Holistic Select Staff Vet - Dr. Al
This month, Dr. Al offers advice for a Toy Poodle with sensitive skin and recommends a feeding regimen for a Maltipoo and a Terrier mix.
Q: Our Toy Poodle scratches a lot, even though we have tried everything we know to keep her from scratching. What Holistic Select recipe would you recommend we try?
A: There are many causes of scratching and itching. First you’ll need to be certain that there are no external parasites such as fleas, ticks or mange mites. Poodles also need regular grooming or their hair coat will become matted, which can cause problems.
If the scratching is centered around the ears; be sure they are clean and dry. Many poodles have excess hair growing in the ear canal that must be removed regularly.
Some dogs that have allergies which can also cause intense itching and scratching. Allergies are generally divided into two types: environmental or food allergies.
Environmental allergies are allergies to something in the environment such as pollen, mold, fungi, or fleas. Environmental allergies tend to be seasonal, so symptoms may only be present during certain seasons.
Food allergies are allergies to a certain protein in the pet’s diet. A review of 15 separate studies representing 278 dogs with significant adverse reactions to foods, 69% were associated with beef, dairy products and wheat (yes, grains contain protein). Lamb, chicken egg, chicken and soy represented an additional 25%.
The best way to determine if your dog has a food allergy is to perform a feeding trial. Carefully select a diet that contains a single meat protein, one that your dog has not been exposed to recently and does not contain any of the grains mentioned above (wheat, soy, etc). Slowly transition your pet to the new diet, ensuring that your pet does not react negatively to the new protein.
It can take at least two months for all offending antigens to work their way out of your dog’s system. So, remember to feed any new diet for at least two months to gauge the effectiveness of the solution.
Holistic Select makes three single protein recipes (Lamb, Duck and Fish – Anchovy, Sardine and Salmon). Each recipe is high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which will help reduce inflammation and help to heal the skin.
Pinpointing the culprit of a food allergy often takes some trial and error. When testing a new diet, do not feed anything else to your pet during the trial, no treats, snacks or food from the table.
Q: I have 2 small dogs (a Maltipoo and a Terrier mix) both under 20 pounds. I have heard that I should not feed them wet food every day, but I feed them 1/2 can of wet food and then leave out the dry food for them to eat throughout the day. I also give them some snacks throughout the day. Is this okay? Should I change my feeding schedule at all?
A: There is no problem feeding any dog a combination of canned and dry food as you have described. I would be careful to only feed enough each day to maintain a slightly lean body condition (that goes for small dogs and larger dogs as well).
Canned foods are nutritious and a great complement to dry diets. They can add variety to the diet and encourage proper nutrition in dogs that are picky eaters or having trouble maintaining adequate weight. However, they do contain significant calories and that should be considered when making up the daily diet. Check the Feeding Guidelines on your bag of Holistic Select Dry Food to understand how to adjust amounts of dry food and wet food when feeding together in a combination diet. And don’t forget to limit snacks to a couple per day, accounting for those calories as well.