Where Do I Start?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Where Do I Start?

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  • #76848 Report Abuse

    Melissa S
    Member

    My pitbull, Ktulu, is having really bad skin problems. Just recently her right ear also became crusty and irritated on the inside. This has happened before to both of her ears, once. We cleaned them out with Keto (we have a prescription from the vet) and it never returned. Until now. She’s also always had skin issues on her stomach and flanks.

    It’s gotten incredibly worse and her skin has become darkly pigmented, has lost hair, and I know she’s miserable. She smells like dog. Not like yeast or cheese or stinky feet. Another thing to keep in mind is that because of our living situation, the dogs must stay outside at all times. (Yeah, I know. I hate it, but this isn’t my house and we can’t afford to move to our own)

    We haven’t taken her to the vet for this, because I’m afraid they’re going to try and do all kinds of unnecessary tests and give us drugs that won’t work or try to get us to buy Hills Science Diet (which I’m not a fan of at all). Although, I’m thinking that I will, just to see if they’ll take cultures and help us determine if this is a yeast issue (I think it is, along with allergies).

    Now, that’s not really my issue. My issue is my partner thinks what we feed our dogs is just fine (Purina Dog Chow-please don’t judge us!). I’ve never liked it, but with our limited budget and our dogs liking it, I thought that it was okay for the time being. Well, the time being has passed and I can’t take it anymore. I’m even considering giving the dogs to people who can properly take care of them (ie. have more money).

    If I were to start with a homemade diet, where do I actually start? How expensive is it really going to be? How do I make sure my dogs are getting all the required nutrients? Do you think this is the best route to go considering her skin issues?

    I was looking into already prepared raw and freeze-dried, but with how large both of my dogs are, it’s out of the question regarding costs. Also, I want to make sure that I can pinpoint any food allergies as well, and so many of these commercially prepared foods have tons of ingredients.

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

    #76851 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member
    #76859 Report Abuse

    Pitlove
    Member

    Hi Melissa-

    I completely understand what you are going through. My pitbull just went to a new vet we are trying out today for his first meeting with her because of his skin problems. We talked and she examined him and confirmed my feeling that his skin problems were due to environmental allergies. She thinks food might play a small role in his issues, but it’s not major. She refered us to a dermatologist. My point in all of this is that all we paid for today was the exam fee. She did not push Hill’s on us (though she mentioned it), did not do any testing that we did not authorize on him. It was simply just a consultation if you will about whats going on with my boy. You can do that as well. You are not obligated to spend money that you don’t want to spend at a vet’s office. Any good vet will not just throw meds and prescription diets at you without a proper consultation first. I think this would be a good route to go as it sounds like you are dealing with some pretty intense skin problems.

    Best of luck!

    #76860 Report Abuse

    Susan
    Member

    Hi I’d say it’s the ingredients in the Purina dog chow, making her yeasty & has the yeasty ears, there has to be other cheap kibbles that have better ingredients then the Purina dog chow that cost maybe an extra $5 a bag, I’ve read on this site a few people feeding Racheal Ray Nutrish or Victor grain free, they are suppose to be good & cost less….I always recommend the “California Natural Lamb & Rice” large bites, it has only 4 ingredients & helps dogs with skin problems that need a limited ingredient kibble… but I don’t know how much the California Natural cost http://www.californianaturalpet.com/products/1181

    With cooking it works out dearer I have found & you need to balance the diet or she will have other health problems….I buy extra lean beef mince & add cooked boiled broccoli, celery, carrot & quiona & put in a cup to get the 1 cup size & make little meat loaves & bake in oven & then freeze them all in seal lock bags, stay away from starchy veggetables like potatoes, peas etc, green veggies are the best for yeast problems, even if you feed say kibble for breakfast & the cooked meal for dinner, so that way she is getting less of the kibble also tin Sardines in spring water are cheap, I buy 3 tins of sardines in spring water for $2 at the supermarket & mix some sardines thru her kibble, I feed the Purina Supercoat wet tin Lamb & veggies casserole tin food for breakfast, I live in Australia, I think the ingredients may be different to the American Purina, the Purina Lamb & Veggie casserole is the only wet tin food that my dog doesn’t regurgitate back up or have diarrhea on..

