How I got rid of my foster's dog skin allergies

How I Got Rid Of My Foster’s Dog Skin Allergies

I recently started fostering Pablo, a lovable one year old Feist mix with dog skin allergies. He’s been to three different homes within the last five months through no fault of his own. 

While he’s a fun little guy who only weighs 38 lbs and LOVES to explore the outdoors, he immediately pointed me in the direction of an annoying problem: dog skin allergies.

He started scratching his itchy body on day one of being with me. So I knew I had to use the nutritional knowledge I acquired since 2015 to help this little guy out. For anyone who doesn’t know my blog: I’m a raw dog food nerd!

Getting Rid of My Foster’s Dog Skin Allergies

Getting rid of my Foster's Dog Skin Allergies

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My mission was clear – find a raw or dehydrated, hypoallergenic, grain-free dog food with limited ingredients that would be unlikely to continue to cause dog skin allergies.

Step 1: The Quick Fix

I immediately added an organic raw egg to his first breakfast to start boosting his nutritional intake.

Eggs are not only an inexpensive and complete source of protein, they also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Those are great for a shiny coat and are rich in minerals and vitamins.

Check out my blog post Spoil Your Pup With An Egg-Cellent Nutritional Booster – Not Just On Easter! to learn more about the benefits of eggs for dogs.

Boosting foster dog Pablo's kibble with an organic raw egg
Pablo with his kibble and a raw egg

Step 2: A Taste of Raw Chicken

I gave him a few bites of fresh, raw chicken breast that afternoon.

Raw dog food is highly nourishing for your dog’s body and helps tremendously in boosting the doggie immune system as well as doggie skin, coat, and dental health.

Step 3: Dehydrated Dog Food

I let the rescue lady know that he would likely do a lot better with an upgrade from the poor quality Costco kibble he was on.

That said, she agreed with my raw dog food approach in general, so chapeau to her for being nutritionally open-minded! However, she did suggest to switch Pablo over to a dog food that’s more conveniently served than (homemade) raw dog food.

She also made the valid point that the new food would need to be affordable for a new adopter if Pablo was supposed to stay on it. So pre-made commercial raw was out of the question due to its higher price point.

I did a little thinking on that and figured that the easiest way of boosting his nutritional intake would be to feed him a freeze-dried or dehydrated, hypoallergenic dog food. 

After comparing a few different products from The Honest Kitchen (THK)SojosStella & Chewy’sSpot FarmsDr. Harvey’s, and Grandma Lucy’s, I came to the following conclusion.

Pablo’s new adopters would get the biggest nutritional bang for their buck by feeding one of The Honest Kitchen’s grain-free dog foods.

The rescue lady OK’d my idea and I went ahead and ordered a box of THK‘s 4 lb grain-free beef recipe.

THK Dehydrated Grain-Free Beef Recipe For Dog Skin Allergies

THK’s dehydrated beef recipe is a minimally processed dog food that’s fed with the addition of warm water, nothing else.

The 4 lb box I purchased for Pablo makes 16 lbs of dog food and costs $30 (Update 2023: now it’s $64), but it’s also available in a 10 lb box that makes 40 lbs of food for $99 (Update 2023: now it’s $125).

Trying dehydrated dog food from THK to help Pablo's dog skin allergies
Pablo’s dehydrated dog food from THK, beef recipe

How to Make The Dehydrated Dog Food

This is the super convenient part!

All you need to do is:

  • Scoop out the amount of dehydrated food your pup needs (follow guidelines on the box)
  • Add some warm water, and
  • Wait a few minutes for the food to rehydrate.

All that’s left to do is serve it.

Starting Foster dog Pablo's transition from kibble to dehydrated dog food from THK because of his dog skin allergies
Starting Pablo’s transition from kibble to dehydrated dog food

What’s In THK Dehydrated Dog Food?

It consists of the following dehydrated ingredients:

  • Ranch-raised beef
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Organic flaxseed
  • Organic coconut
  • Parsley
  • Chard
  • Papaya
  • Cranberries
  • Pumpkin
  • Honey
  • Vitamins and minerals

It does not contain any by-products, corn, wheat, soy, or added sugars.

