Wednesday, 30 March 2011

non-allergenic diets for dogs

It's been complicated living with Penny lately. Not only are we dealing with intermittent lameness due to her injured cruciate ligament and consequent recovery from surgery, but she's also been very much bothered by skin irritation.

Even though we generally adhere to a raw diet, we took our vet's advice to try a totally non-allergenic diet, a Hill's food called z/d. We just hate feeding her this, but have strictly stuck to it for five weeks now. (The vet wanted us to try at least six weeks, and friends have told us that's standard for giving allergens time to get out of a dog's system.)

One of the problems has been that Penny doesn't like the food all that much. She eats it, but looks longingly at what we eat.

Also, I haven't felt like using it as rewards, as it has no great value to her. So that's been another problem with her deterioration in walking nicely on lead and generally behaving well. As Honey's human often reminds us, it's necessary to keep training right through a dog's life.


after all this time following the diet, I went to the vet to buy another bag of it last Friday, only to be told there's a supply problem and it's not available. I must say, I wasn't impressed, and went to other clinics to try to buy some. Eventually, having contacted eight clinics, I acknowledged that it didn't seem likely we could continue the therapeutic diet.

My own vet clinic had canned food, though - Hills' z/d cans. Lots of them. So I bought them, feeling as if we were sliding down the slippery slope to tooth problems and unhealthy diet.

The vet nurse told me it's possible to slice the canned food very thin and bake it in the oven, thus turning it into dry treats.

And Penny loves them!! Da da! Training begins again.

And, to top it off, the manager of our vet's other clinic had had the forethought to stock up on this food when she heard there were supply problems.

So, we're going to stick to the program for another few weeks and hope Penny's skin problems clear up.


Hound Girl said...

I understand how frustrating this is. When I rescued fred he has horrible sores on his skin and was missing all his fur and my vet wanted me to do the hills Z/d and and I did a bunch of research and just opted for rice and chicken boiled at home instead of the hills food. Just hang in there and you know what is best for Penny and there is nothing wrong with trying something diffrent than what your vet says to do :) After all you know penny the best!

Maggie and Mitch said...

Your new treats sounds yummy, Penny! We're glad the nurse gave your mom this wonderful hint!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Amber-Mae said...

Poo Penny. We hope her skin gets better soon!

GrannySue said...

You can try Cod liver oil. I've heard it works wonders on dry skin, but I have no personal experience with it.

parlance said...

Hound girl, it's great to hear that Fred's skin cleared up. You know, the funny thing is that I was just telling a friend about the rice and chicken diet! I guess we'll stick with the z/d for another three weeks, seeing we've bought the big bag of it, but I can't wait to get back onto a home prepared diet.

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, that nurse has made life easier for us all!

parlance said...

Amber-Mae, her skin is a bit better already, but we'll keep working on it.

parlance said...

Grannysue, thanks for the comment. It's nice to 'meet' you! I enjoyed your blog.

Honey the Great Dane said...

I have to say, Hills ranks pretty low down near the bottom of my list of food for dogs - (have you looked at their ingredients list?!) - but vets do love to recommend it!

Anyway, I know it's hard when you're trying to follow your vet's advice. and it's so hard, isn't it, when they're on a "restricted diet" and can't get "proper" treats? I'm glad you found something that works.

Oh - and the training thing - well, I don't always practise what I preach - ha! ha! I mean, lately, I've hardly done anything with Honey other than the basic manners stuff on her walks - just been so busy with work and other stuff - haven't picked up a clicker in months! This is one reason I like to find a class to join - it sets up a routine of at least devoting an hour to training every week and so keeps you in that frame of mind - and it becomes a social thing too, so more enjoyable!


parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, we're going to consult a skin specialist and see if we can do something to get off this boring diet. And I have to tell you I didn't look at the ingredients list of the Hills food once I made the hard decision to follow our vet's advice. I knew i would hate to see what the ingredients were!!