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I have a 65 pound female Shepherd Mix that I adopted 2 years ago from a rescue group. She has really bad itchy skin, chronic ear infections, and always chews on her tail and her paws.

She is 3 years old.

When I adopted her, I was told she had those problems all along.

I have tried many things under the sun to help her. Regular visits to the groomer and changing her diet so many times.

She still itches and chews. And her ears are always dirty.

When I adopted her, I was told she was being fed Solid Gold. So I kept her on that for a couple more months, but the skin and ear issues did not resolve.

Took her to the vet and got prescriptions .... she recovered for a bit but soon went back to her old ways.

I put her on Canidae then California Natural. I've also tried Nature's Logic, Innova, Showbound Naturals, Wysong, and Life4K9 formulas.

She eats well but the skin and ear conditions haven't changed. She goes to the vet on Friday for her annual checkup and shots, so we'll see what's what.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks in advance!
 

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I see you changed her diet a lot trying to attack this, and I'm not very knowledgeable on all of those particular foods, but of all the ones you have tried, are any of them grain free? Alot of pets get bad food allergies from grains, which in turn makes them feel itchy all the time. Just something to look at it..

Also, I just brought my dog back from a friends house where he has about 10 animals that live outside.. and they aren't all in the best shape. He laughs at my constant attempt to give the best to my dog.. and since the visit he started scratching. Well, a couple days later I noticed he had a couple spots of fur that seemed rather thin, so I asked the vet and he said he looks like he has a VERY small case of the mange. Check to see if he has any particular spot besides his paws that he aims for. I have been putting vaseline on the spots to "smother" the bugs and it is working.

That's the only two things I can think of :smile:
 

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I have a 65 pound female Shepherd Mix that I adopted 2 years ago from a rescue group. She has really bad itchy skin, chronic ear infections, and always chews on her tail and her paws.
You need to get carbs out of her diet. Since all kibbles contain carbs, the only option you have is prey model raw diet. I have seen many dogs with the conditions you describe clear up pretty quickly after switching. You can check the link in my sig for my suggestions on how to begin. Good luck. :smile:
 

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Yep, my good friend has corgi's and 2 of them are allergic to just about everything environmental (she had the blood test done) she tried the hepska (i think it's called) shots but they didn't work, so know she has them on prednisone, they are so fat, but hey no more itching all the time, I saw her on Super Bowl sunday, we talked about the dogs, she knows that their life span is shortened being on prednisone all the time, so she's going to look back into feeding raw to the dogs. She knows it's the only option she has besides the pred.
 

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Has the ear infection been checked out at all to determine if it's mites or yeast or what? That's always a big help, though yeast infections are a b**** to treat, especially if it's been going on for a prolonged period of time. But at least you'll know what you're up against and how to get rid of it.

Definitely check for mange, but it also sounds like a grain issue to me. My lab mix was always nice and dandruffy (and she's black so it looked like someone had sprinkled her with a salt shaker), and even switching her to a grain-free food (Wellness Core, though I know it still has a lot of species-inappropriate ingredients in it) helped her lose the weight, but her coat was still pretty dull and flakey. Now that I've switched her to raw she's doing a lot better. Her coat is nice and soft and shiny and she maintains her weight perfectly (when she isn't getting into other things, of course :smile:).

If you really don't like the idea of going raw, I have heard of quite a few people who have tried out either the Blue Buffalo Lamb and Rice of Fish and Sweet Potato formulas and done quite well on them.

Also, have you tried cleaning out her ears with apple cider vinegar yet? There's a link in the ACV thread to this website that tells you how to do it, my shepherd mix hates it with all her heart, but her ears do look better the next day after I've cleaned them with it. Now it's just a matter of finding time to convince her to let me do it to her on a regular basis. In my defense, she's had a raging yeast infection in her ears for 8 years before the vets finally admitted it was probably a food allergy caused by the SD Prescription food they said she just had to have. Now it's a matter of trying to reverse 8 years worth of damage and infection, oh goodie.

