Grain Free Food vs. Blue Buffalo

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition Grain Free Food vs. Blue Buffalo

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  • #128642 Report Abuse
    Christie B

    When I first adopted my dog almost 9 years ago, I started him on Purina ProPlan on the recommendation of my vet. He did fine on it, but that was before I knew anything about Purina and the quality of their food. And I didn’t know what a by-product was.

    Then Blue Buffalo became popular and I switched to that. Everything was fine for years. Except he gained a bit more weight than was expected (I probably did feed him too many treats at the time as well). The vet told me that Blue Buffalo was too “rich” and recommended Purina again. Or Science Diet (because that was the line that they stocked in their clinic). So I started to research ‘quality’ foods and came to sites like this and read through the forums and figured I should switch him to grain free.

    He’s been on grain free for about 3 years now.

    But over the course of that time, he started to show signs of allergies and intolerance (constant licking, red paws, hot spots, head shaking, grass eating, excessive drooling, gas, etc.) Never all at once, but worrisome.

    I switched him back to Blue Buffalo (and restricted the amount…far less than the ridiculous 5 cups a day it says I should feed him) and ever since, he’s been fine.

    No more issues.

    Could it have been something with the grain free food? Every single one that I tried (and I always properly transitioned between them) eventually lead to symptoms.

    I’ve seen a lot of negative comments on the Blue Buffalo review page. I mean compared to ProPlan, it’s definitely better. But are there any other foods (preferably ones that can be found in Petco or Petsmart) that are good that aren’t grain free?

    #128643 Report Abuse

    Bump, per the search engine

    science based information
    (excerpt below, click on link for full article)
    Bottom Line
    Nutrition and metabolism are complicated, and the exact relationship between dietary composition, breed genetics, and other factors leading to DCM is not yet clear. It is too early to say with certainty whether the diets are the primary cause of DCM in these dogs or whether other breeds may also be at risk. However, it is clear that the idea behind the health claims for grain-free diets is speculative at best and very likely untrue. Extreme diet fads hardly ever turn out to be a good idea in people, and the same is probably true for pets.
    If you are feeding a grain-free diet, there is no need to panic. If you own a golden retriever or other breed that has been shown to be develop DCM in the past, it makes sense to talk to your vet and potentially have taurine levels tested or other diagnostics done depending on the circumstances. The diet you are feeding may be perfectly fine, but it is also probable not any better than any other diet with more conventional ingredients, and there is now some small indication that it may place some dogs at greater risk for this preventable disease.
    The links above to the FDA and UC Davis Vet School will provide more information.
    Animal by-products (excerpt below)
    In addition to grain, animal by-products have become “dirty words” on the ingredient list. Although not necessarily appealing to humans (particularly in the USA), the definition of a by-product in pet food is a part of the animal that is not skeletal muscle. This includes organ meats and intestines (not intestinal contents). AAFCO specifically excludes hair, hooves, horns, hide, manure, etc… as acceptable by-products. So in reality, by-products are perfectly healthy and full of nutrients. And you can be sure that a wild wolf or mountain lion is eating “by-products” in nature.

    #128644 Report Abuse
    dr tim

    When a dog is allergic to a food they are actually allergic to a protein in the food. Which one or ones can be difficult to identify. Trial and error with close scrutiny of them ingredients you may see the trend of itching with certain inclusions. Compare the ingredients and see what’s different. Dogs are allergic to proteins in their food, not brands.

    #128645 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    Hi Christie, you can try Castor and Pollack they have organic chicken with grains. Also, Natures Instinct (the be natural one’s have the grains). Wellness has a few with grains. These can be bought at Petco or PetSmart. When you transition make sure you do it slowly, depending on the dog it can take 10 days to 3 weeks to fully transition. Mine I do 3 weeks b/c that’s the way he needs it done. Other wise if he is doing good on BB than leave it, but if not try these.
    Oh and one more thing, I wouldn’t feed grain free right now b/c of the FDA reports to be on the safe side. Hope everything works out.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by joanne l.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by joanne l.
    #128648 Report Abuse

    Fromm Adult Classic is grain inclusive and does not have a lot of ingredients.

    Blue Buffalo has grain inclusive formulas.

    Pro Plan Focus for Sensitive Skin and Stomach is grain inclusive.

    #128649 Report Abuse
    #128653 Report Abuse
    Christie B

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I had previously known what anon101 pointed out, but that didn’t factor in my decision to switch from grain free. And as dr. tim pointed out, allergies are to a specific protein in the food.