    also Malaseb medicated shampoo, the Malaseb kills the bacteria on the skin & ears, even if you buy a cheaper antibacterial shampoo to bath her weekly in, I’ve read someone saying Walmart sell a good antibacterial shampoo for dogs, I don’t know the name, just look for antibacterial shampoo…
    The new shampoo & weekly baths & change part of the diet will really help her, even if you just change 1 meal, then see how she is doing, you may not need to see a vet if it all clears up…my boy yeast problem went away within 3 days of changing his food & baths in the Malaseb medicated shampoo, he didn’t get his itchy ears & skin back….

    You may not have much money but I bet your dogs don’t care & would rather live with you then a new owner who has money especially having bull breeds they are sooooo loyal & never forget…..I rescued my boy over 2 & 1/2 years ago & he still runs up to men in work clothes when he sees them on our walks, so he hasn’t forgotten his old owner…I wish he would forget lol

    #76862 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    A lot of good information here. http://www.allergydogcentral.com/category/allergy-stories/

    We only see the dermatologist once a year, haven’t needed to see the regular vet in a long time.
    Regarding the cost, I gave up cable and eating out…that more than covered it.
    I saw results right away, but it can take up to a year and some dogs don’t respond at all.
    My pet had a positive experience and is doing well.

    #76867 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    you really need to do alot of research here because what you’re feeding is a very low quality food..Also, I sit here debating saying anything but I am: please look for a new place to live. Dogs should not live outside unless they are livestock guardians or you’ve spent alot of money to properly house them and I’m pretty sure you haven’t. You mentioned a limited budget; having a dog with issues isn’t cheap. I’m not trying to get on your case; you’re here looking for help but issues such as your dog has does cost money to diagnose & treat.

    #76868 Report Abuse

    aquariangt
    Member

    Some of those issues could be resolved with a simple food upgrade even with kibble away from Dog Chow. Depending on what your budget is perhaps people could help you, but if it’s an environmental issue and you can’t let your dogs inside, even though you absolutely should upgrade from dog chow, you aren’t going to get very far.

    #76872 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    Most environmental allergens are airborne, doesn’t matter if the dog is inside or outside. You can’t avoid the allergens….but if the dog responds to ASIT…no worries.

    I hope you do some research and read the stories of other pet owners that have gone through this. A lot of misinformation on the internet.

    #76873 Report Abuse

    aquariangt
    Member

    Most Red, but not all 🙂 There are certainly some things that are caused via connection to skin. And if the dogs were inside, there would be less prolonged exposure EVEN to airborne ones. I have a dog with some seasonal skin issues, and during spring and summer, staying inside more makes a big difference for her

    #76874 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    Not according to the specialist that treats my dog, he said you have to let a dog be a dog, don’t stop them from rolling around in the grass! Avoidance doesn’t work, if it did, I wouldn’t have gone to the dermatologist.

    I went to the dermatologist and complied with treatment for 3 years and saw the improvement. My dog can eat any foods she wants now too…..
    Bathing a couple of times a week helps, among other things.
    A common allergen is dander (people, dust, roaches, everything) It is in the air and on the skin of all living things.

    My last post in this thread.

    #76875 Report Abuse

    aquariangt
    Member

    There’s more than one treatment for things Red. That’s the issue with your posts, you refuse to believe that, and then when countered say things like “My last post in this thread”

    People come for help, and having an open mind is more likely to help a dog than not.

    #76876 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    Supplements, avoidance, and food are not medication or treatment.

    A mild case is one thing…but to advise people not to seek professional help when an animal is clearly suffering is mind boggling to me.

    PS: How does attacking someone’s comments help the OP?

