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How Raw Dog Food Cured My Dog’s Allergies

The biggest draw to raw feeding for me was the possibility that my dog's food and environmental allergies would be cured.  Everyone whom I spoke with about raw feeding said that their dog's allergy symptoms vanished in the first month; some people claimed to see improvements in the first week.

After two years of trying different foods, supplements, and prescription medications, I decided to give raw feeding a try in April 2013.

  • Within the first week, a bad rash that Rodrigo had on his back was gone.
  • Within the first two weeks, his ears were cleared (no yeasty build up) and his poop was solid.
  • Today, Rodrigo is a new dog.

My Dog's Allergies

How many times have you had the “allergy” conversation with another dog parent?  This is when you compare notes and find that your dog has the same or similar allergy symptoms of many other dogs.  What astounds me is that for two years, I didn't once think that the kibble I fed to our dogs was causing the problem.

I thought Rodrigo had food allergies and cut out chicken, not knowing that chicken is an ingredient in many dog food and treats (it's in there somewhere).  I thought it was environmental and Rodrigo kept being subjected to rounds of antibiotics to clear ear infections and rashes.  And I was giving him Benedryl nearly every night to ease his itchy paws.

Let's compare notes.  The following were Rodrigo's allergy symptoms.  Sound familiar?

  • Rashes on is back and tummy
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Itchy paws; obsessive licking
  • Digestive issues, diarrhea, and gas
  • Joint issues

This is where I do my disclaimer and remind readers that I'm not a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.

Why Raw Feeding Cured My Dog's Allergies

The more I learned about raw feeding, dog nutrition, and dog health, the more I heard one word repeated over and over – INFLAMMATION. I was amazed by how many foods cause inflammation in dogs and no matter what the pet food industry tells us, the ingredients in their food do not prevent inflammation.  These companies are not being 100% transparent.  In other words, it's all a crock, so I'll give you a very simplified breakdown of what I learned about my dog so that you can help your dog.

Chicken is an Inflammatory on Steroids

Know why chicken is an ingredient in EVERYTHING?  Because it's cheap, which is great if you're on a budget, but if you're only feeding chicken to your dog – then might have a problem.

Although the pet food industry knows that chicken is an inflammatory, they produce mostly chicken food and treats, because it's the cheaper protein as shown in this Safeway grocery store ad.
Source: – look at the price of chicken compared to the price of beef!

The Omega 6 fatty acids in chicken cause an inflammatory reaction in our dogs.  We can offset those Omega 6s by adding more Omega 3s to their diet, but when feeding commercial kibble, the only option seems to be fish oil or canned sardines (in water), which is a start, but for Rodrigo, it simply wasn't enough.

Sourcing the Right Fish Oil

The more research I did, the more I learned that not fish oils are the same. I started by buying a supplement at our local Costco, today, I have two choices that work great for our dogs.

I learned that…

  • I want a fish oil with a natural source of Vitamin E that isn't soy.
  • I want a fish oil that isn't bright orange in color.
  • I want a fish oil that is responsibly sourced and high quality.

The two fish oils that work best for my dogs are:

  1. Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil
  2. Life Line Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

And if you or your dog isn't a fan of fish, try phytoplankton. It's called a superfood because it contains a long list of nutrients, it's rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, and the brand that I order is sustainably sourced.

Alternate the Proteins

Chicken isn't all bad, but a diet of only chicken isn't a great idea – we need to shake it up with other protein options.  This is not only healthier for dogs (each protein provides a different set/number of nutrients), but it's more exciting for them too. What I love about raw feeding is that our dogs eat quail, lamb, duck, emu, venison, elk, beef, pork, and rabbit.  A nice variety of proteins and no more protein (or food) sensitivities.

I choose not to feed my dogs chicken or turkey any longer.

To learn more about transitioning to a raw diet, please check out my book A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.

Make Kibble Healthier!!!

When I think of my dogs eating kibble, I imagine eating dry popcorn or crackers without something to wash it down – it's a lot of work.  A dog's system has to do a tremendous amount of work to break down kibble and hunt down the nutrients and put them to use.  By the time a dog's gut does all this work, their digestive system is spent.

