A reader writes in with the following question:
My Bichon Frise puppy has skin problems. I changed his food to Fromm’s a few months ago, and it seems to have helped a lot. But I think it would be better for him to eat the highest quality available. He is 1½ years old.
I really don’t understand how to read the labels to know what is good or bad. Could you please help me out? Are the ingredients in Fromm’s good?
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Dog Food May Be a Source of Allergens
Puppy time should be full of fun and play — not worry about a skin condition.
I referred your question to Dr. Salah Hassan of the American Veterinary Clinic in Cairo. He says it is likely that the skin condition is not being caused by the food you are feeding him. Any number of allergens could be to blame, and only a veterinarian can test for exactly what may be bothering your dog.
Hassan goes on to say that it is difficult to decipher the ingredients on most dog food labels — even he, as a professional, has to consult a chart sometimes. He said the best thing to do is to pick a reputable brand and see what sort of products it has. The companies that make these high-end pets brands spend millions on research to determine what is the best food composition for your companion animal.
Allergy Testing for Your Dog
In your case, Dr. Hassan says Fromm is a good choice — however, he strongly recommends a vet visit to see if your puppy has another allergy if the problem doesn’t clear up after switching food brands.
Watch this video for facts about (and a cuteness overload of) Bichon Frise dogs:
As a reminder, do not feed your puppy table scraps. Often the food we eat is not good for dogs — and they can have the same problems we have from a bad diet: heart disease, liver failure, kidney failure, etc.
Other Sources of Allergens
Another thing to consider is products that are not pet-related. Common household chemicals have effects on animals that have not been fully studied, so we don’t really know what they do.
I had a Basset Hound who was particularly sensitive to household chemicals. Air fresheners of any kind would make him have immediate diarrhea. If you are using a carpet cleaner, your puppy may be allergic to it — and remember, it may not bother you, but your puppy spends most of his time close to the carpet.
My advice is to replace whatever cleaners you have with organic alternatives. For example, a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle makes a great antibacterial and odor-removing kitchen cleaner.