So, have been reading a lot about dog foods and various kinds, as well as dietary supplements for my two fur babies. I am looking for some help and suggestions from others who may be experiencing similar issues. So a little background first…..
I have two labs, a male yellow that is 6 going on 7, and a female black who is 4 going on 5. They are pretty healthy I am happy to say! My boy the yellow though, has sensitive skin and has been an itchy boy for most of his life. This past year, he was bitten by something in the back yard that gave him hives and an allergic reaction, treated by benedryl. He has also developed a skin infection on the underside of his chin twice this year. Baby girl the black does not have the skin problems he seems to have, however she got a a bacterial infection on her tummy twice this year. They have been on Kumpi, and have always loved it. Due to the skin issues and infections that they both suffered this year, and also due to the high caloric count that Kumpi has, I decided to try something else.
So we switched to Blue Wilderness, the chicken formula. We are on the 2nd bag now. They love the taste and eat it just fine. After reading about the high protein diet, and taking into consideration the skin issues, I also just started adding probiotics (Probiotic Miracle) and Celavin Omega 3 Oil. Am starting with smaller doses…..today is the 2nd day they have gotten a full 1/4 tsp. of the probiotic, and they also got a 1/4 tsp. of the oil. So far haven’t noticed anything different, but also no ill effects.
What I am noticing in the yard though…..loose and very fragrant (and not in a good way!) stools. I am hoping that the probiotics will start to kick in and help with that, but am wondering if there is an average time frame to start noticing a difference? They also seemed a tad gassy for awhile, that seems to have subsided, but probably still a bit too early to tell. Their stools are also not consistently loose…..some look pretty good, but not as firm as I would like to see. I would also like to find a food that might reduce the amount of stools that I am seeing. I read somewhere recently, may have been here, that a lady had her dog on a food and routine that has resulted in one stool per day…..wow! While I don’t necessarily expect that kind of result, it does seem like they are pooping a lot.
This whole subject of best food(s) to feed is mind boggling to me….so many variables. A dear friend who is very health conscious, both for herself and her dogs, feeds hers Natural Balance (Dick Patten). But since they have now been sold to Del Monte, I have some real concerns that the good reputation they have built for their foods will soon go the way of many foods that have been bought out by large corporations. I am not necessarily ready to give up on Blue Wilderness, but am also reading that perhaps a potato free food may be a better choice. Sweet potato would be ok I think, from what I have read, but “regular” white potatoes can be an allergent.
So looking for some good advice on what to do here…..hang in and see if the probiotics start to kick in and do their job, or keep looking for a food that I can be confident is safe for them, and might help my itchy boy be more comfortable. The probiotic jar is such a small amount for the price…..I am willing to spend on my babies, that’s for sure! But it would be nice to find a food where I could potentially limit the supplements. That may be the ideal world. Would love suggestions on more cost effective probiotics and if I’m on the right track!
Any and all comments and suggestions welcome! I know that there are a lot of you who have done tons of research more than I have, and am hoping to get some shared knowledge that might help.
Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing your comments! It is very much appreciated.
Hound Dog MomParticipant
Hi KatB –
I wouldn’t say Natural Balance ever had a “good” reputation – it was a poor food prior to being sold to Del Monte and I’m sure it will remain a poor food. The formulas are low protein and loaded with peas, potatoes, etc. and the majority of their foods are manufactured by Diamond – an untrustworthy manufacturer with many recalls. I believe NB’s Limited Ingredient Diets were also found to contain traces of protein sources not listed on the ingredient list.
I would recommend adding digestive enzymes in addition to the probiotics. For a cost effective probiotic choice I’d recommend checking out these:
How long have the bogs been on Blue Wilderness? Sometimes it can take a week or two for the dog to adjust especially if the dog isn’t used to food changes and is being switched from a lower protein food to a higher protein food (or vice versa).
Hi Hound Dog Mom,
Thanks for the reply and the suggestion. I will definitely look into that.
They’ve been on Wilderness for about 3-4 weeks now. I had hoped to see a lessening of the itchiness, but am not. I have also read that many people rotate foods on a fairly regular basis. Was thinking of buying either the salmon or duck formula (still Wilderness) next purchase and see if there is any change. Some folks have said that chicken can be a fairly common allergen.
