Best Grain Free Dog Foods

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Grain free dog foods have become a favorite for those wishing to more closely mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet… and to lessen the risk of food allergies.

Grains for Dog FoodAnd it’s easy to see why…

Compared to the typical kibble or canned food, the best grain free recipes contain more meat based protein as well as easy-to-digest animal fats.

And usually fewer carbohydrates, too.

Not only are grains like corn and wheat a frequent cause of canine allergies1 they can also be more difficult for a dog to digest.

Why Grains Can Be
More Difficult to Digest

That’s because many plant-eating animals (known as herbivores) possess one powerful weapon many carnivores (like dogs) usually lack…

Salivary amylase.

Amylase is a special enzyme most herbivores and omnivores (like us humans) produce in their saliva. It’s needed to begin the break down of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars…

Before they enter the stomach.

Now, dogs also produce amylase. But the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract… in the small intestine.

Because a carnivore’s saliva is mostly amylase-free, carbohydrates can be more difficult for a dog to digest.

What actually does make corn and other grains more digestible for a dog is the cooking process itself.

Why Kibbles Can Be Grain Free
But Never Carbohydrate Free

Compared to canned dog foods, kibbles cannot be made with just meat. That’s because the process used for making kibble requires a notable amount of carbohydrates to create a dough-like binder to hold everything together.

Since there can be no corn, wheat, barley, rice (or any other cereal grains, for that matter), novel carbohydrates must be used in their place to make grain-free kibbles possible.

And vegetables (like potatoes) appear to be the most common source of carbohydrates found in non-grain recipes.

The Bottom Line

Supporters of grain-free dog foods claim these products provide at least two important benefits

So, how can you find a quality grain-free dog food?

How We Selected the Best

If you’re looking for a quality grain free dog food, we’ve prepared two lists… one for dry dog foods and the other for wet.

To be selected, these products must meet two basic requirements.

First, they must have been rated at least four stars or five stars by the Advisor.

And lastly, the recipes (of course) must be grain free.

Best Grain Free Dog Foods

Choose a link below to access our lists of the best grain free dog foods…

Footnotes

  1. White, S., Update on food allergy in the dog and cat, World Small Animal Veterinary Association, Vancouver, 2001
  • dchassett

    Hey losul. Sometimes talking to me makes the most amount of sense. So hello me and you losul.

  • losul

    Thanks for the info me!

    My dog doesn’t have those problems, I’m just an information collector, in case I would ever need it!

    Glad it seems to have worked for you!

  • me

    LOL! At the time I was told the amount of protein in her food could be part of the issue and eventually she could develop kidney stones. I wasn’t able to change her diet due to her allergies. I didn’t think a vitamin could be problematic so to be honest I didn’t research it. I just bought vitamin C from off the shelf. Not any specific one. She’s been on it for years with no problems! I have a lab so I don’t know if it makes a difference but I’ve been in situations like you have more then once so I just thought I would throw it out there. Good luck!!!!

  • losul

    Hello me! sounds funny replying that way :) Seems to be some controversy over vitamin C for dogs. Is that ordinary ascorbic acid C, ester C, or? Has it worked for your dog?

  • me

    My dog had the same issue. My vet recommended a vit C tablet daily.

  • Jessica

    Orijen dog food. Grain free, and all free range ingredients . It’s also a Canadian food therefore regulations and standards far exceed foods made here in the U.S.A.

  • Miss Darcy

    Yes I just found a kibble called canagan which states it is free range chicken and is grain free, I haven’t tried it as yet but the reviews seem positive

  • Ch

    Theu deceiivvee and chheat amd mmistreat

  • Ch

    Mmiikke woth his white coat is a goat

  • Ch

    Shaawwna is a liar liar pants on fire

  • Ch

    Ppaatty did not make it in real life necause she is a bad wife

  • Ch

    Shhaawwna is a liar liar with pants on fire

  • Ch

    Iinnkked mmary is so mean thats not keen

  • Ch

    Ppaattyy does not know anatomy bc she did not go to the academy

  • Ch

    You pattyyvvaau you are so annoyinh you stalk and harass everyone

  • Pattyvaughn

    It can be any ingrdeient that has protein in it, including plant protein, so yes the tomato pomace can cause the issues. My dog reacts to tomato pomace.

  • Susan

    My dogs were eating the GF lamb meal and doing good when one came down with doggy dandruff. In trying to fix that I transitioned the seafood blend in and both my dogs didn’t react well. Doggy dandruff got worse and the other dog started getting that sticky smell. Could be the tomato pomace causing the problem!!!

  • Tammy ellway

    I discovered our dog not only lacks Salivary amylase she actually has ZERO enzymes in her saliva. Long hours on this forum searching for a dog food lead to a comment on this fact. Another comment lead me to the VitaHound supplement. Adding the enzyme blend to our dog’s diet fixed her skin condition and I have had success with a few different foods highly recommended by DFA comments. This site has been a blessing, the people here should be proud of the help others find in the articles and comments.

  • shannoncookie

    Hi!! Curious is anyone aware of dog food that uses free range animals or some free range / cage free animals? Im vegetarian but believe my pup should have meat but I would prefer the meat is slaughtered humanely and would prefer the animal source to be more naturally free range raised? Any suggestions?

  • crazy about dogs

    #1 thing to do is always have your pets tested for food allergies. simple blood test just like for humans.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, losul, I was implying to increase moisture intake, but not sure what is currently being fed! Thank you for the additional info,

  • losul

    In addition to adequate moisture intake for urinary tract health as I think Crazy4cats implies, I think also PH can be a contributing factor, as generally acidic conditions are normal, desired and also are the least amenable to most bacteria?

    I ran across something of this sort the other night, no quotes, I didn’t write down the reference as I should have, just took some notes as below. I can maybe find again the reference if desired.

    .[Sulfur containing amino acids (those promoting acid conditions) are highest in animal proteins and lowest in plant proteins. Plant proteins sources are also high in salts and minerals such as potassium and magnesium which promote alkaline rather than acid conditions.]

