Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets (Dry)


Rating: ★★★☆☆

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets product line includes 14 dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Legume and Duck Meal [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Potato and Duck Puppy [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Legume and Wagyu Beef [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Chicken [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal and Brown Rice [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Potato and Duck (2.5 stars) [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Potato and Kangaroo (2.5 stars) [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Bison (2 stars) [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Venison (2 stars) [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Sweet Potato and Fish Small Breed Bites [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Small Breed Bites [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Lamb Meal and Brown Rice Large Breed Bites [A]
  • Natural Balance LID Potato and Duck Small Breed Bites (2.5 stars) [A]

Natural Balance LID Potato and Duck was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Potato and Duck

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 23% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 58%

Ingredients: Potatoes, duck meal, duck, canola oil (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), potato protein, potato fiber, natural flavor, dicalcium phosphate, salt, salmon oil (a source of DHA), calcium carbonate, flaxseed, potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, natural mixed tocopherols, l-carnitine, Yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.3%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis21%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis23%11%58%
Calorie Weighted Basis22%25%53%
Protein = 22% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 53%

The first ingredient in this dog food is potato. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The second ingredient is duck meal. Duck meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh duck.

The third ingredient is duck. Although it is a quality item, raw duck contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The fourth ingredient is canola oil. Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item. That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact canola oil can be a significant source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a dog than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The fifth ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is potato fiber, a source of dietary fiber. Fiber in reasonable amounts can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce a dog food’s caloric content.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With four notable exceptions

First, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.

Next, flaxseed is one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

In addition, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Natural Balance
Limited Ingredient Diets Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 23%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 58%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 51%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein and flaxseed in this recipe and the pea protein, dried peas and garbanzo beans in some others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.


Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Those looking for a kibble for allergy-prone pets may wish to visit our special report… “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“.

Natural Balance Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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Notes and Updates

11/09/2016 Last Update

  • Susan

    Hi Carol, has NB written on this on the front of kibble bag “New formula” sometimes they put a sticker?? NB should of added this new information there’s a change of ingredients, a lot of people feed their dogs the Natural Balance limited ingredient formula’s cause their dog has serious health problems… Garbanzo beans (Chick Peas) are a filler & high in protein, raise the protein % & are harder to digest, so keep that in mind, Garbanzo beans are cheaper then adding more chicken, I’d rather a kibble with Sweet Potatoes + Potatoes, these veggies are easier to digest then Chick Peas, see how your dogs go, if they are refusing to eat some days maybe look for another NB formula without the Garbanzo beans….
    ** I just look on the NB site & yes they have put “NEW Formula” on their site & on the bag, it’s a yellow sticker top left….that’s really good, some pet food companies don’t add no sticker or post on the wet site “Change of formula” then some poor dogs become unwell & have intestinal stress…
    The chicken G/F formulas seem to be the only formula’s that have the added Garbanzo beans, I looked at the Small breed Duck & Sweet potatoes, have no Garbanzo Beans, also the Bison & the Venison & potatoes formula’s don’t have any Garbanzo beans, but they both have Pea protein, so which ever way you look at these NB formula’s they have less meat protein & more plant protein….
    “Canidae” make a Pure Petite Small breed chicken formula that’s lower in fat & protein with just 5 ingredients, nice small kibbles that are easy to digest…

  • Carol

    Update…I wrote to Natural Balance yesterday, and they responded to me already. They let me know that the formula had change recently putting chicken as the 1st ingredient. I knew this, but they also mentioned they have garbanzo beans added, I hadn’t noticed that, but I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But, that might be the item that my dogs were reacting to.

    They’ve offered to replace the uneaten portion of food for another batch. That was nice of them.

    They are very good at maintaining a high standard of quality, and they take all issues very seriously. It’s one of reasons I chose their line of food for my dogs for the past year. I’ve always felt safe feeding their food to my dogs.

  • Carol

    Yes, I have always included a spoon of Merrick Grammy’s Pot Pie on the side along with two green beans (canned unsalted). And like I said, they gobbled up everything eagerly for over a year! Now they won’t touch the NB kibble. The one I’ve switched to is fine, they are again eating everything up.

    I’ll write to the company to let them know, just in case they want this bag. Both dogs rejected it at the same time. That’s one thing that seems weird about it.

  • anon101

    Natural Balance is heavy with potato.
    I have had good results with Zignature kibble as a base.
    However, I add a splash of water and a bite of something like cooked ground turkey.
    Kibble by itself is too dry, boring. Add something.

  • Carol

    My two terriers have been on Natural Balance LID Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry (formerly Sweet Potato & Chicken) for a little over a year. They have thrived on it with no issues.

    Suddenly, half way through this last bag, they started leaving some behind in their bowl. After a few days of not finishing it, they got to where they won’t eat it at all! I’m very surprised, because prior to this, they gobbled it up. They only get 1/4 cup per feeding 3 x a day, so it’s not like they are just too full. Not sure if there is something wrong with this bag?

    Anyway, I’m taking this opportunity to switch them to a higher fiber (8% vs 5%) food while maintaining the same low fat and reasonably low levels of protein, very close to the same chicken type kibble. And they are now eagerly eating again.

    Maybe they just got board, (weird that they both abandon the food at the same time). The person in PetSmart that helped me wade through the options to consider as a replacement said that dogs don’t get board, and prefer not to change foods. She too, was surprised to hear my dogs stopped eating Natural Balance siting that it’s are a very high quality food.

  • AmherstNY

    Maybe mixing too many things? I would try to stick to 1 protein and is the process a gradual process from 1 food to another? Most people assume your dog has an intolerance to chicken but that is not always the case. My last dog that all she could eat was chicken. If she had anything else she would vomit. the most important thing I think is to try to stick on 1 diet and I use the food enzymes (powder) and that is also working out very well. May e-mail is [email protected].

  • AmherstNY

    Hi Susan. Yes, I do know what they are made of. Sounds gross but where I get them from are safe and they are the most digestible bones you can give your dog that last more than 10 minutes. I’ve been giving him these for a year now with no affects. I know it was the food because he started to get sick when I started to switch the food. On the day I was giving him the full ratio of the new food, he was really ill. When I took him off, he got a lot better. Been doing great this week. The Natural Balance Limited Ingredient chicken and sweet potato has been the best so far.

  • Susan

    Hi, do you know what Bully Sticks are?? they are Bull Penises….
    Researchers tested 26 bully sticks for bacteria, some had E.coli, MRSA & other bacteria, they are also high in calories…. Make sure you wash your hands after handling a Bully Stick…
    I wonder if this may be causing bad bacteria in your dogs stomach & bowel causing intestinal stress… Please read this link, read under the video what bacteria were found.

  • Veronika

    Blackhawk fish and potato I noticed caused her an upset tummy, Artemis she does fine on, taste of the wild same she did fine on it, Ivory Coat she was really good on that, however with the amount she eats and the fact that Rusty eats it to I rotate them so they don’t get the same ingredients all the time.
    She also gets Ziwipeak lamb and mackerel which has put some fat on her. About 400g actually as she was 2.3 and now she’s 2.7kg.

    Other then chicken fat none of the kibbles from memory had chicken in them, Artemis the one I currently have is a turkey.

    We stopped buying chicken so my dad wouldn’t give it to her but apparently I heard from mum that she’s sick today after dad brought home a chicken yesterday >.> I’ve come to notice that it’s not generally the meat itself that makes her sick but rather the bits and pieces he cuts up, so cartlidge and any fatty pieces.

    I think like Susan said she may have pancreatitis/ibs and that she needs to stick to low fat foods and be rid of those salt laden hams her daddy loves to give her.

    I’m not sure how much of it we can stop as he never listens, he’s a very angry guy and everyone except him is a liar lol, but maybe I can help her with some supplements that Susan mentioned, it’s better then nothing after all.

    What’s your e-mail? Maybe I could get my mum to try some things and make it better.

  • AmherstNY

    Sorry for just getting back to you. In my end with the Ménière’s you can e-mail me and I can get you some info.

    What kibble have you tried with her?

  • AmherstNY

    My guess is either foods with fish or too high of protein. Both the Merrick & Orijen are both high protein and fish. Going to stay away from that. Also, looks like his skin is starting to lighten up. Very happy about that.