Many moons ago, we also purchased wet food (canned – I think it was Kirkland from Costco) to supplement the dry food. My yellow boy would vomit, so we only do the dry food now. But then again, we did not try a different wet food. So they only get the dry kibble, which we add either a little chicken broth or warm water to. Sometimes we also supplement with low fat vanilla yogurt or cottage cheese to add some moisture.
I also read about NB being manufactured in Diamond plants, which was also a major concern to me. Prior to the sale though, their reviews seemed to be pretty good. I think this site even rated them 4 star, but I could be wrong as I’ve been reading about so many brands lately! Not to argue the point at all, but it is surprising to me that my friend landed on that brand after all her research.
Thanks for the links and the advice! Very much appreciated. Will look into the enzymes asap. And if you have any thoughts about rotating food and dry vs. wet, would love to hear!
Hound Dog MomParticipant
If your dogs have already been on the food for 3-4 weeks and you’re still not seeing improvement you may want to try something else. Chicken is definitely a very common allergen, unfortunately rotatating Wilderness varieties won’t help if that’s the issue. All of the Blue Wilderness formulas are chicken based. Have you ever tried a chicken free food before? You may want to look into a food with a single novel protein.
Thank you. I do see that all of the Wilderness formulas have chicken in some way, shape or form. We have never tried a chicken free food before. I am just now cluing in that Chicken is a common allergen.
I was at my local pet food store the other day, and noticed that they carry Castor & Pollax. I think we may try their grain and poultry free formula next bag I need to get. Have the enzymes on order.
The dogs are happy and have no issues with eating the Wilderness, and no one has been sick. Just the soft stools and itchy boy still quite itchy. The black lab also tends to eat grass when she’s in the yard, so I feel like we’re missing something in their diet.
Thanks again for the suggestions…..anyone else out there with any other food suggestions??
I have a 11 ish year old standard poodle with a lot of the same symptoms as your itchy boy. She is itchy snd very gassy. She also ests grass at time and tends to lick the air. Right now I have her on Acana Lamb and Apple. Yet she had bad gas issues after each meal and bit later too. Right now she is on meds and herbs for help with itchiness but the gas issues are very frustrating including her. At times I can tell she is very uncomfortable. It is difficult because she loves her food and we have tried many different brands as well. Someone suggested I try Earthborn Primitive. I need to do some research
I am so glad I found your post. Maybe we both can get some much neede help for our babies.
My kids seem to really love the Castor & Pollax Ultramix, and at first it also seemed to be helping with the itching of my yellow. As time has gone by, he has returned to his itchy self. although mostly in the mornings and he doesn’t seem too uncomfortable or stressed by it.
Some friends have an adopted golden who started itching a few months back. They changed food a couple of times, and then their vet recommended something called atopica. It seemed to work ok, certainly not miraculous but the itching was somewhat lessened, but then some side effects started. In doing research about this drug, turns out it is very controversial and not something I would put my guys on. Bottom line, they went back to the vet, who agreed, and she is now on a prescription diet food that is made by Royal Canin. It’s quite expensive, but will be interesting to see how she does on it and if that takes care of the problem.
I’m not quite ready to go that route yet, as I hate to keep switching their food, and especially since they love it so much. Yet another friend lives in Hawaii (I am in a mountain state so it’s quite dry) with a tropical climate, and still has an itchy dog. They are feeding natural, local dog food and supplementing with flaxseed oil. They also use noni oil specifically made for pets and mix it with coconut oil which they rub on his tummy every so often….it seems to help. I may give that a try……
I also had to take my female, the black lab, off of the pro-biotics and enzymes, as she suddenly started vomiting every time I gave it to her. This started a month or so after I started them on it. But her stools are nice and solid now, and she seems to be fine without the additions. Itchy boy I still have on them plus Omega fish oil, but a small amount. His stools can get runny with too much oil. My female still eats grass and is sometimes a little gassy, but it’s minimal.
I’ll be interested on any updates on what might be working, and I’ll let you know how my friends’ dog does on the Royal Canin.
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