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QUESTION: Roger--my recued dog a shisue mixed is 23lbs and 5yrs old. we've had him 3 yrs and in the past 6 to 8 months has started scratching something awful and  chewing his paws. Our vet. told me to give him benydril twice a day. Iv've beem doing this for 3wk and
there's been no change. I don't have much money to buy expensive dog food, do you have any suggestions<
         Thans --Don '

ANSWER: Hi Don,

Something has obviously changed. This type of behavior is consistent with some type of allergy.

Allergies come from airborne allergies, contact allergies, pollen type allergies, flea allergies and by far the most common we see is the food allergy.

I wish you would have told me what you are feeding him. This would allow me to rule in or out the diet.

More often than not when we see this is from feeding a high grain based diet of one of the commercial type foods. These are typically from Purina, Iamms, Beneful, Old Roy and many, many others.

The problem with these type of high grain based diets is that it weakens the immune system over time. You might have been feeding him the same thing for the last 3 years but his immune system finally got to a point of breaking down and allowing an allergy to take over. We've seen it hundreds of times.

Besides the poor quality proteins these foods have in them, they typically use one or more of the allergy causing ingredients. The worst ones are wheat, corn, soy, by-products, chemical preservatives, and artificial coloring's.

There are more but these are the worst. Look at the food, wet and dry that you feed him. See if any of these ingredients are listed on there. If one or more is, then that's more than likely your problem.

If you are feeding a premium grain free brand of food including at least 50% of the diet consisting of moist type foods, then we have to look at one of the other possibilities.

Contact allergies are common. This can happen from the dog coming into contact with some type of chemical in the grass, new laundry detergent used to wash his bedding or your own blankets if he sleeps with you. It can be from other cleaners on the floor or in the garage or ??? See if you can determine if any of this is a possibility.

Airborne allergies happen at times. This can be from pollen's to fungus to any other types of anything floating through the air.

If you have a seasonal change in your area, this could be a possibility.

If it is a flea allergy, you would notice a lot of fleas on him and bite marks turning red and swelling. If this is the case, then a good flea bath will help then you have to fight the most likely, infestation going on somewhere he is at.

But for any of these other type of allergies to take place, his immune system has to be in a place where it's not protecting him any longer. So this is really the underlying cause that needs to be corrected.

Building his immune system back up is created from the diet and proper supplementation.

If you would like to send back a note on this same question and let me know exactly what is in his diet, including treats, I would be happy to evaluate it and make a few recommendations. If you do, please include all the name brands so I can look up the ingredients.

The benydril can help for a short term but is far from any solution This gives him some relief but it is not fixing the underlying problems.

Most vet are great for what they do and that's medicine. They no nothing about nutrition and healing through that route.

The exception is the holistic vet. If you have one in your area, there the ones to go see for most issues. They are trained as your regular vet but they continued their education to include a holistic healing method as well as just from medication. That's who we go see when we have an issue with any of our dogs.

If it is the diet, then some basic changes needs to be made. Get him off grains of all kinds. Make sure you are not just feeding a dry food only diet, that is very harmful to dogs. They need moisture in the foods they eat. They are meat eaters and require a high moisture diet to sustain good health. Get at least 50% of his diet in good grain free canned foods or homemade or similar. Or as much as you can. The more the better as this will help nourish his skin and coat as well.

Fish oils and enzymes and probiotics are also critical in his diet to build his immune system.

That's the number one thing I tell every customer I talk to, adding enzymes and probiotics to any dog or cats diet no matter what they are eating will do the most good.

I understand your budget concerns as many of our customers are in the same way. We work with them on doing the best they can with what they have.

A few simple things will make a difference. Don't think that it cost more to feed a premium grain free food.

We have done studies on this. You may pay more for the bag of food up front but it will last you longer as you don't have to feed near as much.

The study we did was with one of the worst rated foods, Baneful, compared to a premium grain free food we sell. The cost of feeding a 20lb dog was exactly the same per feeding.

When you have to add in the cost of seeing a vet because of issues, the premium food is a real bargain.

Please feel free to write me back and let me know what you are doing now. I will try to give several suggestions to feed a little better and be budget conscious.

Or my wife and I did write a short e-Book that is available on Amazon for a few bucks. It's a quick read but it goes over the basics that I just talked about plus what you can do on a budget to help.

If you want to take a look at it, it's at: http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Food-Decoded-Choose-Healthy-ebook/dp/B008LX6WGY/ref=tm

Or like I said, feel free to write back and I'll help all I can.

Roger


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Roger-Thanks for your ans.  it was very informative.  Pollo's food is Benefil we have just gone to Hill's Ideal Balance 2 days ago. his snack is mostly milk bones.
We usually feed twice a day 3/4cup   and only dry food.  When you say 50% canned food no grains how are you spliting it up, daily wkly or every other day?? How do we get fish oil, enzymes or probiotics?  Are suppliments or in certain foods. I think these are all my ?'s for now
         THANKS again--Don

Answer
Hi Don,

Glad to hear you got some good info from my response. Now let's see what else we can do.