  • Susan

    Hi yes try the NAS skin pack & the Marco Meats Kangaroo mince it’s human grade mince low in fat also
    & you make small rissole balls & bake in oven 15mins then freeze the kangaroo rissole balls, Marco Meats make the rissole balls but when you read the ingredients there’s wheat & ingredients to bind the kangaroo rissoles so it’s best to buy the Kangaroo mince & whisk an egg & make ur own rissoles, add some chopped parsley, broccoli, & Andzia will love them…..I was taking out 3 rissoles balls of a morning & they were
    thawed in 20mins…

  • Susan

    Hi that’s good he’s doing better, now look back on the kibbles ingredients he didn’t do good on, is there an ingredient you keep seeing?? or was the protein high over 30% ? or fat tooo high?? its hard but try & work out why he’s doing better on the N/B kibble…

  • AmherstNY

    I’m having the best results so far with NB chicken & sweet potato limited ingredient. This is the best he has been!

  • Veronika

    I could buy the skin pack it’s actually pretty cheap for the amount you use, I have two of those vets near me, but I reckon trying the skin pack and maybe even some kangaroo to see if she likes it might be a cheaper step for now and might even fix her.

    Frontier finally have the chicken for Rusty, once I use up the beef I am buying it! It’s extremely low fat which is just what Rusty needs.

  • Susan

    Hi even if you go thru your vet the Dr Dodds Nutri Scan test will cost the same price some vets don’t know about the Dr Dodds Nutriscan test, my vet didn’t… The “Natural Animal Solutions” site I sent you Jacqueline does some testing cost only 40-50$ but when I asked Jacqueline Rudan can I test Patch she wanted to fix his gut first then his skin would get better, that’s when we started the Elimination raw diet…. her NAS Skin Pack is good, it has the Digestavite Plus Powder, Vitamin C powder & Omega 3,6 & 9 Oil all these supplements boost the immune system (Gut) a healthy gut you’ll start having healthy skin.. look up the top of the NAS site I emailed you, click on ‘About’ then you’ll see NAS- Skin Care Specialist but cause she is in Victoria you can’t see her in person but she was pretty good talking thru emails when I had any problems with Patch & you can see her through Skype…
    Do you have a Green Cross vet close by?? they do the Salvia testing here’s their site with the closest Greencross vet to you, hover on “Pet Health” & Skin Disease link comes up click on it, Diet & Nutrition link also comes up GreenCross vet is thru Pet Barn & sometimes when you buy certain foods you get a free vet visit to the closest Greencross vet near you..

  • Veronika

    What if I did the NutriScan through the vet? Would that also cost me more then $298?

  • Susan

    Hi yes Dr Jean Dodds “NutriScan” is a good starting point a lot of people recommended Dr Jean Dobbs Salvia testing for food intolerances, I wanted to do the Salvia testing but I live Australia & to send the test back was too expensive so I did the food elimination diet instead & it takes forever but you get 100% results no false positives…The Salvia test is a good start, one lady from a IBD group knew what her dog couldn’t eat she did the Jean Dodds Salvia test & it came back spot on with what foods her dog couldn’t eat & a few more foods came up she never knew about…..I wouldn’t feed any bully sticks or fresh pet, feed nothing except the limited ingredient single protein 1 carb kibble, give the new kibble as a treats if you want to give treats …when you add more foods to the dogs diet you don’t know what is causing what….if you don’t see any results with the NB before the bag is nilly finished have a look at “California Natural” Lamb & Rice kibble, it has just 3 ingredients Lamb Meal, Rice & Sunflower oil, “California Natural” it’s good for dogs with food intolerances if you don’t want to feed a vet diet…there’s also grain free formula’s but they have more ingredients you need the least ingredients to work out what is causing the problems…

  • Veronika

    My mum has that disease for almost her entire life now and when I’ve asked in the past if anything helps her with it she’s said no, what helps you?

    The problem is time when it comes down to our family, well not me but my parents, I could do a 6 week food test but they won’t follow through on it and that’s my biggest problem, they always talk about Andzia’s sickness but their not willing to do anything about it.
    If I can’t change their outlook for her sake I think a NutriScan would be a good idea and maybe even a holistic vet, because quite frankly I’d like to help her, she’s always so depressed and in pain and it’s sad that I’m the only one who seems to care enough to do anything about it.

    Susan mentioned some foods in an email to me, the kibble I can do, the wet tin food unlikely, she’s never been a wet tin food dog, if this was Rusty we’d have no problems.

  • InkedMarie

    Nope. I left in 1978 after graduating from THS. I have cousins in East Amerst (Ton, NT, Bflo, OP etc)

  • anon

    I recommend Zignature Whitefish. LID
    Natural Balance has potato, some dogs are sensitive to potato.

  • anon

    Please read this
    and this (check the comments too)
    Maybe after you do you can cancel the Nutriscam if you decide to
    His symptoms may not have anything to do with food. For best results, consider consulting a Veterinary Dermatologist.

  • AmherstNY

    I do believe in holistic myself because it’s helped me a lot with Ménière’s Disease. It might be worth a try. I did order the NutriScan. Hopefully that will tell us something. He does seem to be doing better on this food though. Time will tell. I only give him Bully Sticks as a chew and Fresh Pet grain free in his kong.

  • AmherstNY

    Thanks for the response. He is a great looking dog. He has so much energy. I have not tried RC. Things seem to be looking better. He is doing much better since I started him on this food.

  • AmherstNY

    I lived in NT growing up. I take it that you don’t live in the area anymore.

  • AmherstNY

    Very interesting. Thank you!

  • anon

    For best results, consult a Veterinary Dermatologist.

  • anon

    The skin discoloration that you describe is called hyperpigmentation, I attempted to post an informative article about it but it was detected as spam?
    Anyway, there are many reasons that this condition could occur, some are benign, others, not so much.
    So, I would talk to your vet about it, further diagnostic testing may be indicated.

  • anon

    If you are receptive to science based veterinary medicine, you may find this site helpful

