. . .but wouldn’t it be great to have a sort of calculator that allows you to input ingredients that you want to avoid, and it would then filter all the dog foods listed on the site, leaving only the foods that don’t include those ingredients? That would be so helpful to those of dealing with numerous food allergies and picky eaters.
I spend a great deal of time looking for foods to add into rotation that 1) my dog will eat (very picky!), 2) don’t cost a small fortune to feed a 65-pounder, 3) don’t contain one of her many allergens (white potato, rice, alfalfa, flax, peanut, soybean, rabbit. . .being just the more severe ones), and 4) provide a good nutritional balance (high in protein and not ridiculously high in fat with some fiber). I should also add that I’m a big believer in grain-free and minimal cooking/processing, but have a husband who is opposed to a home-cooked diet for our girl (that’s another story).
We started out with Darwin’s and that seemed to work great until she decided not to eat it anymore. I’ve since not had any luck with frozen raw. She just barks at it. Ziwipeak was good for a while, then she quit eating it. I’ve tried Arcana Duck and Bartlett Pear (the least successful in terms of willingness to eat it), and several freeze dried and dehydrated brands that don’t contain something on the allergy list. There don’t seem to be many options once the allergens are eliminated.
We’ve just started on Against the Grain canned, but there are only two proteins available, and she would need four cans a day, which would be expensive. I need something less expensive to add to it. Also, I have to offer variety, or she will refuse to eat anything in a few weeks. I’m going to try rotating in ZiwiPeak again. She has consistently liked K-9 Naturals freeze-dried, which I often mix with Honest Kitchen’s Preference Base Mix, but I’m concerned about the extremely high fat content in the K-9, and she has been a bit iffy on the Preference lately, sometimes refusing to eat it at all. The K-9 venison has somewhat lower fat, so I’m going to keep that in rotation. I’ve just ordered some small bags of Fresh Is Best freeze-dried to see how she likes that. She also likes Vital Essentials freeze dried, usually mixed with canned Tripett to provide some moisture. She does love tripe, but I know it doesn’t provide everything she needs nutritionally.
I worry not just about her allergies but also a diet too high in fat. She’s a three-year old lab mix and pretty active. She needs lots of protein and some fiber (judging from poop consistency).
I don’t currently have her on any supplements, having taken her off of them the last time she refused to eat her food (I’ve always put liquid or powdered supplements in her food, because she won’t eat treat-style supplements or pills). I need to identify any supplements that she may not be getting from her diet and try to find a way to get those in her.
It’s a difficult thing to manage. All advice is welcome. Mike–any chance for that ingredient eliminator program?
I was just going through limited ingredient dry foods that I could add to the Against the Grain canned food, and it looks like Nature’s Variety Instinct Turkey Meal Formula may be an option. It doesn’t appear to contain anything that Gracie is allergic too. Potatoes, rice, flax, and alfalfa appear to be very difficult to avoid. I would rather have a five-star food, but haven’t found one yet. It takes a long time to look up complete ingredients for every food!
P.S. In my previous post, “Arcana” should have been “Acana”, obviously. Sure would be nice to have the ability to edit posts.crazy4catsMember
Here is a tool that a participant came up with a while back. I haven’t looked at it, but maybe it can help you out some. http://www.dogfoodwizard.com/
WOW! That is exactly what I was hoping for. I ran Gracie’s allergies through it and came up with some of the foods I had been looking at as well as some I had not yet considered. THANK YOU SO MUCH!zcRileyMember
I had to subtract all ingredients except peas ( the only filler they’re ok with) and found one formula only. Zignature Zssentials. I put on top ZiwiPeak canned or Weruva canned.
It’s difficult, isn’t it? I also checked out Zignature Zssentials after reading favorable comments about it here. Unfortunately, it has both flaxseeds and alfalfa meal, so it won’t work for us.
I’m gonna take a guess and says she allergic to chicken too? If she isn’t look at Wysong Epigen 90.
This is what I got when I put in the limited information you gave us::
Acana Singles – Duck and Bartlett Pear
Acana Singles – Lamb and Okanagan Apple
Addiction (canned)- Hunter’s Venison Stew
Canine Caviar- Lamb and Pearl Millet Dinner
Canine Caviar- Large Breed Puppy Dinner
Canine Caviar- Open Sky GF
Canine Caviar- Wild Ocean GF
PetCurean Go!- Sensitivity + Shine Venison
Check some of those out. Not sure what else your dog is allergic to or what results you got using that tool, but thats what I got with what info you gave.
