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One Red Male
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Hey!

It has been about 2 months since I've last posted here and I have been successful with a rescue. My red boy is a foster right now, but (fingers crossed) he will be adopted into our family!

Since he has been here I've gone and made some changes to his diet. We were unsure of what he was eating previously since he was transported to me from his previous owners. We had him eating Purina Pro Plan Beef and Rice formula for a while, but he started bitting at his stomach and tail.

He bit and scratched at these spots enough that the hair is gone! I took him to the vet and they mentioned it could be environmental allergies; asked around a few doggy/pet shops and they mentioned it could be a food allergy. I went with alternating his diet first to see how he reacted.

I started to give him the Overland Beef formula from ProPac and Stella's and Chewy's Dinner Patties and Goat's Milk. Saw an immediate difference in his attitude and he hasn't itched or bitten his hotspots since. The hair is growing back slowly, but my concern is that I am not doing enough for his skin. I started adding veggies and fruits to his food as well (carrots, cucumbers, strawberries, bananas, celery, and apples)

The skin on his stomach is soft and shiny, so I feel like it is hydrated- but the hair isn't growing back fast enough. As for his tail, the skin seems to be dry and flaky? The hair has grown back quicker, but his nub is still exposed. Is there anything I can do to improve his hair growth and skin?
 

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You are feeding some kibble I know very little about. But just so you know--food allergies are relatively rare and the way to determine if the dog does have a real food allergy is to put him on whatever food you choose and feed him nothing but that for four to six months. From there you can start adding other food items and if he reacts to something you eliminate that from his diet.

And that kind of test should really be done under the direction of a vet dermatologist/allergist. Lately since there are now foods available that are hydrolized so that the pets body doesn't recognise the proteins because they are too short for the body to find and react to them. Royal Canin make HA which is a fully hydrolized product (both animal and vegitable proteins) for both cats and dogs. Purina make a virtually identical one HP also fully hydrolized for both cats and dogs. Hills/Science diet make a fully hydrolized diet for dogs (ZD) but only the canned product is fully hydrolized for cats--the kibble has only the animal protein hydrolized. And I had the bad luck to have a cat who says "ICK" to wet food. But he's been on either HA or HP for 16 of his 18 years now.

With the fully hydrolized foods you do the same thing--feed only that--and absolutely nothing else. If the symptoms of what you think are a food allergy go away--the dermatologist/allergists say that means it was a real food allergy (fairly rare). It would be much more common to find that it was an inhalent allergy or a topical problem. Much harder to diagnose and even harder to treat.

Hair often takes several months to grow back--and you really can't speed it up. If the hair loss occured during a period of shed and replace seasonally (spring or fall) it'll grow back reasonably quickly but it's not a fast process most of the time if there was significant hair loss.

Some things that are very good for skin and coat are yogurt--my dogs get a couple of spoonsful of yogurt with their breakfasts. And eggs--which are a great source of protein and the yokes contain a significant amount of biotin which is very good for both the skin and coat. I give an egg with their dinner--I hard boil them--all the dogs like their eggs.

You would be rather better off asking your vet about food, food allergies and what to feed him--generally the big problem with the information you get from on the floor sales staff at pet stores is often not particularly good/correct or useful. They know how to sell what they have but for the fine points I'd be talking to a vet--preferably one who was a specialist in skin problems.

I should also mention that I might be more inclined to feed either poultry of some sort or my preference is fish based kibble. Recently someone here did some investigating and found that in terms of digestability that fish was the most easily digested, fowl next--and would most often be chicken based. beef next and lamb the bottom of the animal proteins for least digestable. I found that very interesting since I had tried feeding lamb based kibble several times and had terrible results. It took about three weeks for my Dobes coats to get dull and dry looking and in six weeks I found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain their weight.

My preferred diet for the Dobermans has been pretty much Purina ProPlan (Focus) Sensative Skin and Stomach (it's salmon and rice by any other name)--it's what I've been feeding for many years now. From time to time I have a dog who does better on the ProPlan (Focus) Chicken and Rice. I haven't fed any beef based kibbles since sometime in the 1970's--I just wasn't getting the best results from beef.

But--all dogs don't necessarily do well on the same things and sometimes you just have to try a few different things to see what they like best and gives them glossy coat, no itches, bright eyes, lots of energy--that's what I expect from a good food for my dogs.

Good luck.

dobebug
 
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