  • anon

    Make an appointment with a Veterinary Dermatologist for best results.
    This article is informative (imo)
    Below is an excerpt from:
    Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is a common pruritic skin disease affecting dogs worldwide. It likely affects 10-15% of dogs. In regions where fleas are not a problem, CAD is the most common canine allergic skin disease. Clinical signs are first noted between 6 months and 3 years of age. Several breeds are over represented including the Boston terrier, Boxer, Cairn terrier, West Highland White terrier, Scottish Terrier, Fox terrier, Yorkshire terrier, Chinese shar-pei, Cocker spaniel, English bulldog, English and Irish setter, Labrador and Golden retrievers, Pug, and German Shepherd, and miniature schnauzer. Successful management requires a basic understanding of the complexity of the disease, an accurate diagnosis, control of secondary problems, institution of a comprehensive management plan, and frequent reassessment.
    Definition: Canine Atopic dermatitis is a genetically predisposed inflammatory and pruritic allergic skin disease with characteristic clinical features. It is associated most commonly with IgE antibodies to environmental allergens. It is characterized by chronicity, pruritus, typical lesion distribution and a familial history. The involved allergens are dust mites, pollens, mold spores, danders, insects, and other miscellaneous allergens.
    Diagnosis: The diagnosis of CAD begins with attaining a good history and recognizing the primary clinical signs, performing a dermatologic examination to characterize lesions and distribution, creating a differential list to work from, and performing some basic diagnostic tests to refine the differential list. The first step is to treat and control ectoparasites and resolve secondary infections. Food trials are also essential prior to confirming CAD in a dog with non-seasonal pruritus. Ultimately, the diagnosis of CAD is made based upon signalment, typical history, presentation of compatible clinical signs, and the systematic exclusion of all other pruritic skin diseases. There is no single test for CAD. It is a clinical diagnosis made by exclusion of other differentials.
    History and Clinical signs: The most important aspect of evaluating a pruritic dog is obtaining a comprehensive history.
    Dogs with CAD are pruritic (itchy), and pruritus is usually the initial and most salient feature of the presenting problem. If itch precedes the appearance of any rash, I am almost certain I am dealing with allergic skin disease (if parasites are already controlled for) as the primary problem. If rash precedes itch, I first evaluate the pet for other problems prior to working through the causes of itch/pruritus. Pruritus in CAD is typically highly glucocorticoid/steroid responsive (initially) and moderate in severity when not complicated by secondary infections. It may appear seasonally in the early years, but develops into a non-seasonal disease in most dogs.
    Secondary infections: Dogs with CAD often develop superficial bacterial folliculitis and/or yeast dermatitis. The management of secondary infections is crucial when developing the management plan.
    Parasites: The dermatologist will treat and control for all ectoparasites that are pruritic, and rule out demodecosis if there are compatible lesions. They will review clinical signs, lesions and treatment for demodecosis and sarcoptic mange. Initial evaluations should always involve appropriate skin scrapings. Empiric therapy for sarcoptic mange is often indicated early in the plan for pruritic dogs. Also, we prescribe very strict flea control for all pets in a household with an atopic dog. Fleas are a trigger factor for CAD, and flea bite hypersensitivity is often present in combination with CAD.
    Dermatology examination: It is, or has been, widely believed that there is no primary lesion in CAD, but pinpoint macules or papules are often seen upon careful examination.. The skin in affected body sites is typically erythematous. With chronicity, widespread erythema, lichenification, and hyperpigmentation are noted. Excoriations are notable in some dogs. Alopecia in CAD is the result of pruritic behaviors of licking, biting, scratching, chewing, rubbing, etc. Light coated breeds may also have salivary staining at body sites that are licked and chewed. Some dogs will not have any lesions, and pruritus is the only problem. The distribution of lesions and pruritus in CAD is characteristic. Lesions will be present on the face, ears, paws, limbs, and ventral aspects of the body. The perineum is a commonly affected site. Not all sites are affected in all dogs with CAD.
    Diagnostic tests: The tests performed on patients presented for pruritus will be dependent upon the history and lesions identified during a complete dermatology examination. One should be proficient in superficial skin scrapings, deep skin scrapings, skin surface cytology techniques, otic cytology, and dermatophyte culture specimen collection/test interpretation. Empiric treatment for sarcoptic mange can be considered a diagnostic test, and is always appropriate to prescribe. Diagnostic food trials are also a diagnostic test and very important.
    Differential list: The differential list will be dependent on all information gathered after history is obtained, the exam is performed and results of some basic diagnostic tests are available. At the outset, all causes of pruritus are considered. If a dog has seasonal disease, flea allergy dermatitis and insect bite hypersensitivity are differentials. If pruritus is non-seasonal, without exacerbations, cutaneous adverse food reaction, sarcoptic mange, and contact hypersensitivity are differentials. Secondary infections with bacteria and yeast should always be treated and controlled, as they are an important contributor to the severity of pruritus in many cases.
    Components of therapy used in the management of CAD: As there is no one cause or trigger for CAD, there is not one treatment approach that will satisfy the needs of all patients. The choice of treatment will depend on the nature and intensity of clinical signs, the presence of trigger factors, the patient acceptance of treatments recommended, and owner willingness/ability to maintain the plan. Most patients can be controlled.
    1. Avoidance: Complete avoidance of offending allergens is typically not practical and is difficult to sustain. No evidence that avoidance alone is 100% successful, but certain avoidance measures can be helpful and make the pet feel better. Reducing time the pet spends outdoors is a reasonable avoidance effort. To avoid house dust mites, one could suggest covering mattresses with impermeable covers, clean & remove dust from the home frequently, use synthetic materials for pet bedding, vacuum frequently, wash bedding often, change air conditioner filters frequently, and keep humidity in the house < 50%. To avoid molds, spray regularly with mold preventers and removers, change air filters often, use dehumidifiers, avoid household plants and mulch. To avoid pollens, avoid outdoor environment when pollen counts are high, keep grass cut short, bathe dog frequently, use air conditioners and change filters often, and wipe the pet down with a wet cloth after outdoor activity.
    2. Barrier Enhancement: The defective cutaneous barrier is an appealing area of study. Shampoos, sprays, and topically applied medications with barrier enhancement properties are available. All patients with CAD should be on some form of topical therapy. In addition to possible barrier enhancement, one benefit of topical therapy is mechanical removal of allergens from skin and hair coat. This likely decreases quantity of allergen in contact with skin and likely decreases the amount of percutaneous exposure of allergen through the defective cutaneous barrier.
    3. Control of Secondary Infections: Antimicrobial therapy is used for active infections and may have a purpose in prophylactic therapy in some situations. Topical and systemic antimicrobials should be used as indicated. The dermatologist will ensure that there is adequate control of secondary infections as they proceed through diagnostic steps and design the management plan.
    4. Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy, is the practice of administering increasing quantities of an allergen extract to an allergic subject to ameliorate symptoms associated with subsequent exposure to the causative allergen. Allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT) should be recommended in all cases of CAD, unless clinical signs are very mild and controlled easily with nonsteroidal therapy. I recommend ASIT be incorporated early in the course of disease as a core component of the management plan.
    The mechanism of action of ASIT is complex and not fully understood. Essentially, the pet is “desensitized” to specific allergens to which it has demonstrated hypersensitivity, and immune tolerance is induced. In dogs, the expected time to response is roughly 4-12 months. Generally, 60-75% of patients have at least a 50% improvement in clinical signs. A 50% reduction in pruritus should be considered favorable, as it may permit elimination of corticosteroids or other adjunctive medications.
    In order to prescribe ASIT, allergens to which a dog is hypersensitive need to be identified through allergy testing. Both intradermal and serum tests detect allergens. A positive allergy test indicates the presence of excessive amounts of IgE, and a positive result may be associated with clinical allergy or subclinical hypersensitivity. The significance of a positive result can only be ascertained once all other causes for the dermatitis have been ruled out. Also, a positive result should be for an allergen present in high quantities at the time of year that the individual patient has exacerbations of skin disease. Thus, the dermatologist will review patient history prior to selection of allergens for immunotherapy.
    When considering which type of test (intradermal or serum) should be performed, consider that neither modality is perfect. Both intradermal and serum testing have their place in dermatology practice. Also, neither type has been proven to be more accurate than the other. Intradermal tests have been regarded as the gold standard. Both tests, if performed and used appropriately, may provide good information. I prefer to perform both tests. A small percentage of dogs with CAD never have positive allergy tests, and this is considered to be equivalent to human intrinsic atopic dermatitis.
    Intradermal allergy testing (IDT) detects the presence of tissue-bound IgE and the ability of the antibody to bind allergen and cause mast cell degranulation to form an erythematous wheal. Thus, it detects type I hypersensitivity reactions. All positive reactions might not be relevant. Positive IDT reactions have been identified in 60% of normal dogs. Negative IDT reactivity was demonstrated in 20% of dogs in a population of dogs with clinical signs of atopy. Efficacy of immunotherapy based solely on IDT test results is reported to be 60-70%.
    Serum allergy testing is used to measure serum concentrations of specific IgE. None of the commercially available serum tests has been proven to be more accurate than another in reviewed publications. There are several tests available and each uses a slightly different method to detect the serum IgE levels. In the tests, the specificity of the IgE detection reagent is critically important to minimize false positives. One enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) is used to detect antigen-specific IgE using a unique recombinant fragment of the extracellular portion of the human high-affinity Ige receptor alpha subunit, and takes advantage of the strong affinity of this molecule for canine IgE and lack of reactivity with canine IgG.
    5. Antihistamines: The appeal of antihistamines is that they are nonsteroidal and relatively safe, yet they are not approved by the FDA for the use in CAD. They are used in 30-50% of CAD patients, but only 10-15% of dogs have a sustained reduction in pruritus. Owners must administer antihistamines consistently and not just as needed. The main mechanism is to block H1 receptors in the skin and prevent or reduce the release of histamine. If only given after clinical signs are present, histamine is already circulating. Antihistamines may be the only required therapy for pets with seasonal or mild pruritus. There is a variable response between dogs to the different antihistamines. Variability is likely due to the uncertain role of histamine in the pathogenesis of AD. An owner may need to be patient and try several for 10- 14 day trials.
    6. Essential Fatty acids: Fatty acids improve the skin and hair coat and enhance the epidermal barrier. Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized and need to be supplied. Both omega 3 and omega 6 have been recommended; omega 3 for pruritus and omega 6 for the restoration of the cutaneous barrier. I recommended fish oils for all patients with CAD as part of the overall plan. They modulate leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis, restore the normal composition of lipids in the skin, and modulate lymphocyte functions. They decrease pruritus and inflammation by altering the potency and quantity of mediators formed during inflammation. Common sources include cold water marine oil, evening primrose, borage, and black currant oil. For CAD, high dosages of omega-3 fish oils are required through diet and supplementation. The suggested dose of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is 180 mg/10# of body weight per day.
    7. Topicals: Shampoos, conditioners, sprays, rinses, and leave-on conditioners are available and may remove allergens from the skin surface. In addition, restoration or enhancement of the compromised epidermal barrier may reduce allergen penetration, microbe penetration, and irritant exposure to the skin immune system. When choosing products, consider the goal of topical therapy. If the dog gets recurrent infections, prescribe products with antimicrobial properties. If trying to reduce pruritus, antipruritics are recommended.
    8. Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory agents used in 65-80% of atopic dogs. They are appealing because of their rapid time to effect, but side effects occur with chronic usage. In the management of CAD, we aim to limit the usage of corticosteroids. All the other elements of our management plans are aimed at eliminating the need for corticosteroids all together. If corticosteroids are part of the plan initially or for flares, they are used strategically and carefully. Side effects of corticosteroids include PU/PD, polyphagia, behavioral changes, panting, diarrhea, GI ulceration, pancreatitis, myopathy, bacturia, pyoderma, demodicosis, respiratory tract infections, alopecia, thin skin, comedones, calcinosis cutis, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, and decreased synthesis of thyroid hormones. Monitoring for side effects must be scheduled and planned. At least q 6 months serum biochemistry, CBC, and urine culture are recommended in my practice.
    9. Cyclosporine: There is strong evidence for the use of oral cyclosporine in the management of CAD. Cyclosporine is an anti-inflammatory medication when used at dosages recommended for CAD. It should be given on an empty stomach in dogs. Metabolism is inhibited in cases of liver dysfunction or when drugs that suppress the cytochrome p450 system are given. In the dog, CSA is metabolized rapidly in the liver by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. Other medications also using this enzyme system may alter CSA concentrations. Ketoconazole, cimetidine, Phenobarbital, rifampin, diltiazam are examples.
    For CAD, an oral microemulsion, modified, formulation is used. Compounded formulations are not modified and have exceptionally poor bioavailability. Neoral® and Atopica® (Novartis Animal Health) are microemulsified formulations. Sandimmune, some generic capsules, and compounded products are not modified. Atopica® is FDA approved for the management of CAD. It is contraindicated in any dog that has a history of malignant neoplasia.
    In clinical practice, I expect that 70% of well characterized dogs with CAD will have a 50% reduction in pruritus. Some have 100% response and some still require additional medications. Patients still require assessment and reassessment on a regular basis. I have owners consider Atopica® as a component of the overall management plan. Reevaluation after 4 -8 weeks while the dog is still receiving treatment is essential to establish a response to therapy. Do not adjust dose or frequency without assessment. Many failures are attributed to the owner decreasing the frequency of administered when there has not yet been a response to therapy. Often 6-8 weeks is needed. Some dogs may be tapered to q 48 hr administration.
    The safety of Atopica® has also been evaluated extensively in dogs. It is well tolerated by most dogs for long term therapy. The most common side effects reported include gingival hyperplasia, papillomatosis, vomiting, diarrhea, bacterial infections. I always advise that vomiting and diarrhea may occur. This typically is noted the first 2 weeks of therapy. If either occurs, I have the owner discontinue administration and call. Typically, signs resolve without intervention in 1-2 days. Then, I have them restart administration. When restarting, I have the owner administer the capsule with a small amount of food until it is tolerated for a few days. Then, food is discontinued, and it is administered on an empty stomach thereafter.

