I adopted my Lab/GSD Mix from the shelter roughly 12 weeks ago (they said he’s 2 years old). They were feeding him Royal Canin Medium Adult so I thought to keep it as his diet. That is, until I discovered the numerous bad ingredients in RC. I also noticed that my dog would be scratching/nibbling on his back every so often, not constantly but still a cause for concern. So I thought to attempt to combat this with some grain-free food. (Perhaps I was wrong to assume so?). After much research, I decided to try out Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Chicken/Turkey…seeing that it’s not only affordable but contains pretty good ingredients.
My pup loves food so he has been chowing down WEF with no problem (for 18 days now- including a week of transition time) but I’ve noticed that he’s been shedding a lot more than usual and small clumps of hair is falling from his tail. I also discovered a 2″ long (literally a line) bald patch where his back and hip-bone connect (ruled out fleas). I’m not sure where it’s from but I have a hunch it may be caused by WEF (they won’t say how much Omega-3 is in their grain free chicken and turkey recipe, just that it is formed naturally.)
I’d like some advice, please, on which food is good to transition my pup to. Should I move him back to Royal Canin or try another type of food (whether with or without grains)? I’ve been doing a lot of research regarding dog food but I’m completely overwhelmed. I read Dr. Mike’s article on calcium/phosphorus levels for large breed puppies but what about my (supposedly) 2 Year old pup? What are other things I should look for in dog food besides protein, fat, fiber, and calcium/phosphorus?
Thanks in advance.
For best results I would make an appointment with a board certified veterinary dermatologist for accurate testing, diagnosis and treatment.
Environmental allergies? Has mange been ruled out? Atopic dermatitis? Medical condition? Has lab work and skin testing been done?
Treatment is often a multifaceted approach. It’s not just about finding the right food, or the right shampoo, or the right supplement.
In fact the food may have nothing to do with his symptoms.
Do you have pet health insurance? You may want to consider getting it before he is officially diagnosed. Treatment can be a little expensive.
If it is environmental allergies, there is no cure. There is effective treatment, however it is lifelong, allergies tend to wax and wane so you may get lucky, they could be mild or seasonal (if that’s what he has). He could very well have some other skin disorder or medical condition that is causing these issues.
Bathing with a very gentle puppy shampoo at least once a week may help, but not if the skin is red, bleeding or irritated, in that case I would defer to the vet.
Talk to your vet, if you want to rule out food sensitivities ask about a prescription/therapeutic diet, that might be a good place to start, it depends on how severe his symptoms are and how uncomfortable the dog is.
I would go directly to the specialist if it was my dog, my dog sees a veterinary dermatologist once a year and has had a positive response to treatment.
She did well on Nutrisca salmon for years but is now on Zignature whitefish or catfish.
You could add fish oil (approved for veterinary use) once a day to his food, it’s supposed to help with dry skin. I add a little water and a topper, like a bit of scrambled egg (2 meals per day)
Thanks for the advice, Anon.
I thought to start small and base things off the recent changes that occurred and that is, his diet. Everything seems relatively normal when he was on Royal Canin. I’d just like to switch him to some other brand/flavor that doesn’t contain ingredients like “chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp”.
It could be stress related too. Give it a little time. If he did well on RC I would go back to it for now. Don’t believe all the hype about this ingredient and that ingredient being bad.
For science based veterinary medicine go here http://skeptvet.com/Blog/category/nutrition/TyrionthebiscuitMember
I would look for something fish or duck based. Under the Sun is still an affordable food but has a fish option. WEF also has a fish and a duck option.
Thanks for the advice, Tyrion.
I did research both Under the Sun and WEF…but neither of ’em will say what their Omega-3 contents are, just that it’s formed naturally in the ingredients they use.
For this reason I’m now very reluctant about trying another WEF flavors and Under the Sun…seeing that my pup got issues with WEF and their unknown % of Omega-3s. :\TyrionthebiscuitMember
Maybe look into Canidae? Or try contacting Merrick directly, as they are the owners and makers of WEF. Fromm has great customer service and has always answered my questions quickly, and depending on what you specifically want in a food, they have options for most price points. Classic is chicken and rice, but 33#s will run about $36. Their Four star grain in line should all be under $60. Grain free will be more.
Did research on both of ’em. I guess I just don’t exactly know which type of food to look for. When I started researching I looked for food that has Growth and All Life Stages profile. Then I looked at the numbers for protein, fat, fiber, Omega-3 %, Calcium and Phosphorus % and C:P ratio.
