Posts filed under ‘Food’
or How to Train Your Dog to Hate Food
I notice that the blog entries about Boogie’s skin issues get the MOST visits and comments compared to everything else on this blog. This “hair loss” post is many years old, and so are all the posts tagged Skin, but the comments and questions keep coming in. Lots of questions from parents of suffering dogs who want to know which remedies worked and which ones didn’t.
I don’t have answers for other people’s dogs, but here is an update for Boogie….
After spending $$$$ on vet bills, products, and visits to the dermatology clinic over the past 5 years, I decided NOT to go the path of allergy testing and lifelong injections. Our pet insurance doesn’t cover this stuff because anything skin-related is considered a “pre-existing condition”, so I have been focused on more cost-effective solutions.
2015: Boogie’s skin is not great but it is SO MUCH BETTER. In fact, over the past 12 months, Boogie’s skin has been at its best, and looks pretty good compared to previous years. The summer of 2014 was the first time in 5 years that he did not go on a long course of antibiotics and lose most of his hair. He also had no crusty bits.
- Darwin’s pet food – Beef and Veggies (I always cook the meat so it’s not 100% raw)
- Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil
- 1 benadryl pill, crushed and mixed in food.
It took roughly 8 months before I saw the difference with Darwins food and the Pet Cod Liver Oil. Boogie’s coat became fuller and shinier; not rough and dry like before.
Benadryl was recommended by our vet. It seems extreme to be giving this to him every single day – but he is less inclined to scratch, and scratching is the FIRST STEP to infections. In warmer/itchier seasons, he gets 1 benadryl per day. In cooler seasons, he gets one every other day. He still scratches, and is still itchy… but I think it would be much worse without the benadryl.
I also bathe Boogie with Vet’s Best Allergy-Itch Relief shampoo, and occasionally soak him in a tub of diluted Vet’s Best Hot Spot Spray or I wipe him down with a cloth that I put some spray on. Especially after he has been rolling around in the grass.
Boogie still gets red and raw spots… especially on his face and in his armpits. I have found that the Virbac Resicort lotion (from our vet) helps with his armpits, but unfortunately this is a recurring problem.
P.S. I tried the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar… these didn’t do anything.
UPDATE – May 2016
This here is a really really old blog post but as I am still receiving so many comments and questions, I want to give a very quick update on Boogie’s skin problems which did in fact, repeat themselves every Summer until last year when we started him on Apoquel – an allergy medicine that does not carry the harmful effects of antibiotics or steroids or benadryl.
Boogie’s allergies were ENVIRONMENTAL, not food-related. So the grass, pollen, air, flea bites… etc.
Apoquel inhibits itching so that Boogie doesn’t feel the need to scratch – which means that his skin does not get infected (which leads to Staph infections). Boogie’s skin has cleared up and he looks great. He also has had blood work done and everything is normal. No bad side effects from the Apoquel except some weight gain.
The only problem so far with Apoquel is that it is expensive and Boogie has to take it EVERY DAY forever. When we ran out and he stopped taking it, the itchiness came back within days. It is also only available from an Animal Dermatologist. Vets have a limited supply.
The other very important life changer for Boogie is WEEKLY baths with Hexazole shampoo – this stuff is amazing. Everyone comments on how nice and shiny Boogie’s coat is. Also expensive, of course. But it works.
I am not a medical expert so don’t take my word for anything. Please talk to your vet or dermatology specialist. Hope this helps! – Lili
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We were at the vet again last week. Boogie is now on Cephalexin (antibiotics) and Temaril-P (steroids). 30 days of Cephalexin.
The itchiness has stopped but Boogie’s skin is still splotchy. Hopefully it won’t take too long to heal. One side effect of Temaril-P is increased hunger, so the poor little dog is constantly starving. Walks are frustrating. He has become obsessed with scavenging off the sidewalks (“Leave it” only works 50% of the time) and at home he often sits looking up at me, pleading for treats. He won’t even play fetch or tug. He would rather eat.
The upside is that Boogie is paying no attention to his usual triggers on the street. He is ignoring other dogs and scary humans and concerned ONLY with finding food scraps on the ground.
I told Dr. F that I cook for Boogie, and she mentioned that she orders her dog’s meat from Darwin’s Pet . Knowing that Boogie does not eat raw meat – he has either walked away from it, or eaten it and vomited later – I at first figured that this wouldn’t be something worth trying out. But when Dr. F told me that she cooks the meat and that it is ok to do so, I placed a trial order…
The prices seem really good. I spend about the same amount of money each week at the local market anyway; and the meat from Darwin’s Pet is organic, antibiotic-free and already mixed with organ meats, bone meal, veggies, apple cider vinegar and supplements. In the photo above – our first shipment of 10lbs of food – $15. When the box arrived, my first thought was – there is NO WAY THIS IS GOING TO FIT IN MY FREEZER – but then I realized the contents were mostly dry ice. The meals comes sealed in 1/2 lb packets. They include a fed ex slip for you to send the box back to be recycled.