  • Susan
  • Veronika

    Maybe I could wash her in that Malasab stuff also see if that helps to see if it’s a contact thing or food thing.

  • Veronika

    You know I hate Royal with a passion but then at this point I think everyone knows that about me haha, but I was wondering since Andzia keeps getting problems with her stomach, she sick almost everyday and because my mum is really sceptical about holistic vets and what not, maybe I should try her on some Royal kibble and see how she goes.
    She would however need to stick to the food and not get anything else and that’s another problem altogether, if it was just me and her that would be easy to do.
    We’re going to try Zyrtec with her and see how she goes as we already know that steroids work, sometimes.

    Would NutriScan be worth trying or waste of money?

    I’ll also when I have time email the holistic vet here and see if I can’t get a price range for her services, my mum doesn’t like seeing Andzia suffer but yet she does nothing to help her.

  • InkedMarie

    Nothing to do with your post but seeing “AmherstNY” makes me smile: I was born & raised in Tonawanda!

  • Susan

    Hi he’s beautiful, have you tried a vet diet like Royal Canine PR potato & Rabbit dry kibble or Hypoallergenic wet tin food?? these diets have no cross contamination with other proteins & just have 1 hydrolyze protein + 1 carb….Do you have the money to do an Endoscope + Biopsies?? this is what I did in the end with my boy the biopsies said he had Helicobacter-Pylori + IBD & was put on triple therapy meds for 21 days, Metronidazole, Amoxcillin + Omeprazole, the Metronidazole is for his bowel & stomach firms up poos & the Omeprazole is for the acid reflux, Patch now takes the Omeprazole every morning now, maybe see a specialist vet that specializes in IBD… My boy cant eat boiled rice, the rice irritates his bowel…

  • AmherstNY

    Thank you for responding and the information. I am using medicated shampoo. It is black skin disease but not from yeast or mites. He was tested for both. Vet is thinking seasonal allergies or food allergies. He has also been on all the foods that you mentioned. He was on Canidae last just before I switched him to Merrick. He is thin so I don’t want to put him on a low fat. His stools are getting harder but not solid. I’ve been giving him pepsid ac which is helping with a chicken and rice diet. Put a tiny bit of canidae & NB in today. Just have to see how this goes. He is hungry which is good but I feel so bad for my little buddy.

  • Susan

    Hi are you bathing your dog in a Medicated shampoo like “Malaseb” ? sounds like yeast the black skin… if this food N/B doesn’t work out have a look at “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb, it’s a single protein kibble & just has lamb & has limited ingredients or look at “Canidae” Pure formulas, like Pure Meadow & Pure Wild Boar both these brands helped my boy with his IBD & food intolerances…. the protein & fat isn’t tooo low or tooo high, just right… or there’s “Canidae” Pure Petite formula’s low fat & low protein

  • AmherstNY

    I had mine on Orijen also and it was not settling in his stomach well. He also started to have skin issues. Hot spots and turning his skin black. I tried Merrick limited ingredient salmon by the advice of my vet and that was even worse. Hopefully this food will resolve the stool issue. I agree that the higher the protein the worse it is for your dog.

  • KristineT8

    Did you figure out what it was? I tried two different TOTW both had sweet potatoes as main ingredient, after 2 days she stunk like cat pee, once i switched her to one that didn’t have it in there the smell was gone

  • KristineT8

    did you have any problems with him on TOTW pacific stream? I had the same problem on TOTW with two different ones both had sweet potatoes as main ingredients, switch to a different brand without it and smell was gone. Just wondering if it was the sweet potato that caused it. Was going to try the TOTW pine forest.

  • Susan

    Hi, if your dog can’t eat fish then Natural Balance formula’s have Salmon oil, I would have a look at “Canidae” Pure formulas, the Pure Wild Boar, has no fish/salmon oil, no fish meat or chicken….there’s also the Pure Land or Pure Petite small breed Bison grain free has only 5 ingredients
    there’s also “Zignature” look at the Kangaroo, are you giving a bath twice a week in “Malaseb” medicated shampoo? with itchy skin weekly baths are a must, Malaseb shampoo can be used daily, it will wash off any allergens, pollens, yeast, bacteria on the skin & relieve any red itchy skin…
    if your on Facebook join this group, “Dog, issues, allergies and other information support group” link is below…a lot of people are having great success with CADI injections…. best to see a Dermatologist or ask your vet about CADI, your dog probably has food sensitivities & environment allergies, my boy has food sensitivities & Seasonal Environment allergies he’s fine thru the cooler months Winter as long as he doesn’t eat any foods he’s sensitive too but as soon as Spring/Summer comes so does his itchy skin,..

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Veterinary dermatologist, intradermal skin testing for environmental allergies.
    Allergies get worse with age. It doesn’t sound like food will fix this. Allergies are complicated, there is no cure, but there is effective treatment.. Often the expertise of a specialist is needed.

  • Missie Wilson

    ! I have a 4 year old Boston terrier with horrible skin allergies, he lost all his hair as a puppy- we tried many foods then. He responded to the Buffalo Blue Freedom Chicken but currently having same issues as a puppy. He has a seafood allergy so we are trying the bison and sweet potato to see if it helps. Our vet recommended the bison and he most likely developed a chicken allergy. Anyone have any suggestions.

  • aimee

    A few thoughts:

    If your purpose is to do a diet trial for adverse food reaction you shouldn’t use a food that isn’t specifically made for that purpose. Limited ingredient diets such as Natural Balance, when tested, were found to have additional ingredients not listed on the bag.

    Diets made for diet trials through the vet are extensively tested to ensure that the only sources in the bag are what is on the bag.

    Second thought… I don’t know of any diet appropriate for doing a food trial that is also formulated for weight loss. Homecooked would be an option.

    For a weight loss diet you want a high percentage of calories from protein and as low as possible percentage of calories from fat. The balance is made up by carbohydrates. Carbohydrates in a weight loss diet are your friend. they allow you to feed a larger volume during weight loss.

    If your dog’s weight was stable on the Purina Healthy weight then feed an equivalent number of calories of the new diet.and increase exercise.

    If you find yourself feeding less than 80% of the bag recommendation to maintain current weight then the food isn’t appropriate and your dog needs a diet made for weight management.

