Hello! New member here. This has probably been answered on this forum before. I have an 8 year old Lab and she is almost constantly in some phase of an ear infection. We’ve fought it with ear medication but can’t seem to beat it. She also has seizures, but only an episode every 3-4 months or so. I would like to see if a diet change will help her. She has been fed Pedigree dry food all of her life. I am hopeful that I can find a new diet that will help with this. Thanks in advance for any help!
I know others will write more in depth, but I had the same issue with ear infections with my sweet lab Bess. All her life- chronic ear issues. She’s gone now (she was 14) but I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have fed a grain free diet. I know that would have helped immensely. If I were you, I would consider a gradual switch to a quality grain free dog food. I feed my Goldens grain free Fromms and they are thriving, but there are many choices out there. Good luck. Let me know what happens with your Lab!
Possibly should have been in the diet and health forum?
Oops. Yes. I didn’t even see which forum– saw only “Lab and ear issues.”
Your topic is just fine where you posted it. I agree with Diana. I think a food change would definitely help. I also have labs and have not ever had an ear infection (knock on wood). I regularly feed mine grain free Victor Joint Health with various toppers mixed in. I also give them probiotics which I believe would help with the ear infections because they help fight yeast infections.
Would you be open to switching food? If yes, choose a 3 or 4 star food and gradually transition over a period of 7 to 10 day period to avoid digestive upset. Please check back in with any questions or concerns. Good luck!
This is a well known sign of a food intolerance/hypersensitivity, so it’s a good idea to gather ingredient lists of food you know she has not done well on and look for the things they have in common and try to avoid those ingredients.
Thanks for the welcome and everyone’s advice! After doing some research, I am going to try her on Taste of the wild. It is available locally and has a 4.5 editor’s choice rating and grain free. Can anyone please describe how to “transition” her diet?
Hi William. Glad you are going to change her diet to a grain free food. Most dogs do better with a high quality protein, modern to high quality fat, low carb diet. Also do your best to avoid high starch’s like white rice, white potatoes, etc. That will help with seizures. Please try to avoid any foods that have rosemary or rosemary extract in them as rosemary is known to trigger seizures in dogs that are prone to seizures. If you will type in Seizures on the forum search box there are a couple of forums on seizures.
Since she has been on one food all of her life, I would start very very slowly by removing a few of the old kibbles and add some of the new food. Typically you can start (some say) by switching out 1/4 of her old food with 1/4 of her new food. You can add some canned pumpkin (grocery store), not the pumpkin pie type, just plain pumpkin or some probiotics to help her get through the change. Keep an eye on her poops. If they seem to be okay (“normal”), then you can move to 1/2 cup old food 1/2 cup new food. All the while checking her stools. If they start to get loose or diarrhea then go back to the mix when her stools were normal. Keep her on that till she’s regular again and then continue with the transition. Every time her stools are too loose, back up, stop and wait. Typically dogs can transition in about 10 days but some dogs will take much longer. I fear that with a dog that has eaten the same low quality dry dog food all her life it may take a bit longer. Some dogs can take up to a month or even two to fully transition. Good Luck. Do the transition slowly and all will be fine.
The Honest Kitchen makes a product called Perfect Form that a lot of us have used while transitioning foods and have been very pleased. It’s a staple I keep in the pantry for my three girls. Eventually, when all is well with your dog…..no more yeasty ears and such hopefully you’ll be able to feed her 2 or 3 or even 4 different foods that she’ll do well with. A lot of us here at DFA are rotational feeders. The more often you are able to transition to a different protein and brand the easier your dog will be able to transition through the different foods. It all makes for a healthier gut and also any nutritional needs that may not be addressed by one brand will be balanced, over time, with other foods. Also, if a food has a recall or your local store has suddenly run out of what you’ve been feeding her, there’s always another food you can feed her without upsetting gut.
Thank you Dori! We are going to start on the program you suggest. I will use the pumpkin, to help ease her through this.
