Ok, quick question:
1. When I got my Riley she was on Original Science Diet for Adults. The Shelter that I got her from said I should keep her on adult food (not sure why). Through reading here, I found good replies about Diamond Naturals, and I went and got the Adult Beef and Rice and slowly switched her to it. Riley has been a constant scratcher since I got her, and switching to the Diamond did not help at all. I was going to switch her to either chicken or lamb formula to see if that helps, but I am wondering if I should go to the puppy formula or not...
2. Also, since she is itching (and scratching) so bad, should I go ahead and try to move her to the new food any faster than normal? She is starting to lose hair in spots. My vet said everything else seems fine. She gave her some drops (with Omega3) to take once a day to help with the dry skin, and he said to give her Benadryl for the itching. That does not seem to be helping, and I am starting to worry for her about all that itching and losing hair.
Any advice? By the way, she is 6 months old.
I think more people (and I'm one) on the JL forums favor feeding a Large Breed Puppy formulation for a Lab pup's first year. This has low levels of Calcium and Phosphorus and helps to keep the joints from closing too soon, which is one of several main causes of later joint problems (which Labs are especially heir to).
Certainly not all people share my persuasion. I have no idea whether the ratio of those favoring LBP formula : non LBP is 55:45, 60:40, or 70:30.
Plus there are some foods not labeled "LBP" which have the desired amounts and ratios of the critical minerals and some of those would be perfectly fine to give.
This is in Nick's field and he could give you some definitive, expert answers. If he does not reply to this, you might PM him. I have expertise in some biological sciences but absolutely none in canine nutrition -- I just Google and read alot.
The only expertise on itching that I have is to ask:
-- how often are you bathing your pup and what shampoo are you using? That's a very common cause of the itchies. If using a human shampoo, for instance Johnson & J's "Baby Shampoo" with the thought it would be especailly mild -- it's NOT FOR DOGS. Human skin is many times more acidic than dog skin so shampoo formulated for peeps definitely will be an irritatant to dog skin.
The other is to ask if you're living in a climate which needs daily heat this season but you do not use a humidifier? That also can produce similar itching results.
Combine those two, and you'll be VERY high on the "Itchy Index" -- probably around a 4.5 where 5 (as on the Fujita tornado scale) means pretty much complete destruction with only slabs remaining.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I only have bathed her on an average of every 2 weeks. And then, only because I had too (She got into something... mud, poop and so forth). She has had 3 baths in 6 weeks. I use a dog shampoo. We live in Springfield, Mo, so it has started to warm up over the last couple weeks. By the way, i am not sure what Nathan's nic is here to PM him.
Thanks for the replies!
Thanks for the plug, however, I'm no expert. I do have an interest in dog nutrition, but my experience is limited to one semester as a research assistant in undergrad doing animal nutrition work. All I do now is regurgitate what the experts say, and what I've read...so take my opinion for what it's worth - or not worth.This is in Nick's field and he could give you some definitive, expert answers.
I think Bob as some good advice. In general, large breed puppy foods are the way to go because they do control the levels of calcium and phosphorus...two very important elements that can cause serious orthopedic problems in puppies if not controlled for.
Now, it's not an absolute rule that you must feed a large breed puppy food. If you're a diligent label-reader, you'll be able to find some adult foods that will work. What do you look for? First: See what the AAFCO statement on the bag says (usually on the back of the bag - some brands also publish this on the internet). If the adult food is formulated for maintenance, it is inadequate for puppies and should not be fed. If it is formulated for all life stages (or it may say for growth and maintenance) then it may be acceptable.
Second: I say maybe, because the next thing to look at is calcium. Now I've tried and tried to find a recommendation on calcium percentages, but you really can't find one. Research done and repeated since the 1980s has shown that somewhere between 2.5% and 3.0%+ starts causing problems with Labs and large breed puppies. They've also found out that calcium levels below 0.5% cause problems. From what I can tell, the generic recommendation is a food with calcium levels between 0.8% - 1.5%.
Once you know to look for the AAFCO statement and the calcium, it's not too difficult to pick out a food - the real difficulty can be in finding a food that works for your dog and stays within those guidelines. So the short answer is large breed puppy foods are great, but if you don't have a good choice of those, don't feel bound by the large breed label.
Depending on how much you trust your breeder, they'll likely a good source to consult - especially if they're guaranteeing your pup.
I've switched cold turkey before just because one of the ingredients in the food was causing so much problems, stomach upset from a quick switch was a minor concern.Originally Posted by pastorjay
Ideally, with all the stresses of a new move you'd want to spread it out over a few weeks. If the food is really causing some bad problems, go cold turkey. It won't be a fun few days, but sometimes it's necessary. You have to make that call since you can see what's going on (or ask a vet - probably a better idea)...I'd hate to give you my opinion based on a faulty assumption.
Are you switching to a totally different food? Switching from a regular puppy to a large breed puppy of the same brand probably won't change any of the symptoms you see just because they're likely to have lots of the same ingredients. Plus, more than likely this isn't food related just because dogs don't develop true food allergies until sometime around 2 years of age. That's not a "set in stone" rule, though. It sounds like your vet is suspecting environmental allergies - not all that uncommon to rear its ugly head in March (which I myself can attest to).
Since you're leaning towards Diamond, what about Diamond Chicken and Rice? Chicken is more easily digested that beef, and it's less common of an allergen. Diamond Chicken and Rice is also formulated for all life stages and it has an appropriate level of calcium.
You mentioned the vet checked her, so I'm assuming she's free of fleas, ticks, mites, mange, etc.? I hate that she's suffering this badly from environmental allergies this early...let's hope it's just that she's not tolerating the food too well and will show signs of improvement. I'd still follow the vets orders regarding the omega-3s and benadryl...he's the vet, I'm not.
If it were me, I'd change the food and if after a few weeks you don't see any improvement, or at anytime it seems to be getting worse, I'd go back to the vet. If you're not satisfied with the answer, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
I had to do that when Jes, my dog, was a pup. It was a parasite that the first vet was content to treat over and over with the same drug. After dealing with it for almost two months, I got a second opinion, he tried a different drug and it cleared right up. Sometimes a set of fresh eyes or a different approach can do the trick.