What kind of dog food would you suggest for Irish Wolfhounds?

Question

Hi Chuck, I have 3 wolfhounds. One is nearly 4 yrs., one nearly 3 yrs. and both have developed skin allergy problems this fall and tend to have loose stools. What would be your first and second choices for dog food to try? My 5 month old puppy has loose stools often. What is your 1st and 2nd choice for him? I like to mix dry with some canned for moisture. They have always had better foods: Solid Gold and Natural Balance most recent. Is Innova a better food than those?

Answer

There is always the possibility of the skin allergy caused from something in the environment. This may be a possibility since both your 3 and 4 year old dogs are showing symptoms with the onset of the Fall season. Since all three are experiencing stool upsets, if you haven’t ruled out parasitic activity, you might want to consult your vet, but I suspect you probably already have.

There is what looks to be a good website that speaks to nutrition for Irish wolfhounds. Perhaps you have seen it already, if not, it is www.irishwolfhounds.org. The site provides information on the benefits of feeding a raw food diet and they do caution, in general, against feeding too much, because it can cause loose stools and stomach upsets. The point is also made that not all Irish wolfhounds do well on a raw food diet and that there is not one perfect or best food out there.

It really does depend on the individual dog and trial and error as not all foods work for all dogs. There are many testimonials from those who use a raw diet that have seen improvements regarding allergies and digestive issues. I suggest you start by switching one element that might be triggering the issues. Is it the protein source (type of meat), grains, a vegetable or fruit – choose the one you want to try to eliminate as a cause first and remove from the diet.
Raw foods do not have grains in them, so that is easily eliminated from the diet. The raw food will also provide the moisture you have been adding to their diet with the canned food and also naturally contains enzymes to aid in digestion and absorption of the nutrients. Some of the raw food frozen products we carry are Primal, Nature’s Variety, Stella and Chewy’s, and Bravo. We also carry complete and balanced dry mixes that you rehydrate with water such as Sojos, and Honest Kitchen. These two brands also make mixes that you can add your own meat to.

You mentioned you have tried Natural Balance, but did not say which formula. Natural Balance is a good brand to try if a dog has allergy or digestive issues, because they have several limited ingredient formulas. Duck is a protein source that is easily digested, so it can be good for those that have digestive issues. Also, since it is not a common protein source, it can work for dogs with allergies. Natural Balance makes a Potato and Duck formula.

California Natural also makes a few limited ingredient formulas that can be used to address allergy and digestive issues. Innova and California Natural are made by the same company and offer several dry and canned formulas.

Another kibble food is Go! Natural and Now! Which offer grain free as well as a salmon and oatmeal formula which can be soothing for the skin.

In addition to food, supplements can also aid digestive upsets. Prozyme is a supplement enzyme product that can be added to any food to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Fruitables Pumpkin and Cinnamon Dry Food Mixer is a canned product that can be added to any food. The pumpkin aids with sensitive digestion and will help to firm the stools. You could also try adding plain canned pumpkin to the food. This can be found at the grocery store in the baking aisle. Plain yogurt also is good to add to a dog’s diet due to the probiotics that help to maintain the good bacteria in the digestive system. Fish oil added to the food can help with skin and coat issues as well. Several of our customers have had success with Nature’s Logic. The omega 3 and 6 fatty acids will aid in correcting dry, itchy, flaking skin and reduce shedding.

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