6 In Dog

Skin and Fur problems


Was it the frequent bathing?

Towards the end of December, I stopped sending Kip to daycare.  Not because I felt that it was a bad place or anything, but because I noticed how much Kip’s hair had thinned out. My initial thought was that the hairloss was due to the weekly baths after his day at daycare. Kip shares my bed and it was not on option to not give Kip a bath after daycare because of the strong smell of the daycare (cleaning chemicals, dogs) and the slobber crusted all over his fur at the end of the day. So I stopped taking Kip to daycare.  3 weeks later, I did not see much improvement.

After a trip to the vet

I took Kip to the vet and was not satisfied with the answer I recieved. The vet wanted to test Kip for two types of skin diseases, which would have been fine except the vet didn’t think he actually had those diseases because usually they come with noticable rashes. The only reason the vet wanted to have the tests done was for “process of elimination.” The second thing the vet wanted me to try was again, process of elimination for allergies. She wanted me to try hypoallergenic dog food and find out which ingrediant Kip may be potentially allergic to.  I would need to keep Kip on a strict diet with no treats for a certain period of time. With Kip enrolled for a training class in February, I would have to wait until the class was over to start it. I thanked the vet, politely declined to do the tests and left.  If there is one thing my own experience with any sort of illness has taught me, is that it’s always good to seek a second opinion.

Was it the harness?

This is Kip’s neck (right under his throat). Because the fur loss is on other parts of his body and his harness does not actually touch that part of his neck, I don’t believe that it’s any sort of collar irritation. Kip doesn’t wear his harness indoors and only wears it when we go for a walk, so that is another reason I don’t think that is an issue.

A discovery at Mud Bay

In looking for other options to pet stores besides the huge Pet Smart and Petco, I found a few different chains and local stores in my area. One of the chains was called Mud Bay that appears to be native to Washington state. What I liked about Mud Bay was their more cozy store layout and how their staff seemed very interested in the nutrition involved in dog food. They also had various free informational pamplets (you can also read their pamplets online if you don’t live in Washington). One of the pamplets I picked up was titled “How to Help Dogs with Itchy Skin.” What immediately caught my attention was the following exerpt:

Only 1 in 20 itchy dogs is truly allergic. Most veterinary nutritionists now believe that only about one in twenty itchy dogs is actually allergic to any of the ingredients commonly found in high-quality natural dog foods. For the large majority of dogs with itchy skin, the problem is that the dog’s diet doesn’t meet all of its nutritional needs, or that the dog has built up an intolerance to something in the food, not that the dog is allergic to a specific ingredient.

I was happy to learn that Kip’s problem may not be allergies and have decided to look a bit more into Kip’s nutrition status. I’ve been doing some research on Kip’s food this past week that I’ll be posting shortly.



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  • Caryl, Shadow & Trooper

    I have heard that most vets do not have too much knowledge about dog nutrition and will often refer a client to a dog nutritionist. (That will probably offend someone.) In any case, my girl, Shadow isn’t allergic to any food ingredients that I know of. Her breeder is a vet tech and works at a specialty clinic (can you say “expensive”?) She noticed that Shadow was rubbing her eyelashes off and her eyes were watering. She took her to one of their dermatologists and had her skin tested for many allergens. The results showed that she was indeed allergic to nearly every plant in the known universe, as well as wool, dust mites, etc. She was started on atigens injections, which I still give her. They contain what she was most allergic to, such as grass and local plants.
    On the food side, I have done quite research online. There is a website, dogfoodanalysis.com that I like. My two have been on several premium foods; first Artemis, then Canidae and now Innova. They love food and will eat anything, so that is never an issue. The reason I changed from Artemis is that it is a bit difficult to find and I had to order it. I switched from Canidae because they starting passing an excessive amount of gas and it didn’t seem to get any better! Now, Innova has been bought by a larger company and I didn’t feel they could maintain their high standards in a larger production plant. Now I may need to begin the selection process all over again! From what I’ve read, the stamp of approval found on dog food bags, means that in six months the dogs didn’t die of starvation while eating the food, not really that it was great nutritionally. Also, they don’t necessarily have to tell you, on the bag, that they have made a change to the formulation of the food. I try for a medium range of protein and the best, holistic quality ingredients. Too high protein content can supposedly cause behavior problems as well as skin problems. I am not an expert by any means, I just try to research as much as I can. Since you can find negative comments about nearly every on the internet, I try to consider the source (as my Mom used to say.) Selecting a new food is a lengthy and very confusing process.
    My two have two completely different coats. Shadow’s is a good, harsh terrier coat and it washes and dries quickly. Trooper’s is fine, almost like a cocker spaniel, soaks up water like a sponge and takes a lot longer to dry. Shadow’s dermatologist (over $100 a visit) says she looks great. Maybe, someday I will be able to stop the antigens and the expensive doctor visits.
    I just found another website that I’m going to take a look at: dogfoodscoop.com.
    Good luck with your search.

    • Kim

      I’m going to take a guess that seeing a dog nutritionist is going to be expensive. How unfortunate that Shadow is allergic to so many things! I get allergies from time to time from pollen and dust, ect and it’s a real pain.
      I found dogfoodanalysis.com when I bought Kip’s second bag of kibble but now I’m seeing that I should do some research on the manufacturer’s and companies along side the list of ingredients.

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  • do you think it could be soy, corn, or wheat? Those are supposed to be 3 of the main ingredients many dogs are allergic too.

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