DEAR DR. FOX: I put my dog on the recipe in your book "Not Fit For a Dog." She dives in, eats in record time and has been on it for about six weeks. She lets me know when it is time to eat.
I do have one concern: Her water consumption is down drastically. I have always kept a water bowl filled for her, and she barely touches it. Am I missing something? -- L.C., Union, Missouri
DEAR L.C.: I am glad that your dog has joined the ranks of the many who enjoy my home-prepared dog food recipe. It is a moist diet, which means that most dogs will need to drink less water than they did prior to going on this diet if they were fed dry dog food.
Dogs are better regulators of fluid intake than cats, who can get into difficulties when given only dry cat food to eat, with chronic dehydration leading to hyperconcentrated urine and possible urinary tract, bladder and kidney damage; low fluid intake also affects blood pressure and circulation.
Be sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise to ventilate her lungs and stimulate her circulation, metabolism and brain. It's best to exercise before eating and see if the dog is thirsty after a bout of outdoor activity. Allow your dog to drink, then wait 15 minutes or so before feeding.
DEAR DR. FOX: I adopted a 1 1/2-year-old male Weimaraner a year and a half ago. We've been struggling to keep our baby in comfort since then. We've tried everything, and vets' quest to cure him -- from antibiotics to cortisone -- haven't worked.
He has tiny bumps in his inner ear and under the fur of his earflap, and red eyes. In his ear, it smells horrible, and brown wax keeps coming out. I have to wash our baby's coat every two days with lavender, oat and all-natural dog shampoo to keep ahead of the smell. I also tried apple cider and water, boric acid, vinegar, Selsun Blue -- nothing worked.
Now it's getting ridiculous. I'm hoping the pictures I'm sending can give a better look at what to do or give the dog. He's been on a strictly potato diet for three weeks -- and no cheating. It was OK for two weeks with cortisone and other pills, but the bumps and smell are coming back. Our poor dog runs and hides to scratch.
Please help. I know dogs are tough and don't show signs of pain until it's too late. It's just heartbreaking to know he's in agony and I can't help him. -- G.C., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DEAR G.C.: This kind of problem could be an autoimmune syndrome triggered by vaccinations to which Weimaraners are especially susceptible. This can have a cascade effect, leading to intolerance of certain food ingredients and increased susceptibility to infections, most probably mixed bacterial and fungal, in the ears.
Try my home-prepared diet for a start -- it's free of additives and preservatives. If that does not help, use only organic potatoes as the carbohydrate in my recipe, since conventional are loaded with pesticides, and use them along with the hypoallergenic white fish diet widely prescribed by veterinarians. Try adding a few drops of anti-inflammatory fish oil or a few canned sardines to his daily diet.
Go online and look at the ear products from Zymox. Find the over-the-counter ear medications, one with cortisone, which is effective against fungal infections.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)