Thanks, PitLove, for your interest in Gracie. I did try to give complete information without writing a treatise; it seemed like a long post as it was! Gracie did not test allergic to chicken, though it is definitely her least favorite source of meat/protein. For example, she will eat all the K9 Naturals flavors except the chicken. Nevertheless, I try to keep some form of chicken in rotation, because it is a leaner option. I keep thinking that I will find a source of chicken that works for her.
When I ran the wizard, I got the Acana Singles Duck, Lamb, and Pork; Addiction Herbed Duck and Hunter’s Venison; Best Breed Grain-Free Chicken and Salmon; Canine Caviar Open Sky GF, Wild Ocean GF, Wilderness GF; DogsWell Nutrisca Chicken; Nulo Freestyle Adult Lamb, Salmon, Chicken, Turkey, Cod; Nulo Medal Series Adult Chicken, Lamb, Salmon, and Wysong Epigen 90.
I didn’t get PetCurean Go! – Sensitivity + Shine, I think because I eliminated tapioca on the basis of its similarity to a grain in digestive terms.
Allowing tapioca brings in several other options worth considering, including one that I just ordered but haven’t yet tried, Nature’s Variety Instinct Turkey Meal Formula. We’ll see how that goes. Any opinions on the tapioca?
Thanks, again, PitLove. Your help is much appreciate!
It’s no problem! I enjoy being helpful where I can. Even though she is not a huge fan of chicken I would 100% look into Wysong Epigen 90. It is completely unlike any other food on the market. It is completely starch free.
See if any of her red-flags are on there but I doubt it. The meat protein isolate per Dr.Wysong’s website is pork by the way.
If she isn’t actually allergic to tapioca itself then I wouldn’t imagine that it being considered a grain digestivly is an issue. “Grain” is such a broad term and I do not believe a dog can just be allergic to grains in and of themselves, it would have to be a specific type of grain or test positive in rare cases as being allergic to every type of grain present in dog food.
NV is a good food, my dog however didn’t like it because he is a pain in the butt lol. But that aside I like the food and it could be worth trying out.
I would have suggested the food my dog is currently on which is Nature’s Logic, however it contains alfalfa.
I will definitely check into the Epigen 90.
Gracie is not allergic to grains in general, rather I think they should be avoided in dog food, so the tapioca was purely my concern in that regard. After further research and consideration, I realize that my reaction to tapioca was based on what we called tapioca in my family growing up, which was really tapioca pudding and made from white rice (to which Gracie is quite allergic). However, tapioca is actually a root and there’s no evidence that it would be a problem for the princess. When I ran the wizard again without excluding tapioca I also got Source Grain Free Turkey and Pea as an option, along with Nature’s Variety Instinct.
In investigating why Against the Grain, ZiwiPeak, and Vital Essentials failed to make the Wizard’s list, I noticed something I had missed about Against the Grain; i.e., it has potato starch. I see no reason why ZiwiPeak (air dried) and Vital Essentials (freeze dried nibblets) would have been omitted. They still look like viable options to me.
I also still don’t see anything that would exclude K9 Natural freeze dried, though the wizard did not identify it as meeting the criteria.crazy4catsMember
I don’t think that the tool even lists k9 naturals in its data base. I think it’s fairly new in the U.S., isn’t it? I bought a bag of their frozen tripe last week. Boy,mix it stinky and my dogs love it!
Yeah, tripe takes some getting used to. Our last dog had chronic pancreatitis the last three+ years of her life (she made it to almost 17). The only thing she would/could eat without causing an attack was tripe (Tripett) mixed with slow cooked rice, fennel, and garlic. That diet helped her live much longer than any vet predicted and helped us limit, but certainly not eliminate, the severe, painful attacks. At first, I literally gagged when I would fix her food, but, now, after years of it, the odor does not bother me. Gracie loves tripe and would eat it every meal if I would let her. I have mixed feelings about whether it provides enough nutrition, since I did see one dog not just survive, but actually get healthier, on it for a long time.