Interestingly – the instruction sheet says that if the dog has a compromised immune system, he should not eat raw and it is advisable to cook the meals…
This evening I started transitioning Boogie over to Darwin’s Pet food… I sauteed 1lb of food – as you can see in the photo the meat is still red in color – definitely rare – and added 2oz of this to his usual fully-cooked mix of meat and veggies.
I have a question – does “rare” meat keep longer than “raw” in the fridge? This is a transition period so I won’t be feeding all of this rare meat too quickly but I don’t want it to go bad sitting in the fridge for too long… How many days is safe? I suppose I could cook it some more…
Still following a home cooked diet. About 20% of the time anyway, as I still mix in a bit of Stella & Chewy’s or Primal freeze-dried food from time to time. I have bags of these foods bought a month ago, that would otherwise go to waste.
7 days of food… I store these in the freezer and thaw a new container each day.
Freshly cooked dinners.
It takes only about 1-2 hours per week and it is so much cheaper! 25lb active dog: 3lbs of ground meat, 2 lbs of veggies, and supplements. Under $30 a week. Amazing.
Is the food making a difference to Boogie’s skin condition? It’s really hard to tell. He is still itchy and has those flaky bits and blistery bumps. But I *think* his fur is growing back a bit more. And he LOVES this new diet.
I have a couple of questions about using a dehydrator to make meaty dog treats (like Bravo treats):
- If I want to dehydrate pieces of chicken, beef, or liver, do I have to cook the meat first before dehydrating?
- What if the meat is frozen? Does it need to be thawed out first? Or can it go straight into the dehydrator?
Pawalla now offers a mini box and it contains just a handful of doggie products… definitely less overwhelming 🙂 Again, these are products that are new to me; I have never heard of them before, and they all look and sound pretty cool. Here’s what we got:
- Wild Salmon treats <– Boogie loves these! Nice that they are grain-free.
- Grain-free Baked Duck treats made with potato and tapioca flours.
- Wigzi (treat-stuffing) ball
- Gerard Larriett “Balancing Rose” Aromatherapy Freshening and Shining Spray <– this is the only item we are not keen on. I would never spray Boogie with fragrance anyway, and he hates being sprayed. The only stuff I am applying on his sensitive dry skin are raw coconut oil and/or Virbac Resicort skin lotion (which unfortunately, has a fragrance).
I checked out the website. It costs $12 per month to have a mini box of surprises shipped to you, and “Limited offer available only for the first 200 subscribers.”
I am still reading Monica Segal’s K-9 Kitchen. Most of the information about understanding nutritional values of food items, calculating allowances by the dog’s weight, and preparing custom spreadsheets has gone way over my head. I will need to return to earlier chapters and figure out these nitty gritties. There is also a chapter on how to read a blood panel and what all the values mean but my brain cannot cope right now after having just spent the past two days on taxes & assorted spreadsheets…
I want to cook for Boogie again. I used to feed Boogie a mix of homecooked and The Honest Kitchen but it was a lot of work so I switched to 100% freeze dried/dehydrated raw and add fish oil, probiotic and kelp supplements. I want to see if an expert-formulated homecooked diet makes any difference to Boogie’s energy level and skin condition (which is still not good… his coat is thinning).
There is a chapter of raw, cooked and combo recipes in the K-9 Kitchen Book and tonight, I made a big pot of food for a 25lb active dog.
I may have made a mistake with the quantities. I later read that the ounces of veggies and meats in the recipe are for COOKED portions. I had weighed raw ingredients and cooked them all together. Oops. Next week we will do better. Boogie has not eaten grains in ages, but he used to do ok on oats (The Honest Kitchen: Keen) so we’ll see. The only complicated part was having to handle beef liver – which I had never touched before – and this was pretty gross. Slimy and bloody… worse than chicken liver, and it is stinky when cooked. I also hoped I used the correct amount of Calcium supplement… I stirred in some capsules as I don’t yet have the powdered version.
Look at Boogie. He wanted his big pot of dinner NOW. When the food was stored away in the fridge, he refused to leave the kitchen. In between games of fetch, Boogie kept running to the kitchen hoping that I would follow him and get the message. Each time I got up from my desk or couch, Boogie would dash to the kitchen and drop his ball at the door… “Please can I have some of that stinky meat sludge? Please?”