    I’d recommend going back to your vet for feeding recommendations.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    I skipped the blood test (for allergies) the dermatologist told me intradermal skin testing is the most accurate, plus my dog’s allergies appeared to be environmental.
    Food sensitivities tend to fluctuate.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    I skipped the blood test, the dermatologist said the intra dermal skin test was the most accurate.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Petrodex the 6.2 oz tube is the most economical, see chewy dot com, I use an adult toothbrush (med), or the battery operated type. Start slow, they get used to it, takes about 5 minutes a day.
    Regarding diet:

  • Liahna Guy

    She wanted to try the limited ingredient diet first and then do an allergy test and a thyroid function test. Badger loves green beans but I might start giving him carrots, too, just to see if he likes them.
    Honestly I haven’t been brushing his teeth since he chews on a lot of bones and toys, but I probably should start. Any brand recommendations?

  • Liahna Guy

    Thank you! I’m willing to do whatever is best for him. We have an appointment in two weeks for a check up to see if the limited ingredient diet is working. I’ll discuss concerns with his vet then and see what she recommends. She had mentioned an allergy test and a thyroid function test.

  • Liahna Guy

    Yes, very much. Thank you!

  • Liahna Guy

    I’ve been curious about feeding him a raw diet. I think I will look more into that. It makes sense that dogs would have a hard time losing weight on a high carb product…just hadn’t really thought about that. Thank you!!

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Regarding the weight gain, has your vet ruled out medical conditions?
    You sound like a responsible pet owner so I assume that you went along with recommended lab work, it’s the best diagnostic tool vets have.
    Metabolisms differ, so, this might be an area you have to watch.
    Some dogs are happy with a raw carrot as a snack, but, don’t be alarmed if you see orange carrot chunks in the feces. It’s all fiber, it doesn’t hurt them.
    PS: If you presoak the kibble in water overnight, it puffs up and looks like twice the amount!
    I hope you are brushing his teeth once a day, it makes a BIG difference. Dogs love chicken flavored toothpaste.

  • Susan

    Hi Liahna,
    Kibbles are the worst thing you can feed a dog when you want them to lose weight, it’s like us eating biscuits that are high in carbs & trying to lose weight, it wont happen, the Carbs are 58% in this food, that’s high, any kibble that’s LOW in Protein will be high in carbs around 50-60% carbs, start looking for a higher protein, limited ingredient kibbles & wet tin foods that match the dry kibble formula, have a look at”Canidae” Pure Formulas, look at the Pure Sea formula, excellent for dogs with skin problems the Omega 3 is nice & high, what’s needed for skin problems, all the Canidae Pure formulas all have limited ingredients or can you feed a raw diet? if you don’t like the look or feel of raw meat you can buy the freeze dried raw or air dried raw like “Ziwi Peak” dry & wet tin & the weight will drop off…

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7
  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Yes, ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist. It’s not cheap, but either is going back and forth to the regular vet.
    Also, discuss putting vaccinations (with your vet) on hold until his skin condition is under control.
    Go to skeptvet dot com if you are interested in science based veterinary medicine. Use the search engine “allergies”. Nothing is being sold over there, sometimes he answers comments. Good luck with your pup.

  • Liahna Guy

    Thank you! He’s always had a thin coat of hair on his inner thighs and under his front legs since we adopted him at 3 months old. I know it’s only been two weeks that he’s been on the new food. I’ve read some forums where they suggest waiting six weeks and some where they suggest waiting three months. I just want to do what’s right for my pup.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    If you don’t get significant results from treatment by the regular vet within a reasonable amount of time, despite diet changes
    I would make an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist, especially if the symptoms are severe or have been going on for 4 seasons/1year.
    Get a diagnosis, if his symptoms are due to environmental allergies, food will have little effect.

    Please don’t be fooled by mail in hair and saliva tests.
    Intra dermal skin testing done by a veterinary dermatologist is the only accurate way to test for environmental allergies
    Go to forums and search allergies I have posted a lot of information, anon101.

  • Liahna Guy

    Hi! I have a year old labrador/border collie mix and we recently (2 weeks ago) put him on a limited ingredient diet at the recommendation of our vet. He had his first ear infection and after she ruled out other possible causes, she suggested it might be because of a food allergy. His ear flap were red all the way to the tip and he had thinning hair in a couple places. Prior to this he ate Purina One Smartblend Healthy Weight. He had a tendency to put on weight even though we measured his food and added green beans to help fill him up without adding calories. Treats were restricted to frozen green beans. He’s a fairly active dog, but he was still a few pounds too heavy.

    His vet is having us try a limited ingredient diet – no chicken, turkey, or beef food or treats. He is on the fish and sweet potato grain-free Natural Balance L.I.D. dry food. He is still not losing weight, he’s even gained two pounds since we started this diet. We feed him 3/4 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening with 1 cup of green beans. This doesn’t seem like a lot of food to me, it’s a good bit less than the recommended maintenance weight amount. Like I mentioned earlier, he is fairly active…we go on 1-1.5 mile walks 3-4 times a week and play fetch/run in the back yard daily.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  • sharron

    hi, hope you are feeling better. yes, i will get back to you when the elimination diet is over with. Thanks

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi sharron,
    Apologies, I’ve been sick. However, I’m thinking it might be best to have this conversation after you’ve completed the elimination diet trial. It seems like chickpeas/garbanzo beans are an issue, but you may discover other issues as a result of that trial, or you may not, but at least you’ll know. I would hate to recommend something without chickpeas/garbanzo beans now, only for you to try it and still have Lexee react, which means there’s more issues at play. Stick with the food the vet recommended and then follow his/her recommendations through to the completion of the elimination diet. Then let’s chat 🙂

  • sharron

    Hi Storm’s Mom – could you please let me know of other foods that don’t contain chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Thanks so much

  • sharron

    thanks so much for replying. I wasn’t sure if anybody would comment, i seem to cause a ruckus sometimes. I’m 100% sure it’s not meat proteins that she reacts to. The garbanzo beans is another concern i have. If you know other products i could try, i would love to know.

  • Storm’s Mom

    Hi sharron, glad you seem to have figured out the issue. As I mentioned before, Storm reacts to chickpeas as well, so I just wanted to mention that you also want to stay away from “garbanzo beans”, which are the same thing, in case you didn’t know that. If you want some recommendations of foods I know are available in Canada that don’t have chickpeas/garbanzo beans (for use after your elimination diet protocol), please let me know.

    Edit: sorry, I shouldn’t say that Storm “reacts” to them, because he doesn’t in the same way that he does alfalfa, for example. It’s more that he doesn’t do well on foods with chickpeas/garbanzo beans (particularly if they are high on the ingredient list) – and by “doesn’t do well”, I mainly mean that his poops get massive. Therefore, I avoid them.

  • sharron

    just wanted to say that i figured out what Lexee was reacting to, chickpeas. All of the Orijen and Acana formulas have chickpeas in them.
    She is just fine on foods that don’t contain chickpeas. It seems to me that a lot of grain free dry foods have chickpeas in them.

  • InkedMarie

    Comment was deleted. Yep, how this usually goes.

  • Bobby dog


  • InkedMarie

    Yes….that’s how this usually goes.

  • Bobby dog

    Nothing wrong with caring for your dog as you see fit. It appeared to me you had forgotten about all the info you had received in regards to conducting an elimination diet this past month from pitlove as well as your Vet…

  • sharron

    yes my vet did explain it to me and she also said i can feed her novelty meats, like venison, duck, bison, which i have (canned food from the vet) but it could be like i said, not meat related at all, it could be other ingredients that Champion uses in their foods – so far being on Natural Balance, she hasn’t licked anything on her body. So if she isn’t having any issues, then what’s the problem with feeding this to her

  • Bobby dog

    Pitlove did a good job explaining the how and whys of an elimination diet here:

    and here:

    Scroll up for the beginning of the conversation here. According to your comments your Vet also did a good job of explaining the process:

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    As Judge Judy would say:
    “If it doesn’t make sense, it’s usually not true.”
    ― Judy Sheindlin

  • sharron

    how can i do an elimination diet if i don’t introduce back into her diet meat proteins, and it might not be meat proteins at all that she reacted to, could be chickpeas, or something entirely different than meat – so far on the nat. balance, she is doing fine

  • InkedMarie

    I thought you were doing an elimination diet to see what she reacts to?

  • sharron

    I have Lexee on the Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Vension and Sweet Potato dry w/can. She is doing well on it and it appears she likes it better than the RC

  • Cheryl

    Have noticed with our last few bags of the Lamb and Brown Rice (large breed bites) that there appears to be a lot of “crumbs”. The crumbs are pretty small granulars, but it can cause a mess. Anyone else noticing that? Has something changed with how the food is prepared? Is this something we should be concerned about?