I’ve been looking more closely at the foods that the wizard identified as not having the ingredients I eliminated based on allergies. One thing I’m struck by is how many starches are included in some of the foods. For example, the various flavors of Acana and Nulo have four starches each. Of course, that doesn’t in any way indicate what percentage of the ingredients are starches, but I suspect that some, like lentils and peas, are pretty significant proportionally, given the limited ingredients of some of the foods. Gracie hasn’t tested allergic to those, but I am not convinced they belong in dog food any more than grains. The Epigen 90 does seem to stand out as a food with no starches.
I’m curious to know what everyone’s thoughts are on starches and how much you consider those in choosing foods.
P.S. The starches I’m talking about in these limited ingredient foods are 1) lentils, 2) peas, 3) chickpeas, 4) sweet potatoes, 5) pumpkin, and 6) tapioca.
Addiction Hunter’s Venison Stew (canned) also appears to be free of grains and starches.
So this brings us to the problem with kibble in general. Those starchy carbohyrate sources provide one main thing in kibble; a binder. In order to have it’s shape kibble needs a carbohydrate to bind the food together, therefore you will never see a kibble that is completely carb free. Wysong Epigen 90 is the closest thing at only 4% carbs. Impressive for a kibble. It is really a shame that Nature’s Logic has alfalfa in it because millet is a hypo-allergenic seed and is easily digested by dogs. Millet being the carb source in NL.
If your dog is prone to yeast, staying away from starchy carbs is best, but IMO the lesser of all the evils in that list is lentils and chickpeas.
Most people will tell you that completely getting rid of allergies requires a raw diet and to be honest thats probably true. But that would take working with a nutritionist and developing recipes that would work for her and then actually making them.
Canned foods also will offer you more choices that kibble of less grains and starches, however they are not without them. Maybe look into dehyrated raw?
Edit: Also on the subject of Tripe. Most tripe is not considered complete and balanced. I know Tripett isn’t for one. One that is complete and balanced is Solid Gold’s Green Beef Tripe. I’ve used that for my dog and he loved it. Didn’t smell bad to me either.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Pitlove.
I get what you’re saying. I have been feeding Gracie dehydrated and freeze-dried raw, having not been successful with frozen, but I need more options in rotation so that she doesn’t get tired of any one food after a few weeks. Also, the expense of straight-up, prepared raw is very high. And, lastly, there’s the sometimes quite high fat content that is of concern (e.g., K9 Natural) in the dried raw foods. So, I’ve been on the hunt for several high quality kibbles and canned options to mix with dried raw, both to lower the overall cost and to put the fat in better balance. Does that make sense? I am willing to concede that allowing in some starches is going to be inevitable with this plan.
Here’s what I’ve come up with that could work for Gracie. The fat percentages are approximates based on the flavor that Mike reviewed.
Honest Kitchen Preference
Against the Grain (20% fat/protein ratio)
Chicken (but does contain potato starch)
Beef (but does contain potato starch)
Addiction (53% fat/protein ratio)
Herbed Duck Confit
Tripett (58% fat/protein ratio)
Green Bison Tripe
Original Green Beef Tripe
Green Beef Tripe and Venison
New Zealand Green Lamb Tripe
Green Beef Tripe, Duck and Salmon
ZiwiPeak (71% fat/protein ratio)
Venison and Fish
Tripe, Lamb, and Venison
Nulo Freestyle (48% fat/protein ratio)
Turkey and Sweet Potato
Salmon and Peas
Lamb and Chickpeas
Nulo Medal (51% fat/protein ratio)
Lamb and Lentils
Chicken and Peas
Salmon and Sweet Potato
Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient (68% fat/protein ratio)
Acana Singles (56% fat/protein ratio)
Pork and Butternut Squash
Duck and Bartlett Pear
Lamb and Okanagan Apple
Wysong Epigen 90 (25% fat/protein ratio)
Freeze Dried, Air Dried, or Dehydrated Raw:
K9 Natural (90%+ fat/protein ratio)
Venison (but does contain eggs, a borderline allergen)
Lamb (but does contain eggs, a borderline allergen)
Fresh Is Best (50% fat/protein ratio)
Vital Essentials (79% fat/protein ratio)
ZiwiPeak (79% fat/protein ratio)
Venison and Fish
Looks like you have good options. Are you going to be feeding canned, kibble and some form of raw all together? I tend to lean towards feeding just 2. I was feeding canned and kibble before and now I’m using kibble and Sojo’s dehydrated raw. I feel like if I added canned in there as well it would come to too many calories. I’m feeding 1/2 cup rehydrated Sojo’s and 1/2 Nature’s Logic kibble. I tried to feed him more than that and he couldn’t finish it, telling me I was feeding him too much. Feeding 1/2 and 1/2 he finishes all of it.
