I have a 2-year-old German Shepherd (male) who weighs around 20 kg. Although, I keep him fully vaccinated, duly de-wormed and well groomed, still he has a problem of itching and hair falling. He is also quite active but consumes a low diet (maximum two chapattis/75-100g of Pedigree food). I want him to gain more weight. Kindly guide me.

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Itching (and hair fall) is most common sign associated with many skin affections. Ectoparasites (fleas), allergies (Atopy), and bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) account for majority of cases. Please take your pet to your vet to rule in or rule out common causes based on history, examination, skin scraping, and allergy testing etc. Dogs with severe continuous itching should be evaluated for Scabies, flea allergy, Atopy (pollens allergy) and yeast infections etc. For e.g., if fleas are present, they should be suspected as cause and aggressive flea control should be instituted to eliminate fleas from environment. Please consult your vet at the earliest to identify underlying cause and therefore, the specific treatment. I would also like to point out that your dog is not receiving complete and balanced food. While he is on Pedigree, feeding home diet like meat/chapattis makes his food unbalanced. This could result in imbalance of some essential nutrients required for your dog. Hence, I suggest to feed a balanced and complete diet like Pedigree exclusively so that your dog not only enjoys eating but also show visible signs of health. I suggest to start him on Pedigree “Active” which is energy dense and should help him to put on weight as well as improve skin and coat condition. If your dog is still not putting on weight despite adequate intake of calories (even after 2 weeks of Pedigree Active feeding), I would advise you to get him examined by your vet to rule out medical conditions that cause weight loss/maldigestion.

Question by – Tarun Kumar Goel, Delhi

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