Click here to learn more.
Q. My dog seems to be scratching himself more. He's already on lamb-and-rice food. Will adding oil to his diet help?
A. Adding a veterinarian is the only thing that can truly help. Your dog may be suffering from fleas, inhalant allergies or, yes, food allergies. But you cannot treat a problem effectively without a spot-on diagnosis, and that’s why you need your veterinarian.
First steps. When a food allergy is suspected, a “feeding trial” is started to pinpoint the problem ingredient. This often requires the use of a “novel protein,” one that the animal has never eaten before. Years — as in decades — ago, the lamb-rice combination was something a veterinarian could reliably count on as novel. But then people got the idea that feeding lamb-and-rice was a cure-all for skin problems, and pet food companies started making and promoting lamb-and-rice to meet the demand. That effectively meant the end of lamb-and-rice as part of the protocol for investigating food allergies. These days, meats as exotic as ostrich and kangaroo have been brought into the mix to help veterinarians solve a food-allergy mystery.
Adding oil is another “easy fix” that doesn’t help unless there's a dietary insufficiency that's accidentally addressed by the addition. If you’re feeding something your veterinarian has recommended or approved of as appropriate for your dog, you shouldn’t have to add anything — at least not until your veterinarian suggests doing so, such as adding omega-3 oils and glucosamine to help in treating arthritis in older dogs.
The big take-away point is this: “Itchy” is a symptom, not a disease, and it’s a symptom that’s common to more than one problem (and your dog could very well have more than one problem).
Other options. The one thing I can recommend that could help — and won’t hurt, certainly — is more frequent bathing with a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. This approach has been clinically shown to help dogs with skin problems.
But really, you need help — specifically, your veterinarian’s help, and soon. If you’ve ever had a persistent itch, you know how miserable it can be. The sooner your veterinarian can diagnose and treat the problem, the more comfortable your dog will be.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
A baby squirrel who fell 75 feet from her nest is being nursed back to health at a rehabilitation center in…
Jan Jeffries, Jr., was working at a miserable jobsite when he encountered a dog who would change his life forever.
With their adorable matching outfits, best friends Zoey and Jasper have quickly become the new darlings of the…
With Easter on our minds, we combed our database of rabbits names to find out the 10 most popular monikers of 2013.
Dentistry used to be the outcast of the veterinary world. Now many vets dedicate tons of time to oral care for…
Our friends at JeanKnowsCars.com reveal cars that are great for pet owners, from versatile minivans to rugged SUVs.
With Easter coming up this weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to celebrate the holiday's most iconic species.
The Abyssinian, who wears a beautiful ticked coat, is an intelligent and athletic feline who stays in constant…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.