    So I would think raw meat based diet could indeed be beneficial for urinary tract health, followed by lightly cooked, and then other quality “wet” foods.

    What are the cons you are hearing?

  • Crazy4cats

    What are you feeding your dog now? If you are feeding kibble, are you adding water or any type of topper?

  • Bonnie B

    My dog is having urinary infections and we can’t find the source. I am researching dog food. Some say raw meat is the way to go but I’m getting conflicting reports. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • LabsRawesome

    Your baby is adorable!! But where’s the dog?? Lol. Iams? Definitely NO. I would go with grain free. It would be helpful to know what stores are in your area. Petco? Petsmart? Tractor Supply? Independently owned Pet/ Feed stores usually have the best foods. Or if you want to keep it simple, Walmart carries Rachael Ray Zero Grain. http://nutrish.rachaelray.com/dog/dry-food/zero-grain-turkey-and-potato

  • TIKI

    Nice pictur. I would not give iams. It is a low quality food. Anything from the regular grocery store is usally not of very good quality exc. Maybe freshpet. It is possible iams made your dog sick or it could be allergy/intollerance. You could also go grain free. I would be looking at companies sold at a pet store such as Fromm, Merrick, Halo, Petcurian etc.

  • InkedMarie

    He’s adorable!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Food allergies are individual to the dog. It could be chicken, it could be grain, or it could be something else all together. All you can do is pay attention to ingredient lists and try something different and see how she does. Adorable picture, BTW!!

  • bonnie

    Lol not sure how this pic got on with my comment! Btw its my cute grandson :)

  • bonnie

    My dog just developed a horrible case of bacterial infection from hot spots all over her, vet said it could be from stress or allergy (maybe to food) we were gone 3 weeks when this happened (could be from leaving her home with our 18 yr old son) but I might also change her food, would this grain free work? Or do I keep her on iams? Thx

  • Pattyvaughn

    You should definitely not continue to feed a food that made him worse. It does sound like a food intolerance. You need to get the ingredient lists of every food you have fed him and do comparisons to try to figure out what ingredients are causing issues for him, so you can completely avoid them in the future. You may want to try Natural Balance LID formulas to try and find a food that he does all right on. I don’t like these foods for long term feeding, but they sure can help you to figure out what he is reacting to and what he can handle.

  • Lisalou412

    I have a chocolate lab and he has had what we thought were allergies, but now not too sure. He has been on several medications that seem to help for a while. We recently changed his food about 3 to 4 months ago to NutriSource the seafood blend, and he has gotten worse. He now has no hair on his legs and losing it on his back and ears with spots around his eyes. I stopped all the medicine and using only this food and also treats that are grain and gluten free. He had not lost his hair until we started this food, he would always scratch, lick and bite but had not lost his hair. Now I’m not sure what I should do. This food is expensive but I’m willing to keep feeding him it if it will help. Anyone have any ideas?

  • CeeEllEff

    Dogs should have firm poops which naturally squeeze their anal glands out when they go. If they have loose poops, the glands get full and cause the fishy smell. Our dog sometimes gets diarrhea caused by finding something delicious outside (cat poop, his fave) so when this happens, we give him a big spoonful of canned pumpkin on top of his food and it hardens his poop up and gets rid if the fishy tushy. Make sure it’s plain old pumpkin and not seasoned like pumpkin pie mix or anything. Good luck!

  • CeeEllEff

    Hi there! Our dog is on Natural Balance LID sweet potato & venison and while it resolved his GI issues (no more farting! Woo!) , he still was getting yeast (all of the symptoms you described). We put him on a fish oil supplement as well as a pre/probiotic which is a powder that you add to his food and he hasn’t had an ear infection in a year! He didn’t even get one in the summer which he usually does from all of the swimming. Now we only deal with outdoor allergies that I can’t do too much about since he loves to play outside; so he gets a Kenalog injection once every 3 months which keeps his hives away. Our vet also recommended once per week baths with a moisturizing shampoo & conditioner to keep his fur free of dust/pollen/etc. He’s only 2 and a half and I tell ya, that first year and a half of his life was miserable, the poor thing. We dealt with constant hives, hot spots, diarrhea, you name it! But the past year has been wonderful since we’ve had him on the regimen he’s on now. Also, make sure his food doesn’t contain Brewer’s Yeast. Dogs with yeast issues don’t need extra yeast. Good luck!

  • Mahoodie

    that lamb formula has chicken in it.. we had the same problem using it plus the flaxseed could be part of the issue. I eliminated chicken and flaxseed and all the issues have disappeared. We rotate with Acana Pacifica and NB.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sweet potatoes not as bad as regular potatoes, but neither of them mentioned having a yeast problem and if your dog doesn’t have issues with yeast, you don’t have to worry about it. I have one that I have to keep on a very low starch diet and 2 that have no problems with it.

  • Cinci

    Sweet potatoes and potatoes promote yeast.

  • I_Fortuna

    Is the food you are feeding your dog, grain free? Grains can cause this type of allergy which it sounds like. Although I am not a vet, this might be considered. If you can’t fix your own dog food at home, maybe you might check feed supply stores. They often carry fresh frozen dog foods in their freezer case. This may be an option. If changing your dog’s food, mix it with the old food first 25% new and 75% old, then increase to a 50/50 ratio and so on until your pet is eating 100% of the new food. Don’t change the food often once you find one that works stick with it. Changes in food can cause gastric upset. I recommend a grain free food, you can check the list of approved foods on this site. We feed our dog Taste of the Wild and he does well on this. I hope this helps. : )

  • InkedMarie

    My last one came from Mercola or Swanson, unsure which. I didn’t realize they sold it!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sorry, I got back too late. Virgin is supposed to be unrefined. The refining process removes some of the good stuff and kills some of the good stuff. It’s the difference between processed and unprocessed, I guess, for your health. Refined is better than nothing, and will still help improve a dry coat.

