Many dogs with skin issues include those breeds with skinfolds. We talk to Clinical Naturopath and herbalist, and pet food nutritionist, Narelle Cooke, about how she helped Ziggy the Bulldog to lose weight and improve her skin with a Big Dog raw food diet.
You must see a lot of dogs with skin issues and needing to lose weight, how does diet impact on this?
Unfortunately, I do see a lot of dogs with skin issues and needing to lose a bit of weight due to the type of diet they are being fed.
Most people are aware that consuming a highly processed diet, that’s also very high in carbohydrates, is more likely to lead to overweight and obesity in us humans, since carbohydrates are converted into sugars in the body.
The exact same principles apply to our dogs as well, and considering many are fed a diet of highly processed commercial kibbles, many dogs with weight and skin issues are consuming high carbohydrate levels, which convert into sugars in the same way.
Commercial kibble products often also contain a lot of artificial ingredients, such as flavours, colours and preservatives, so all of these factors combined compromise the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining of our dog’s stomach, making it more porous, which ultimately compromises a dogs’ immune system.
This then makes them much more prone to conditions such as yeasty ear infections and skin infections, particularly in skin folds, which is very common in breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs etc.
How can a raw food diet help?
The beautiful thing about feeding a raw food diet to our dogs, especially those with weight and skin issues, is that that it contains real, whole foods that are species appropriate – so no nasty artificial colours or preservatives. They’re very low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which works to support gut health and the immune system.
Ingredients that you’ll see include things like fresh muscle meats, salmon, various organ meats, ground bone, eggs, seasonal fruits and vegetables, probiotics, prebiotics and a whole range of different super foods.
Is there specific products you recommend to clients?
I use and recommend the Big Dog Sensitive Skin or Wellbeing raw food patties for owners of dogs with skin issues and needing to lose a few kilos.
The ingredients in these two products within their range in particular are developed to help to improve gut health and the integrity of the skin barrier.
This means that dogs on this diet are then less likely to get secondary infections, as well as the fact they help to reduce the inflammation and the itchiness of their skin.
Any tips for an owner waning to switch to a raw food diet?
It is really important that you transition your dog over to a new diet slowly, at least over 14 days if you are introducing raw food for the first time. For tips on transitioning your dog on to a new diet, click HERE.
You should also ensure you are feeding your dog an complete and balanced raw food diet, like Big Dog. Often owners making their own dog meals re leaving out some vital ingredients and nutrients,m putting their dog’s health at risk. To find out what a complete and balanced diet looks like, click HERE.
It is also important that the company uses locally sourced, human grade ingredients and state of the art manufacturing processes to help ensure the integrity of their product, like Brisbane based company Big Dog does. To find out more about their product range and processes visit the Big Dog Pet Foods website.