Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dog Food Analysis Again For Heidi

It turned out to be another beautiful day here in 'the tropics of Southern Indiana. I am not sure why but after getting up and staying up this morning the hounds never begged to go walking. They had breakfast and slept almost to the time of lunch.

During that time I started going back over my notes and spreadsheet where I have been tracking Heidi's skin issues, and what kind of food I was feeding her. I've been tracking that in a spreadsheet since last summer. She was doing pretty well and then a few days ago broke out bad enough that she was chewing her paws down inside her pads, scratching her armpits, skin became irritated.

Paws and armpits led me to believe she had a yeast infection ... although she did not have that yeasty smell nor did her ears have any yeast smell or infection. Reviewing some notes I took last year and some websites I saved I was reminded to keep her from eating grains, potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Well a lot of the grain free food I have been giving her had sweet potatoes. Then when I moved to Fromm and Diamond Naturals, those had grain but I knew that and was trying to put weight on her.

Then last night in the Bloodhound Group on Facebook that I follow, someone had posted photos of skin issues on their bloodhound that looked just like Heidi's neck. Multiple answers below were calling it a yeast infection. So from that I thought I was on the right track.

Here is the confusing part ... my spreadsheet shows her skin was the best these past 9 months when feeding her the Fromm for Large Breeds which has brown rice, oatmeal, but no potatoes. The times I fed her grain free food, the average rating for the month was not as good as when I was feeding her the Fromm food with grains but still below 3.

I rate her skin on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the best.

Some notes I also logged on the sheet had "the best skin ever" ... but glancing a column over I saw that I was feeding her food with grains. So is it a yeast infection or is it because spring has arrived and the grass seeds and other plants are in the air?

This is nothing new ... I've asked all of the same questions before, over and over. Tested and used different foods, different treatments. After going back and forth most of the day I have decided to feed Heidi either Earthborn or Fromm Gold Adult.

I also need to stick with one kind of food instead of chasing her tail with different kinds while trying to find the one that works best for her skin. The 4 different vets I've seen over the past 18 months have different opinions on treatment and what food to feed.

I had someone ask me last night by email if Heidi's skin was normal above her rear legs. Actually that is normal Basset Hound skin but what makes it look so bad it is not covered by hair.

Here is the only photo I could find of her a few days after I brought her home in July 2011. You can see the folded skin on her rear hocks but they are covered with hair, as they should be. With her reputation of being "a runner" she was still being tethered whenever we went outside. It was not long afterward I found out that she didn't feel like keeping that reputation once she got here.

So mid-afternoon while Heidi slept in the sun on one of her favorite spots in the living room, Sadie, Stella and I jumped into the FJ for a trip to get Heidi's dog food. During the 30 minute drive I was still thinking which food to buy.

Between the email Fromm dog food sent me last spring about skin allergies, my previous notes and information I read this morning I decided to go with Earthborn Great Plains Feast (not affiliate link). With her thin build I want to build more muscle, hopefully some weight ... I also wanted:
  • No grains
  • No potatoes, no sweet potatoes
  • No chicken or chicken meal
  • I wanted a high percentage of fat and protein.
It is also the same blend of Earthborn dog food I bought last July for the first time. With 38% protein and 18% fat I am hoping that will put some weight on her. The 28# bag should last her almost 8 weeks. I plan to follow a suggestion and stay with this food for 16 weeks to completely cleanse her system of the dog food eaten in the past and will post updates.

Before that trip in the FJ though, we had our afternoon walk in fantastic weather. Stella was wandering at the back brush line when I came outside but when I started walking she came running toward Sadie and I. When I asked if they were ready for a walk, Sadie came trotting .. she was ready.

It was a pretty laidback walk, hardly any running yet they were panting a little bit with the temps finally over 70°.

I took some photos of the wooded area, plus what I call the gully, where I don't want Sadie or Stella running down to the bottom. That is a steep incline down through those trees.

This is the brush area where there seems to be a lot of deer traffic.

The base of those trees is still not the bottom of the gully as it curves to the left from where this photo is taken.

By the time we returned from the trip for dog food, Stella decided the best place to be was feeling the cool breeze and getting some more sunshine. She loves to ride and also lay in the sun.

I am happy the dog food decision is settled. With the $5 increase in price for the 28# bag it is still affordable for Heidi. I notice the recommended serving sizes are smaller than what I have been feeding her.

Another relaxed day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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