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Old 02-28-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
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So - trying to reduce Ming's allergens and switched him to their grain-free Lamb formula.

I suppose his reactions to baths have calmed down but he has developed bad dandruff. He was almost better on the Nutro Ultra than he is on this.

I guess I'm going to look into Blue or Evo. I've got him on Evo treats which he loves so I assume Evo kibble has a wheat/soy/corn free kibble?

i'm more venting than looking for inspiration. Gonna look at the kibble lists here and see what's out there but I feel like I'm spending a lot of money on something that's only barely helped.

He is fighting our tree pollen season. I've had him on an antihistamine as well because the poor baby had a runny nose and was sneezing hard (not just snorting in annoyance). Which doc says doesn't help with the skin allergies. That's the only problem with our part of the world - all this dang junk in the humid air.

Anyway - so much for that food. It just wasn't right for him.

Somehow he lost a lot of weight in a month. I can't figure it unless their scale needs calibrating but I don't think so. I noticed I could feel his spine in the last couple of weeks when I couldn't before. I haven't changed his kibble amount but I don't think we've been spoiling him quite as much as we were with the Evo treats (he adores them but they're expensive). Or maybe he's just not getting enough nutrition from the CN kibble for some reason. He actually lost almost 8 lbs. 86.5 to 78.7. 86.5 is his ideal weight.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:12 AM   #2
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I may have missed this, but does Ming's vet think it to be more of a food allergy than an environmental allergy or vice versa? Reading this brought back some "awfully painful' memories of my first summer living in Tx and my very first encounter with cottonwood trees!
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:19 AM   #3
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Evo has some grain free varieties. I use Red meat large bites , dogs love it. Baron would choose a handful of that over any kind of crunchy treat i would offer. High in protein and it will cost ya , but i think it's worth every cent. Peek at the Solid Gold line as well , they have some good ones. Wolfking and hund-n-flocken is in my regular rotation.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGLI View Post
I may have missed this, but does Ming's vet think it to be more of a food allergy than an environmental allergy or vice versa? Reading this brought back some "awfully painful' memories of my first summer living in Tx and my very first encounter with cottonwood trees!
She thinks is more environmental but the baths are what are triggering the response because when he is bathed the skin gets dry and the staph get a toehold. Also, just brushing or using the shedding blade will trigger it because it creates micro-tears in his skin. so no more brushing and baths are very gentle and followed with conditioner and colloidal oatmeal rinses. Catch-22 - since it's environmental in part (the humid/pollen-laden air) he needs baths, but since the baths make him susceptible to the staph he's allergic to, he needs not too many baths! We all have staph on us so...

However, we are trying to reduce the overall immune response as much as possible. I don't have my heart set on Evo and was going to look at Blue's grain-free as well. And not even sure grain-free is the answer. I just know that CN isn't working for his skin. When he was on Nutro Ultra he did not have the flaking problem, but the baths were bothering him more.

I tried Honest Kitchen - to get him off Kibble and he had horrible gas and runny bowels. So much for that. And that was with not switching, just adding a half a cup of the HK to his usual diet for a couple of days with a day in between. Maybe he would have adjusted but could I have put him (and us) through that?
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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short answer - his immune system is in overdrive overall. his first few years he was so healthy so this disappoints me. he had gorgeous skin, rarely needed baths, and didn't have a bad odor at all. I commented on this to the doc and she said, if you lived in Colorado you'd still have that. In Houston, you're outta luck.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #6
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What about Natural Balance? They have Grain Free LIDs (Limited Ingredient Diets).....one of my cats cannot keep any food but the NB down - and not any NB - one specific kind of the LID.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:39 AM   #7
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I'll look at NB. I'm also going to look at Blue. I just need to find something that he likes and that hopefully will get rid of the flakes without making him sensitive to the degree he was.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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I've been thinking about Ming, and I'm wondering if you should be screwing around with his food at all. Flaky skin, particularly with the environmental allergies he has, could be coming from so many reasons. Dry weather, sloughing damaged skin, weather changes, stress...the list goes on.