    All I know is that he was fine when eating Blue Buffalo, but the reviews on this site (and others) steered me away. And I tried a variety of foods, and different proteins, to see what would work. And for 3 years none of them did. And I always stuck to 5 star rated foods from this site.

    I just wasn’t sure if there was something in grain free foods that was used as a grain substitute that he could have been sensitive to.

    He’s been back to Blue Buffalo for almost six months now with no issues. I was just curious why the ‘better’ foods didn’t work well for him.

    #128654 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hello all:
    December 14th the Skeptvet posted an update concerning the DCM alert following the publication of two studies, one of which included several of his patients, “Evidence Update: Grain-free and other “BEG” Diets Associated with Heart Disease in Dogs” along with a new bottom line summary:

    “Bottom Line
    We cannot say with certainty that BEG diets cause heart disease. We can only say that they have been associated with DCM in both golden retrievers with taurine deficiency and in other breeds without taurine deficiency. We can also say that changing diets appears to have benefitted some of these dogs, though many other treatments were employed at the same time, which limits out ability to know how important a factor this diet change was in the dogs’ recovery.

    We can also say that none of the claims for health risks from grains in pet foods, or for health benefits from grain-free or other BEG diets, are supported by any reasonable scientific evidence. Certainly, the evidence for such diets is weaker than even the very limited evidence against them.

    As pet owners and veterinarians, we need to proportion our confidence in any conclusions to the strength of the available evidence and be willing to change our minds as new evidence emerges. We also need to make our decisions now, even before we have perfect evidence. Right now, there is no solid reason to think grain-free diets have any health advantages, and there is weak evidence to suggest they might have health risks for some dogs. If you have a golden retriever, it seems reasonable to avoid the diets that have been associated with taurine deficiency and DCM in this breed. Even if you don’t have a golden, you should at least give some thought to why you might want to feed or avoid BEG diets. The evidence can’t make the decision for you, but it should certainly be considered.”

    #128713 Report Abuse

    Hi Christine,
    What symptoms does your dog suffer with?? IBS stomach/bowel symptoms or just has skin allergies??
    He might have Seasonal Environment Allergies, now he’s doing better cause it’s Winter & plant/trees in your yard or neighbouring yards aren’t flowering etc
    You will know when Spring & Summer come back around keep a diary..
    Or he was sensitive to ingredient in the grain free food, my boy can NOT eat a G/F kibble that has Tapioca, he starts to smell yeasty, scratches, itchy, scratches bum on carpet, Lentils cause bad gas, wind pain then has diarrhea, when he eats Barley he gets yeasty smelly skin, yeasty paws & sloppy yellow poos, rubs bum on ground, Corn Gluten causes yeasty smelly skin, paws, sloppy poos then diarrhea & rubs bum on ground, Oats = yeasty skin, paws & sloppy yellow poos, rubs bum on ground, Carrot cause itchy ears, shaking his head/ears..He doesn’t do well on any grain formula’s..

    When he eats a grain free dry kibble that has Potato, Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas further down the ingredient list his IBD & skin goes really well thru the Winter months then when Summer comes around something in the environment causes bad skin allergies, I know grass & wet grass is 1 allergens he suffer from, he goes down hill with itchy skin, red paws, whinging & he’s eating 1 of the same G/F foods he did well on thru Winter months, I rotate his G/F foods, Wellness Core, Wellness Simple Turkey & Potato & Canidae Pure Meadow Senior & Canidae Pure Wild Boar all Grain Free formula’s.

    If a dogs diet has too much Omega-6 & is way too low in omega-3, the omegas need to be balanced properly then the dog will suffer with skin problems…
    eg-Omega-6 Fatty Acids-2.80% Omega-3 fatty Acids-1.00%,
    Omegs-3 should be nilly 1/2 of what the Omega-6% is…

    Pet foods that are AAFCO aproved means nothing as some are NOT balanced properly… this is 1 thing Susan Thrixon pointed out in her recent link
    “DCM Study Misses the Big Picture”
    By Susan Thixton – December 14, 2018

    If he’s doing well on Blue Buffalo feed it but I would also rotate & feed another brand that has similair ingredients as the Blue Buffalo he does well on has. This way if there is something wrong with a certain batch, or its not balance properly etc he isnt eating the same dry dog food 24/7 also if ever something happens you know of another brand you can fall back onto..

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