But now, after reading some posts on here, it seems that the Calcium and Phosphorus % is not as important as my pup is now 2 years old but the and ratio should still be between 1:1 – 2:1? Should I still be focusing on Growth / All-Life Stages food or should I broaden the search and look at Maintenance and/or Unspecified profile?
Ah, so confusing D:
I guess I just want my pup to eat food that is close (or better) to what RC offers, without the questionable ingredients. Here are the data I gathered from RC:
Crude Protein – 23%
Protein (DMB) – 25.56%
Crude Fat – 12%
Fat (DMB) – 13.33%
Fiber – 3.1%
Fiber (DMB) – 3.4%
Omega-3 – 0.48%
Calcium – 1.20%
Phosphorus – 0.80%
C:P – 1.5:1
kcal (kg/cup) – 3633 / 336SusanMember
If you want more info on a dog kibble its best to send the dog food company an email & ask what the Omega 3 % is & what is the Omega 6% is, the Omega 3% should be around 1/2 or a bit under 1/2 of what the Omega 6% is, “Rodney Habib” is really good to follow on his FaceBook page….Last year Rodney sent away a few popular dry kibbles & results found most of the kibbles that they tested were unbalanced & the Omega 3 was very low & the omega 6 was very high, this can cause skin problems in a dog, so it’s best to buy tin Sardines & tin Salmon in spring water & add about 2 spoons of the sardines or salmon to 1 of his meals a day, Omega 3 is Neutral-anti inflammatory & Omega 6 is Pro-inflammartory…. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and some omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. … Most omega-6 fatty acids in the diet come from vegetable oils, such as linoleic acid (LA), not to be confused with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
If you want to continue feeding dry processed kibble to your dog then make sure you start rotating between a few different brands & meat proteins, eg: 1 month feed salmon kibble then next month change to another brand & feed lamb, the next month feed Turkey dont just feed the same brand & formula of kibble 24/7 this is when health problems can occur especially if the kibble is unbalanced or very high in toxins…
Have a look at “Wellness Simple” Turkey & Potato the Omega 3%-1.00% the Omega 6% is 2.80% it also states on the Wellness Simple kibble bag,”Skin health & for dogs with food sensitivities” there’s also the Wellness Simple” Salmon & Potato formula, Omega-3%- 1.00% Omega-6% 2.75% so you can rotate between them but not straight after each other feed another brand inbetween “Canidae” Pure Sky, Pure Wild & Pure Sea are really good for dogs who have skin problems…
another thing google “How long does kibble last once opened” Steve Brown wrote a really good article, after you open a bag of kibble it has a life of 14 days the air gets to all the oils & the oils start going rancid, so make sure you keep some kibble in a air tight container that you use daily & the rest of the kibble bag close & seal air tight as good as you can then put in the coolest place in the house, I leave in the air con room & put the kibble bag in another plastic bag seal with sticky tape then put in one of those storage containers…
another good reason why its best to add 2 spoons of salmon or sardines daily to your dogs diet, adding fresh whole foods to your dogs diet daily or 4 times a week is very healthy & better then feeding a dog just dry kibble 24/7, also meals you cook for yourself any left overs that a dog can eat add to his kibble, take out some kibble & add some of the home cooked meal, if you follow Rodney Habib look thru all his video’s he also has another f/b page called “Planet Paws”
Baths make sure you’re bathing weekly Baths wash off any allergens that may be on teh fur/skin Environment allergies cause problems as well, I use “Malaseb” medicated shampoo it’s excellent for itchy skin, yeasty skin, dry skin, most skin problems, Malaseb puts the moisture back into the skin & kills any bacteria yeast that may be on skin & paws….
Good-luck with your new rescue & feed a healthy diet that’s rotated with different foods dry kibble, freeze dried, cooked meals & raw meaty bones for teeth health….
Thanks for the advice, Susan! 🙂
I definitely do plan on rotating his kibbles once I know what I’m looking for and what his body likes. I have read/heard about the 2-weeks thing for kibbles and keeping food inside an air-tight container. I’ll be sure to do that 🙂 What kind of profile dog would you recommend me looking at? Just all-life stages or growth or should I expand to maintenance and/or unspecified profile?
I’ve been taking numbers for Omega-3s only but I’ll be sure to make sure that it’s sitting at around half of Omega-6’s % and check out Wellness Simple Turkey and Salmon flavors.
