Raw Dog Food Case Studies

Protect Allergy Defence Product Trial August 2020 – The Results are in!

At ProDog, we advocate natural raw feeding and have crafted a powerful supplement to aid with itch and allergies called Protect. We embarked on a product study using Protect in the peak of the summer months when allergies and itchiness seem to be at a heightened state.  

The aim of the study was to assess the impact of Protect product on the symptoms of allergy, sensitivity and atopy; itching and redness, mainly. 21 participants were given the product to give to their dogs to assess response over a four week period.  

They were asked to note, each week, changes seen by them in their dog and given a simple 1-10 scoring system. At the end of the trial, they were asked for their overall scores in five clinical questions on five separate criteria: what was fed, redness, paw licking eyewatering and overall itchiness scores. 

The study results have finally been collated and here are the results: 

Question 1: What do you feed your dog?  

68% per cent of respondents said they fed raw. 27% said they fed dry / kibble and 5% said they fed wet or tinned food.  

Question 2: How effective was Protect in reducing the redness/soreness in your dog?  

Respondents were asked to pick a number from 1-10 (1 is ‘terrible’, 10 being ‘best’ or ‘no redness at all’) to identify how effective they believed the intervention to be.  

14 of the participants (64%) reported there was a significant (7 or greater) improvement in the redness/soreness score. Two reported a 10 score. 6 reported no change.  

Question 3: How effective was Protect in reducing paw licking in your dog?  

Respondents, as with question 1, were asked to pick a number from 1-10 (1 is ‘terrible’, 10 being ‘best’ or ‘no redness at all’) to identify how effective they believed the intervention to be. 

15 of the participants (68%) reported 7 or greater improvement in paw licking, with two reporting complete resolution during the trial. Four reports were neutral (score 5) and two showed minor worsening (score 4), according to the owners.  

Question 4: How effective was Protect in reducing eyewatering in your dog?  

Again, owners were asked to score the reduction of eyewatering, with 10 being complete resolution and 1 being significant worsening of eye watering from the beginning of the trial.  

Sixteen reports were of a 7 score or greater, showing 73 percent of owners perceived significant improvement, with 7 reporting complete resolution during the trial. Two (9%) reported little or no change. No owners saw worsening.  

Question 5: How effective was Protect in reducing overall itchiness in your dog?  

Overall, seventeen of the respondents (82%) reported significant improvement (7 score or greater)2 (9%) reported no significant or neutral response. There were no reports of worsening. 

In summary, the Protect trial has shown that across the board this supplement can help dogs deal with the symptoms of allergy and itch, all but 2 (91%) of respondents stated they felt the product helped their dogs, with 17 trialists stating it was also good value for money compared to alternatives and also they would recommend the product to their family and friends. 

The study also helped us to identify how dogs on different diets respond to itch at differing rates with raw fed dogs showing quicker response to the supplement than those fed on dry or wet processed foods. We have included some comments from the participants of the trial and images taken throughout the trial below: 

“I cannot fault the product at all I have used all different products and this one has shown to be the most effective.” 

“This week I’ve noticed a steadiness in Charlie’s allergies. He seems to have reached a calm, even state. In comparison to week one he is overall less itchy, less red & seems less irritated by his allergies and skin. I am so happy that my dog is suffering less & less with his allergies & can enjoy running around on the grass or just simply going for a walk without experiencing a reaction one way or another. You can tell his temperament has changed, he isn’t as grumpy as he has little to no allergies bothering him. We have a small bit of ProDog Protect left so once that is used we will be making a repurchase & keeping up the doses over winter and into spring/summer.”  

“Really reduced eye-watering and itchy paws that was his main symptoms” 

“Found it better than our regular ‘itchy dog’ supplement” 

“It seemed to reduce her overall itchiness, I understand it takes time for a supplement to take effect due to the build-up of her immune system, therefore I would like to continue using ‘Protect’” 

“Woody’s new Prodog Raw arrived this week so we have started him on that and have already noticed an improvement in his overall itching and paw licking as feeding him as Heidi recommended and limiting how many of his goats’ kefir treats he has etc. We will be buying Protect powder so we have more of a fair test as I feel we didn’t get to see it’s true benefits with Woody not being on the best food for him. But definitely seen a change in him already.” 

“Excellent thing about this product is my dog didn’t mind it mixed in with his meals so no problem there. The best thing I noticed about it is his paw licking went down dramatically.” 

Finally, Itch is a condition becoming all the more common in our canine population. We at ProDog wanted to give you some expert insight into the reasons for it, we’ve asked Dr Nick Thompson, Holistic Vet, to provide you with his specialist guidance. 

Despite the extremely positive results of our study, this blog aims to highlight the other contributing factors to itchiness in dogs. Although diet and nutrition is fundamental to resolving many itch symptoms, it is just one part of the puzzle. It’s important to be armed with the facts so that you can take a holistic approach to resolve the root causes. 

Check out the video, or, for the readers among you, we’ve included a summary below of the main points. We’ve added the time stamp too so if you want to watch a snippet of the video covering the topic you’re particularly interested in we’ve got you covered! 

0.33 – Why Dogs Itch 

Three key elements to why dogs itch: 

  1. Parasites 
  2. Allergies and sensitivities
  3. Infection

The state and health of the immune system is key to all three of those elements. 

