You are here:

Dogs/Golden Retriver, scratching, biting, probably some type of allergy


Golden Retriever is about 10 1/2 years old. His back side is all bare from scratching and biting and almost bloody. My wife takes him periodically to the Vet. Presently my wife give's the dog two Dipenhydramine 50mg daily, shampoos with Virbac Allergy. My wife also put's on Virbac Dermatology Allergy I Shampoo, sprays with Genesis Topical Spray as needed and also uses Gold Bond powder. Nothing seems to help. We live in Northwest Florida and of course have the heat and humidity but keep him indoors as much as possible. We feed him dog food that is for sensitive skin (Science Diet) and gives him organic food that she fixes. Keep's everything clean. Don't know what to do. Any ideas?  Bill and Brigitte HEINKE


Sorry to hear you're having so many issues. It's painful to watch your dog suffer like that, I know! That's pretty much what got us started in learning all about nutrition for dogs and then eventually leaving our other occupations and opening up a store.

Let's see if I can throw you a few ideas to try. Not everything works for every animal but there is usually a few things that are important to have going.

The holistic approach is typically better than trying meds and shampoo's and sprays. Those tend to mask the real problem that's going on. If you don't fix this from the inside out, the dog will get maybe a little temporary relief but you want more than that.

What typically is the main problem is from the diet. There are certain "bad" ingredients that cause a weakened immune system and that leads to allergies and degenerative type diseases.

The bad ingredients that cause these are wheat, corn, soy, , glutens, by-products, chemical preservatives, artificial colorings and these are just starters but the main ones.

Dogs tend to be mostly allergic to these highly used ingredients. The worst one is wheat and corn. Some holistic vets are now believing it may even be the chemicals used to extract the corm for dog food processing.

I don't know what you fed him before using the Science Diet but if it was similar, that would more than likely be the source of the problems.

Most all these commercial brands like Science Diet, Iamms, Purina, Beneful and many, many others use these cheap ingredients as fillers.

Dogs naturally don't eat much of these type of grains. When the food is mostly made up of these, then they are not getting the proper nutrition that's needed to sustain good health and a strong immune system.

Just looking at this sensitive skin formula, you will see the ingredients are mostly made up of rice, corn and corn gluten. It also contains "animal fat" in it. You don't even want to know where that comes from but it isn't very appealing.

Feeding a diet like this before and now is what more than likely causing him to continue being in such misery.

It's possible he is having other type allergies such as airborne, contact and/or flea allergies. Of course as you mentioned, the heat just aggravates the issues.

But still, all these allergies are not natural for dogs. It's when we feed an unbalanced diet that weakens their immune system and allows these issues to take hold.

Your wife cooking him organic food is great and much better. However, you must make sure she is putting all the needed vitamins and minerals in it or it will still remain unbalanced. It's not easy making homemade foods and one should really follow specific recipes so they are balanced.

You don't even have to feed dry if you do not want to. This is the most highly processed food you can feed a dog. It takes 12-13 hours to digest, it dry and void of needed moisture and is not balanced as it's missing certain co-factors that make food complete. I'll get into those in  a minute.

Certain dry foods are fine if you need to stay on a budget or have a lot of dogs you are trying to feed. But it should NEVER make up more than 50% of their diet. Dogs need a high moisture diet, this is one of the keys to good health.

Their are many good dry foods on the market. I would keep him off of any grains. Even the good grains like rice, barley and oatmeal can cause reaction to dogs that have had severe issues in the past.

Some good grain free dry foods include, Orijen, Accana, The Great Life, Instinct, most of Natural Balances formulas, Before grains, Wilderness by Blue Buffalo, Taste Of The Wild just to name a few.

These brands contain much more healthy ingredients and none of the allergy causing fillers. But they are still "dry" foods. Your boy needs a lot of moisture type foods to help nourish his skin and coat.

Most of these companies named above also carry grain free canned foods. These are a much better choice for him and take only a few hours to digest. But again, they are processed or cooked, so they are missing a couple key nutrients.

I talked about homemade already. But once you cook the dogs food, you kill of the above mentioned nutrients or co-factors that are so critical for good health.

The nutrients or co-factors I mentioned are the most important supplements you can add to your dogs diet that is missing in most all commercial foods. These are basically enzymes and probiotics.

These vital nutrients are found naturally in a dogs diet of raw foods, or the prey model diet. Once you cook any foods, you destroy these nutrients. That is why you must supplement them back into the diet.

Without these nutrients to aid the digestion of foods and to help prevent diseases, the dogs of today are suffering all kinds of man made health issues.

Dogs were never meant to eat cooked foods, it's that simple. Once we change their diet, their health issue will become more pronounced as us humans when we don't eat what's right for us.

We feed exclusively raw foods to our dogs and cats. We still add additional enzymes and probiotics to their meals to help them that much more with digestion and to keep their intestinal system strong.

The digestive system is 70% of the immune system. So you want to keep the digestive system as strong as it can be.

There are many good commercially prepared raw food products for dogs on the market. You would do well to research this diet and think about it. If this does interest you, send me a note back and I will get into it further and tell you how to transition him to this diet.

We rescue dogs from kill shelters. Many of them have been neglected and come to us with severe skin and coat issues. We transition them to a raw food diet and this typically heals them the fastest.

A lot of people can't grasp feeding raw food to their dogs but this is the way nature intended them to eat and thrive on.

In the mean time, I would bury that Science Diet food and get him on a good quality grain free foods. Mostly canned and/or homemade if it is balanced properly.

THE MOST IMPORTANT thing is to get some enzymes and probiotics, this will do more to clear up his issues than most anything else. A good one we use and sell in our store is from Animal Essentials. It contains both the enzymes and probiotics in one powder that you just sprinkle a little on each meal.

You can find this and good foods at a local natural food store or on Amazon. If you have a local small independent pet food store in your area, go see them. They can help you get these items together.

Next, get some good salmon oil and start putting it on his food daily. This will give him the omega's his body and skin need so badly. It will nourish them from the inside out.

Other things you can do to boost his immune system is to add a little greens to his diet. Things like wheat grass, spirulina or kelp are all great to add needed nutrients.

The above basic steps will turn his life around. It has done so for hundreds of dogs we've helped.

Many dogs that are severe will take some time to turn around like 30-60 days. It can get worse before getting better as the bad stuff is leaving his body.

But we typically see some good relief in a week or so.

Your vet is great for what they do and know and that is medicine. They are typically NOT trained in nutrition and don't have a clue about most of these nutritional tips.

The exception is the holistic vets. These guys are great and what we use when needed. They are trained like your regular vet but have taken additional years of nutritional training. If you have one in your area, they will be able to help greatly with his issues.

I know this has been a lot of new information to read and digest. So look it over and please write back to me with any additional questions or if you need things cleared up about something. I will be happy to help if I can.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our petís natural diet and caused most of todayís problems.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Many satisfied pet owners coming to our store for nutritional help and advice.

©2017 All rights reserved.