Hey all…I’m completely new here but have looked at a ton of the reports on the 4 & 5* rated foods. I have a 6yr old mixed breed (some lab) that we adopted at the end of December.
(Also, thru these descriptions, pls keep in mind that it’s been 20 years since I had a dog. We had some dogs when I was a child, but I haven’t had one as an adult.)
Anyway, Wilson came to us on Purina One Smartblend Lamb & Rice. I already knew that wasn’t a great quality food, so after a couple weeks I moved him to Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato.
That transition went pretty well but we’ve been fighting allergy issues since we got him. Now, it may turn out that he is just allergic to our grass (bermuda) and there is nothing to be done really, but I’m willing to experiment. (Also, he came to us with an ear infection, so we had lots going on there initially.)
About 3 weeks ago I bought a bag of Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast grain free (bison meal and also some lamb meal) from my local pet store (and they carry a great selection of grain free lines…Orijen, Acana, Wellness, Canidae, Cal. Natural, Taste of the Wild, Earthborn, Fromm’s and more…the only main one I wondered about was Merrick which they do not carry). We started off with a 1/4 new to 3/4 old. Wilson had some soft stool (but not diarrhea) for several days…it was almost a week before I moved the ratio up to half and half. We stayed on half and half for two weeks. Initially he also had soft stool again…but it also seemed like it alternated more…very firm (seemed like he was straining) one time and the next time, soft. Sometimes hard and soft at the same trip outside.
Also, he’s developed dandruff and is shedding a lot. Now, we are in Texas and we are having weather in the 70’s to even low 80’s one day already, so part of that is just the season. However, thru Jan. & Feb. he hardly shed at all. But the dandruff? And he also seems to me to be doing more butt dragging than previously. And he’s been doing a lot of paw licking and chewing the whole time we’ve had him.
Just yesterday, I finally upped his kibble to 3/4 new and 1/4 old. His morning poo was hard and seemed straining. His late afternoon poo was soft. (Not soft serve ice cream soft, but soft.)
I know it may be hard to separate the food reaction from the season or other issues (dryness in the house?/low humidity?) but all these things together have me leaning towards ditching the Earthborn and going back to his Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato for a bag and then trying a different grain free.
Any feedback or suggestions? I was thinking that I should maybe look for grain free that is duck or fish based since he did well on Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato? Also I noticed that the Earthborn is potato free (has peas and tapioca)…maybe I should try a grain free with potato or at least sweet potatoes?
I guess any feedback or suggestions you have as far as what to try or what to look for in behavior/reactions when changing food would be welcome.
Try finding a food that is grain free, potato free and pretty low in carbs. My favorite kibble is Brothers Complete Allergy Formula. It is pretty pricey, but it really worked for my dog with issues like yours. It has to be ordered from their website unless you live in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
After all of the Brothers Complete formulas, I think my next choice would be Orijen or even Wysong Epigen.
High quality canned or raw are even better, but somewhat cost prohibitive in a large dog.
Hi texasniteowl –
You may want to get your boy on some supplements that will help his allergies – quercitin, nettle, burdock root and perilla leaf, omega 3’s, bromelain, papain and coconut oil are all supplements shown to help ease allergy symptoms. Aunt Jeni’s sells a supplement called “Enhance Allergy Aid” with vitamin c, burdock root, quercitin and biotin. Vet’s Best sells a supplement called “Seasonal Allergy Support” with bioflavinoids, nettle leaf, vitamin c, perilla leaf and quercitin. You may want to consider purchasing one of these or a similar supplement and giving him some fish oil and coconut oil daily.
If your he is indeed allergic to your grass you should bathe him frequently in an herbal shampoo (avoid oatmeal-based shampoos) and have a foot soak ready to use after he’s been outdoors (you can make a solution using 1 gal. water, 1 c. hydrogen peroxide and 1-4 c. white vinegar or you can mix povidone iodine with water). Soak his feet every time he comes indoors so he’s not tracking the allergen through your house and vacuum frequently.
You should make sure his food is low in carbohydrates as high carbohydrate diets are “pro-inflammatory” and can worsen allergy symptoms. Your best bet, as Patty mentioned, would be a balanced raw diet. If that’s not possible a high protein canned or dehydrated food would be the next best option. If you must feed kibble keep it high protein. My top picks for kibble would be Orijen (38-40% protein), Nature’s Variety Instinct (35 – 42% protein), EVO (42-52% protein), Solid Gold’s Barking at the Moon (41% protein), Artemis Maximal (42% protein) Earthborn Primitive Natural (38% protein) or Wysong Epigen (60% protein). If you can at least top the kibble with balanced raw or a high quality canned or dehydrated food, this would be better than kibble alone.
Supplementing with probiotics is known to help allergies as well. I would recommend adding a high quality multi-strain probiotic to the food such as Mercola Probiotics, Garden of Life Primal Defense, Dr. Stephen Langer’s Ultimate 15 Strain Probiotic with FOS or Swanson’s Soil-Based Organisms. Probiotics may help firm up his stool as well. Some other ideas to help firm him up would be adding a spoonful of plain canned pumpkin to each meal and supplementing with digestive enzymes.
Remember it may take several weeks for things to clear up. Good luck!
Thank you both Patty and Hound Dog Mom for your input. I recognize that RAW may be best but it seems intimidating and/or time consuming and/or expensive…and prepackaged/prepared *is* expensive. (Wilson weighs a little over his target weight of 62lbs…we’re currently at 66lb and going down slowly.)
So we do need to stick to dry kibble…at least for now.