At least the rest of her is doing amazing on raw though. She came to me last February with brown, nasty teeth and her coat was falling out in clumps, now she's nice and shiney and soft and her teeth are actually white and most of the brown and plaque is completely gone (she does have permanent dental damage due to the 8 years on poison food though :frown:). *sigh* my poor old puppy!
 

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Paw chewing and ear infections are classic symptoms of food allergies along with face rubbing and tail root chewing. They even make a little picture of a dog with those areas highlighted to demonstate it. I have had two dogs with allergies and it's real dificult to find out what they are allergic too. I wish I had found this board earlier for them.
My 12 year old is allergic to salmon and herring. It took years to figure this out since so many foods have salmon or salmon oil hidden in them. She gets horrible ear infections, crusty skin, and itches so bad she can hardly move. Plus her eyes turn beet red and cake over. As soon as we remove all salmon and herring from her life she is fine. I can't tell you have many vets have diagnosed her with other problems when I tell them she just got into the wrong dogs food and she would be fine in a few days.
I never did narrow down what the other dog was allergic to as he passed away from an anesthetic reaction before he was 4. If you can put your dog on one diet and chart all reactions before you switch, you can eventually figure out what his allergies are. It means keeping track of every ingredient including treats and all the little ingredients way down the list. I had my poor dog on nothing but venison for years before I finally decided to chart everything and realized it was just the fishes that were tearing her apart.
Of course, if you decide you are going to go to a raw diet it is easier because everything the dog puts in his mouth comes from you so you know exactly what is there.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I see you changed her diet a lot trying to attack this, and I'm not very knowledgeable on all of those particular foods, but of all the ones you have tried, are any of them grain free?
Thanks, Postal. I forgot to add, I have tried a couple of grain-free formulas. She did very well on them, but it did not completely resolve the problem at hand.
 
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Has the ear infection been checked out at all to determine if it's mites or yeast or what?
Rannmiller, thank you for your comments. My dog has ears the shape of wilted broccoli if you know what I mean. They are deformed / disfigured. Chronic ear infections since puppyhood did that. I have an ear flush to use on her once weekly. I clean out her ears with moist pet wipe followed by dry tissue. There is no foul smell, just dirt.

Her allergies could be environmental. Could be food-related.

I'd consider going raw. At this point, I'd consider just about anything.

She's a very very sweet dog and an excellent watchdog (she has a mean, loud bark and looks mean) and an excellent companion.

I considered having her trained as a therapy dog. But she looks mean and scares people off, so I'm not sure.
 
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I just uploaded a photo of Savannah (my Shepherd Mix) in the Pictures thread.

Rannmiller, so you can see what I mean about her ears.
 

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So try RAW. I bet that's the best thing you can do for her :) Just go buy you a back of Chicken Quarters or thing chicken backs and start feeding them to her for her meals. I was taught that rule of thumb, feed adult dogs 2-3% of their body weight per day. Good luck and keep us updated!!
 

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Poor girl! One of my Kati's ears looks a little like that from scratching so hard it swelled and the vets had to drain it and stitch it back up.

I've also heard Missing Link is supposed to help these things but I used it for a while and didn't see too much of an improvement. On the other hand, my brother uses it on his lab and the dandruff went away and his fur is softer.

I'd recommend trying raw for a while and seeing how your dog does on it. I believe you need to stick with it for approximately 3 months to see the real benefits (I've heard something about how it takes 8 weeks to get all the old stuff out o their system, so I imagine another 4 weeks and you could really see stuff clearing up). A this point it definitely sounds like it's definitely worth a shot, that's for sure.
 
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I just brought my dog back from a friends house where he has about 10 animals that live outside.. and they aren't all in the best shape. He laughs at my constant attempt to give the best to my dog..

