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Hack my dogs itchy skin and diarrhea

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 05, 2012 at 6:46 PM

I have 2 German Shepherds one male and one female. I fed them Blue Buffalo for a while and my female always had very itchy skin. It would get so bad in the summer that she would need to get a cortisone shot once a year.

When I went paleo I started researching grain free dog food to see if it might help with the skin. It was already gluten free and no corn or soy. When the male GSD started to get itchy skin too I decided to go grain free/high protein for them. The female did well and trimmed down, and skin improved, however the male got constant diarrhea and the worst farts you could possibly imagine. He also got really really skinny, and you can see his bones through his skin. He lost all of the hair on his butt and looks like we don't take care of him.

We switched them both to a new food with rice and salmon. He seems to be doing better and putting on weight, but still skinny and losing the hair on his butt. Our female is getting really fat on this new food. I really don't know what to do. I am scared to switch their food again and risk him losing more weight and getting diarrhea.

Any suggestions on improving skin and helping the make to put on weight. Advice specific to the German Shepherd Breed would be great.

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UPDATE:

We took him in to the vet because the weight loss was not getting any better and was still loosing hair. Vet did a blood panel and everything was fine. He said he has a flea allergy and gave him antibiotics. Hopefully he will put on some weight once the antibiotics are done. I will keep everyone updated. Diarrhea is gone since switching back to the grain free blue buffalo. I would like to go raw meat with them as soon as he is better. I don't want to shock his system while he is recovering.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 19, 2012
at 08:44 PM

It is cheaper to go raw than to medicate and go to the vet. I feed my 60lb Pit Bull for $30/mo and that includes grass fed steak, organic pork, Salmon oil, and Green tripe. You'll need to network with suppliers, but you'll be able to SAVE money in the long haul by feeding raw.

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on April 05, 2012
at 08:59 PM

I was coming in here to say just this :) My itty bitty corgi/shiba eats about half a pound of meat a day, either ground or with bone, and he's never been silkier, happier, or healthier. All of his paw-and-butt chewing has gone away. Be careful about the dog eating too quickly. Freeze the meat if that happens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-OasV9LCxE (No, not my dog.)

Medium avatar

(4878)

on April 05, 2012
at 08:12 PM

YUP!!!! And don't forget the Salmon oil (anti-inflammatory/anti-stress) and GreenTripe.com (metalic cofactors and probiotics) And don't think it is expensive. Calculate up the monthly med expense + your current food and I'll bet Raw = 1/2 the cost. I feed a Prey Model Raw, and have for 9 years, and average less than $30/mo for ALL food expenses. It takes a little work, and a local Raw Feeders co-op will help, but you can do it.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on April 05, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I don't most of them live up to the hype, and certainly don't justify the price per bag when you could save money by feeding them on a prey model raw diet!

E1c41fc9d29cec2c3066e000c9562d92

(730)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:48 PM

Going out on a limb here, but it may help to feed them some raw liver if you can. Vitamin A is necessary for protein synthesis, utilization, and skin health, and I would imagine its doubly important in a carnivore. I know animal studies have found vitamin A is necessary on high protein diets. Probably worth a try. Maybe try 3-4 oz 2-3x a week at first.

Fc64db6a555559762432d503a1dbad19

(1478)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:39 PM

We used Royal Canin before we found blue buffalo. I am beginning to think commercial dog food is just terrible all together. Even the really expensive brands.

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9 Answers

3
4ccf5d9bba64e54fc95802fe8ae33c47

(900)

on April 05, 2012
at 06:57 PM

Please google "raw food diet" for dogs.

There is absolutely NO commercial, cooked, processed diet out there for dogs. Dogs are carnivores and thrive on raw meat and bones and whole prey only.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on April 05, 2012
at 08:12 PM

YUP!!!! And don't forget the Salmon oil (anti-inflammatory/anti-stress) and GreenTripe.com (metalic cofactors and probiotics) And don't think it is expensive. Calculate up the monthly med expense + your current food and I'll bet Raw = 1/2 the cost. I feed a Prey Model Raw, and have for 9 years, and average less than $30/mo for ALL food expenses. It takes a little work, and a local Raw Feeders co-op will help, but you can do it.

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on April 05, 2012
at 08:59 PM

I was coming in here to say just this :) My itty bitty corgi/shiba eats about half a pound of meat a day, either ground or with bone, and he's never been silkier, happier, or healthier. All of his paw-and-butt chewing has gone away. Be careful about the dog eating too quickly. Freeze the meat if that happens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-OasV9LCxE (No, not my dog.)

1
Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on April 05, 2012
at 08:21 PM

My GSD use to get a lot of hot spots, even when I fed him expensive grain free kibble. I switched to a raw meat diet over a year ago, and he has done great--healthy, no more hot spots and optimum weight. He gets mostly chicken, some beef, plus some type of organ meat every day and a few leftover veggies.

1
1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:59 PM

We learned by trial and error that our GSD was allergic to all seafood, including the oils they add to kibble for the Omega-3. She was losing her coat by the handfuls, her skin raw and red, and she itched NON STOP. Persistent yeast infections in her ears, the poor thing was a mess in a dress.

I started doing some research and for months I fed her raw and she thrived. Turkey and chicken necks, hearts, liver, meaty bones, chicken backs, and bit of cooked greens or yam to mimic the partially digested stomach contents of small prey. Money got tight though, and we scrambled to find an affordable kibble that didn't have any fish meal or oil in it. We settled on Advantage chicken & rice, sold at Pet Smart, but Nature's Balance has two flavors which don't have any fish in it either.

