Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm not sure if this question should be here, since it involves health, grooming and food, but since it might be related to allergies...

I have an almost 3 year old border/pointer mix (we think) named Vilya. She used to have a soft and shiny black coat, but this last year some areas of her fur became coarse and opaque. I thought it might be the shampoo I was using, so I switched shampoos but the fur still looks the same. It doesn't cause her any discomfort, she doesn't scratch at it or lick it, nothing at all. I was thinking it could be a food allergy or something? The first year and a half of her life we kept switching foods because she either had runny stools or just plain didn't like them. Finally, we settled for Nature's Variety Prairie food, which she really likes and makes for firm stools. However, I'm almost sure that the fur problem started a few months after she started with this food, so maybe it has something to do with it?

I'm thinking of switching her food once again, to see if it solves the problem. After checking several dog food review sites, I am considering changing her to Diamond Naturals (I am aware of the recalls a few years back, but I haven't heard of any since). Has any of you used this food before? Is it good? ¿Any other advice to get her coat shiny again?

Please note that I live in Mexico and the choice of pet foods is very limited. In addition to Nature's Variety (which I have to order from a special store), the best brands we have available are Eukanuba, ProPlan, Royal Canin, and Hill's Science. (I will not even mention the lower-quality brands). Recently, PetCo opened a few stores here, so now we also have new brands like Choice Nutrition, ANF, ProPac, Diamond / Diamond Naturals, and K9 Natural. Ordering online is not possible. I tried. Most stores will not ship internationally, and the few that do charge an obscene amount in shipping costs. The online store I currently buy the food from is in Mexico and the import costs make the food quite expensive.

I read on another thread that someone who fed their dog Prairie food also noticed stains in its eyes. Mine also has stains. The vet assured me that they are of no concern, but it's an interesting coincidence that at least one other person has had this experience.

These are some pictures of Vilya's fur. (I apologise for the size, I resized them several times and they still appeared huge, I don't know why):

[/URL][/IMG]

[/URL][/IMG]

[/URL][/IMG]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,257 Posts
Its hard to say much just from photos. It looks like her fur might be a bit tangled or matted which if it has gotten coarser or more dry, it might mat more easily. Does she get regular brushing to spread her skin oils through her coat and to detangle her fur?

How often is she bathed? It could be too often for her or she could need a conditioner after being washed if the shampoo is stripping the oils from her fur.

There is more than one formula of the Nature's Variety Prairie but all of them (the dry adult formulas) are a bit lower in both protein and fat than I'd prefer; I like around 28-35% protein and around 18-25% fat. Good meat based protein and fat are definitely helpful for healthy skin and fur. You could try supplementing a little real foods to her diet if she's otherwise doing well on the Nature's Variety. Things like tinned sardines or mackerel, chicken hearts and gizzards (raw or cooked), a small amount of olive oil (like a half teaspoon in a day at first, too much fat too quickly isn't good), eggs, or other fresh meat cuts like beef heart etc. Figure no more than about 20-25% of her calories coming from the fresh foods in proportion to the kibble to avoid messing up the nutrient balance like giving too little or too much calcium etc.

I've used the Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete and considered it a solid food for the price, I like the higher protein and fat and the dogs did well on it although neither is particularly sensitive. I also like the ProPac brand, here in the US at least it is very affordable and it is produced by Midwestern Pet Foods which is a reputable company.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,906 Posts
Honestly, Kylie gets (and has) this, though not as extensive as your dog.

For her? It's straight up undercoat that dies off but does not shed out. I have to strip her like a terrier. Her hair isn't wirey at all, she doesn't have a terrier coat, but her undercoat doesn't shed on its own. It took her until she was 2 to GROW an undercoat and now that she has one it doesn't shed out. Just hangs around and looks gross, until we strip it out. Which she hates.

The reason this is my thought is it LOOKS like normal, shiny, black fur is under there. Just obscured by the dull puffy stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,186 Posts
Honestly, Kylie gets (and has) this, though not as extensive as your dog.

For her? It's straight up undercoat that dies off but does not shed out. I have to strip her like a terrier. Her hair isn't wirey at all, she doesn't have a terrier coat, but her undercoat doesn't shed on its own. It took her until she was 2 to GROW an undercoat and now that she has one it doesn't shed out. Just hangs around and looks gross, until we strip it out. Which she hates.

The reason this is my thought is it LOOKS like normal, shiny, black fur is under there. Just obscured by the dull puffy stuff.
I thought that, too. Muggsy's undercoat would just hang there until I pulled it out by hand (I guess that's stripping? never had a terrier.) He HATED it, but it was necessary. It looked like that, too, like his fur was dead and matted, but it was just the undercoat hanging there.

That being said, Shell's dietary suggestions are good ones, whether that's actually damaged coat or just stuck undercoat. You can improve a less than great food by adding real meat and organs and good fats like olive and coconut oil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
Um, that looks like dead undercoat to me. All the dog needs is a good grooming session with an undercoat rake, to pull all that out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,227 Posts
Agree with the others, dead undercoat that needs to be removed.

You can pluck it by hand, use a grooming stone or use a stripping knife combed through the area. Ginger and Max vote you should use a grooming stone. On the body a metal flea comb or rake will get a lot of it before you use the stone or your fingers. A rake isn't going to get out the stuff on the lower legs.

Max's problem was much worse on kibble even with fish oil. He needed a lot of fat to make his coat healthier. Try Shell's suggestions carefully to see if it helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,856 Posts
I don't think that is going to be fixed completely with diet. That might be one of three things. I can't tell without seeing and touching the dog for sure but it is either dead undercoat that needs to be brushed out, matted areas, or spay coat. Spay coat what we call really dull but cottony areas of a coat that show up most often in mature spayed/neutered dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice to improve her coat. As to her grooming routine, I brush her fur once a week mostly with a bristle brush. She hates the slicker brush with a passion, no matter how gentle I am, so I only use it to give a very quick stroke on any knot I see to untangle it. I bathe her at home once a month and twice a year she goes to the groomers. Her fur does look a little better (though the coarseness is not compeletely gone) after going to the groomers, and they recently suggested using a few drops of conditioner when I brush her to loosen knots and making the brushing easier. Also, last month I bought a furminator, could that be of help? I haven't tried it yet, but I've been told it's good.

Also, thanks a lot for the food advice. I have been toying with the idea to add egg to her food, and she does get some chicken and meat that I set apart for her when I'm preparing my meals, but they're more like treats she gets with her kibble rather than the main source of protein. I think I will switch the food anyway, both to see if it improves her fur and because it's easier to find now that a physical store actually sells it. I'll check the ProPac food before deciding which brand to choose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,257 Posts
If she hates the brush, you can work out a lot of the dead undercoat with your hands and just do a little bit every day. One of my friends rescued a collie or retriever mix that had matted fur and i basically cut out the worst parts (farm dog, it didn't matter if she looked a little funny if her skin was better off) and then used a detangler spray that we had for the horses and slowly combed and removed by hand the rest of the matted coat.

If you can't find regular dog conditioner or detangler, I would think that one made for babies/small children would be safe enough. Many horse shampoos and conditioners are also safe for dogs and some are even labeled for both dogs and horses.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top