O.K. I picked up a 15# bag of Taste of the wild, Pacific stream canine with smoked salmon. Went to the grocery and picked up a can of pumpkin. The bag recommends 4 cups a day, so I will mix to that 1 cup of TOW and a tablespoon of pumpkin per serving. I will feed this 25% recipe for 2 days, if no change in stools then go to 50% etc. until fully transitioned. Does this sound correct to the experts here?
DianaB, They carry Fromms at the same place I got the TOW but it didn’t say anything on the bag indicating it to be grain free. It is the Fromm Gold brand I was looking at. Maybe you buy a different one?
William M. Your plan sounds good to me. Don’t forget with transitioning for the first time like his please be patient. Don’t try to rush the process or you’ll just wind up have to slow it down anyway. Your goal is to transition to a better food while all the while not upsetting his gut too much while doing the switch. Good Luck. Keep us posted.
I fed her the first bowl. She sniffed it and looked up at me, as if to say “What is this?” She took apiece in her mouth and spit it on the floor. She did this again, then she started eating. After finishing the bowl, she ate the pieces that she had spit out. I think she has decided that I’m not trying to poison her. I will keep posting, as we progress. Again, I thank you all for your help!
That’s funny! I’m glad she decided you weren’t poisoning her and ate it! Good luck.
Glad she ate her food like a good girl. Unless a dog can smell rancid spoiled food they will not let themselves starve. She probably just didn’t recognize the different scent to her food. Good for you for putting the effort into switching her food. Once she’s totally switched and her gut is in better condition I would urge you to start added a teeny tiny bit of organic coconut oil to her diet once a day. There are a lot of studies thinking that coconut oil also helps dogs with seizures.
It sounds like you changed right to the new food? If yes, watch her because she may get an upset tummy. If she still gets ear issues, look at the Dog Food Igredients forum…on top in yellow is a stickie with grain & potato free foods. My dog with ear issues did best without those and no chicken.
I am changing her very gradually. Dorie posted a transition method and I’m using it. Today is day#2 and she is liking the taste now. Will be watching the exhaust pipe and hopefully she won’t have any issues. I will check out the sticky you mentioned. Thank you!
I just wanted to post an update on my Lab’s diet change progress. She is on day 6 and is now getting 50/50 mix of her old/new food with a Tbs. of pureed pumpkin. She has had no problems with loose stools at all….Yea!!! On a side note, she really seems to enjoy watching me mix up her food on the counter. She thinks she’s “special” now ( she’s always been special to me). She also is not asking for food as much as she used to. I’m thinking that is because the new diet is more nutritional and filling?
I have another question: She LOVES bananas!!! Are they OK for her? Thanks for your help
I hope so! I share a little banana with my labbies every morning. They love them too. 🙂
Glad to hear your dog is transitioning to the new food well!
- This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by crazy4cats.
You’ve gotten great advice already! So happy the food switch is going well.
I want to offer that if her ears need cleaning you can use Simply Saline, the nasal rinse for humans, instead of any medicated ear rinse you may have. Give it a try and see if it helps until the food change is complete or even after. We had a Sheltie (RIP) who had chronic ear infections for most of her life and when we switched vets the new vet told us her ears were angry and fed up with the medicated stuff lol. Sure enough, we never had to use those type of rinses again.
Thank you BeachDogs ! I will definitely give that a try.
Since I identified my dog’s food intolerances, he no longer has ear infections. His ears are clean and healthy. Makes me so happy!
The best thing I found to clean ears with is an enzymatic cleaner called Zymox. It’s amazing stuff and literally digests ear gunk. I prefer the one without hydrocortisone.
I know food intolerances are incredibly frustrating. I’ve been doing food trials for a long time now and keep track of everything I feed Sam. FWIW, so far, the intolerances I’ve identified are fish, barley, chickpeas, lentils, flax, garlic and tomato.
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