  • Crazy4cats

    I think I got mine at Winco for about the same. Looks like I might have to put out a few more bucks if I want the real deal. Shoot, this website is costing me a fortune! :)

  • Betsy Greer

    You’ll be amazed when you buy the right kind! The refined has virtually no aroma, smell or taste compared to the unrefined. I should’ve known that I couldn’t buy the good stuff at Wal-Mart for $6.00!

  • Crazy4cats

    Too late, I alread did. LOL! Thank you, though. I’ve used it on bread and veges and it tastes good. Actually there is not a lot of taste to it. I’ll buy the right kind next time.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Crazy4cats,

    I’m not Patty, but YES, it matters! Don’t make the same mistake I did. You want organic, unrefined coconut oil.

    Here’s a great recent article from the Whole Dog Journal about alternative supplements, starting on page 3 details coconut oil.

    http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/16_11/features/alternative-treatments-updated_20861-1.html?pg=3

  • Crazy4cats

    Patty, Does it matter if it is refined or not?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Give her 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of virgin organic coconut oil daily. It’s antifungal and really helps an itchy coat.

  • Paula Brenner McCafferty

    I adopted a Lhasa a couple of months ago and started looking up yeast problems. A lot of what she is doing can be attributed to yeast. I have switched her to the Grain Free NutriSource lamb about a week ago. I am also giving her yogurt as a probiotic and I’m giving her the “No Stains Fur Me” It helps with tear staining and helps get rid of the Yeast in the system. She was found as a stray along with her daughter. She weighed 8 lbs. and was more dead then alive. Months later when I adopted her she weighed 14 lbs. and had a UTI. Now she is up to 19 lbs. She is about 4 or 5 years old. It’s kind of bad not having any kind of history on her.
    She itched like crazy but after a grooming, a couple of baths and good food that has diminished quite a bit. Her skin is nice, not dry but a very healthy pink except for belly where it is a little black. We noticed she was digging at her ears but has since quit since being on a better food. Any ideas on what I can do to make her life better and yeast free?

  • Dee

    I agree with what your doing…we had the exact same problems with our animals and I’m going to worm them as well since it resides around the butt. We are suspecting pinworms or a mite since we can’t see anything. A one-time lime sulfur dip is supposed to help. And organic apple cider vinegar spray on fur. Giving extra oils on food and brewers yeast/garlic supplements for fleas.

  • DLittle

    Try adding either olive oil or fish oil supplements and acidophilus/probiotic or plain yogurt to the food…all at drug store. I swear by the brewers yeast/garlic supplements for flea prevention (Concord Pets/GNC/PetSmart). Sounds like it could be yeast related…try using organic apple cider vinegar on skin and ears. Try a dandruff shampoo with salicylic acid and tar in it. Good luck!

  • Pattyvaughn

    If you only want to use it as a topper for your kibble, you don’t have to worry about balancing it if you make sure you keep it to less than 20% of your dog’s diet.

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    Okay, thanks for the advice. I will make sure I’ve done my research before giving this a try.

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    That’s great! Okay something to think about, thank you!

  • Shawna

    Hi Alisha,

    The above diet looks really yummy but it is not well balanced at all.. Example — there is a lot of phosphorus in meat and rice that needs to be balanced with calcium. Although cottage or plain cheeses are sources of calcium, there is not enough calcium in them to adequately balance the phosphorus.

    The beans and rice also have anti-nutrients that bind with minerals like calcium, zinc and magnesium. Feeding these foods without increasing the mineral content of the diet can lead to a deficiency. In time a deficiency of magnesium, as just one example, can cause seizures.

  • nafartiti1

    No pre cooking necessary. If you are using raw beans, to soak them overnight, drain off the water, and then put in crock pot. Oh and I forgot to put 4- 6 cups of water in the recipe.

    You can freeze it in small containers if you make extra batches.

    Making my dogs food is not as easy as opening a bag of dog food. If I found a bag of food that he could tolerate ( no hot spots, barfing, or avoiding the food bowl) , I would be eager to purchase it!

    I guess I should consider myself lucky. In the past 9 years, He has never had any major health issues and his coat is soft and shiny and eyes are clear.

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    I guess I was always concerned about the time it takes to do home-cooked meals. I never considered using a crock pot though. I am also not much of a cook, do I have to pre-cook the rice or the meat?

  • nafartiti1

    Have you tried making your own dog food? That is what we had to do to avoid all the skin and GI problems. One recipe we use is:
    1 lb meat
    1 cup brown rice
    1.5 cups pinto, kidney, or black beans (soaked over night)
    1 yam or sweet potato cubed

    *rinse and soak beans over night.

    *The next day throw everything in a crock pot for 8-10 hrs.

    * done

    we feed our cocker spaniel 1Cup 2x’s per day. Not sure how big your dog is.

    Some people like to put cottage cheese or plain cheese on top for pet to get calcium. Or you can do a doggy vitamin.

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    Thank you!! That makes a lot of sense, I will certainly get started on this.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Could very well be peas, as you say…. you could try Nature’s Logic Lamb.. that’s the 1st one that comes to mind that doesn’t have peas, at any rate. NL has other varieties that would work as well. In fact, because she’s had lamb for a few kibbles now (and especially since she’s had it for the last 7 months at least), I would suggest either getting a small bag of Lamb to see if it works, and then quickly following that up with a medium or big bag of another NL formula …or just try one of the non-Lamb formulae from the get go. Just be sure to go slowly with the transition as it sounds like any of the Nature’s Logic might be a step up in protein from what she’s used to.

    Another thing you can try with the Natural Balance LID Rabbit or the Natural Balance Allergy with lamb is to add a canned topper to the kibble, like tripe. Most dogs LOVE tripe, so it might be a way to get her eating some of the kibbles she “doesn’t like” on their own. Adding a canned topper will boost the protein level as well.

    Hope that helps!