I guess we all know people like your friend, Postal. I'm glad your dog has you, I believe every pet should have an owner like you!

Every time I go to the supermarket and see a customer with a big bag of Beneful (or similar garbage) in their cart, I want to speak up and say something.

But being deaf makes that hard ..... my main method of communication is sign language followed by text / e-mail and the use of interpreters.

I guess if I wasn't deaf I would be quite obnoxious :biggrin: :wink:
 

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lol

Well, thanks for the compliments :) I have always wanted a pet since I could remember, and now that I could afford one, I want only the best for it. I don't know how many guys up here (work) have a dog and just laugh when I try and talk nutrition with them. I have a vegetarian co-worker who is very healthy. He is always running marathons and he lives to exercise. His wife is the same way, and they just adopted a little boy not too long ago and feed him only the highest quality foods they can buy.. but they feed their dog Science Diet Lamb and Rice. I have tried talking to him so many times and he just laughs, says his dog has been on SD forever now and he does JUST fine. I pleaded, told him give one of these other premium kibbles AT LEAST a shot and he refuses.. I'm sure he's getting annoyed with me as well, but I don't care.

Once Brian is a few months older I will let him come to work with me one day, then he can see the difference in my dog's health and his. Nowadays, that's the only way. People won't believe unless they see, and with dog food companies running the advertisement, there's no hope for the uneducated. It's sad and disappointing, but there's only so much we can do :sigh:
 
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Well when I bring Savannah to the vet on Friday we'll do a skin scraping to check for mites. We'll see what's what then.
 

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I hope you figure it out soon, I hate trial and error. It's so much harder when you can't be TOLD what's wrong or what the dog is feeling..
 

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I know how you feel about wanting to speak up and yell at people for buying garbage foods for their dogs, it makes me sad! But at the same time I dont want to be "that nosy dog food weirdo" either, so I generally don't get to educate a ton of random strangers in the grocery store, unfortunately.

Postal, next time you talk to your vegetarian co-worker about dog nutrition, you should ask why he doesn't eat meat. When he says "because it's bad for you, it has all those chemicals and hormones and causes cancer, and heart disease and every other problem known to man" say "Well I've been eating meat all my life and I do JUST fine." He may hate you, or he may finally see your point :smile:

Not insulting you meat-eaters on the forum, I'm just saying if people want to follow a certain diet because they think it's the healthiest thing for them even though they can survive just fine on something else, they should be able to apply that concept to their pets as well.
 

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Well, the funny thing is he is always getting sick and constantly at the doctor getting antibiotics.. a lot of the guys here pick on him, call him bird flu and tell him if he hate a little bit of meat he wouldn't be getting sick all the time.. but i think the fact the guy runs 100 miles a week is probably what affects him. His body never gets a chance to rest but the 5 hours a night he's not MOVING..

I will tell him, though.. but like you said, i don't wanna be the dog nutrition nut at work, either. heh
 
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I hope you figure it out soon, I hate trial and error. It's so much harder when you can't be TOLD what's wrong or what the dog is feeling..
An animal communicator would definitely come in handy!
 
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Well when I bring Savannah to the vet on Friday we'll do a skin scraping to check for mites. We'll see what's what then.

Well, as it turned out, my dear Savannah does NOT have mites, fleas, ticks, or anything in that category. :smile: Thank goodness.

It's most likely a food allergy. So, I've got to put her back on the Prozyme supplement which should help alleviate the itching and scratching. And I need to continue keeping her ears clean.
 

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I'm glad to hear there are no mites.

I would get rid of the carbs in the diet, for starters. At the very least, get Savannah onto a lower carb, grain free kibble, add some probiotics and try a course of pau d' arco bark and olive leave extract.

If you need to stay with kibble, you may consider Orijen 6 Fresh Fish or Canine Caviar Venison and Split Pea. Ziwi Peak may be an option as well, but I'm not sure how much cost will play a role for you.
 
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