Healthy Dog Blog

Switching your pet to a better diet

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Oh the itchy scratchy stinky dog. There is plenty of advice in the dog parks, on the internet, and at the vet’s office, but things just get worse or better for a while then back to itchy, scratchy and stinky!

Chances are good that one of the things you’ve done was working wonderfully, but it looked like it was getting worse so you quit. I want to explain the healing crisis.

I prefer to call it the healing process, but either way it refers to the body’s reaction to healthy change. Think of a home renovation, things look worse before they look better. When you switch your pet to a healthier, species appropriate diet there may be what looks and smells like a bad reaction. This is common in older animals as they have more renovating to perform. Symptoms of a good healing process include greasy stinky coat, goopy eyes and ears, bad breath and a coated tongue. Some animals break out in pimples or get hot spots. Upset digestion is par for the course. All of these things are signals of the garbage your pet’s body is disposing of while doing the internal renovations.

Do not panic! When your pet gets these symptoms after a healthy change in diet it is actually a good sign, according to naturopathic healing. The symptoms may last two to four weeks or may not show up at all. The best thing you can do is allow plenty of rest, fresh air, and clean water. The dull coat will fall away to a glossy one; energy will improve as will your pet’s mood. Excess weight will drop and muscles tone will improve. It will be worth the journey.

There are natural remedies that work well with the body to make the transition comfortable for both of you. Calendula oil can be dabbed onto hot spots, a warm bath with a mild pet shampoo (use a 10%vinegar solution in the final rinse to soothe the skin), and most of all love each other. I know, that is the easy part.

Debbie Wood is in her second year of studies in Animal Naturopathy.

Feel free to contact her at