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    After searching around on this site, I am reading that a lot of dogs have problems with peas and legumes. Peas are the second ingredient in this food. Pea starch is the third, and pea flour is the fifth. Is this something I should try to eliminate first?

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    Her food intolerances started when she was very young on the Blue Buffalo puppy chicken formula (she has always eaten dry food). We later switched her to the grain free adult formula with chicken. Her digestive issues were finally solved when I switched her to Natural Balance’s Limited Ingredient Diet with Rabbit and potatoes. However, she hated the rabbit and would not eat. She was losing a lot of weight, so next we tried Natural Balance Allergy food with lamb and brown rice. This was better, but she still did not like it. I figured we had solved her digestive problem and knew that she does well with lamb, so I took her off of the limited ingredient diet and now she is on NutriSource grain free lamb meal formula. Since we started her on this food about 7 months ago, she has been having all of these skin problems that I mentioned.

  • Storm’s Mom

    What are some of the other brands/formulas you’ve tried? This can help us figure out what the common ingredients are, which may lead to what the problem ingredient(s) is(are).

  • Alisha Karatsoupa

    It has been so tough figuring out my Samoyed’s problem! At about 5 months she had a severe food intolerance. Severe vomiting and diarrhea. I found it to be problems with chicken and turkey products. So we switched her to a couple different foods and found that she does well on lamb and likes to eat it too. She is on Grain Free NutriSource, the lamb meal formula. However, she is still having allergies that are manifesting on her skin. She is always chewing on her feet, scratching her ears, and gets very annoyed and agitated sometimes. She has been getting ear infections as well, and has dry, flaky, and itchy skin. We have been to the vet and she does not have fleas or anything, so I am sure it is a food allergy. Any suggestions? I don’t know where to start.

  • Must Love Dogs

    I am also having the same issues as the others with Origen and am very mad, it made me think my dog at 11 was getting ill, the gas, bathroom trips, and bad breath she never has. I WILL NOT be buying their food anymore, a company that changes formulations with no notice, are we supposed to read the ingredient list every month? I will be getting a food that has what I want for my dog in it and I noticed all the tons of things it took out. Origen just lost me!!!!!!

  • tryingtohelp

    Sweet potatoe will harden his stools and he can’t get sick from having too much.

  • Skeeta

    I’m switching my French Bulldog to California Natural Grain Free Kangaroo & Red Lentils, I don’t see any of the ingredients you listed as allergic on the ingredients listed on web site. I’ve heard and read how incredible this food is for sensitive allergic pups. I cant wait to get it in Good Luck!!

  • Ann Walsh

    I buy Earth’s Pride organic grain free dog food for my boxer. She’d does real well with it and the ingredients seem ok to me, but I as wondering if you were ever planning on reviewing this brand.

  • Betsy Greer

    Horizon Legacy works great for my legume sensitive dog. Hope it does for yours also.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Horizon Legacy is a good food. You might want to find a few foods you can rotate between. Feeding variety supports a wider range of different strains of probiotics in the gut and gives a huge boost to the immune system.

  • Christine Schmid

    @ Patty no I didn’t tell them that I am feeding raw she is the one that recommended the origin and I am going to take a look at horizon legacy that’s what I feed my shepherd thanks everyone

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Christine,

    Orijen is a great food. It’s recently been reformulated and now contains red lentils and chickpeas. My dogs did great on Orijen previously, but can no longer tolerate it due to the legumes ~ one strains to poop and the other gets terrible gas ~ even with them as far down the ingredient list as they are. Your dog might be sensitive to legumes in foods as well. Maybe look for something that has peas or a pseudo-grain like millet as a binder instead of legumes; assuming you’re choosing to feed primarily a kibble based diet.

  • Pattyvaughn

    There is no such thing as a starch free kibble. Kibble is a bakery product and has to have starch to bind it together. You can get Pure Balance 95% meat canned food at Walmart. I hope you didn’t tell the breeder that you would continue to feed raw.

  • Christine Schmid

    I got my first Samoyed puppy he is 11.5 weeks old the breeder fed him raw food but we can’t afford to feed both out dogs raw and besides its just gross and messy, I put him on origin chicken but his pools have been runny he has bad gas and his breath stinks ! I need to find him a starch free diet as in no potatoe no corn no oats etc i need some help !

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    The Honest Kitchen Thrive, Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance line, Nutrisource grain free Heartland Select, PureVita grain free, Smack Salmon, Zignature, Nutrisca, Nature’s Variety Instinct LID, Wysong Uncanny Pheasant and Uncanny Seafood.

  • InkedMarie

    I suggest you go to the forums here on DFA (click forums in the red bar above), go to Dog Food Ingredients, there is a stickie there with grain and white potato free foods. From that list, you can look online at the various foods and find a few to meet your need.

  • DZ

    My Boston has been determined allergic to: potatoes, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rice, milk, eggs, liver, pinto beans, beets — need a new food recommendation, please! ! !

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Agree with Patty. Fishy smell = anal glands usually. I’m sure there’s always an exception somewhere. It’s a fairly frequent topic of discussion in my other forum!

  • Pattyvaughn

    That sounds like an anal gland issue. Have your vet check out his anal glands. Are his stools firm?

  • HEATHER

    I have 22month old shar pei he keeps doing wet farts that smell really fishy.He eats eden medium kibble and chappie tin dog food I mix them togeather half in morn half afternoon.Can any one help me with this to stop it happening.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Try probiotics and digestive enzymes. Gas stinks because of the type of bacteria that is digesting protein in the diet, because the dog doesn’t have what it needs to do the job right. Probiotics and digestive enzymes replace what the dog needs to digest its food efficiently.

  • Bella’s mom

    I have a 7 month old English Mastiff. I have found that by putting a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix) my Bella finally after all these months has regular stools. ALL mastiffs pass gas (and snore lol) – the gas passing happens several times a day and can clear a room in seconds! The pumpkin has helped a little bit with that too.