I guess I’m leaning towards sticking with the bag of Earthborn Great Plains…at least to finish it…don’t know that I will buy it again. I do have some pumpkin I can add to his meals so I hope that will help with the alternate straining/soft movements. (Also, for what it’s worth, the Great Plains has a guaranteed protein of 34%…lower than the primitive at 38% yes, but much higher than the Fromm’s he was on (27% iirc).)
I will start looking at the options again to try to figure out which to try next. Also, I *am* open to using a topper…either freeze dried or canned. I suppose I just need to account for the calories, right? The rough calorie spot for Wilson’s kibble is 950-975 calories/day. He’s not extremely active…we do around a 1 mile walk daily and he doesn’t get all that many treats. On the Fromm’s, this target had him losing very slowly so I could cut it slightly a bit more, but I’m OK with the extra 5-6 lbs coming off slow.
I have been planning to add fish oil…or Omega 3…supplements. Am confused on amount…do I worry about the amount of epa/dha individually or combined? Example, one product I am looking at has a serving of 2 capsules. That serving contains 360 epa and 250 dha (with the two combined being 610). Is that enough for a dog his size or should I be looking to double that?
I had also been starting to look into Probiotics…HDM I see you listed several human probiotics…no problems with these? I had been looking at Nusentia’s Probiotic Miracle or NWC Naturals Total-biotics but the Swanson for example would be much less expensive.
sigh…apparently I can write novel like responses as well as original posts ;>
Hi texasniteowl –
Completely understandable that you can’t do raw, it’s not possible for the majority but I thought I’d put it out there is case it was a potential option. I raw feed my crew of three large, extremely active bloodhounds and it gets very time consuming and expensive.
As for toppers – yes, all you would need to do is account for the calories. Generally speaking, the average 13.2 oz. can of dog food as roughly the same amount of calories as an 8 oz. measuring cup of dry kibble.
For fish oil you will want to go by combined EPA/DHA amounts. 100 – 150 mg. mg combined DHA and EPA per 10 lbs. is the general recommendation and what I’d suggest starting with, although I’ve seen sources recommend up to 300 mg. combined DHA/EPA per 10 lbs. for dogs with health issues. The product you’re looking at has a combined EPA/DHA of 610 per serving so that would be just about perfect for your 62 lb. dog.
Human probiotics are perfectly fine for dogs. In fact, I feel that they’re generally higher quality and (oddly) they typically cost less per dose. You certainly can go with a probiotic supplement marketed for dogs, but it’s not necessary. Just look for one with as many strains as possible. If you go with a human supplement, adjust the serving size accordingly. I’d give a 62 lb. dog 1/2 the recommended human dose (although there’s no need to stress about dosages too much as probiotics aren’t something that will harm your dog if you were to accidentally “overdose”).
If you look at the dog food ingredients forum, you’ll see a tickie ith ll the grain/potato free foods.
So I’ve been looking at probiotics and enzymes today and I definitely can see that some of the better quality/higher rated pet products resemble human. I was looking at NWC Naturals Total-Biotics as my top “pet marketed” choice and the Swanson products (both the Soil Based and the Dr. Langer’s Ultimate) are pretty similar! For Wilson’s size, the Total-Biotics ends up costing about 26 cents a day. The Swanson Soil Based is 11 cents a day (no FOS prebiotic though) and the Langer (on sale) is 12.5 cents a day (though when not on sale would be 25 cents a day).
I was also looking at enzymes…now I know a lot of people rec. the Mercola and while I don’t know exact numbers, their website says it has the following:
Ox Bile Extract
Pancreatain 4X (Protease, Amylase, Lipase)
Well, guess what I found…2 human products that have the same ingredients. NOW Foods Super Enzymes has the same ingredients plus Cellulase and 180 capsules is $15.53. Likewise, Swanson Premium Digestive Enzymes has the same plus Diastase and Cellulase and 180 tablets is $9.39.
I’m pretty tempted right now to order the Swanson Langer formula probiotic and one of the human enzyme products. At least while the Langer is on sale.
That’s what I would do.
All right…at this point, this post might belong in the supplements area…but it is due to this thread, so staying here. I blame all of you for the $100+ order I just made at Swansonvitamins. OK, mostly for me but also for Wilson…I ended up choosing to go with:
Probiotic: Swanson’s Dr. Langer’s Probiotic. Since it was Buy One Get One, that is a bottle for Wilson and a bottle for me to try.
Enzymes for Wilson: NOW Foods Optimal Digestive System. A human “serving” is 2 capsules (per meal), but Wilson will probably get 1 per meal. I also ordered the NOW Foods Plant Enzymes. It would also be suitable for Wilson it looks like so we’ll be sharing these 2.
Omega 3 for Wilson: Carlson Salmon Oil softgels. Omega 3 for me but which would also work for Wilson: Carlson Elite Omega-3 Gems.
6 other items on my list, but all for me ;>
I do the same thing when I get on Swanson…once I start ordering I can’t stop. I dropped over $200 on my last order lol. Good choice with the Carlson fish oil, it’s what I use for my dogs. I think it’s one of the highest quality fish oils and one of only a few brands I trust to not be contaminated.
I really like the Carlsons too. And does the phrase “Go big or go home.” mean anything to you? I do the same thing when I place an order. I try to get everything I need and 1 or 2 things I’ve been meaning to try. sigh.
Well, I returned the Earthborn back to the store today and we are going to go thru another bag of the Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato before we try a different grain free. Even with yogurt (plain greek) and/or pumpkin his stool just was not consistent in any way. So back to his old food and as soon as the swanson order arrives I’ll start adding probiotics/enzymes/fish oil and then choose another grain free (kibble and/or kibble plus topper) to try.
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