Raw feeding and skin conditions
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With one or two exceptions (primarily where the dog’s immune system has been compromised), you will see that a raw food diet is always recommended. This is because raw food is the easiest thing for your dog to digest and supports his or her immune system. Where raw feeding isn’t recommended, you should not revert to processed food but simply cook the ingredients in the way prescribed. Processed food is an underlying cause for as many as 9 out of 10 visits to the vet, and this includes expensive, so-called scientifically developed, brands.
A reminder about water
Water is treated with a great number of chemicals. Ill dogs are less tolerant of these chemicals, and so it is advisable to find a source of pure, clean water. This could be a mineral water (better from a glass bottle than plastic as plastic bottles left in the sun alter the chemical composition of their contents), rainwater or filtered water.
Why ill dogs do better on organic food
Intensively reared meat and intensively farmed vegetables, especially those imported from outside Europe, are often grown without the regulatory framework we are used to, and may contain a surprisingly high percentage of unnatural chemicals (everything from growth hormones to nitrates and from steroids to pesticides). Furthermore, meat will include the residue of whatever the animal has been fed. This is particularly relevant in the case of grain-fed livestock and poultry, and grain is especially harmful to dogs. It is better, therefore, to feed organic food to ill dogs.
Free dietary advice
If you need dietary advice, don’t forget it is available, free of charge and without obligation, from Honey’s Real Dog Food.
Raw feeding and skin conditions
Alopecia (fur loss)
There are many reasons why dogs may lose their coats. Some of the more common causes are allergies, bacterial, fungal or viral infections, mites and poor diet. Trauma to the skin from scratching, burns or wounds as well as stress and hormonal changes (as seen in Cushing’s syndrome) may also be responsible. Dietary advice will depend on the underlying condition. A raw food diet will help, however, as it will rebalance the hormones and may even act as a natural hormone replacement (raw meat contains traces of hormones that dogs would be used to ingesting).
Itchy ears and skin problems caused by allergies
Itchiness, ear infections, fur loss and skin problems may be caused by a variety of issues, the most common of which is an allergy to food, grains, fleas, ticks, household chemicals, pollen or something else.
If the problem is a food allergy it could well be the result of eating grain or grain-fed meat (intensively reared beef and chicken are often responsible). Traditionally, vets have treated ear and skin problems of this type with a course of antibiotics and steroids, desensitising injections and creams such as cyclosporine A. Before treatment can be started, it is important to identify the cause of the allergy. In the case of any food allergy the switch to a natural diet may solve the problem, especially as it will help to support the immune system. If the patient has taken antibiotics, a course of prebiotics and probiotics is recommended. One of the ways in which the body responds to a skin-related allergy is to release histamine and other chemicals. Omega 3 can, sometimes, reduce the effects of histamine. Note that other fatty acids, such as omega 6, can actually worsen some allergies.
Apart from allergies (see above), there are many different reasons why dogs suffer from itchy skin, including mites, demodex and mange. Until the cause is known, it is difficult to recommend a treatment, but the following tips may help:
- Various oils reduce inflammation, including cod liver oil, evening primrose oil and starflower oil.
- Consider adding vitamin C to the diet. At least 1000mg daily and even more if the dog can absorb it without diarrhoea.
- If you are taking a dog off medication, use a broad-spectrum multivitamin that includes magnesium as this will dampen down the side effects.
- If the dog has been given antibiotics, a course of prebiotics and probiotics is recommended.
Homeopathic remedies can be very helpful alongside conventional medicine in these cases.
If your dog is chewing its paws, the first step is to check that there are no foreign bodies, such as eggshell splinters, thorns or glass, present and that he or she hasn’t sustained a cut. If the dog is on processed food, the cause may be dietary since grain can produce this symptom. A raw food diet is to be recommended. If the cause is boredom then giving the dog a bone may solve the problem. If persistent check the dog’s urine for a kidney problem. It may also be worth checking for a thyroid problem. Finally, it may be the result of blocked anal sacks or an allergy either to some ingredient in his or her food or even to an environmental factor such as contact with, say, household cleaners or stinging nettles.
For more information and advice on any aspect of canine health and nutrition please contact Honey’s – we’ll be happy to help even if you never, ever plan to become a customer.
Telephone: 01672 620 260