  • Pattyvaughn

    He may need more fiber in his diet or some other adjustment, but shih tzus have done just fine on high protein grain free diets.

  • GSDsForever

    I have never heard of this, coming from grain free or high protein. Did a vet tell you this?

    I have a large breed dog . . . and no experience with Shih Tzu’s . . . so will leave this to those with tiny dogs to address. As far as I know . . . high protein and grain free (low carb as well) does not cause that. An anal fissure/tear can, from passing a large hard stool with some straining.

  • Sharon Murphy

    we adopted a shih tzu and noticed a small amount of blood dripping at the rectum after a bowel movement. We were told it could be his food because shih tzu cannot handle grain free high protein food. Is this correct

  • Pattyvaughn

    If he is dragging his tail across the floor, his anal glands may be impacted. If he starts seeming itchy in more places, I would suspect a food intolerance. If you think his skin is dry, you could add a little fish oil or coconut oil to his food.

  • william

    my dog is poodle yorkie mix he been biting hids butt lately he does have dry skin i throught it was fleas or ticks didn’t find any just had a cut & bath with oatmeal. Even put olive oil is his skin What else should i do

  • Pattyvaughn

    The Honest Kitchen? Do you know what she is allergic to? Do you add digestive enzymes to her food?

  • CorgiMine

    My little Corgi has food allergies and also pancreatic enzyme deficiency so she has to be on a food with limited ingredients. I’m having a heck of a time finding something that agrees with her. any ideas?

  • disqus_XUDmtM046t

    Great way to kill your dog! Chocolate is toxic, as is raisins and other human food. You need to google “food that is toxic to pets” and stop doing harming your dog.

    And who gives their dog a reward for eating their food? That doesn’t even make any sense. Dogs should be rewarded in moderation for good behavior and then only with an appropriate, non-life threatening treat.

  • Terri Thomas

    You all give me hope! We have a 7 yr. old Chihuahua, Dayz, who has been suffering from diarrhea, itching, rash and paw gnawing since she was 2 yrs. old. Her 1st vet told us that she was unable to break down the protein in the dog food. We started her on the Hypoallergenic Hydorlyzed Protein foods from Royal Canine. I unfortunately have not kept the labels but will be getting the information from the bags a.s.a.p. to compare the ingredients. It’s been a long tough road because we started her on a new food and she seems to respond but, then the works all start up again. Through it all she has never stopped having the itching, paw gnawing and rash. She has been on Atopica, which is supposed to act like a steroid without the bad side affects. Not sure if that is helping anymore either. She is on the last one of the Hydorlyzed foods Royal Canine has. At first, she responded wonderfully. Normal poop, less itching, less rash and she had energy again. Just a couple of weeks ago she started having the diarrhea again and her rash has gone out of control. Since moving, we have been working with a new vet and I plan to share the information from your comments with here. Hopefully we will be able to find some solutions!

  • Bean

    Trololol

  • jposto

    are you sure it’s grains? My dog turned out to be sensitive to chicken…grains giver her the room clearing gas and itchy skin and thin coat but chicken gives her loose stools or the runs. She’s on grain free poultry free and has no issues.

  • nafartiti1

    I have a Cocker Spaniel with floppy ears. Floppy ears are prone to ear infections, but this recipe works WONDERS!! http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/EarCleanerRecipe.txt

  • nick

    Hi Patty I have a Standard American Bulldog the food that I found that works best for my dog was Fromm. Just my suggistion i would for sure give it a look.

  • Michele

    The theobromine found in chocolate is actually toxic to your dog and could potentially kill him. No amount of chocolate is ok for him to eat. Please read:

    http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-chocolate-get-the-facts

  • Kelly Luke

    Yes. I bought it at Walmart. I adopted a last chance rescue. He is a cute little shet-szu. I took him to the vet because he had red, drippy itchie eyes. She recommended grain free dog food. I went to Walmart to buy other dog things and they have Rachel’s grain free food. I bought it. He lives it. I also found dog grain free streets. Not at Walmart though. At a dog specialty store. Fish and sweet potato treats. … Yummm he lives them.. Oh by the way… his eyes cleared up within a week. With the help of some cortisone creme…

  • JenD

    My 4 yr old black lab has had ear SLUDGE for years. Poor girl. We’ve had her on Evo for years, up until the two recent recalls. I switched her to Ideal Balance (I’m sure I just made the author of this website cringe) grain free and gluten free. She is about to finish up her second bag. Her ears are CLEAR and I haven’t chased her down to torture her with ear cleaning solutions in weeks. Her BMs are more solid and I’ve not noticed any increase in ‘presents’ in the yard. We also switched her to gluten free treats. We took her for her swim yesterday and I was sensitive to drying her ears and all I retrieved was water. In the past I would have found this brown/black sewer sludge. I’m convinced that she is sensitive to rice, which may not contain gluten but is in fact a grain, and other grains.

  • sue66b

    Have you been to the vets. a good vet will clear this all up, my English Staffy came to me with no hair around his neck, above the tail, lumps looked like hives or a reation to grass he was a mess. He also gets swollen red front paws.. The vet put him on Royal Canin “Hypoallergenic” & cream called Apex Antibiotic Lotion this helps his paws within 1 hour his paws all clear up.. I also had to bath him every 5 days with Malaseb shampoo this also cleared all his skin now as soon as he starts to smell & starts rubbing on the rug he has a bath with Malaseb shampoo you can buy from pet stores…

  • sue66b

    As long as you boil the chicken breast cut them up smaller & boil till no more pink, takes about 10mins in already boiling water. dont over boil the breast will be like leather…

  • sue66b

    Yes my boy is on Protexin its a probiotic for all animals from the vets 1 teaspoon mix in about 10mls water he loves it & drinks it out of the bowl…

  • Sue66b

    My boy has the same farting & sloppy poos & sensitive skin the vets put him on Royal Canin ‘Hypoallergenic’ & we have beautiful firm poos no more farting & clearing the room & his skin has cleared up & he’s stop his scratching…I couldn’t believe that a food could do all this.. I dont give him any treats nothing for a treat I just give a couple of his kibble. I do give him toast no margerine with honey spread very finely for lunch or sometimes boil chicken breast shreaded & put on plain bread… Cut down on any fats do the same routine with his food same time same food…

  • Judy

    Pure Vita is good. I have 4 dogs and they all thrive on it.

