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Discussion Starter #1
My 10-month-old lab/Aussie Shepherd developed an angry rash in his groin area -- small, red pimple-like blisters that would pop and scab over. The vet gave me antibiotics to give him twice a day, which he took well and they cleared it up completely within about two weeks. He still licks/bites the area around his groin, though, and he's licked the hair around his privates completely off. I catch him licking his groin at least a few times each day.

On top of that, he scratches/bites himself a lot -- scratching the area on his ears, and biting the area where his tail meets his back. The vet gave me some antibacterial shampoo to scrub him with, a lot -- twice the first two weeks, once/week for two more weeks. I thought this sounded like lots of bathing for a dog; I thought dogs were supposed to get bathed once every eight weeks or less. He's starting to hate when I turn on the shower each morning!

My vet is on vacation and I plan on bringing this up to him when he returns, but I wanted to ask here, in case anyone has had experience with something similar. I'm wondering if another food switch might be in order, but my vet doesn't seem to have too many opinions on food. My dog is also a fearful dog with human strangers; is it possible that this is a nervous habit?

I'm feeding him Nature's Variety Prairie kibble only. He also gets a handful of treats through the day, when I'm training him -- usually Zuke's bites, Mother Hubbard P-Nuttier biscuits, or freeze-dried chicken. I also give him a small piece of liverwurst stuffed in the Kong when I leave for work each day.
 

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Sounds like seasonal environmental allergies to me. I wouldn't be surprised if your vet gives you low dose prednisone for treatment. Allergies this time of year are particularly horrible!
 

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My dogs can't eat Natures Variety at all. It contains several ingredients that causes them to itch terribly. The biggest one is flaxseed. If Rocky eats anything with flaxseed or flaxseed oil in it, he will chew his sides and his tail base until it bleeds. He also will scratch non-stop. Chelsy has to avoid the Salmon oil and olive oil in this food. They both have to avoid the Oatmeal which is a common allergen for dogs.

Just to try for your dog, you might want to consider a food with more limited ingredients and see if that helps. This particular one has a lot of things in it that could be causing reactions.

This is the full ingredient list for NV Prairie Chicken kibble

Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Natural Chicken Flavor, Sun-Cured Alfalfa Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Biotin, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Carotene, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Sea Salt, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Direct-Fed Microorganisms (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Yeast Culture, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract), Inulin, Flaxseed Oil, Apples, Carrots, Peas, Cottage Cheese, Chicken Eggs, Mixed Tocopherols with Citric Acid (a natural preservative), Rosemary Extract, Freeze Dried Chicken, Freeze Dried Turkey, Freeze Dried Turkey Liver, Freeze Dried Turkey Heart, Pumpkinseeds, Ground Chicken Bone, Butternut Squash, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Salmon Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Olive Oil, Duck Eggs, Pheasant Eggs, Quail Eggs, Rosemary, Sage, Clove
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies.

Chowder: What did you finally settle on? I tried my dog on Instinct *before* Prairie, and he never took well to it at all. Explosive diarrhea, and his stools never quite firmed up over the course of 3 or 4 weeks. I figured it was the absence of grains that were disturbing him, and thus the switch to Prairie. Someone on a different thread recommended California Natural, for its limited number of ingredients, and I was happy to see that the closest pet store to me carries it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm not opposed to it but haven't looked into it at all. I live in an apartment in NYC, though, so it could get messy in a hurry.
 

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California Natural would be a good place to start. It would at least narrow it down to just a few ingredients and then once you have been on it a few months and see how he reacted, you could branch out. They even make a grain free line now, I've heard.

My little dog had explosive diarhhea on the Natures Variety so I never tried any of the other flavors with her. We ended up using Evo Kibble for her because she has the most allergies. My big dog can eat Evo, Orijen and Taste of the Wild kibble. They both ate Innova before we went grain free and did fine on it if you don't want to go totally grain free. My little dog did do much better when I switched her to completely grain free and finally grew all her hair back for the first time in 13 years when I removed all grains from her diet. The vets had her on drugs and were telling me she had Cushings disease and now she has all her hair and doesn't itch at all, so the right food can be everything. It just may take a bit of experimenting.

If you do switch food, especially to grain free, expect a bit of tummy upset and do it slowly. You can add a little plain pumpkin to the food if they get some diarhhea at first. They may get a bit gassy for a week or two, also. But, it will be worth it in the end if they straighten out. The change in my Lhasa since we found the right foods for her is unbelievable. We are now going to slowly switch her to raw and see if she gets even better.

I give them a variety of canned foods just to give them a little bit of different meats in the morning. I got them a case of By Nature canned and now Rocky is itching really bad again because it has flaxseed in it and I didnt' realize it when I bought it. That's when I found out about the flaxseed problem with him.
 

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I started raw feeding my boy about 6 months ago, mainly because of skin/itching problems. It has done wonders for him. His coat is way thicker than it was, and he rarely scratches. I have also found it to be not nearly as messy as I expected. I live in the country, and have plenty of room outside, but I end up feeding mine inside anyway, and it has not been an issue at all.
 

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Hello.

I Just got a puppy, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and have been feeding her Nature's Variety Prairie for the last 5 week. She was doing well with the food, but lately she has been having diarrhea. We talked to the vet, and we changed her food for a week to W/D prescription Diet. After the week was over, we switched her back to the Prairie kibble and within a few days the diarrhea came back.
Now, I found this thread because I was looking for an answer to her diarrhea, but I noticed that my dog has been developing a rash in her groin area during the last 3-4 days. It almost sounds like what Jack Monzon described earlier, except that the blisters are recent and have not popped or scabbed.
I have also noticed that she has been scratching and biting at her groin and other areas of her body, but I just attributed it to the hot weather.
I am definitely going to be switching her food. And I recommend that you do the same Jack.

As for what type of food to give your dog. I recommend that you go to Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble anything with more than 3 stars is generally considered to be good food. I am going to be switching my dog to Wellness or Evo since they have a similar rating to the Nature's Variety.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, Lolly -- a switch is definitely in the cards this weekend, just deciding whether to give one more kibble a try (probably California Natural) or go raw. I'm aware of the Dog Food Analysis site, but thanks so much for sharing. If I switch to California Natural, I'll make it gradual...but I want to start ASAP.

Odd how our problems are so similar. The antibiotics the vet gave me certainly cleared up the blisters and scabs, but the itching/licking/biting remain. He just seems so uncomfortable in his own skin.

My dog did poorly on Instinct (way worse than Prairie). I attributed it to its being grain-free, but I could be way off on that analysis, and it might just be ingredients in the NV foods that bother him, as Chowder suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like seasonal environmental allergies to me. I wouldn't be surprised if your vet gives you low dose prednisone for treatment. Allergies this time of year are particularly horrible!
That's exactly what he did. One week of twice/day prednisone, then one week of once/day.

The vet didn't have an opinion on California Natural, but he agreed with my decision to change his protein source (from Nature's Variety chicken and salmon, to California Natural lamb). He also told me no treats -- i.e., to use his food as a treat.

This is the first week of all CN, and my dog taken to it very well -- hard, small stools, and he actually gets excited about the food.
 

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A lamb-based kibble is not meant to be fed on a permanent basis! So make sure to rotate other protein sources into the diet for taurine. :smile:
 
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