0
707342e3cb97e0fc088917919a154b8a

on May 23, 2012
at 05:54 PM

If you have a German Shepherd that's losing weight or struggling to gain weight, PLEASE have them checked for EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency)-- it's easily tested for and easily treated. Essentially EPI means that their pancreas isn't producing sufficient digestive enzymes-- my dog lost almost 25 lbs in four weeks before we figured out what the issue was. EPI can be found in any breed of dog, but the overwhelming majority of sufferers are German Shepherds (something along the lines of 80% of sufferers are GSDs).

Most dogs that have EPI are diagnosed as a puppy, but there are definitely cases that it can be diagnosed later in life (my late GSD was diagnosed at age 7 and lived to almost age 14) and they don't necessarily have to have all of the symptoms (such as loose stools) either. My pup still had 'tootsie roll' stools (gross, sorry!) even while in crisis which is why it took so long to get her a diagnosis. The solution is to add pancreatic enzymes to each meal (you can get them via prescription from your vet, but it's far less expensive to buy them here: http://www.enzymediane.com/-- I'm not in any way, shape or form affiliated, but this is where I purchased enzymes at my vet's recommendation as it was 1/3 the price of the prescription)

Hope this helps!

0
D3b6486849fd81f144d45fcbf6088a78

(65)

on May 23, 2012
at 05:40 PM

just like everyone else stated, it would be best to get them on a raw food exclusive diet. sometimes that's easier said than done (depending on where you live, co-ops are not always an option). if you are making your own raw, please make sure that you are including the organ meats as well as bone or supplementing with bone meal. you should also be adding in a good digestive enzyme (great life is a good one), and you can add some full fat greek yogurt to get some good probiotics in. In the beginning sometimes it is also helpful to add some canned pumpkin (approx one heaping spoonful for large dogs) to help in the transition. I feed mine raw twice a day and add a heaping tbsp of coconut oil to each of their meals, cat included. the coconut oil helped my rescue recover from horrific IBS and general digestive issues- I HIGHLY recommend this. coats are beautiful, weight is perfect. if you can't get a hold of a co-op, sometimes you can purchase raw from the natural pet food stores by the case (usually 4 bags) at a discount. if you are bound to kibble, there are a multitude of grain free/potato free options now, california natural grain free has a few that are single protein, single binder sources (lamb, venison, kangaroo, etc), there is also nutrisource and another whose name escapes me at the moment. I would NOT add salmon oil because it tends to flair alot of dogs rather than help. also you can add some fresh raw garlic (approx a clove worth for a large 50+ lb dog per meal), aids in digestion and staves away fleas/ticks. I have never had good luck with blue or natural balance as there is far too much potato, you're paying to decorate your yard. hope this helps!

0
033ceff8e23d4abf2ff122e223d7a123

on May 19, 2012
at 07:31 PM

I don't have an answer but this is an interesting topic. My furry brother, Cooper (my parents' rat terrier) has had awful skin for about the past 4 years. He gets "hot spots" on his back and itches like crazy (to the point of scratching his fur and skin off and then bleeding and getting massive scabs.) He also has puffy, watery eyes and will get puffy red spots near his dew claws and itches those, too.

We've been told by vets Cooper has allergies but not much more information than that. During the winter he is usually fine but come spring he looks awful.

He takes Benadryl almost daily and is currently on steroids (small doses everyday) and looks WAY better.

I've heard that dogs can react poorly to wheat and my parents buy generic brand kibble, but I don't think it is in their budget to go to a meat diet (they're helping me with rent and college).

Does anyone think this sounds like a wheat intolerance? I guess I'm comparing his seasonal allergies with what people have described before going Paleo.

Any answers to the original question (or specifically to mine) will be interesting to read.

Also, @monaLisa, I wish you luck with your pups. It's hard seeing your furry family members not feeling well. :(

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 19, 2012
at 08:44 PM

It is cheaper to go raw than to medicate and go to the vet. I feed my 60lb Pit Bull for $30/mo and that includes grass fed steak, organic pork, Salmon oil, and Green tripe. You'll need to network with suppliers, but you'll be able to SAVE money in the long haul by feeding raw.

0
E329e6e2335b27043b000ffee36d56a8

on May 19, 2012
at 07:09 PM

I feed my Airedale Terrier the Blue Buffalo oat and fish variety. I switched her to that after she got the runs from the "chicken" variety of BB. She had no problems with the chicken, large breed puppy food from BB though. Airedales are also known to have dry, itchy skin. I used to give her one fish oil capsule a day to help with the itchy skin, but since the transition last year to the fish & oat formulation I only give them to her occasionally. I don't give her these much because too much fish oil in a dog can give them a fishy butt. Not only is it smelly, but you now have trips to the vet to get their anal sacs cleaned. It's super gross! After cutting back...no more stinky dog bum. I also bathe her every two/three weeks to help with the itchies. (any longer than that is too long imho)Hope this helps having a sick dog is no fun.

0
Medium avatar

(4878)

on April 06, 2012
at 02:57 AM

You might want to wade through Dogtor J's site. He is wordy, I'll say that in advance, but printing out his essays and highlighting issues your dogs may have can be a good diagnostic tool for the specific allergens.

0
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:23 PM

I would treat them individually. What food is good for one, may not be the best for the other. Have you looked into all the ingredients. Over eating can cause problems too. There might be some forums that can help. We have had multitudes of trouble with food for our dog (not a shepherd) but we finally found a winner in Royal Canin. Purina Lamb and Rice nearly killed our late poodle, and he ended up on food from the vet the last five years of his life. I know food makes a difference. Hope you can find something that works.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on April 05, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I don't most of them live up to the hype, and certainly don't justify the price per bag when you could save money by feeding them on a prey model raw diet!

Fc64db6a555559762432d503a1dbad19

(1478)

on April 05, 2012
at 07:39 PM

We used Royal Canin before we found blue buffalo. I am beginning to think commercial dog food is just terrible all together. Even the really expensive brands.

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