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New to Group, Allergy questions and homemade petfood

June 5th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Hi there, I am new, just signed up yesterday and have a couple of different ??'s. I have a 7 month Shih Tzu who has had uncontrollable itchiness and hence scratching basically since I brought her home. I have been to 3 different vets (have recently moved and found a good one who kind of has things semi under control). Our latest endeavor has been 2 months on Hill's Ultra Allergy Free z/d with no treats or snacks. (although I have a small bag in the cupboard she Thinks are snacks. :) She went through a series of antibiotics because she was in rough shape, scab-wise. She is now on Prednisone, 1/2 a pill every second day. In the past couple of weeks, she seems to have developed the itchy/scratchies again. Not as bad as at the beginning, but enough to make her uncomfortable and to drive the household nuts. (she has several nicknames, knowing them all, from Thumper, HotSpotSally, the Itchy and Scratchy Show) :p I have checked around the net for info on homemade food, and most of the sites promote raw meat versus cooked. I did cook her some burger last night, mixed it with rice and she gobbled it up like crazy. Although I know its too early to affect the itchiness, that I will have to wait and see. I know she will need some supplements as well, and am wondering if there is anyone else who deals with this problem? and if so, how do you do it? She is a lovely dog, personality is great and its so hard to see her in such discomfort. Is this a common occurance in this breed? She is the first small dog I have owned, our last one had to be put down, my lovely Pitty Zoe. Anyhow, sorry for the long post, looks like a novel, not a post at all! Someone please help!

Lucky Rescue
June 5th, 2004, 11:40 AM
Hi and welcome! Sorry to hear about Zoe.:( I have a pit bull too and she is just the best dog imaginable!!

You must get your puppy off the Prednisone! Long term use will cause major damage and eventually kill her.

She could be reacting to certain ingredients in the dog food. Some dogs are very allergic to grain and corn that is found in cheaper foods. I dont' know anything about Hill's but you can check the ingredients in that.

If you want to keep trying dog food, I suggest you might try Wellness, or something similar that is made with only human grade ingredients. Give a new food at least a month's trial period, to see if it alleviates the problem.

Hamburger and rice is fine for very short term feeding and for stomach problems. It is totally inadequate as a diet, even with supplements.

If you want to try a raw diet (which many swear by for skin/allergy probs) here are some guidelines to get you started.

Raw Diet (

June 5th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Thanks so much, LuckyRescue... and thanks also for the condolences with Zoe, she was the best dog I have ever had in my life (and in my kids lives, too) :( I am reading the info you linked to as I type and I am going to have to try something like this I think. The Hill's diet was prescribed by my vet and is only available that way (other than the hills site). I will keep Cloud, the Shih Tzu on this for a few more days to see the results in the itching, while working out a program of raw food for her. The hills diet is basically "predigested" and took almost a month to wean her onto, total time on it, just over two months. Once again, thanks for the welcome and the help, will be back again, What a great site! :p

June 5th, 2004, 07:29 PM
I home cook for my dog but the only raw food she gets are bones and fruit. All her veggies and meats are cooked. Uncooked veggies go right through them.

She was very sick on puppy food. Since I switched to making her food she has done a complete turn around and I am very happy.

Being a collie she will eat much more then your dog. I make a large pot of stew every week for Sadie and she gets three full meals a day plus a 1/2 meal in the evening...which is now turning to her snack lol (she's six mons)

I had a Westie X that had horrible food allergies that he would tear his fur out until he bled. Switching his diet was wonderful! Our vet had him on prednisone and let me tell you how horrible this stuff is.

He wasn't on it long either, but here and there until I got wise and the internet broadened my searching for information.

Rusty had two torn cruciate ligaments in both back legs. One operable the other not. So for about 6 years he had a gimp back leg all from the prednisone. The surgery was 1600 bux to repair the other.

So if you are interested in types of foods let me know and I'll share with you what I feed my pup :D

Welcome to the board!!

June 6th, 2004, 12:23 AM
Thanks Luba! Sounds like you have lots of experience with the same kinds of things we are suffering with Cloud. She had scratched soooo much at one time her fur was falling out, her entire belly and chest were bright pink/red and loaded with scabs. I am just looking around for more info on the net but would love to have your recipes as well! I will get her off the prednisone for sure, from both answers so far, it sounds absolutely terrible. Sorry to hear about your Rusty. :( I will keep in touch on this subject and sure am glad I found this site!
hell :)
PS, curious about bonemeal, I have read several things about using eggshells and baking them in the oven then crushing them in a blender. Do you supplement, also?

Lucky Rescue
June 6th, 2004, 10:46 AM
Westies are known for skin problems, I don't know about Shih Tzus. Just to emphasize how bad prednisone is - I had a cat who had such horrific allergies that it came down to euthanizing him, or putting him permanently on Prednisone.

The prednisone cleared the allergies immediately, so he had a good quality of life for awhile. It took 2 years for the prednisone to kill him.:(

June 6th, 2004, 07:05 PM
Hi hellonwhis! I feed my dogs RAW food as well. The eggshells or bonemeal is a calcium supplement for the dogs, and your right brown them lightly and then crush them. How much does your dog weigh? Vitamin E pills and fish oil
(cod liver oil) should also help with her itchiness.

If your interested in feeding them naturally check out Wendy Volhards website or the book Dog Training for Dummies. My dogs are doing excellent on it!!

June 6th, 2004, 07:19 PM
Safflower oil is still a great source of vitamin E, and also contains natural fatty acids the healing derma needs.

June 7th, 2004, 04:44 PM
Hello and welcome to the group!!!!! :D

Sorry I can't help you with your questions, but I can send my condolences to you for Zoe. I'm sorry.

I too have a pit bull and i must say he is the best dog I ever have. I also have a pit bull mix and a gsd. My pittie is the best!! :)

June 7th, 2004, 06:19 PM
Hi there again, everyone...
And thanks for all the wonderful advice. I have switched Cloud to first the burger and rice thing, then made her a stew yesterday, lots of veggies, meat and some pasta. Its day 4 off the steroids for her, and the scratching has started again. I am going to try chicken instead of the beef, perhaps that is it? I thank everyone for the condolences with Zoe, she, by far,was the best dog I have ever had the pleasure of having in my life. She was like having a short, 4 legged human with us. So full of life, so full of love. Very sad at her passing... We waited over a year to get another pet. Never condsidering it as a "replacement". Cloud is our new friend, our new confidant, our new family member and she, amazingly, does not KNOW she is what I always thought of small dogs. She is just a great a amazing one also. I will continue to try and fight this problem with her, it's so sad to see her in such discomfort. This food thing takes so long, try this, try that. It makes me crazy! Anyhow, thanks again, will post as things go on

June 7th, 2004, 06:41 PM
Any time you have a food allergy dog time & patience is what you need after you switch to a new diet. Results do not happen over night. Your dog needs to be on one diet for many weeks before you can honestly say it's not working. It takes time for their body to react to the change and then accept or reject it..this is not like any medication one may be allergic too and the signs show up right away.
Have you tried the Heska blood test to see exactly what your dog is allergic to in it's diet and enviroment? I highly recommend this test for any animal with severe allergies. At the same time, (if requested) Heska will devise a desensitizing allergy injection program to desensitize your dog against these allergens. It is costly. (the latter is..), the test runs about $150.00 here. Money well spent even if you do not go ahead with the Tx. At least you would know exactly what to avoid and go from there...

* stepping down from the soap box*