  • puppylover13

    Excellent, thank you for your advice!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Adding digestive enzymes help. Some dogs just don’t make enough enzymes and in the wild their prey would provide some. Probiotics would be beneficial too.

  • puppylover13

    My 11 month old Mastiff/Lab mix puppy (1 year on August 10th) has frequent, potent gas. I mean room-clearing, gag-inducing gas, and always has. He can’t handle higher-protein content foods (I tried Acana and he had awful diarrhea), so I’ve got him on Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy dry, and he still has gas and soft stool.
    Has anyone had a dog with similar gastro issues, and has grain-free food helped with it? I plan to start transitioning him onto adult food soon, and if there is a more suitable option than Holistic Select Giant Breed Adult, then I am all for it! Money is no object; my puppy’s health and happiness is most important.

  • Lhasa Mom

    Please check the http://www.merrickpetcare.com. It is a privately owned company. That is who purchased Castor & Pollux. They have wonderful products. They are not owned by P&G. My 2 year old Lhasa had allergies until I began using Merrick grain free dry food. She no longer has red tear marks & has a beautiful coat.

  • alphadogfood.com

    Good article. Well written.

  • Pattyvaughn

    If it will help, it shouldn’t take long for you to start noticing improvements. What have you got to lose?

  • Guest

    My 5 yrs yellow lab has been having ear infection since she was 1 yr old. Does anyone think if the Grain free dog food will help?

  • Chichi

    Dog with pancreatitis and allergies to grain cannot find low fat grain free. Ian considering nutri source weight management. Chicken and rice. Does this sound ok. Any suggestions

  • disqus_vYhIupTwjw

    You might as well have said “I sometimes give my dog crack as a reward, he loves it!” Chocolate contains theobromine, a psychoactive substance MUCH more powerful in our pets than in people.

  • John

    I feed my dog chocolate sometimes as a reward for eating his real food, he loves it.

  • MagdaM

    Did you try PureVita ? I switched my boxer puppy to it and he has never been happier, no itching, less drooling, better teeth, amazing digestion. One happy camper

  • Juno Mom

    I too have a 1 year old boxer and he respond really well to Paramount Grain Free dog food, sold at Walmart. However we have had him on different brand of Grain free and he loves and responds well to all of them. Grain Free all the way!!

  • Lis

    My boys are on vet’s choice health extension grain free. they love it.

  • Jennifer

    Petsmart’s brand Authority has a grain free that received 4 stars. It’s about 19.00 for a 15lbs bag. I switched my bulldog to that and it made a huge difference. Her ears and skin cleared up after about a month.

  • Serena

    I was trying to find a budget friendly 4 or 5 star grain free food that I can buy at the pet store. I came across avoderm and feel it goes unnoticed. They have never had a recall until recently. I have a 9 month doberman and I’m trying to stay around $55 for 30 pounds. Had anyone used this and if not suggestions are appreciated. She is sensitive to chicken.

  • Storm’s Mom

    You can order online, too (in addition to using the “Find a Store” tab on their website):

    http://www.victorpet.com/#!sport-dog-food-store/ci6h

  • KarenC

    Not to my knowledge. But, use the ‘find a store’ tab on Victor’s website www . victordogfood . com to find a location close by. Some of the more experienced ladies on this site might have other suggestions as well that you can order on line or find at stores close by (some sites have no shipping, etc).

  • Noel

    Thanks for the suggestion. I am having a hard time finding where to buy it. Do the big chain pet stores carry it?

  • Germansheppups

    Ainsworth makes them. Same manufacturer as the 4health grain free.

  • KarenC

    I like Victor Grain Free for my itchy dog. Worked like a charm and wasn’t a budget buster either. You feed less of it and I ended up breaking even.

  • Noel

    I have a 1 year old boxer that is miserable. She itches so bad, that she bleeds…especially around her mouth and feet. We have tried a ton of different dog foods (30 lbs at a time) and nothing has helped. Does anyone know of a really good..not too pricey…grain free food for us to try? Or maybe someone has a good homemade food recipe they could share? Thanks!

  • annette

    Has anyone heard of anything bad about Rachel Rays NO Grain Nutrish dog food.

  • InkedMarie

    I’ve never used their feeds but I recommend it and have to keep up!

  • AbbyML

    They are just coming out with an LID line that is supposed to steal the Natural Balance customers is what I’m hearing from my Fromm sales rep.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I’m not sure from what I read if they are changing current formulas and lowering the meat content or if they are coming out with a new line that has lower meat content, so if you buy Fromm’s read the label before you buy.

    I’ve only ever bought their canned food.

  • InkedMarie

    What is Fromm changing?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Fromm has been a pretty good food in the past, but they are changing some things around and not for the better. I would look for NutriSource grain free, or if you have a Tractor Supply Co, 4Health grain free. Both are made by companies that so far have shown to be trustworthy.

  • JudyandSam Simpson Norris

    Hi All,
    I have a 4.5 yr. old Blue Merle Cocker that has been on Grain Free for quite some time now. have fed her Castor & Pollux and Natures LID Legume and Duck Meal, at least until I read here that they sold out. She was diagnosed with Auto Immume Hemolytic Amenia on April 08 and had to have a transfusion on April 09 and spent a week in the Animal ER- here in B’ham, Al. We go to our regular vet now every 2wks for PCV count, Tues. it was 50/55- and has been holding steady. Since I am going to change foods, I was thinking about Fromm. What’s your opinion. Also I just happen to retire on Fri, April 05, how lucky was that, so I am home with her now and I monitor her closely. Also, she is on the following meds: Cylcosporin, 1 pill, 2x daily
    Plavix, 1/2- pill daily
    Prednisone, 1/2- pill daily, 5mg
    Pepcid 1/4- pill daily.
    The prednisone has put on 6lbs. now, so we walk each morning and night and we limit the food to 3/4-morning and 1/4-night.