OR are you wanting to switch it up daily and do like some form of raw and kibble one meal and then like canned and a form of raw the next etc etc?
I was holding off replying to your last post, PitLove, until I had time to try some combinations. My goal was to mix kibble with canned or dehydrated (not all three at the same time) to make the expensive stuff go a little further. I’ve tried it for a week now with no success. She just won’t eat kibble, no matter what I mix with it. I’ve tried four different kinds of kibble and have mixed it with various canned and dehydrated foods from the list I posted previously. All she wants to eat right now is the canned Against the Grain. She likes the chicken and beef varieties equally. I can mix in Ziwipeak air dried or the Fresh is Best freeze dried chicken, turkey, or beef, but that’s it. She won’t even eat things she was eating before, like the K9 or Vital Essentials. What’s with this dog?
On the bright side, my husband, seeing my extreme disappointment and frustration, has agreed to let me try a home cooked diet. He was opposed to that because he knows if something happened to me, he could not maintain it. He just doesn’t have the time. However, given the amount of money we have wasted on commercial food that she won’t eat, he seems willing to take the risk. Now I’ve got to get busy and figure out a good home-prepared diet for her. Gracie’s needs are quite different than our last dog, for whom I cooked a bland, low fat diet to deal with chronic pancreatitis.
I will keep the Against the Grain and ZiwiPeak / Fresh is Best in rotation, but will probably mostly reserve it for when she’s boarding or we’re traveling.
Suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
Wow, really sorry to hear that all that didn’t work out. During the time that I was fighting with my dog for him to eat I tried a lot of ways of preparing his food. First I tried kibble on the bottom of the bowl with some canned on top- that didn’t work. Then I tried using my hands and mixing the kibble and canned together- didn’t work either he hated it. Then I tried feeding the kibble first and his reward for eating the kibble was a little canned- that kinda worked but there were times where he still didn’t eat. So, I thought to myself that maybe he has an issue with the texture that these combinations created so I tried canned on the bottom of the bowl with dry on top- he ate it, no issue at all! I’ve continued to do that for a long time until we stumbled on Nature’s Logic and he was willing to eat it without canned at all! Now he loves food so much that I can use canned food as a topper again and have his dry on the bottom and it saves me money and he eats no issue.
Really glad your husband is willing to let you try homecooked meals though. Thats great. Another thing to look into would be a commercial raw company like Darwin’s, so you don’t have to worry about the food being complete and balanced because it already is. With Darwin’s they do autoshipping, but you can cancel or change the order at any time and they start you off with a starter pack for 14.95$ including the shipping. If you want to go the way of making your own meals, I would highly recommend working with a veterinary nutritionist to come up with meals that would be complete and balanced. It can risk your dogs health if you feed an unbalanced raw/homecooked diet even more so than feeding a low quality kibble.
I am very familiar with Darwin’s, and I think it is the best food. I fed Gracie Darwin’s for the first 15 or 16 months that we had her, and all was right with the world. Then, one day, she refused to eat it. . . and she kept on refusing. I switched to ZiwiPeak, and she ate that for a while, then stopped. . . and on. . .and on the story goes. We’ve been through so many foods and vet visits to try to figure out what to do. I still have some of the Darwin’s in the freezer, and every now and then I offer it to her. She just growls and barks at it and won’t eat a bite. The freeze-dried, air dried, and dehydrated “raw” foods have been more to her liking, but they are so expensive, which brings us back to why I was looking for alternatives or ways to dilute those with kibble.
So, if/when I prepare her food myself, it likely won’t be raw. Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to get away with very light cooking so that most of the nutrients survive the process. I like your suggestion of working with a veterinary nutritionist. I will definitely look in to that.
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