the offending protein removed); but he still reacted. Now I only feed foods that are completely fish free. For your dog, I would try a chicken free food. If that food contains chicken fat, see how he does. If he reacts, move to a chicken free food, one without chicken or chicken fat.
The best advice I can give you is what helped me the most. Start now and keep detailed notes about each food you use. I started a spreadsheet and keep detailed notes about each food I’ve used. Detail the ingredients (keep the label from the bag ~ ingredients change and what you find online in six months may be different that what your dog are and reacted to. I note the date I start the food, when I observe reactions, nutrient analysis, etc. My only regret is not having started my spreadsheet sooner. Some foods that my pup once did well on, aren’t working any longer so even when I’ve found several that do work, I’ll continue to keep notes and look for other foods. I once had an idea that I loved certain foods / brand, but I’ve had to think outside of my original box, but never outside of my comfort zone; ie: I pay I never have to try a Diamond food. I know my sensitive dog will always be a sensitive dog and his current reaction may evoke into other reactions.
This is great, thank you all so much. My house smells like an aquarium now but totally worth it. We have gotten rid of all treats, etc that have chicken, and also are switching the cats to Orijin. Origin and THK treats, with some egg, pumpkin, sardines, and coconut oil rotated in here and there as well (not all of this has been implemented yet for the sake of his digestive tract and my carpet). I don’t think he has a fish allergy as the only improvement I saw was after starting the fish oil supplement. Love the spreadsheet idea, too! He loves his Beam treats and new food. I can’t wait to see if this fixes the dandruff. I swear his fur is already getting softer…
I am so happy you are already seeing improvement in your boy, Fatcakes! 🙂
Good food, chews/treats, and supplements really do work wonders on our beloved pets from the inside! 🙂
Keep us posted on how his dandruff issue goes!
P.S. I am about to switch my Bruno to fish-based food in about a month or so, so good to know my apartment will smell like an aquarium as well, LoL!
I’m not a huge fan of heavily fish based foods because of the greater potential for rancidity. Here’s a really good article by Steve Brown for The Whole Dog Journal about rancid fats:
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