0.55  Don’t just stop current meds 

If you are starting on a new regime to try and get on top of the itch with your dog, don’t just stop any meds, that your dog is on at the moment, whether steroids or apoquel or cytopoint etc. 

The recommendation is to try and create improvement in the level of itch first and then that will allow reduction in the number of meds that you give to your dog.  

1.31 – Supplements and medication are only part of the issue, diet, environment, the state of immunity, what pharmaceuticals are being taken, all play a part.  

Essential to look at the big picture. 

3:13 – Important To Take A Holistic Approach To Treatment 

When you’re dealing with itch, you might be dealing with three different things which all come together to give you the single symptom of itch. 

It takes time to unravel the root cause, but there’s a lot you can do at home. 

It’s possible to have parasites, allergies and infection all at once 

For example; if you just treat fleas you may not help the itch whatsoever, because there is still infection in the skin and there’s still sensitivity to, for example, lamb or sensitivity or to pollen etc. 

Or if you treat fleas, and you get the diet right, but you don’t get rid of infection, yeast, or bacterial, then you’re still not going to reduce itch. 

5:50 – Parasites 

Parasites to watch out for are  

  • Fleas 
  • Mange Mites 
  • Harvest Mites (Autumn time)

Treatments For Parasites  

Sometimes you can see parasites but sometimes you can’t. 

There are natural preventative treatments. 

In my practice, we use: 

Cedarcide Spray 

Billy No Mates 

Derma Dog insect defence spray for smaller dogs. 

If you have a serious infestation, you may need to speak to your vet and use a spot-on or tablet treatments, I prefer the spot to the tablets, but I don’t really like any of them. Better to use natural preventative treatments. 

7:33 – Allergies 

Four types of allergens that can cause an allergic reaction 

1. Indoor allergens

house dust, dust mites, storage mites etc. They are normal of a household, and they themselves do not cause itch. It’s your body’s reaction to those everyday things like indoor allergens, outdoor allergens and food that cause it.

2. Outdoor allergens – Pollens, tree pollen, grass. 

You can’t do much about indoor or outdoor allergens. You can talk to your vet about hypo-sensitisation vaccination if you’ve got a dog who’s under four years old. 

3. Food Allergens –10:43

The beauty of food is that you can do something about it. 

If you get the food right that can sometimes significantly reduce the itching symptom.  

Typical food intolerances for dogs are wheat, beef and chicken. If you’ve got an itchy dog, then definitely worth taking out the beef and chicken elements of the diet. 

Read the ingredients on the back of food packets to see what’s in the food. 

Try food trials with raw food. Feed one protein, either within a complete food or just the meat with bone and organ from that same animal for two to four weeks. Make sure treats match the protein. 

For example, try lamb, get dried lamb for treats for training.  Over two to four weeks monitor the itching. If the dog is allergic to beef or chicken for example, by not eating those meats, you will find that the itch symptoms reduce. 

4. Contact Allergens – 14:10

This is where a dog comes into contact with something and gets a rash. For example, a dog lies on the newly treated carpet and gets a rash underneath exactly where they contact the carpet or dog has a new collar and exactly where the buckle is they get an itchy spot. 

Other Irritations 

If a dog has an ear infection, toothache, anal gland irritation, they may scratch a lot and cause weeping erosion, so it’s important to check with your vet if there is a specific hotspot for scratching.  

15:47 – Infections 

When skin is damaged, it can cause infection. 

Bacteria, yeast and fungus on the skin is normal but becomes a problem when that skin is damaged.  

Usually, infections are secondary to the parasites and allergies, occurring as a result of scratching. 

Three common infections:  

Bacteria

OftenStaphylococcus bacteria caused when the skin is damaged or moistened or, somehow changed. For example a dog who swims, stays wet for hours and hours could kick off a bacterial infection within the skin, 

Yeast

Called Malassezia yeast. Often found in the ears, armpits, groin the area will look greyish and smell like old socks.   

A common misconception is that taking yeast and yeast products in the food is linked with having yeast infection on your skin. It isn’t! 

17:46 – Fungus

Is the most common presentation, the equivalent of athletes foot in humans. Mainly caused by ringworm.  

Starts as a patch that gradually grows.  

Some people establish a yeast infection by using Canesten cream, if a patch gets better after using the cream, it is likely a yeast infection. Please note Canesten is not licensed for dogs, but that’s what some people do. 

19:03 – Three element holistic approach  

Just changing the diet,  just adding a supplement, just treating fleas alone may not solve the itch. It’s essential to take a holistic approach. 

Vets will likely give you flea treatment because that’s the most common cause for itchy dogs. They may prescribe tablets or injections which will solve the itch but won’t solve the root cause, and once you stop administering to your dog, the itch will return.  

Important to get a diagnosis from your vet 

20:39 – Gland issues  

Not a classic skin issue but can cause itch. 

Signs of anal gland issue: 

  • Your dog is chasing around at their backside, a lot more scooting.
  • Intermittent smelly breath may be a sign of anal gland problems as well. They will clean their glands which causes the breath odour.

If the dog has got permanently smelly breath, then it’s more like you know they got bad teeth, or their digestion is not so great. 

Take a trip to the vet to make sure that the anal glands are not full. 

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