Health & Nutrition
Through years or research and trial and error with the Doberman pinscher breed and several generations we have concluded that all of the dry dog foods suck. Unfortunately there's not one single food that every dog will do well on, that would be to simple. We have found medium grade foods sit best with breed. We feed diamond puppy mixed with Victor hi-energy in the red bag. We mix them at a ratio of of 50/50 Unfortunately high protein diets can cause kidney damage.
No Matter what you feed, the best thing to do is add a high quality supplement to your dogs food. 18 -27% is the recommended protein level for your dog.
Food allergies in dogs can be tricky to identify. The symptoms aren’t what many pet parents expect, and there are a lot of myths out there about food allergies in dogs. True food allergies are not that common in dogs, for one.
Here’s how you can figure out if your dog has food allergies and what you can do about them.
Reasons to Suspect Dog Food Allergies
When people think about pet food allergies, they often jump to gastrointestinal issues. However, food allergies in dogs may or may not come with an upset stomach.
The most common symptoms of food allergies in dogs actually show up as reactions in their skin.
Skin and Ear Problems in Dogs With Food Allergies
Skin problems are common in dogs with food allergies. At first glance, this seems kind of odd, but it makes more sense when you think about how people react to food allergies.
Dogs with unchecked food allergies may also have trouble with their ears.
Some of the most common health issues associated with legitimate dog food allergies are:
Skin lesions, especially when a dog is self-harming in an effort to scratch the itch
Frequent ear infections
Similar symptoms may be caused by environmental allergies to triggers like pollen, mold, and house mites, but these, at least to start with, are often seasonal.
For this reason, it’s important to track whether your dog’s symptoms ebb and flow with the changing of the seasons.
When Do Dog Food Allergies Develop?
It’s important to remember that food allergies can develop at any time. A food your dog has consumed for years with no troubles may suddenly cause an allergic reaction, or symptoms may develop soon after you change your dog’s diet.
How Are Dog Food Allergies Diagnosed?
Diagnosing food allergies in dogs isn’t always a straightforward process. It’s not like there’s a simple test that can instantly tell what your dog is allergic to or, if indeed, he has food allergies at all.
You have to start at the beginning, with the help of your veterinarian, to know for sure whether your dog’s skin or ear issues are caused by food allergies.
Rule Out Other Health Issues
Your veterinarian will take a full history on your pet and do a general exam.
Ruling out those conditions comes first because true food allergies are relatively uncommon.
If there is no other apparent cause for your dog’s symptoms, your veterinarian may begin to suspect that food allergies are behind your dog’s itchy skin or ear infections.
Even if your vet finds a “reason” for your dog’s skin problems, they may still suspect that an adverse food reaction is at least partially responsible since, for example, yeast infections can develop as a result of food allergies.
Once a diagnosis of food allergies seems to be a reasonable possibility, your vet will recommend a food trial.
Starting a Food Trial
Starting your dog on a food trial means your pet will eat a prescription diet and absolutely nothing else for a couple of months to see if symptoms resolve.
If they do, some veterinarians will suggest going back to the dog’s old diet to see if symptoms return to ensure that the dog is truly allergic to one or more ingredients in their “regular” diet.
Evaluating a Food Trial: Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance
Seeing results from the food trial are not a guarantee that your pet has food allergies. In some cases, you may find out that your dog has a food intolerance.
Food allergies occur when the immune system responds inappropriately to something (usually a protein) found in the diet.
Instead of treating this perfectly innocuous substance as it should, the immune system treats it as a threat—an invader of sorts.
A food intolerance is different from an allergy in that the symptoms are not caused by an immune reaction.
In dogs, food intolerances typically cause tummy troubles; they may vomit or have diarrhea, be seriously gassy, or have a poor appetite.
Treating Food Allergies in Dogs
The only effective way to treat a food allergy in dogs is to change their diet.
While grain-free foods are often touted as good for food allergies, science tells us that protein sources are more likely to be the culprit. According to a study published in 2016, the top three most common causes of food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, and chicken.
Diets for Dog Food Allergies
Here are a couple of different approaches to treating food allergies in dogs.
This approach involves feeding proteins that your dog has likely never been exposed to in an effort to avoid an allergic reaction. Rabbit, venison, and other novel ingredients are used in place of more common protein sources. Allergy-friendly foods must be completely free of your dog’s triggers.
Rather than changing which proteins are used, hydrolyzed protein prescription diets break proteins down so that the immune system no longer recognizes them as a threat.
Treating Itchy Skin and Ear Issues Caused by Food Allergies
The only way to treat a food allergy is to remove the offending food from the dog’s diet, but there are options for temporarily treating the symptoms caused by food allergies.
Oral and topical medications are sometimes prescribed to help minimize itching. Any secondary problems, like skin or ear infections, will also have to be addressed.
If you’re concerned about any symptoms your dog is experiencing, or you’re simply wondering whether the food you’re offering is the best choice for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.
Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the largest immune network in the body. Scientists say GALT comprises about 70% of the immune system. But what is this is based on exactly?
“With about 70% of the cellular component of the immune system present as GALT…,” Christina E. West, MD, Ph.D., and six others wrote in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2015.