  • Julie Gregson

    My dog is 3 1/2 and the numbers were just slightly elevated so I’m sure changing the diet will correct it.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    If the dog is a senior (over 7) some slightly abnormal results are not unusual. If the vet doesn’t want to check again for a few months, maybe the liver enzymes weren’t that far off and some diet changes will help. Especially if she is asymptomatic.

  • Julie Gregson

    I have a little chihuahua mix and she had blood work and the vet said her liver enzymes were elevated due to too much protein in her food. I was giving her Orijen, before that Blue Buffalo. She said that they’ve found this happen with these newer brands. Just too much protein that’s why I chose this brand and so far so good. We have to wait for another blood test in several months. Who knew that too much protein wasn’t good for a dog. I thought I was doing a good thing by getting a brand like Orijen. The grading used here at this site has to consider these issues also with smaller breeds. I’m not sure if it’s the same for larger dogs as well.

  • Angela

    I guess I just misunderstood your original post 🙂 It sounded like your dog has had chronic colitis due to the lamb and rice food. But she only gets outbreaks when she gets food other than her own, i.e. the breads, trash… that correct?

  • Michelle Diaz

    We make her a homemade diet when she has an outbreak. She usually only has a problem when she gets into something she’s not supposed to eat. Generally if she gets into our garbage. So I’ve had to be smarter about how I keep our garbage can and where I keep any breads around the house. One time she ate a whole tray of pan dulce (mexican sweet breads). And we have some wretched little children behind us that have thrown food over the fence that has made her sick (hot dogs and some random stuff). So when she has an outbreak she goes on brown rice, cottage cheese etc. It was bad for a while when my kids were little and learning to feed themselves. It was a constant battle to keep her out of their food that fell. But we’re finally at a better routine.

  • Angela

    I think it’s due to the protein content, the lower the protein the less stars it gets. Call the company and ask them for coupons!

  • Angela

    Chronic colitis needs to be treated with a low residue diet. Ingredients typically found in a low-residue diet for dogs include dried white rice, chicken, chicken fat, fish meat and dried eggs. In a homemade diet, ingredients might include plain, cooked pasta, cottage cheese or boiled chicken.

  • Laura

    We had the same experience with both our labs.

  • Susan

    Hi have you tried very very slowly introducing a new kibble over 2-3 week period?? have a look at “Holistic Select” brands they are single proteins & similar fat protein & fiber % to the Natural balance formulas. I feed my IBD dog the Holistic Select Adult/Puppy Salmon, Anchovy & Sardines Grain free it’s just fish & potatoes, when you pick a new kibble make sure the protein fat & fiber is around the same amount to the kibble she’s eating now.. The protein can go up about 5% but fat & fiber stay a couple of % around what she’s having now 1-2 % higher or lower… Never try a kibble where the protein is around 30% & fat is 17-20% it will not work when they have IBD, the other kibble my boy does real well on & firm poos is the “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb.. email for sample & start by giving her a few kibbles as a treat for 1-2 weeks then start adding about 20 kibbles to her meals.. Holistic Select has a Lamb & Rice, Duck & Rice, Fish & Rice & Chicken & Rice the their Grain Free Salmon & Potatoes, I was feeding their Senior but that’s a big step it has 3 proteins chicken, pork & fish maybe later after you have introduce one of the Novel formula with just 1 single protein & see how she goes or try the Taste Of The Wild Sierra Mountain Roasted lamb & sweet potatoes & see how she does on a sample packet they are about 2 cups in size so enough to try & see how she goes

  • Michelle Diaz

    my weimaraner has been on this food for 8 years. she has chronic colitis. would love to change her food but has an outbreak every time we do… so we’re stuck with this one. She has a beautiful coat. she eats the lamb and brown rice.

  • Krista

    Hi, what’s a good percentage of carbs to feed? I’m planning on rotating between several different brands and I waned to know what others thought on this.

  • LS Nelson

    Odd this is listed as one of the best for allergic dogs, yet is only given 3 out of 5 stars. My Goldendoodle’s vet just recommended the potato and duck for him. I’ll give it a try, but it’s hard on the budget since he’s a big dog! He loves the taste, the other dog is mad at me! I use spoonfuls of the canned Potato and Duck for treats, the chub’s duck is mixed with turkey, and the biscuits have some ingredients my dog needs to avoid.

  • Angela

    Yea I took it back to the store and they gave me a refund. I started him on TOTW Pacific stream. But I did notice he is drinking a lot of water since starting this food, but the salt content is not “high”. The sodium content is 0.25% on an as-fed basis.

  • Angela

    It was body odor. And he just had a full blood panel done, everything is fine. This started after he was on this food, and now since he has been off of it, the smell is gone!

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Are you talking about the urine? Or body odor emanating from the dog?
    I would check with the vet, kidney function tests may be indicated to rule out kidney damage, infection.

  • Susan

    Hi, change to a different protein formula in the Natural Balance or try a different brand kibble & see if his urine still smells like cat wee..Does Nautral Balance have money back guaranteed? email the company & see what they say about the urine smelling like tom cat wee…. when I have any problems with a kibble I always email the kibble company & half the time they tell me take the kibble back & get a refund or change to another formula…
    Have you tried “Canidae” Pure formulas or their Life Stages formulas.. or “California Natural” formulas they have their Lamb Meal & Brown rice with just 3 ingredients..

  • Angela

    It may sound odd, but I put my dog on the sweet potato and venison kibble and I noticed he started smelling like cat urine. I looked it up online and a lot of other people have reported the same thing. Anyone else?

  • Nancy B

    Natural balance LID (salmon and sweet potato / vegetarian) is the only food that helped my 101 problem dog (GSD X). On NB LID, she was never fat, helped control her allergies to ragweed, no more projectile diarrhea & vomiting, beautiful soft coat, she was never stinky (bath 1/1.5 yr), great teeth. I did add Genestra hmf probiotics and Super EFA oil to her kibble as well as cooked vegetables and sardines in the winter. When she was 10 yrs old people thought she had the look and fur of a 6yr old dog. My new dog (GSD X) is also on NB LID (salmon & sweet potato / venison / Bison) even though he is problem free. He also is at a perfect weight with a beautiful soft coat and not stinky (bath 1/1.5yr). I also give him Genestra probiotics and oil and lots of vegetables….he loves vegetables. I am very happy with this NB LID brand.

  • Krista

    Hi Tama,
    I have been feeding this to my cavalier for six months now and she doesn’t have any problems with her weight. She gets 3/4 of a cup per day along with the natural balance matching treats. Since the calories are Lower than most brands she is actually getting more than she would for example on Orijen or Acana.

    The carbohydrates are a little high but that’s because the protein and fat percentages are slightly lower than average. My cavalier actually can’t tolerate higher protein and fat percentages, so this has been working well for her.

    I would definitely recommend this brand but another good L.I.D. Kibble line is Merrick. They have similar ingredients and the carbohydrate content is Lower also.

    My dog used to itch a lot too, but after being on natural balance for a couple months I was able to take her off her Benadryl as her itching almost completely went away.

  • Susan

    Hi Tama, have a look at “Canidae” Pure Formulas the Canidae Pure formulas have limited ingredients & for dogs with skin allergies & food sensitivities, Pure Sea is suppose to be excellent for dogs with Skin problems & is high in omega 3 fatty acids for their skin…

  • Tama

    My 11 month old Cavalier scratches his face and ear until breaking his skin. I brought him to vet but they didn’t find any cause. I switched his food to Origen puppy food from Eukanuba that his breeder recommended then Acana single formula once he fits the age to tolerate adult food. Acana seemed give him less reaction but his mouth is way to stinky even I brush his teeth at daily basis. Now I’m thinking to change his food to Natural Balance Limited Ingredients but my concern is this food contains way too much carbohydrate and it may make him over weight. I’d like to hear from dog owner who has been feeding this food for any suggestions! Thank you!

  • Krista


    I was wondering about something in their venison and bison formulas in particular. It lists venison/bison and then potato/pea protein. Since raw meat is 80% water I’m wondering if after its cooked would the potato protein actually come before venison/bison. Does anyone know this information?


  • Kollean Gouyton

    Ive been feeding LID for about 5 years. Mostly the venison, bison, beef, and chicken.
    I stay away from the duck, duck in itself being very oily, and the fish, since im alergic and I dont need to have an allergy reaction because my dog licks me.
    My dogs have great coars, no issues with skin and are incredibly healthy.
    I feed the canned with a little bit of wet kibble with my 16 year old as she has no teeth.
    I have to say Im very happy with this brand, and irs not overly expensive either.

