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Homemade Dog Food For Dogs With Allergies
Despite claims from commercial and specialty dog food companies, foods formulated to address allergies may not be effective in helping your dog overcome the problem. There are too many factors to consider and a general veterinary workup may not isolate the allergenic factor.
Since about one third of pet allergies can be traced to the foods they eat, it's worth exploring this area first. It's usually the easiest approach, so it makes sense to do this first. Of course, if you can afford it, a more in-depth vet examination could help identify whether it's due to causative ingredients in the food or perhaps some other environmental factor.
Most reactions consist of itchy, possibly crusty, patches on the dog's skin. You may not notice it at first and worry that your dog is having a different issue, such as dry skin or something toxic in the dog's surroundings, including any medications being taken or chemicals used. Some dogs are allergic to fleas, so that is worth testing, too. The dog could react to flea bites, or to the repellant chemicals.
My 8-year-old Rottweiler developed itchy, crusty patches over a year ago and a cursory look from the vet resulted in a recommendation to treat her with Benadryl and bathe her with a skin-soothing pet shampoo. None of this worked, so the next idea was to explore the possibility of an allergy to something in her food. Since she had been eating the same food for most of her life, it seemed like a useless idea, but we discovered that was exactly why we needed to test it. It's not uncommon for an allergy to develop, over time, to the most common ingredients, especially beef, eggs, wheat, milk solids, nuts, cheese, fruits, some vegetables, and spices or other additives.
I initially switched to one of the premium foods that consists only of natural ingredients (and is quite expensive). It helped a little. The patches over her rump finally cleared up, as did those on her shoulders. Only the worst one remained, on her snout. This meant the problem was not solved but that we were on the right track.
That's when I decided to take complete control of what she was eating. I found several good recipes for homemade dog food and jumped right in, "cooking" for my dog.
It's been worth it. The last patch is finally clearing up and she seems grateful to be free of the constant itching. Be advised, however, that cleansing the dog's system to solve an allergy requires patience. It can take more than a year to get results.
Signs that your dog may have an allergy:
* Itchy skin with crusty patches, especially on the rump
* Constantly licking the front feet
* Ears bother but there are no signs of ear mites
* Butt-dragging (though there are no worms)
* Diarrhea, flatulence (gas)
If the old symptoms return when you resume the previous diet, you can assume there is something in that food that caused the problem. You may need to forever avoid that food.
The worst thing you can do is to suppress these symptoms with cortisone drugs, as this only suppresses their natural immune system and in time, worsens the problem.
Feel free to do your own searching and testing to find a recipe your dog likes, but the one we settled on is the following. It will serve one large dog for two days or a small dog for a week. Be sure to keep it well refrigerated.
3 cups brown rice (or millet or oats)
6 cups raw meat, such as duck, lamb, etc. (avoid the common meats, such as beef and chicken)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp bone meal (non-cooked sources)
Provide a natural multi-vitamin supplement from a reliable source, formulated specifically for dogs.
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