According to the company, all ingredients are processed in the USA in a human grade food processing facility. They are non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives. All meat is hormone and antibiotic free.

Transitioning Pablo From Costco Kibble to THK Dehydrated Dog Food

I transitioned Pablo from his cheap Costco kibble to the new dehydrated dog food within 7 days. The way I did that was I slowly decreased the amount of kibble while incrementally increasing the amount of THK food he ate with every meal. 

Mixing THK's dehydrated dog food with kibble
Transitioning from kibble to dehydrated dog food

He used to get 1 cup of kibble twice per day, and is now eating a 3/4 cup of THK dehydrated dog food for breakfast and dinner. 

I’m happy to report that he enjoys his new food very much and that his itch to scratch has drastically decreased – pun intended! It’s not entirely gone but SO much better.

Any Cons?

Dehydrated dog food is not as healthy as my personal favorite of homemade raw dog food. However, it’s considerably healthier than highly processed dry dog food.

That’s why it makes a good stepping stone into transitioning from kibble to raw dog food. 

I personally am not a fan of feeding dog foods that include as many starchy ingredients like this one on a daily basis (in this case potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin), but it’s challenging to find an affordable commercial food that doesn’t. 

According to my homeopathic veterinarian Dr. Charles Loops as well as dog cancer vet Dr. Demian Dressler, starch-free veggies that are OK to feed are:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Red & yellow peppers

Tip: Veggies and fruit should always be offered puréed for optimal nutrient absorption. That’s because dogs lack the enzyme necessary to break down plant cell walls.

K9sOverCoffee | Pureeing low carb veggies in my food processor for Missy's dog cancer die
Pureeing broccoli, Brussels sprouts and shiitake mushrooms

Where Can You Buy THK Dehydrated Dog Food?

You can get your hands on The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food on online retail platforms like Amazon.

Of course you can also buy it at well stocked, independently owned pet retail stores. I know that a local pet retail store here in my area carries their products (Naturally Unleashed in Fayetteville). 

You can also check out the brand’s store locator on their THK website.

My Foster’s Dog Skin Allergies: Bottom Line

I’m glad that I was able to get Pablo’s dog skin allergies under control with THK‘s dehydrated dog food. Its price point is fair and should be affordable for a new adopter.

Who knows, maybe it’ll even serve as a stepping stone over to raw dog food!

I told the rescue lady that I’d be giving Pablo’s new adopter a free copy of my ebook Raw Dog Food Meal Prep: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners if they’re interested.

…because if someone asks me “is dehydrated dog food better than dry dog food?”, I will say yes.

BUT!

Raw dog food is definitely better than dehydrated dog food and the best dog food for skin allergies BY FAR!

Update: I Became A Foster Failure!

Well, what do you know, I ended up falling in love with the little guy and adopted him myself!

That said, he now eats a mix of pre-made raw dog food and my own DIY raw dog food.

Raw dog food is the best dog food for dog skin allergies
The best dog food for dog skin allergies: Raw dog food

Besides changing his dog food, I also changed his name! Pablo is now Wally. You can read more about him here: Meet Wally West, my new raw-fed dog.

Working on Wally's polite leash walking skills
My newly adopted pup Wally

Related Reading to Dog Skin Allergies:

Raw Dog Food Game Changers

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK RAW DOG FOOD

Save 15% on anything at Raw Paws Pet Food with code K9Savings. They're located in Indiana and ship nationwide within the US.

BEST VARIETY FOR INDIVIDUAL CUTS OF RAW MEAT

Save 10% on your first order of anything at Raw Feeding Miami with this referral link.

BEST SLOW FEEDER FOR RAW FED DOGS

Mighty Paw's Slow Feed Insert combined with Yeti's Boomer 4 Dog Bowl. Both are top rack dishwasher safe.

BEST FOUNDATION FOR BALANCED DIY RAW MEALS

Dr. Harvey's Paradigm Base Mix. It's low-carb which is particularly great for dogs on a keto diet and those with health issues like diabetes and cancer.

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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