    #76882 Report Abuse

    Pitlove
    Member

    Red, I’m not sure aquariangt was suggesting not seeking treatment, however I do think that a change is needed for this dog. That is fairly undeniable. Depending on where the OP lives, this dog is at an increased risk of heartworms, ticks, fleas, and a whole host of other issues. Speaking from living down south those things are all to scary and real down here. My boyfriends parents Rottweiler is currently being treated for heartworms because he is the outside dog.

    Bringing the dogs inside would most likely create a significant improvement in the quality of life and possibly reduce these symptoms until the OP can afford or seek treatment.

    #76887 Report Abuse

    Melissa S
    Member

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the information. I’m going to see what I can do about the food situation. I’ll be getting special shampoo and ear stuff to bathe and clean her with. My other dog is just fine outside. She does seem to only have the skin problems in the summer.

    Just to let you know, both of our dogs have plenty of shade, two houses (with heaters in the winter), two large kiddie pools that we refill every day, a mist system, water bowls, and we usually wet down the yard for them. There is grass, dirt, cement, or carpet (or they can lie down in their house). so they have plenty to choose from. It’s not my ideal environment, but our living situation will most likely change soon (this is my parents house and they’ll be renting it to us within the next few months). So, we’ll be able to bring the dogs into the house.

    I didn’t know there were dermatologists for dogs. I wonder if I can just go see one instead of a vet? They might know more than a vet would maybe?

    We feed both wet and dry food, so I’ll be switching to a better kibble and wet food for now (or just supplement the dry with a homemade recipe of wet). Once my partner and I are making better money, we can look into much better food options. This site is pretty overwhelming and I’m terrified of screwing anything up if I go and try to make my own food.

    ps. How should I talk to my fiance? I tried talking to him yesterday about it and he has this thing – He respects his uncle and looks up to him a lot and Purina Dog Chow is the only thing his uncle has ever fed his dogs. His dogs never had any problems on the stuff (as far as I know) and neither has my fiance’s dog. But, I’ve always known it was low quality food. I guess since I buy the food, I’ll just buy what I want! lol. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  Melissa S.
    #76890 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    “I didn’t know there were dermatologists for dogs. I wonder if I can just go see one instead of a vet? They might know more than a vet would maybe”?

    Yes, you can, and I was going to suggest that. What area are you in (state)? You can call the nearest veterinary school, often they have specialists or will know where to refer you.
    Bring whatever records you have, negative heartworm test if you have it, proof of last rabies ( the only vaccination required by law). The only thing is…if they think the dog needs some lab work to rule out medical issues….but they probably have regular vets there too. Has the dog seen a vet in the last couple of years?

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the food right now, the skin condition/allergies might not even be related to it. I would make seeing the dermatologist the #1 priority. One thing at a time.

    I understand where your uncle is coming from, some dogs do okay on a low quality food, but some don’t. See what the vet says. Paying more doesn’t always mean it’s better!
    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/category/nutrition/ I have learned a lot from this site (link)

    PS: I’d rather be an outdoor dog instead of an indoor dog that was crated all day 😉

    #76891 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices by Linda Case

    This book has received good reviews. Check Amazon. Maybe you could read the book with your partner and discuss?

    #76892 Report Abuse

    Susan
    Member

    Hi Melissa, you go girl & buy the better food put it in a air tight container & your fiancé may not notice, who feeds the dogs?? then when Ktulu starts to get better tell your fiancé not all dogs are the same, your uncle has been very lucky with his dogs…. what breed of dogs does your fiancé uncle have? were they Pit Bulls ?
    or just tell him the Purina Chow isn’t working for Ktulu look how miserable she is, lets just try another kibble & see if she improves, tell him I love you very much but Ktulu is my baby & I just want to do what’s best for her & it makes me sad seeing her sad…

    I really think its Ktulu diet….Corn gluten meal, wheat & corn made my boy itch like mad, red paws & itchy gooey ears & that was from an expensive vet diet for his IBD also read the ingredients in the wet tin food some have wheat flour, maize starch, cereal, gelling agents & gluten, these all can cause itchy skin problems… Good-Luck keep us posted 🙂

    #76893 Report Abuse

    InkedMarie
    Member

    Melissa,
    Glad the dogs can come in soon. Regarding food, just tell your bf you want to feed a better food. Good food is important. If his uncle thinks Purina Dog Chow is good food, he is wrong. Read the review on it.