  • http://twitter.com/Rhettjd Rhett J Dudley

    Make your own its expensive but its better then the crap they sell us these days.

  • Theresa G

    my dogs have been on canidae for 7 years now first 7 were great they loved it coat is great weight is great teeth are awesome. its decently prices…but after 7 years theyre tired of the flavor… but its a great food, so much better then hills

  • Tracy

    it is not good to give a dog these shuts all the time, usually they can harm the kidneys. I would feed the dog Horizon Pulsar, excellent for allergies. Nutro is not the best food out there, Grain free is good, but potato is also a problem regarding allergies and yeast infection. I would try Horizon Pulsar Salmon first, and then switch to the Chicken. Often the dogs have chicken allergies too, but if you try the Salmon first, you see if the food is working or not. Also I would rotate the foods, as allergies happen more often if they always get the same food. Any Fromm formula is great too. Alot of dogs do well on them even with allergies. The larger kibbles have all grain in them, but you could try to feed it once in a while in your rotation.

  • Strey

    Good luck!

  • Patty

    Thanks! It’s amazing how many options there are, but it is so overwhelming!

  • Strey
  • Strey

    Ive spent days and days researching dog foods that were..not only good quality, but affordable and that havent had any recalls which means probly better manufacturers. I dont know how they would be for your dog with allergies but you could start by researching these dog foods and see how you like them :) Havent tried any of these yet but ive heard good things. I Will eventually try them.

    Dr. Tims All life stages is $42 at chewy.com for a 30lbs
    Nutrisource Grain free is $43 at petbest.com for 30lbs
    Horizons Pulsar Grain Free is $45 at petflow.com for 25lbs
    Earthbornn Primitive Grain Free is $48 at Chewy.com

    These are all 4-5 star dog foods…you could see if they have them at any stores near you also.

  • Patty

    Hi everyone!
    Background: I have a 4 year old, 105 lb, American Bulldog. He is mostly white, therefore he has pretty bad allergies- including corn. I give him shots weekly (they flare up this time of year) and feed him Nutro, Grain-free, Lamb and Potato formula.
    Problem: I can only find this food at PetSmart and they are usually out of stock when I need it- which is often! I am strongly considering changing his food- a STRESSFUL task for me!! In doing research, I have found myself more concerned and disgusted with the manufacturing process than informed on which food is best for my baby!!

    Can anyone help lead me in the right direction or have any suggestions?!

    Thanks!!!

  • Shawna

    We’re all a bit late in response here… I hope you get these..

    German Shepherds have a known genetic predisposition to IgA deficiency (immunoglobulin A – part of the immune system). The Merck Vet Manual says this about German Shepherds.

    “IgA deficiencies have been described in Beagles, German Shepherds, and Chinese Shar-Peis…. Some German Shepherds seem to have lower IgA levels than other breeds and a higher incidence of intestinal infections… Like the German Shepherds, affected Shar-Peis have more problems than expected with allergies.”

    Taking probiotics (having a healthy gut flora) helps stimulate the production of IgA. Also foods that a dog, or person, is intolerant of will use up the IgA that the body does make. When the body can’t keep up with the demand for IgA (and mucin) symptoms will appear. They can appear days, weeks, months or even longer after the intolerant food is eaten. IBD is a symptom of food intolerance and colitis is a form of IBD. My Pomeranian gets colitis every time she is exposed to chicken for more than a few days.

    Evaluate the food your GSD is currently on and look for a food with different protein and carb sources. Here’s a list of foods that are common triggers — all grains, all legumes (including soy, green beans and peas), eggs, chicken, potato and dairy. These are the most common but certainly not the only foods to cause issues.

    Some medications, like NSAIDs, can cause colitis too. And, I believe intestinal worms can as well.

  • JennaP

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response HF Dry Dog Food.
    I have a collie with the same problem. Finally put him on prescription food and it worked wonders! No more explosive bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Seaweed also has micronutrients that otherwise don’t ever end up put in dog food.

  • Cashew mom

    Thanks a lot for the suggestion. The seaweed is interesting. I can use that to replace the little salt I’m adding to his meat (very little, don’t worry). I’m thankful that my current dog is eating veggies. My previous dogs ate nothing but their meat soup and rice!

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Rice isn’t low calorie so it’s not going to help with weightloss. If, however, you do want to include rice in your dog’s homemade food I’d suggest using germinated brown rice (they sell it in health food stores and on Amazon). For weight loss I’d replace 20% of the dog’s food with low calorie/low glycemic vegetables that have been cooked and pureed.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Rice is not a good filler because of the calories. It can also cause insulin spikes that some nutrionists say leads to the body storing more fat. Try a high fiber veggie instead. Dark green veggie steamed and pureed add antioxidants to the diet, I even add in berries and some king of seaweed. I make a big batch and then freeze it in icecube trays or candy molds so I have the right portion ready to go. Add it slowly to find the right amount for your dog.

  • Cashew mom

    Thanks for the info. I’m using rice as to control my dog weight when he has a big appettize – which means: he has enough meat for his energy need, but rice(cooked as for human) is doing as a filler. I practically don’t give him any kiddble at all. Homecook food strictly as he’s allergy to most of the food available in my country.
    Can you suggest something that can do the same as plain cooked rice(steamed rice as you may see in some Asian restaurant)?

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Cashew Mom –

    Rice does seem to be the least problematic grain in terms of causing food intolerances and food allergies in dogs. Oats are often cross contaminated with gluten which many dogs (and people) have sensitivities to. Grains are not a species-appropriate food for dogs and grains can result in long term health issues for many animals (including humans) unless properly prepared (soaked, sprouted).