  • Krista

    I would wonder unless the bones were finely ground if it would be a problem.
    I actually checked out hare today and they have all the protein sources I was looking for which is great! The only problem is the minimum you can order is 10 lbs. that would take me 6 months to go through, but I’m sure that would be ok in the freezer.

  • Krista

    This is great, thank you! I definitely will download this.

  • Crazy4cats

    Adding raw to kibble doesn’t upset my dogs’ tummies. Mostly, I just warm it up because I never remember to defrost. I hadn’t thought much about lightly cooking with the bone content. I’m not sure if it is finely ground if it still is a concern. Maybe others can chime in on that issue.

  • DogFoodie

    Here’s a great little download from Steve Brown that has lots of great information about adding fresh to your dog’s diet. Particularly beneficial for kibble feeders. It’ll cost you $2.95 and is worth every penny.

  • Krista

    Great idea, thank you!

  • Krista


    I just ordered Steve brown’s unlocking the canine ancestral diet, which I’m excited about. I heard that there’s a section where he gives you tips on adding fresh food to commercial diets.
    So I’m defiantly thinking of adding some fresh foods to Chloe’s diet and seeing how she does. I do think this could Benefit her diet as well.
    Thanks for the tip on kangaroo. I actually just ordered some of the Natural Balance (now discontinued) kangaroo and I might donate it. Chloe seems to be affected by rich things, so it probably wouldn’t agree with her.
    I would be fine with switching up brands because that is a good idea, but I don’t see a lot of L.I.D. Kibbles that have a protein content of 20-22%.

  • Krista


    Thanks for your input. That would be great if I could find venison or duck brands out there. I also wouldn’t mind ordering from Hare today like Marie suggested.

    I do agree with you on cooking the raw before adding it to kibble, that way it doesn’t upset their stomach. I would just have to make sure there’s no bone additions which might get too sharp if I cook them.

  • Crazy4cats

    Hi Krista-
    I believe you are right being concerned about keeping track of unbalanced additions. Although, I believe I’ve read that only 15% of their total diet should be unbalanced. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to add toppers but I do think it is beneficial also. Another idea would be to add an egg or a sardine a few times per week. In addition to Hare Today as Marie suggested, many pet supply stores carry raw either freeze dried or frozen these days. I do believe some brands carry venison and/or duck. I actually lightly cook frozen raw before I mix it in. They love tripe! Very stinky though. Anyway, most of the raw is complete and balanced so you don’t have to worry about keeping it under 15%. Remember to reduce the amount of kibble you feed if you add toppers to avoid weight gain. Good luck!

  • InkedMarie

    If you’re in the states, you can order venison & duck from Hare Today & Raw Feeding Miami. Google for their websites.

  • Susan

    Hi Krista, I don’t think by adding fresh foods to your dogs kibble it will un balance the diet. I think it will add more vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants etc, your dog will probably become healthier & have a stronger immune, you don’t want your dog to start reacting to the ingredients in the kibble she’s eating. Once my dog is doing really well on a kibble I look for another kibble with a different protein so I have a few kibbles I can fall back onto just in case something happens with his main kibble he eats, “Taste Of The Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb, my dog does real well on Lamb kibbles & Pork kibbles & with cooked meats lean Pork & lean Beef he does real well…Kangaroo is too rich for him Kangaroo is a real rich meat, we have heaps of Kangaroo in Australia, I’ve tried him on Crocodile & Tapioca Roll, it smells beautiful but the special limited ingredient roll had small bones thru it & gave him very sloppy poos, same with the Kangaroo & Potato roll had fine bones until you start trying a little bit of different foods you don’t really know what they can eat it has taken Patch 2-3 years & now he has a stronger immune system & can eat heaps more foods then he could eat when I first rescued him… 70% of our Gi tract is our immune System..

  • Krista

    Thanks for your input. I have actually considered adding fresh foods to her kibble but the only thing is that I like that the kibble is limited ingredient. I don’t know where I would be able to find venison or duck to add to her kibble.

    For example I don’t know how I feel about adding chicken or beef to a venison dog food formula. I think for my dog keeping the protein source the same is helpful. Although I could be wrong on this, perhaps it wouldn’t matter much either way. I think veggies would be good to add too. Also, I’m wondering would it still be complete and balanced if I added fresh foods? Although, I guess if fresh foods were to not exceed 25% of the total diet it would be fine.

  • Susan

    Hi Sue, give try the Canidae Pure Sea a try, it suppose to be excellent for dogs with skin problems.. When dogs have allergies feeding a kibble that has fish as the main protein is higher in omega 3 fatty acid what is needed for the dogs skin & coat.. also baths give weekly baths, I use Malaseb Medicated shampoo, its mild & leaves their coat feeling so soft & kills any bacteria that may be on their skin & can be used everyday if needed, when you bath them your washing off any pollens & allergens that’s on their skin/coat & paws..

  • Susan

    Hi Krista, don’t worry about a protein not being 1st as long as your dog is doing well… You could start adding some fresh whole foods to her diet, foods you know she can eat, I give my boy some peeled seedless apple pieces as a treat, watermelon, raw almonds about 3 a day. Raw Almonds are high in Omega 3 fatty acid excellent for their skin, if your dog can eat tin sardines in spring water add about 3 sardines a day or 3 times a week to her kibble.. if you follow Rodney Habib on Face Book he always has heathy fresh food to add with your dogs kibble, Rodney has a post on his page, adding 1-2 tablespoon of fresh whole foods to your pets kibble reduces your dog getting cancer..

  • Krista

    It’s too bad this brand gets such a low rating. My dog cannot tolerate high protein foods and gets loose stools on them. I tried Orijen, Nulo, Merrick L.I.D. all of which she had loose stools on. Finally after switching her to Natural Balance her stool is acceptable/normal. I’ve also been able to take her off Benadryl, as her itching has gone away.

    Im not thrilled that potato/sweet potato is the first ingredient but she does do well on it. Other than that I have no complaints. She’s done very well on the sweet potato and venison and I plan to try all the other varieties and see how she does. I love the matching treats and use them with the food.

  • KcQ8ov

    It may not have anything to do with the food. Sounds like environmental allergies. There may be a genetic link.
    If it was my dog, I would stop listening to the homeopathic vets. I would make an appointment with a board certified veterinary dermatologist.
    Go to the forums section of this site and search “allergies”

  • Sue Richbourg

    I Just adopted a rescue pup . He is 4 months old and has been chewing and licking his poor legs raw , I have also noticed what looks to be like a rash or hives. The rescue shelter said they were feeding him NutriSource Chicken& Rice Puppy. I bought a small bag to continue feeding the same food that’s when I noticed all the itching / licking / biting . I have switched his food to , two different brands to see if we can figure out the issue. The first food we have is Canidae Pure foundations puppy and second is NB Bison and Sweet potato. I guess my main question is which of these two are less likely to give a reaction , and have others had success with NB Bison & Sweet Potato for dog allergies . I have been doing a lot of reading / Karen Becker videos to educate myself on Dog allergies, but I am certain that there is more I can Lear from individuals on this Forum :)) Thank you

  • tallen2007

    Except for the first ingredient (meat) which is fresh and not dried like all the rest of the ingredients. But “we won’t tell anyone”…

  • Melanie

    I love this food for my dogs. Tried everything due to diarrhea with all the insanely expensive brands such as Blue Buffalo and Fromm. Never had an issue with this food. I get all the different LID flavors to try to give variety and never diarrhea. Great coats and perfect weight on my dogs.

  • LB

    Thanks susan, I’d love to find a dry grain free food though…without peas and pea protein, it’s crazy how many dog foods have peas, pea protein, veggies , fruit and legumes, which my french bulldog doesn’t do well on…I’ll keep searching…

  • Susan

    Hi, if you can try & feed 1 meal that’s a cooked meal or have a look at “The Honest Kitchen” Zeal you just add water or their Base Mixes you just add the meat & the meal is balanced…. What I have found when they need a lower fat diet & your feeding kibble, the kibbles that are lower in fat & low in protein, are higher in carbs, so I’ve been feeding a kibble that’s around 26%min protein & fat is around 12-15%max-fat then the fiber & carbs are a bit lower then when he was eating a kibble that was 8.5% fat & 20% protein, the carbs were around 55% then Patch started to itch & smell…. its hard when they suffer with a few health problems…. The Honest Kitchen Zeal is pea free, 8.5% fat & carbs are only 36.4% I don’t know the salt % you’d have to email THK ….

  • LB

    I have a toy.pom who had a seizure, and has had pancreatic issue once, I keep her on low protein fat and (salt further down on the ingredients list) she was on natural balance potato and duck, which is VERY SALTY, thinking of switching to the venison and sweet potato. It’s hard to find lower protein and fat and salt, and also no’s been ridiculous finding all these issues. I’m thinking her seizure could of been from sodium level in potato and duck ( natural balance)..

