Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy
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Thread: Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy

  1. #1
    Junior Member AprilC's Avatar
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    Apr 2018
    Toronto, Canada

    Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy

    Hi, I am new and maybe this question has been asked 100 times but I can't find it.

    We have a very itchy dog. Charlie is a 4 year old, 80 lb german shepherd who has rubbed off most of the fur around his eyes, his nose and down the side of his ribs. He has also scratched himself so much that he has scabs around his eyes and nose. I suffer from chronic hives, so my heart aches for him because I have very intimate knowledge of how he feels. There may be an environmental component to his allergies but we live in Canada and are nearing the end of winter so I am certain there is also a food component because we haven't yet started "allergy season" here. It snowed again yesterday!

    We have tried limited ingredient diets, novel protein diets, hypoallergenic pet food from the vet and the hydrolyzed protein diet from the vet. Charlie is also on apoquel but he is still itchy.

    I have taken him off all commercial and/or vet foods, and as of today he is on a 100% homemade elimination diet of brown rice, salmon and vegetables. Yes, I am aware that this is not a nutritionally sound diet and no, I don't intend to keep him on this long term. This is strictly so we can try to get some relief and then add foods back in and see how he reacts.

    Assuming we get somewhere with this elimination diet and we can figure out what is causing his allergies, I need to find food for him that have very limited ingredients or where I can control the ingredients. I believe that peas and/or chickpeas may be an issue because they are the one common ingredient I have found in all of the foods (except the vet food) that we have fed to him. I have been looking into freeze dried and raw food today and I am so confused.

    Some of the freeze dried foods I have found seem to suggest that I need to feed Charlie about $35 to $50 worth of their food PER DAY. That can't be right? Has anyone fed freeze dried? Is this correct? Am I reading this correctly that the freeze-dried raw is more than the frozen raw commercially prepared foods?

    Is there anyone out there who can give me an idea of what I would be looking at for cost per week to feed my dog on raw or home cooked diet? Inclusive of supplements?

    We are in Canada and since he may need a novel protein I understand that this will be more than the average. We were spending $180 a month on the hydrolyzed protein dog food and $75 a month on the Apoquel. I thought that I should be able to feed him home cooked or raw food for under $250 a month but now I am not so sure. I am so overwhelmed, confused and frustrated.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy

    Forgive me if I suggest something you have already tested/tried but a few thoughts---

    Environmental allergies are not limited to outside pollen and such. Indoor products can be an issue too. Make a list of all cleaning products, washing detergents, materials for his food and water bowls, fabrics for dog beds and rugs that he sleeps on etc and consider if any are potential allegens. Some itchy dogs are allergic to oatmeal shampoo for example but that is commonly marketed as a soothing shampoo! It is but just not for all dogs.

    Has he had a skin scrape at the vet's?

    Freeze dried raw is always far more expensive by weight than raw meat just as beef jerky is more than a steak. Water weight and labor/time costs. Freeze dried would be insanely expensive for a large dog.

    Homemade raw or homecooked can be doable with a chest freezer and it helps a ton if you have friends that hunt or you have the inclination to hunt yourself. Keeping it balanced for long term feeding is very important and takes some due diligence but is not super hard.

    Packaged commercial raw is also quite expensive for a large dog. A middle point can be a bulk ground raw supplier.

    For ease of nutrient balance but option of novel protein, a limited ingridient mix-in that you add a ground raw or cooked meat to is an option.The Honest Kitchen has some for example.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Re: Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy

    Take 2% of his ideal weight for how much he might need. That's 1.6 pounds a day 11.2 a week and 45 pounds a month. How much does that novel protein cost? That's for raw. If you feed cooked then only 1/4-1/2 the diet needs to be this meat. For raw you would need bone and organs from that animal for a true elimination diet.

    Try looking up BalanceIt. You make an account, plug in your protein and carb and they come up with amounts and a recipe with an added supplement. You can estimate a budget from that. They can work with your vet as well.

    If the vet's food didn't work I doubt it is a food allergy. Unless - did you stick with kibble or use canned? I'm wondering because my first dog had a vague issue with kibble that resolved when she went on a homecooked diet. She had anal sac issues which had to be emptied weekly to monthly on kibble and 3x in the 3 years after she went on home cooked food. If you stuck with kibble perhaps home cooked food would help. I strongly suspect mite contamination in kibble was a problem, she also had flea allergy that worsened with age. She mostly ate chicken and rice kibble and her cooked diet was also chicken and rice.

    Also has blood testing been done so you know the thyroid is operating correctly? Incorrect thyroid level is insidious, causes all sorts of weird problems.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member BernerMax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Re: Raw, Freeze Dried Raw or Homecooked for my itchy guy

    Hello- I would recommend allergy testing for your dog, it takes the guess work out of it- we found out one of our dogs had a wool allergy (we had an indoor wool rug we had to get rid of) in addition to pollen allergies, as well as all poultry, tomato pomace, and a few other things. He later did well on a venison based dry food diet, and for a while we fed him canned salmon, egg, and rice with some cottage cheese mixed in (when waiting for the results to get back) -

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