“The GALT consists of both isolated and aggregated lymphoid follicles and is one of the largest lymphoid organs, containing up to 70% of the body’s immunocytes,” Camille Jung, MD, Ph.D., and colleagues stated in the International Journal of Inflammation in 2010.
“The importance of immune modulation at the gastrointestinal level can be understood easily, considering that approximately 70% of the entire immune system is found in this site…,” said the senior co-author, Fabrizio Marcucci, Ph.D., in Clinical and Experimental Immunology in 2008.
These three papers have been cited hundreds of times (i.e., 168, 346, and 224 times, respectively). Even I cited the 2008 paper in my paper in Frontiers of Neuroscience. Who did the 2008 paper referenced? Another two review papers in which there’s no direct mention that 70% of the immune system is in the gut. The same scenario applies to West et al. (2015), Jung et al. (2010), and others, as far as I know.
Do dogs need heartworm medicine?
It is very important to get dogs tested for heartworms at least once a year. Puppies can start on heartworm preventative from 6 to 8 weeks old. Most vets recommend putting dogs on a heartworm medication such as heartguard that is taken once a month.
There are many different types of intestinal parasites that are found in dogs. The most common kinds are:
Roundworms - These parasites are found in about one out of every 50 dogs tested with a higher prevalence in dogs that live in cooler places like Alaska, Wyoming, Indiana, West Virginia, Vermont, and Rhode Island.1 The worms that these eggs turn into look like spaghetti noodles and are especially common in puppies.
Hookworms - These parasites are also found in about 1 out of every 50 dogs tested and are especially common in warmer areas like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida.2 The adult worms are difficult to see because they are only a few millimeters long.
Whipworms - While less common than some of the other worms, whipworms are still found in about 1 out of every 200 dogs tested. West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana have some of the highest rates of infection for this worm.3
Giardia - This parasite may not develop into a worm but it still causes intestinal issues. It can only be seen with a microscope.
Tapeworms - These parasites are contracted by ingesting infected fleas. The worms will shed segments that look like pieces of rice on a dog's stool or around their rear end. They can cause rectal itching and weight loss.
How to Know if Your Dog Has Intestinal Parasites
The best way to tell if your dog has intestinal parasites is by having a microscopic fecal examinations done with your veterinarian on a regular basis. Heavy roundworm and tapeworm infestations may be obvious due to the presence of visible worms in your dog's poop. Many other parasites don't leave visual clues, so regular testing of the stool is warranted to prevent problems.
If your dog has intestinal parasites, a dewormer will be needed to kill off the parasites. Dewormers can be topically applied, orally administered, or injected . There is no single dewormer that will kill all types of intestinal parasites. In order to treat intestinal parasites appropriately, your veterinarian will have to determine exactly what kind of intestinal parasite your dog has. Additionally, some dewormers are also recommended to be used monthly to prevent infections of some common intestinal parasites.
Most pet owners are already treating their pets for the most common intestinal parasites with their monthly heartworm and flea medication. Many pet stores sell oral dewormers without a prescription in liquid, paste, granule, or tablet form to treat an active infection. These dewormers can contain the drugs fenbendazole, praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and/or febantel. Different drugs will kill different types of worms and some products contain a combination of two or even three different drugs. Most adult dogs on monthly preventatives will not need to use these medications. If you do use them, it is important to administer the appropriate amount of these products at the recommended frequency and route to your dog based on its weight. Additionally, you should always check with your veterinarian prior to giving any drug to your dog in case your specific dog has a sensitivity, allergy, or inability to process the drug based on its genetics or an underlying disease.
If your at-home treatments are unsuccessful or your dog has an intestinal parasite that cannot be treated with over the counter medications, a prescription dewormer will be needed. These may be administered orally, topically, or injectably and may need to be repeated depending on the type and severity of infection. Giardia is one type of intestinal parasite infection that can be difficult and lengthy to treat.
Frequency of Deworming
If you are trying to prevent your dog from getting intestinal parasites, a monthly preventative that includes a dewormer should be administered. But if your dog has an active infection, you will need to administer a dewormer at the specific dose and frequency that your veterinarian and the medication packaging recommends. This dose and frequency of deworming will depend on the type of intestinal parasite your dog has and the drug that needs to be used.
How to Prevent Intestinal Parasites
The best way to prevent your dog from being infected with intestinal parasites is to use a regular parasite preventative. These products are designed to prevent heartworms, kill fleas, and control several types of intestinal parasites on an ongoing basis. Additionally, don't allow your dog to eat another animal's feces or drink from stagnant water. Some people also avoid dog parks and public places that dogs frequently defecate to avoid ground that is harboring parasites.
How much protein do dogs need?
The body that oversees pet nutrition, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), requires that all dog foods have a minimum of 18 percent protein in adult dog food and 22 percent protein in puppy food when all water is removed from the food.
If you've ever noticed those yellow spots on your lawn from your dog doing his business, there is a good chance that that is caused by excessive protein in the system
FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Updated June 27, 2019
In July 2018, the FDA announcedExternal Link Disclaimer that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.
We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients.
Following an update in February 2019 that covered investigative activities through November 30, 2018, this is the FDA’s third public report on the status of this investigation.