Good thing you got away from the Beneful, that's one of the worst rated pet foods out there. This is one product that has destroyed a lot of pets health.

That Hills is a little better but still not where you need to be in my opinion.

It will be better than the Beneful for healing from the allergies but still contains a lot of grains albeit healthier ones, but the going will be slower. Plus the quality of the other ingredients is very subject in these big commercial brands.

Once a pet has a food allergy, it's best to get him off all grains including the better ones. We had a dog a long time ago that had such severe allergies to the wheat in the foods, he couldn't even eat healthier grains without breaking out in rashes again.

Also get rid of the Milk Bones. Full of wheat. Wheat is the number one allergy causing ingredient. Some holistic vets are now even saying that it may not be the wheat itself, but the chemical process they use to extract the healthy parts out of the wheat for shelf life. Plus probably 90% of the wheat produced these days are GMO. Not good for us or our pets. But get rid of and do NOT feed him anything that contains any kind of wheat product. This will just irritate him more.

There are many good grain free biscuits. We carry Darford in bulk mix and match in our store.

I know budget is a concern but as I mentioned before, going grain free in dry and canned will save you money in the long run. Plus, you will have a much healthier dog that will be around you longer.

One of the least expensive grain free dry and wet foods we sell in our store is called Taste Of The Wild. There website is at: http://www.tasteofthewildpetfood.com/#home

You can plug in your zip code up top and see where they are selling it near you. If you can find the smaller independent pet food stores, they typically sell the premium brand of dog foods in both dry and wet. Don't go to the big box stores if you don't have to. They are usually no help in there. The smaller ones are more educated in nutrition and can talk to you about this and other brands they carry that may work.

Some better brands have frequent buyer programs. You buy 10 or 12 bags then get one free. That helps cost. If you buy wet food by the case, most will offer a discount.

Some of the top brands of grain free include, Natural And Delicious (our top seller), Orijen, Acanna, Wilderness, Before Grains, First Mate and Core. These are all premium dry foods but there are many more. The key here is to get rid of grains out of his diet for a while. Once he is all cleared up and the coat looks great, you can try inserting a little healthier grains back into the diet.

When I say 50% of both foods, wet and dry, I mean for each meal. If you can, don't feed just dry food for any meal. Even if you don't have a can, give him some of your own fresh veggies or meats. Wet the dry food down to help start the digestive breakdown. This puts less stress on his system.

We tell a lot of people that you don't have to feed any dry if possible, especially for those who have little dogs. But no less than 50% of each meal should be some type of moist foods.

As I mentioned before, dry is very hard on his internal system, especially the kidneys. This is even double important when and if you go grain free. The higher protein count in these foods takes a lot to process by the kidneys. But it is so much better for him than the other commercial foods.

So half dry and half wet (moist type foods) for every meal.

We no longer feed any dry to our dogs or cat's. They are all on a raw food diet and are doing great. We get in rescues from high kill shelters and most will have severe skin problems. We transition them to a raw diet as soon as we can and they heal the quickest. We then find homes for them.

There natural diet of raw foods are the best by far. This is how they were meant to eat and thrive. Dogs were never meant to eat cooked foods. It's just been in the last hundred years that people started making dog foods from scraps for our convenience and a way to use up food stuff not for human consumption. It's just gotten worst over the years. Now we are introducing GMO products into these foods and dogs are suffering from so many new diseases, vets have to try and keep up.

If a raw or partial raw diet interest you, we can talk more about it. There are a number of commercial manufacturers that produce frozen raw food products that it makes feeding it very easy. This also is "complete" balanced diet for dogs as it has all the live elements that are missing from cans and bags as heat destroys the vital ones like enzymes and probiotics.

For your fish oils, you can use a can of sardines a week. Just get the ones from the grocery store that are in water and put half a can in his food a couple times a week. These are great because they contain the full chain of omega 3's and 6's. Most all dogs love them as well. You can also get some salmon oil in a bottle or flax oil and give him a teaspoon once a day or as directed. This will help the skin, coat, eyes and brain function.

The enzymes and probiotics as mentioned are some of the most important ones. You can find them in powder or chew form in most of the small independent pet food stores. You can also find many on Amazon. One we carry and use ourselves is from Animal Essentials. They make a plant based enzyme and probiotic powder that are both in one container. Jut sprinkle a little on each meal and your set.

We also carry a chew treat type one that makes adding it to their diet easy. There are many good ones out there, just make sure he is getting both daily. That will help him recover the fastest and build his immune system back up.

One of the things we do and recommend is to rotate everything. Your food, supplements, everything. This gives them different nutrients from different sources. Variety is good.

Ok, you got some more to chew on here. No pun intended. I know this is a lot of information and you will probably still have more questions. Please feel free to ask. It is our passion to help people raise healthy pets and we love to talk about it.

Let me know what else,

Roger

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Roger McLeskey

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Publications
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.

Education/Credentials
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
None.

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

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