Canidae Pure Sky, Pure Wild & Pure Sea are all on my list of food that I am researched. I’ll be sure to double check all the numbers, especially when it comes to Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Lastly, I was told to by the vet to wash him once every month. How come you suggest a weekly bath? Is it to wash off the allergens? Wouldn’t over-washing also get rid of the healthy oils?
Thanks again for all these good tips 🙂
“Lastly, I was told to by the vet to wash him once every month. How come you suggest a weekly bath? Is it to wash off the allergens? Wouldn’t over-washing also get rid of the healthy oils?”
I would go by what your vet advises. He has examined the dog and he is a veterinary healthcare professional.
Without a diagnosis for his skin condition you don’t know what you are treating, medical causes need to be ruled out first. Work closely with your vet, ask for a veterinary dermatologist if you don’t see improvement in a reasonable amount of time.
There are many conditions besides allergies that could cause the symptoms you described.
And again, take a look at pet health insurance before your dog is officially diagnosed, it may be cost effective for you in the long run.
PS: I would definitely go back to Royal Canin if he was doing well on it. Simple 🙂
Maybe this article written by a veterinarian that specializes in nutrition and is affiliated with one of the best animal hospitals in the country will help
Thanks, anon101 🙂
You’re welcome! I added an article above, hope it helps.
PS: I like your avatar, he’s a handsome boy 🙂
Oh, about keeping kibble fresh. Divide it up in airtight containers (washed out plastic coffee containers work) and store in the fridg or freezer. Good for at least a month in the fridg.
Longer in the freezer.
Otherwise, I would consider an open bag good for about 2 weeks, even in an airtight container.
However, if you are going to store in the freezer check with the dog food company first, it’s usually not recommended or deemed necessary, something about the oils changing, etc.
I have done it (freezer) when I bought too much kibble, no adverse effects noted.
PS: Plastic freezer bags work too.crazy4catsMember
You could always supplement Omega-3. I give my dogs Fish pills or oil made by Nordic Naturals or Grizzly.
Whole Earth Farms is in my dogs’ rotation. I have not had any bad effects from it so far. Good luck to you and your pup!SusanMember
some vets + Anon 101 who aren’t up to speed with what a Dermatologist recommend to do for itchy dogs with allergies, yeast dermatitis, food sensitivities & other skin problems, will say bath less, this is old school now, “if you wash a dog you’ll dry out his skin, you’ll wash away their natural oils” this is not true, if your dog is eating a healthy balanced diet & the shampoo you’re using is a shampoo that moisturizes the skin, paws etc & agree’s with the dog skin, baths are the best thing to do for itchy skin & paws, the dog will be better off & can be bath daily if needed, we humans feel heaps better after a bath/shower especially if we have itchy skin, once you’re using a medicated shampoo like “Malaseb” medicated shampoo you can bath the dog daily if needed, Malaseb has ingredients to keep the dogs skin moisturized soft & beautiful, after I bath Patch in his Malaseb shampoo he feels so soft, silky & stops his scratching & it relieves his itchy paws & skin… I bath Patch as soon as I see him starting to scratch & he’s itchy, it’s Summer here in Australia & Patch has Seasonal Environment Allergies & Food Sensitivities so he also gets yeasty smelly paws, ears & skin if he eats ingredients he’s sensitive too, I’ve finally worked out his food sensitivies but with environment allergies it can be so many things he’s sensivtive too & I cant put him in a bubble…so baths is the next best thing.
Join this face book group called “Dog Issues Allergies & other information support group” a Dermatologist, Karen Helton Rhodes from “Healthy Skin 4 Dogs” frequents the f/b group she highly recommends bathing…
Why the Royal Canin kibble was helping your dogs skin the Omega oils were probably balanced properly, start looking for a few new kibbles that have better ingredients & make sure the Omega 3 & 6 are balanced properly, also add either the tin sardines/salmon daily or fish/salmon oil capsule daily or Krill Oil capsule daily if dog has stomach problems & make sure you keep your fish oil capsules in the fridge out of the heat.
Start joining/following groups, sites that support natural healthy dog health, “Rodney Habib” has a few really good post at the moment on his f/b page…. https//www.facebook.com/rodneyhabib
Thanks for recommending the brand, crazy4cats, will definitely look into ’em 🙂
Thanks for explaining that, Susan. I don’t use Facebook otherwise I would join that group, haha. 😛 I will be sure to look for food that has balanced Omega-3 and 6. Thanks again 😀
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