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Your Jack Russell Puppy Care Checklist - Jack Russell Crazy Issue #27
March 12, 2012
You Are What You Eat!!
Back when I first got my Jacks I honestly didn't think much about what I fed them. I went to the grocery store, picked out a bag of food that promised all kinds of quality ingredients and had a cute looking pup on the front, paid, and didn't think about it again. After years of my Jacks having allergies and red itchy skin I was at my wits end. It broke my heart to see my Jack's scratching away. Special shampoos were no longer working, I was willing to try just about anything. After a couple news stories about the horrors and scandals in the dog food industry and I was a changed man. I read labels on the backs of bags, I researched, I googled and yes, I even starting cooking (I wish I was this diligent about my own health!). I never realized that the food I was feeding them could be contributing the itching and scratching I was seeing.
Dogs have allergies for all types of reasons. Fleas being the number one cause. But diet should not to be overlooked since food allergies exist in just about every breed. In fact, grains are one of the most common forms of food allergies in dogs. From the research I gathered, I switched my Jacks to a protein based grain free diet. It made a huge difference in my opinion. I saw much less scratching and shedding. Many dogs have food allergies that cause itchy and dry skin.
In fact, grains are not necessarily a bad thing, it's just that many dogs can be allergic to gluten and grains are in most bags of dog food. If your dogs has hotspots, red or itchy skin, it's worth it to look into what your Jack is eating. Taking grain out of a diet is one of the easiest ways to start. A vet may be needed to do a true elimination diet because they will want to do testing and monitor your Jack to see what is working and what is not. However, a diet change can definitely go a long way to combating itchy red skin as well as to decrease the use of steroids.
Ideally you would want your Jack's food to be organic, grain free and free of chemical preservatives and fillers. A simple google search can put you in contact with many brands. Will it cost more? Unfortunately, yes. But then again so does the organic vegetables I buy at the farmer's market. I now feed my Jack's a mixtures of packaged and homemade food. They sleep better at night because there is less itching and I sleep better at night knowing I am providing the best care for them that I can.
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'Til Next Time...
Take care - and take care of your JRT!
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