  • LB

    Maybe because I found out the ingredients come from CHINA, potato and duck formula is VERY SALTY!

  • Shea

    I have researched canidae and decided to try it out so I just ordered the resolve and land for her. I’m really hoping she does well on these. I figured out she was eating too many carbs and canidae pure doesn’t have as much. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Shea

    Well I don’t know if the carbs in this food is too high or if my dog is getting older, but she has a UTI for the first time ever! I had fed her a dog food roll with her food the past 3 mornings and don’t know if that may be the cause because it has sugar in it. She was doing great on NB the last month. I would love to keep her on an LID food since she had lost some weight and skin problems were better. I like that this food didnt have so much protein calories and fat in it. The only thing that didn’t improve was the paw licking. Any feedback would be welcome. I have her on ACV(Braggs) and giving wet food and chicken broth to help clear out this UTI. Also, going to pick up yogurt to mix with the ACV.

  • LB

    Potato and duck is extremely saltly!! Had to take my dogs off it..natural balance. If anyone is brave enough to luck a piece you won’t believe how SALTY!!!

  • Susan

    Canidaes new Pure Meadow & Pure Fields is lower in fat at 10-12% & the New Pure Field is for small dogs…Oh they have their new Pure Resolve Weight Management that’s 9% in fat

  • Shea

    I looked into Canidae but it has a lot of fat in it. She has gained weight and I’m trying to keep the calories and fat down in her kibble. I do add some fresh meat, veggies, or coconut oil in with kibble and rotate around so she doesn’t get bored with her food. She also gets a little Stella and Chewys meal mixers in sometimes. Thanks for the advice!

  • Susan

    I rotate kibbles but not Natural Balance brands, we don’t have Van Petersons kibbles in Australia………Imagine if we ate the same food day in & day out for years, we would start lacking certain vitamins/minerals etc….My Patch has IBD & skin/food intolerances, I’ve learnt your best too find a few kibbles that he can eat & does well on then I rotate between them all, I stick with limited ingredient kibbles that are Lamb or Salmon or Chicken, this way he has stop reacting to kibbles, when he stayed on the same kibble for 9-12 months he was scratching had red paws, poos would be firm then soft & yellow, now I rotate between “Canidae” Life Stages & Pure Land, I’m waiting to try Canidae’s new Pure Meadow, it has less fat & he eats “Taste of the Wild” Sierra Mountain Roasted Lamb…This time next year Patch will probably be eating all different kibbles……
    They did a study in Australia with kids that had food sensitivities/intolerances, NOT food Allergies & when they slowly re-introduced small amounts foods they were sensitive too, the kids didn’t react to those foods no more, that’s when I re introduced cook potatoes to Patches meals, he never did well with kibbles with Potatoes, so I started adding a little bit of boiled potato with his meal & he was still doing firm poos & didn’t get his red paws……..
    If you live America you have heaps of dog foods you can try like there’s the “Honest Kitchen” Zeal that’s limited ingredient, low in fat & the Honest Kitchen sell samples so you can try their meals……Patch gets all excited when the delivery man comes with his kibble, we open the box & there’s his new kibble, I open the bag of kibble & ask him which kibble do you want, I have his old kibble in 1 hand & the new kibble in my other hand, I say sniff the old kibble then sniff the new kibble & he always picks the new kibble, so they know, Patch does have his favourite kibble at the moment, but if I ask him “Which one” & I show him his cooked chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli & zucchini or your kibble, loves his cooked meals the best…..

  • Shea

    I have just switched my dog to this brand since she has had food intolerances, paw licking and itchy skin with everything else she has tried. I like that it only has a limited amount of ingredients. She is on the potato and duck flavor and likes it. I really like NB’s customer service. Upon request, they sent me some samples for her to try. She does tire of the same flavor after awhile and I was wondering if anyone else rotates between the different proteins in this brand as I have noticed in the comments that some people give the same protein for years.

  • Shea

    I have gone through numerous brands for my dog and she still licks and bites at her paws. Lately, she has been having a few tiny bumps on her back and some under her pits. She is currently on Wellness Grain Free and her stomach is doing fine with it. She has been on Fromm and Acana Singles also the last few months with the same symptoms. I was looking into NB as a last resort because meat isn’t the first ingredient and a couple of the formulas look like it has too much salt. I also tried the Wellness Simple but it didn’t help either. Looking for something with lower fat and calories since she’s a little overweight. She is almost 9 years old and a small breed terrier.

  • slsb

    The reason “chicken meal” is, as you say, “tucked away between complicated other ingredients” is not a way to hide things or mislead the customer, food ingredients (for pets and people) are listed by weigh, most to least, not in order of “we want you to know” to “shh don’t notice this one”. Any ingredient that you don’t understand can be googled.

  • Susan
  • InkedMarie

    I disagree with you on quality. Quality is ingredients and guaranteed analysis. IQuality is also where foods are made & if that plant is a good one or one in which recalls are prevelant but this website does not take that into consideration. I have read where people say their dog did poorly on high quality foods; that doesn’t make the food low quality, it means that particular dog didn’t do well on it. Beneful is a horrible food; if a dog does well on it, it doesn’t make it a high quality food. Ingredients are ingredients, they don’t lie.

    If an owner cant be bothered to read the ingredient list, I personally don’t feel bad for them and I’d feel sorry for their dogs.

    I have three dogs: my allergy guy I me ntioned is 10. my brittany iss five & she eats raw, kibble and dehydrated and the guy in my avatar is my 6month old longhaired whippet, raw fed.

  • Chelsey Kim

    I believe that saying a food is bad quality is a misnomer. Bad quality should correlate with bad effects on health. If many dogs do well on a “bad quality” food, it can’t really be labeled “bad”. Perhaps it is less holistic, less natural, but not bad. I agree with your point, which was my original point, that the number of stars a food is rated does not necessarily mean anything when it comes to how well a dog does on that food.
    By “hidden within the ingredients” I meant that for the average consumer, it is not obvious that a food which may be labeled “lamb and brown rice” may not have strictly lamb as its protein and rather it may have “chicken meal” in the middle of the ingredient list seemingly tucked away between complicated other ingredients that aren’t even pronouncable rather than having it on the top line where it is apparent.
    As for the omegas, every little bit helps. I do add fish oil in addition to the food so he gets the full benefits.

    Thanks for commenting, it helped me clarify what I meant to say.
    Good health to you and your pup.

  • Shawna

    IBD has varying causes but a food sensitivity (not a true “allergy” but an IgA sensitivity) is definitely one of them. My Pom gets colitis if she has any form of chicken muscle meat (she is fine with liver, chicken eggs etc). Her first symptoms came about at around six months old and now at age ten she still reacts to chicken the same way. She also gets colitis from NSAIDs.

    Food sensitivities can actually cause food allergies as well as has been linked to autoimmune diseases. This is a good paper on the topic.
    “Do dietary lectins cause disease?

    Of particular interest is the implication for autoimmune diseases. Lectins stimulate class II HLA antigens on cells that do not normally display them, such as pancreatic islet and thyroid cells.9 The islet cell determinant to which cytotoxic autoantibodies bind in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is the disaccharide N-acetyl lactosamine,10 which must bind tomato lectin if present and probably also the lectins of wheat, potato, and peanuts. This would result in islet cells expressing both class II HLA antigens and foreign antigen together—a sitting duck for autoimmune attack. Certain foods (wheat, soya) are indeed diabetogenic in genetically susceptible mice.11 Insulin dependent diabetes therefore is another potential lectin disease and could possibly be prevented by prophylactic oligosaccharides.”

    Wheat is not the only lectin containing food however it is the most researched at this time. Some other foods containing lectins are potato, soy, all grains, green beans, peas, chicken, legumes. This paper discusses primarily wheat gluten and WGA but discusses all cereal grains.
    “The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation”

    The current thinking on cancer is that we all have cancer cells all the time. If our body is dealing with those cells then the cells don’t develop. There are foods that prevent and kill cancer cells and there are foods that contribute to cancer. It’s been in the news a lot lately that barbequing creates food carcinogens. On his blog, Dog Cancer Blog, Dr. Demian Dressler has an interesting article about kibble and cancer. The article is titled “Dog Food: Is There A Cancer Risk?” Many kibbles are cooked at temperatures and/or times that could create these carcinogens called heterocyclic amines (from proteins) and polyacrylamide (from starch).

    I definitely agree that chemicals in our environment and homes can contribute to the proliferation of cancer but food definitely has a contributing, or inhibitory, factor.