English Pointers can have skin problems. Well, any pedigree dog can but English Pointers are prone to flare ups. Zeph and Zsa Zsa’s breeder has had issues with Zeph’s mum, Vera, and his dad, Sam. Both of them grew out of it so she tells me there’s hope. But…Zeph’s sister, Cha, has the same skin problems and she is now on a hypoallergenic diet, which is basically kibble day in and day out.

This is where the breeder and I differ. I don’t like any form of processed dog food. Zeph and little ZZ are on a raw food diet. This means they scoff uncooked stuff like raw chicken, beef, venison, rabbit, turkey, livers, hearts, fish. And they get bones: raw meaty bones and chicken necks. Initially, the breeder thought it was wheat that was causing the reaction. So I took Zeph off any form of wheat such as pasta in his food. But that wasn’t the problem.

Then we thought it could be beef. Beef is a prime target as an allergen for dogs. So I took him off beef but nope his skin kept flaring up. We now have it down to the grasses and seasonal allergies. It seems that his skin issues happen at around the same time I suffer bouts of hayfever.

So the treatment that keeps things under control is extra virgin coconut oil, calendula cream to soothe the itchiness and Calamine lotion. Zeph particularly likes the Calamine lotion as it seems very calming for his red bits.

However, I decided to search for a dog food that is hypoallergenic but also natural. I thought I would give this to Zeph for breakfast every other day just in case it was some food he was eating. I wanted food that contained no wheat, no GMO corn, no soy and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. After a lot of research, I found Black Hawk Lamb and Rice Holistic Adult, which met my requirements. It was developed in Australia and you can read the ingredients list here. I found a retailer in Christchurch and decided that the lamb and rice combination would be better than the chicken and rice (because lamb can be less of an allergen). I bought the 3kg bag and I soak the food in water before giving it to Zeph. He has it along with vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots and pumpkin (his most favoured combo).

What I like about this food is it’s GMO, antibiotic and hormone free; and has no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. It also has added emu oil. Along with the coconut oil, calendula cream and Calamine lotion, Black Hawk is helping Zeph with his skin flare ups.

If it is the grasses and seasonal allergies, then there’s not much more I can do. I give him a teaspoon of honey each day as we head towards hayfever season (we have three seasons here: September, December and March – all with different pollens). I have honey too. Honey contains traces of pollen so the idea is that you go through a process of desensitization prior to hayfever season. Doesn’t seem to work that well for me. What does work is Weleda Gencydo Hayfever Nasal Spray, along with New Era Combination H Tissue Salts; and a Vicks inhaler. Also, I take Gingko Biloba, which is great for hayfever sufferers.

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