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special diet dog food

631 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  serenetabbie
My friend has two pugs. One of them has chronic ear infections, and the vet told her that he needs to be on Royal Canine Duck and Potato food. She will do anything for her dogs, but the cost of the food at the vet is very high. I looked it up online and found some places that sell it for less $$, but it is still expensive.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how she could get this food or something very much like it for less? Can't she just make her own dog food? Pugs are so small, I can't imagine it would take much work to feed them whole foods. Why is duck better than, say, chicken or lamb?

I know when my older dog was very sick, we had to put him on a diet of boiled ground meat (beef and lamb), rice, soft cooked carrots and peas. There is so much information on the Web that I am getting bogged down... I have no idea if vets still suggest this diet or if they push the expensive dry foods instead. TIA for any suggestions you have for her!
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Duck is not "better" than chix or lamb. And potatoes aren't really much "better" than corn, wheat, or rice. The thing is that they are not common ingredients in most pet foods, and therefore there is less of a chance that the dog has had a chance to build up allergies to them.

Although some dogs do have actual problems with the protein source/ meat it is FAR more likely that her allergies, yeast, etc. (all the things that can lead to icky ears) are being caused by the grains in their normal dog food. Dogs do NOT need grain in their diets.

If it were me, I would immediately put the dog on a completely grain-free diet. I would go raw- aside from it being healthier I find it MUCH easier, but there are grain-free cooked recipes out there. When cutting out grains, this also means don't feed any dog treats that have grains in them.

She should start with a single protein source (chicken or pork or duck or lamb, etc but only one of them) for the first two weeks or so and see if things improve. If they do not, then try two more weeks with a different meat, but again only that one. Remain grain-free. When things get better then you know you have found a "safe" meat.

Then start introducing other meats one at a time and look for recurrence of problems. Remain grain-free. If there are problems then you know the newly introduced protein source is to blame so put it on the no-no list. Continue this until you've figured out which meats you can use.

If she continues to have problems after trying a couple of different meats, then she should look for other possible causes- supplements, grooming products, environmental allergens, etc.

Not sure what position friend is in financially but I would HIGHLY recommend finding a holistic veterinarian preferably one who is also has specialized in nutrition, member of American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition, etc.
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Well, I actually kind of like Royal Canin--they really do try hard to have true single-ingredient foods (the duck and potato is just duck and potato and vitamins) and they can help people who won't switch to raw and have very allergic dogs.

Can you give some background on the dog--age, weight, other problems? What are they eating right now?

She can switch to a raw diet for them very easily. Here's the simplest version: Find raw animal pieces with a substantial portion of chewable bone inside them (if she wants to do duck, duck necks and carcasses--whole duck with all the good parts like breast and legs cut off, so it's basically a meaty skeleton--or backs would be great) and give them to the dogs in their crates or on the deck or outside so the dogs won't bother her with the mess they make.

She doesn't have to worry about veggies or vitamins for at least a few weeks; let them get used to the meaty bones first.
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If I were feeding duck I wouldnt get one without the meat- I prefer to stick with the ratio of bone to meat in whole prey.

If you are feeding in the house another option to add to the previous ones is to put down a towel/tablecloth/sheet for your dog to eat on.
I'd agree except that domesticated animals resemble in almost no way the ratio that is found in the wild. There's literally pounds more breast meat in a domestic Pekin duck than in a wild Mallard, and considering the skinny-ness of most wild game they are indeed at least half bone.

Also, buying whole duck is unrealistic or impossible for most budgets. I can get duck carcass for a dollar a pound; whole duck is four or five times that and I don't even buy it for US, let alone the dogs.

Originally Posted by pear
If you are feeding in the house another option to add to the previous ones is to put down a towel/tablecloth/sheet for your dog to eat on.
A cheap plastic shower curtain is easy to wipe off and after it gets really gross can go in the washer.
Hmmm. Well, her dog is about 7 months old. She bought him from a pet store, and when she took him to the vet he told her that the dog seemed to be the product of a puppy mill. She has spent quite a lot on this dog already, mostly on his ears. She was feeding him Eukanuba (sp?). He is large for a pug, or so she says, but I am not sure how much he weighs. He was recently nutered and is crate trained. Other than poor behavior modification on the owners part (I love her, but her dogs are brats!), he seems to be a bright, happy dog.

You can give dogs a whole bit of duck? I have always heard that dogs can choke on bird bones (and other bones as well). Anyhow, she has carpet thoughout her house, so I doubt that giving the dog a carcass is an option.

I am not sure how available duck is, I have never bought it! Do you think if she just cut out grains and fed (insert something more available) that his ears would improve?

I realize I typed "canine" instead of "Canin" inthe above post... oops! My fingers want to add an "e"!
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There is little to no danger when feeding raw bone. You CANNOT safely feed a raw-meat-only diet; you have to feed bone or you have to balance the diet with supplemental minerals (which is complicated).

The very cheapest and easiest option is to feed chicken pieces--backs, necks, thigh quarters.
I second just starting by feeding chicken peices. Maybe try backs first. It will be way cheaper than that special food and it is a lot easier too. If she has so much carpet I agree w/Joanna that the best place to feed them would be in their crates. It really is the best food for them. And hey, if she likes the results of the raw feeding you told her about maybe she'll be willing to listen to some other advice from you about her dogs how to train them!
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One more thing, if this dog has had ear problems from day one, have her take him to a chiropractor to have his upper cervical spine adjusted. Bedlam gets ear problems but they have nothing to do with what she eats, if we get her in to be adjusted within a couple days of the scratching and whining beginning, one adjustment is all she needs.
Ok, I will give her the info the next time I talk to her. Does anyone have a good website about this that they can suggest so I can send her a link?

Just to be clear Joanna... raw bones are ok, but cooked bones are not?

Shannon, that is a great idea, but chances are slim there is a chiro around here willing to see dogs
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raw bones are ok, so its super easy to buy a whole chicken from the store, take off the parts we want (breast meat, thigh section) portion out the rest and give it to the dog. But be careful with the big weight bearing bones, like beef leg bones. Those are harder to come by anyway, and I believe you can offer them up, but as a chewing object only.

any cooked bone is not ok....

Originally Posted by serenetabbie
Shannon, that is a great idea, but chances are slim there is a chiro around here willing to see dogs

Not sure if you were joking?? But there are veterinary chiros specifically trained to adjust dogs. I doubt a normal human chiro would even be familiar enough w/ dogs skeletal structure, etc. to do it properly. Some holistic vets have that training, or would atleast know how to put you in touch with someone who does.

ETA: Looks like I might have been wrong. Just read in another thread that apparently there are some chiros who do pets on the side.
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Thanks so much for all your input guys

Nope, not joking Alice. I think it is a great idea. However, we live in a fairly rural area... there aren't any chiros within 30 minutes as far as I know for people let alone dogs
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