    Brown rice contains high levels of phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that inhibits the body’s ability to absorb zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. In order to eliminate the phytic acid, brown rice should be milled to remove part of the bran (the most harmful portion of the grain) and soaked in an acidic solution for 8 hours and/or germinated prior to cooking and consuming.

    White rice doesn’t have the level of anti-nutrients that are present in brown rice (because it does not contain the bran and outer hull), but it offers little in the way of nutritional value and is basically empty calories.

    It also should be mention that dogs technically have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates. As long as their diet is comprised of adequate amounts of protein and fat, they can subside without carbohydrates.

    Taking into consideration these facts – that grains were not part of the canine’s natural diet, that dogs have no requirement for carbohydrates and that grains (unless properly prepared and most dog foods don’t utilize properly prepared grains) contain high levels of anti-nutrients – I would conclude that grains are not a healthful addition to a dog’s diet. Ideally, a dog’s diet should be high in animal-based protein, moderate in animal-based fat, low in carbohydrates and free of grains and other starches (i.e. tapioca, potato, legumes).

  • Cashew mom

    Hi,
    May I ask why rice should be excluded? Traditionally in Asia we give dog meat + rice. And apparently rice doesn’t cause any problem in allergy like other grain (wheat and such you use in the West)
    Also, what about oatmeal?

  • InkedMarie

    Glad you found something that works!

  • SS

    Our dog had chronic diahrea since he was a pup. After spending a small fortune on treatments, food, tests etc we gave up. I almost went back to the basic PurinaOne or Iams stuff because it did make a difference to him, he loves to eat anything. Then we ended up talking to the owner of a small pet food place. By that time I’d swore I wouldn’t try anything different that claimed to work on these things. She said to just bring the food back if it doesn’t help in two weeks. The food was expensive as heck but it did the trick. We couldn’t believe it and I had to go back to her to thank her and tell her that what the vets couldn’t fix she did it and I’m so glad I listened to an advice one more time. The food was Grandma Lucy’s Artisan in Chicken Flavor. The reason it works is not because it’s grain free it’s not processed like the normal dog and cat food. It’s dehydrated sort of like the Mountain House backpacking and hiking food. It’s expensive (are you listening Grandma Lucy?) but I’m a believer.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Linda -

    You should always feed a puppy a food labeled for “growth” or “all life stages” – foods labeled for “maintenance” are generally too low in protein for a growing puppy and can be deficient in key nutrients. The idea of recommending “adult” foods for large breed puppies is a misguided attempt to prevent orthopedic disease because adult foods tend to be lower in calories. Jut feed less of a puppy food and make sure the food has appropriate levels of calcium – excess calcium has been linked to growth abnormalities in large and giant breed puppies. Here’s a link to the large breed puppy forum, there are several articles and a list if appropriate grain free foods: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/large-and-giant-breed-puppy-nutrition/

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.gilligan.5 Linda Gilligan

    Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here.I have read a lot of the comments below, and I also thought I knew a lot about Dog foods, but always find there is more to learn. I recently lost a Cocker Spaniel to Pancreatitis…I still have one Cocker Spaniel and a Saint Bernard..They are both on Purina Smartblend, the Saint is getting Large breed Puppy….they are both losing a lot of hair and constantly scratching and chewing. I want to get them onto something else. Have recently read…a Saint shouldnt be on Large breed but a Giant Breed formula and never given a Puppy formula only a good meat based adult food….the more I read the more confused I get. My dogs are my babies….I have always had them on the best quality I can afford…not going with real cheap, crappy qualities but Im paying $30.00 a bag now and I dont think I am getting a good quality, thinking of switching to Grain Free…andy help would be appreciated…Thank you in advance…Linda Gilligan

  • Nancy

    Yes I was talking about Prime. Thank you so much for the suggestions.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Are you talking about Innova Prime? If so, there is Horizon Legacy/Pulsar/Amicus that are lentil based like Innova Prime. Acana Regionals, Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals GF, Precise Holistic Complete GF. Get some canned pumpkin puree or ground psyllium to give with the new food to help with the transition.

  • Nancy

    Help! I have a 3 yr old and 5 month old miniature poodles. They are on Innova Grain Free Chicken and Innova Puppy. With the recall, I need to switch. Unfortunately I was at the end of both bags and don’t really have much left to transition them as much as I’d like. Any suggestions what grain free would be best that is similar and won’t cause upset? After reading comments about a lot of the brands that are available near me I was thinking about Merrick. I need to get something quick and get them started on it.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Hypoallergenic dog foods should have a single protein source, a single carb source, and hopefully limited other ingredients. There is no guarantee that any given dog won’t be allergic to any given hypoallergenic food. It’s just supposed to be easier to figure out what your dog can and can’t handle if the food has a limited number of things in it that can cause problems. So if the food has grains, it should only have one grain and should not have other carb sources as well. Though some foods do actually have two proteins or two carbs.

  • Bonny

    Are hypoallergenic dog foods also grain free?

  • Michelle

    sorry I forgot to say that she is eating Hills Ideal Balance now.

  • Michelle

    Does anyone have any experiences with Canidae Grain Free Natural Dry Dog Food – Duck & Turkey? My 1 yr old Golden Retreiver has dry, flaky skin with crusty sores. She is losing her hair and is itchy. Help!

  • carla

    Many shepherds have digestive issues. When mine did, my vet put her on probiotics and enzymes (Vet Classics). It worked wonders. You can find them over the counter also – make sure the product contains all four enzymes (amylase, protease, cellulase, and lipase). I also found that plain, canned pumpkin helps because it is high in fiber. For my girl, it prevents loose, slimy, stinky stools – just a couple of tablespoons daily works for her. Good Luck!

  • dianne1089

    Another great addition is Pumpkin. Organic canned. NOT pumpkin pie filling. When I open a can my dog is right beside me with her head up and mouth open – LOL