80% of a dog's immune system lives in the gut – #HealthyGutHealthyDog.  If our dog's digestive system is taxed, then this is going to negatively impact the immune system, making fighting off allergens and inflammation more challenging for some dogs.

Ideally, you'll read this and click over to Raw Paws Pet Food or Darwin's Pet and place an order for raw immediately.  But I'm certain that many people reading this aren't ready to make the jump into being a raw feeder (and that's okay), so I'll give you a few things you can do to make kibble easier to digest for your dog.

FullBucket Daily Canine Powder contains digestive enzymes (to help better digest food), probiotics (to populate the gut with healthy bacteria), and prebiotics (food for the healthy bacteria). This supplement works to build gut health and boost the immune system.  I like FullBucket because it's the only digestive supplement that helped Rodrigo after he had diarrhea for more than a month.

Why Raw Feeding Helped My Dog

Raw feeding helped Rodrigo because…

  • Raw dog food is easier to digest
  • The nutrients in raw dog food are fresh and easy to absorb and utilize
  • Rodrigo's immune system is stronger and able to fight off allergens
  • Rodrigo is getting everything he needs in his diet
  • Raw dog food brings living enzymes to the menu, further strengthening my dog's gut and immune system
  • I know 100% of what goes into his gut and can protect him from ingredients – e.g. chicken – that will cause him trouble
  • The diet I make naturally creates the right balance of Omega 3s (anti-inflammatories) to offset the Omega 6s (inflammatories)
  • Raw dog food is species-appropriate; Rodrigo is a carnivore – he's not meant to eat overcooked, repeatedly baked pellets that are filled with unnatural, synthetic ingredients

Plus there are the amazing benefits of raw feeding:

  • Cleaner, whiter teeth
  • Gorgeous skin and coat
  • Smaller, less smelly poop
  • Healthier body weight, organ functions, and joint health
  • Fewer vet visits
  • Excitement at meal time due to the variety

3 Easy Ways to Switch to Raw Dog Food

If you're reading this and have reached that place where I was several years ago, then you're fed up with trying to find a kibble that works for your dog and you're ready to give raw a shot.  Here are a few easy ways for you to begin feeding raw dog food today!

1 – You Can Join a Local Raw Food Co-Op

If you live in Western Oregon or Western Washington, we have WAzzuOR and it's an amazing co-op that gives members access to all manner of pet products (not just raw dog food) from quality sources for an affordable annual fee.

Not every state has access to a raw food co-op and not every co-op is the same.  These are groups that are formed by local pet parents who are buying bulk in wholesale.  You may have to invest in an additional freezer – it's by ordering in bulk that I was able to cut my raw bill in half.  CLICK HERE to see if you have a co-op near you.

2 – You Can Sign Up with Darwin's Natural Pet Food

My dogs started with Darwin's Pet, and they still eat their beef and turkey recipe today.  A customer service rep from Darwin's Pet will help you choose the best diet and delivery options for you and your dog.  This is an amazing company that is committed to the health of our dogs and provides a quality product.

Darwin's Pet offers two main recipes: Natural Selections and Zoologics.  If budget is an issue, I recommend Zoologics.  There isn't much difference between the two; Zoologics is easier on the wallet and what I feed to my dogs.  Darwin's also offers green tripe, raw bones (great for chewing and cleaning teeth), and healthy treats.

  • Call Darwin's Today at (877) 738-6325 and ask them about their introductory offer of 10 pounds delivered to your home for $14.95.

3 – You Can Sign Up for Another Raw Delivery Service

To be honest, you can take advantage of what your local co-op has to offer, set up an order with Darwin's Pet, sign up with Raw Paws Pet Food, or look for a service that is near you.  The more sources available to you, the more options you can provide for your dog.

What I like about Raw Paws Pet Food is…

  • free menu consultations
  • customers can take advantage of monthly specials and discounts
  • free shipping nationwide
  • a wide variety of products and proteins, including lamb, goat, quail, and fish

Raw Paws Pet Food has a variety of “complete” raw foods that require no extra work (unless you want to add vegetables).  And a favorite order of mine is their freeze-dried green tripe.  It's a great meal topper for the dogs.

To learn more about transitioning to a raw diet, please check out my book A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.

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