Annie is usually itchy all the time with little red bumps all over her belly (they make me think of the chicken pox). I'm hypervigilant about their flee/tick repellent I put on them and the heartgard that they take (we live in the south with swamps and rivers that the misquotes LOVE). But Ann has always itched. We wash, we dry, we switched to a salmon as first ingredient with no wheat food. We clean her ears like crazy. We've tried the expensive grain free food (she turned her nose up at it and Paul, who never itches, chowed down.). Yoi! Recently, she woke me up in the middle of the night from the other room with both doors closed scratching (and I can sleep through almost anything). She never scratches open her skin, except for 1 spot on her ear.
When I've mentioned any of this to the vet, I'm told that they can run expensive tests, but they still may not know what all she's allergic to. I've got a few friends with dogs with allergies and I've heard the horror stories of vet bills. Annie and Paul are generally healthy dogs who get a once a year check up, updated shots, a new pack of heart worm preventative, and a clean bill of health.
About a week ago, I started doing the raw diet with both of them. I've got to admit, I'm not doing the true hard core RAW diet. In other words, I'm cooking the meat. If I had the money to buy organic clean, don't have to worry my mind about the meat or the money, I'd do raw meat for them in an instant. However, I'm a public school teacher in a small southern town. My husband is presently a college student. Money has to be factored into anything we do. So into a mini crock pot it goes.
Generally, I buy chicken because it's the cheapest thing and cooks well in the crock pot. It's also simple to buy it boneless. A pound of it can be tossed into the crockpot in the AM, and dinner is ready by the time I get home with out consuming large amounts of my time, electricity, and it's not burnt (which is more than I can say about our dinner some nights).
I usually shred the chicken some and put something else in with it like ground up egg shells, or yogurt, peanut butter helps pills go down, scrambled eggs get inhaled, and rice is always a good friend.
When Annie and Paul were on dry kibble, they usually looked at the food with mild disinterest, "oh, it's that again." Now they charge into their room while I walk down the hall balancing 2 bowls. Like a true 6 year old excited for something yummy, Annie even jumps on the bed, spins around, and hops back down.