Food allergies only account for about 10% of dogs with allergies. IF his dandruff is being caused by an allergy, that means that there is a 90% chance his dandruff isn't being caused by food. There are many more common allergens. Trying to reduce Ming's sources of allergens is one thing, but changing his food without knowing if the food is even a problem may not be doing him any favors. The jury is out on grain-free kibble. All grain-free does is switch out carbohydrates for other novel carb sources, like tapioca. If Ming isn't allergic to the grains, then all you are doing is switching foods to exotics that typically cost more and may have no beneficial effect. Also, the jury is out on grain-free kibble. There are no long-term studies of grain-free kibble carb sources that tell us how dogs do with grain-free kibble over time. In CN, the grains are replaced with peas and potato. Potato has an extremely high glycemic index - almost the same as pure glucose (one reason we humans love our french fries and mash so much) - and I do wonder if, in 10-20 years, we are going to regret having switched dogs over to a daily diet of potato carbs.

For the dandruff, you may want to talk to your vet about Vitamin E and Omega Fatty Acid supplements. These are your primary healers for the skin. Foster Greyhounds come from the track with 'track coat' and often a very bad case of dandruff. I have found that adding one 1000-1300mg gelcap of fish oil, daily, to their diet significantly reduced or eliminated with dandruff within 2-3 weeks, with no other changes to diet. The Omega Fatty Acids in CN are not at therapeutic levels.

Ming needs around 1415-1725 kcals/day to maintain his ideal weight depending on his activity level, probably toward the lower end of that range given his age. Even at those levels, though, stress can cause weight loss, and his allergies are almost certainly stressing his body. On CN Grain-Free Lamb, he would need to be getting somewhere between 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups of CN, per day.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:49 PM   #9
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he's a lazy lazy dog and on the Nutro Ultra was maintaining his weight on 1.5 cups a day. (plus Evo biscuits 4 or 5 times a day and yogurt with breakfast for tummy health) And for several months he was maintaining that weight on the same amount of the grain-free CN! So I don't know why the sudden loss except, as I said, Daddy started getting annoyed with the under-foot behavior and slowed down on the treats (and, now that you mention it, on the fish caps). So I've been making sure he gets that daily and he does seem to be doing better. I am concerned about going back to his former food because his reaction to baths is much much milder now than it was when he was on the Nutro Ultra.

Things have been very stressful for me/us. While we haven't been storming around the house or anything (nothing wrong between my husband and I) I am going through a major health scare and I don't know if Ming is picking up on that as well. I don't see how he can't. I am out of the house 3 days or more a week and awake much of the night.

Otherwise I can only point to the allergies and the reduction in treats in terms of weight loss and of course, as I said, not getting enough oils because my husband got tired of tripping over Ming every time he went into the bathroom hall (where the Fish Oil caps are). The real solution is just to move the caps! Anyway - we've started that back up and he seems to have improved there just in the last week or so.

I'll be taking him back in to get weighed soon to see how he's doing. He is otherwise healthy - eating well, normal energy level (for him) normal bowels, etc.

I've looked at Blue Buffalo's Fish and Sweet Potato. It has barley and err...some other complex carbs that escapes me at the moment. Do you think this is going as far as CN's grain-free? Is Sweet Potato going to be as quickly broken down as regular potato? (I always think of SP as being more fibrous - at least when I try to cook the darn things!)

Thanks for the info and for prodding my thoughts.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
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he's a lazy lazy dog and on the Nutro Ultra was maintaining his weight on 1.5 cups a day. (plus Evo biscuits 4 or 5 times a day and yogurt with breakfast for tummy health) And for several months he was maintaining that weight on the same amount of the grain-free CN! So I don't know why the sudden loss except, as I said, Daddy started getting annoyed with the under-foot behavior and slowed down on the treats (and, now that you mention it, on the fish caps).
EVO biscuits 4-5 times per day could come close to being equal to an additional cup of kibble, or more, depending on the composition and how much you feed. Cutting back on the biscuits may have been cutting out significant amounts of daily food. You may want to consider increasing the amount of CN by the amount of biscuit that has been cut.
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...I've looked at Blue Buffalo's Fish and Sweet Potato. It has barley and err...some other complex carbs that escapes me at the moment. Do you think this is going as far as CN's grain-free? Is Sweet Potato going to be as quickly broken down as regular potato?...
Sweet potato is, indeed, a source of fiber. It has a lower glycemic index value than potato, for humans, and has high digestibility/utility. It's chief benefit is as a novel carb - one not found in typical dog foods. The long-term effects of feeding dogs sweet potato aren't known, yet. They haven't been fed long enough to a large enough population of dogs for us to know much. So far, dogs seem to be doing fine with them.

CN's primary energy sources are white potato, canola oil, and a little pea starch. BB's primary energy sources are rice, barley, canola oil, and a little sweet potato, white potato, and pea starch. Difficult to compare.
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