    #76896 Report Abuse

    Pitlove
    Member

    “I didn’t know there were dermatologists for dogs. I wonder if I can just go see one instead of a vet? They might know more than a vet would maybe?”

    Yes! They have a lot of different specialists for dogs as they do for humans. My vet gave me a reference to this dermatologist I’m going to be seeing, however I’m not 100% sure if you need one. I know typically with humans they want you to have a referal from a general practioner. Perhaps call your normal vet and see if she can give you a phone # to a dermatologist. And yes, they do have more knowledge than the vet. Thats exactly what mine told me. She even told me to talk to her about food choices for my boy as well. My vet really only knows about Science Diet and Primal Raw. When I asked her for suggestions for other foods she said “I don’t know really”.

    As for the recommendation from Red to essentially continue feeding Purina Dog Chow- That is on you. If you feel Dog Chow is a low quality food (most of us here except for a few would agree) then switch. If you can find a retailer for Fromm near you or order online “Fromm Family Classics Adult” is a huge step up from Purina Dog Chow and it’s 35.64$ for a 33lb bag on chewy.com. I recommend this food a lot at my work to people looking to switch from Purina, Iams, Science Diet, etc who are on a tight budget.

    #76897 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    Misinterpreting the comments and opinions of other posters does not help anyone
    And it reflects poorly upon the person doing it.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  Anonymous.
    #76900 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    “I’ll be getting special shampoo and ear stuff to bathe and clean her with”.

    If the ears are infected (red, inflamed, discharge) it may be best to leave them alone and have a vet examine. She may need prescription ear drops, over the counter stuff could cause more pain, irritation and infection.

    A gentle homemade cleanser for weekly use once there is no infection: 1/2 organic apple cider mixed with 1/2 witch hazel, you only need a tiny amount (store leftover mixture in the fridg) if you use q-tips and most vets say not to…be gentle.

    #76908 Report Abuse

    Pitlove
    Member

    Red- You said: “I wouldn’t worry too much about the food right now, the skin condition/allergies might not even be related to it. I would make seeing the dermatologist the #1 priority. One thing at a time.
    I understand where your uncle is coming from, some dogs do okay on a low quality food, but some don’t. See what the vet says. Paying more doesn’t always mean it’s better!”

    I said: “As for the recommendation from Red to essentially continue feeding Purina Dog Chow- That is on you. If you feel Dog Chow is a low quality food (most of us here except for a few would agree) then switch”

    “Misinterpreting the comments and opinions of other posters does not help anyone
    And it reflects poorly upon the person doing it.”

    ^This does not apply at all. You told her not to worry about changing foods. I did not misterpret anything you said. And I gave a good response that did not belittle your suggestion at all. You are overreacting to my comment, which reflects poorly on you, not me.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  Pitlove.
    #76930 Report Abuse

    Anonymous
    Member

    @Melisssa S.
    This is from one of the SkeptVet’s blogs, an excerpt from a response to a comment about allergies, I think it encapsulates what I was trying to say. Hope this helps.

    “In general, diet trial involve picking a new primary protein source and strictly eliminating all others for 2-3 months before any change is likely to be seen. And there are many sources of allergies besides food proteins, so diet change may not dramatically improve symptoms, in which case other causes have to be investigated. I would strongly suggest working closely with your regular veterinarian or, if it is possible for you, with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. Allergies require lifelong management tailored to the individual needs of the particular patient, and there is no simple or quick solution”.
    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2012/01/nuvet-supplementsame-old-snake-oil/comment-page-2/

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