Safe Grain Free Food for Puppy
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Thread: Safe Grain Free Food for Puppy

  1. #1
    Robyn1313 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultSafe Grain Free Food for Puppy

    I am still in a food nightmare with my 8 month old Lab Puppy. Since the day we brought her home at 8 weeks she has had itching and now, smelly ears. The vet and I have determined that she has an allergy or intolerence to chicken. He believes she is also reacting to grains in her food. The only food I have been able to find that does not have either and still has the appropriate protein, calcium and phosphorus levels is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient. She is currently on this but is still itching, although not as bad. The problem is she is somewhat constipated on it and does not seem to like the taste much. I looked at Taste of the Wild and it looks like a good food but the calcium level was high. Once she is 2 years old I can go to that but in the meantime...

    This food situation is driving me nuts. She is on Benadryl twice daily and it has helped slightly. I feel sorry for her with all the feet and leg biting etc.

    Any suggestions?

    Robyn

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    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    Personally I'd use Royal Canin HP, an Rx hydrolyzed protein diet. RCHP contains chicken fat, but technically allergic dogs are reacting to the proteins, so the fat shouldn't cause a problem (neither of my chicken-sensitive dogs have a problem with it). It has no wheat or corn, and the soy is hydrolyzed (predigested basically so the gut doesn't recognize it as a "bad" protein). How was it determined that she has a chicken allergy? Did you do a food trial? Was it at least 10-12 weeks? How long has she been on the NBLI? It might take a few months for her itchiness to fully resolve. Has her skin been checked for malassezia or staph? They're common secondary infections in allergic dogs that can keep them itchy even after you remove the allergens.

    My own puppy (she's 18 months now) has food allergies and we've had her on this food since 10 months of age since it's safe for growth until I can switch her to something else grain free once she's two.

    Another option would be California Natural Herring and Sweet Potato Adult Dry (it contains rice). The only truly "grain free" food safe for large breed puppies is Orijen LBP, and unfortunately the first ingredient is chicken. I would also contact Wellness Pet Foods about their "Simple Solutions" line. I don't see calcium and phosphorus levels listed on their web site - but they have a boarded nutritionist on staff who I'm sure would be happy to let you know what the ratio is (you want 1.2:1 ideally and not higher) if you gave them a call.

    Just an aside - you want to avoid duck too - lots of dogs with chicken problems tend to have problems with all poultry unfortunately! Sorry for just rapid-fire questions, I'm short on time today but wanted to respond Hope you can find a solution - itchy puppies are no fun!

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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    maloneandme is offline Senior Member
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    Yep, I echo YJM!
    Our 8 month old pup was itching like CRAZY and was on EAgle Pack (great quality food here in Canada) ... and my vet actually recommend the Royal Canin Medical Hypoallergenic food. Main ingredients are duck and potato. He's been doing AMAZING! TOok him to Vet yesterday and she said, "Oh wow, his coat is 'show-coat worthy'!" Yay. We are so relieved. His allergies were so bad = that he actually developed a TUMOR, because his body was fighting the allergies to much.


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    You could try Acana Pacifica. It has no chicken, and no grains, 33% protein, high omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), and is 1.4-1.6% Ca min-max, not sure on the phosphorus but it is balanced. Same maker as Orijen LBP and Ca is similar or a little lower. I've been feeding it to Carrie since she was 6 months old (now 22 months) because she has digestion issues with chicken. You do not need to feed much, Carrie only gets 2 cups per day. The protein is higher than most puppy foods, but remember protein is not the problem, it is the overall caloric intake that messes with joints, Acana does not have an abnormally high calorie count, and you feed less. Oh, and they like it so much you must keep the bag away from them or they will pig out.

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    Just curious, was she like this when she was at the breeders? Or is she a rescue pup?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeTs View Post
    You could try Acana Pacifica. It has no chicken, and no grains, 33% protein, high omega-3s (anti-inflammatory), and is 1.4-1.6% Ca min-max, not sure on the phosphorus but it is balanced. Same maker as Orijen LBP and Ca is similar or a little lower. I've been feeding it to Carrie since she was 6 months old (now 22 months) because she has digestion issues with chicken. You do not need to feed much, Carrie only gets 2 cups per day. The protein is higher than most puppy foods, but remember protein is not the problem, it is the overall caloric intake that messes with joints, Acana does not have an abnormally high calorie count, and you feed less. Oh, and they like it so much you must keep the bag away from them or they will pig out.
    Oooh thanks for sharing! I really wanna start Malone on Acana at some point, i keep hearing great things


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    javasmom is offline Senior Member
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    I have both of my girls on Taste of the Wild. Java has been on it since she was 13 months old and Moka has been on it since she was 9 months old.
    They're both doing amazing on it-clean ears, gorgeous coats and great stools.
    I'm not sure where you heard to not feed TOTW until they're 2 yo???

    I rotate 3 flavors-Sierra Mountain (lamb), High Prairie (venison & bison) and Pacific Stream (salmon). I couldn't be happier with the food and the results and the girls love it.

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    Robyn1313 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. To answer some of the questions, I did food trials with several different foods. We determined that she is allergic to chicken and barley. Not sure if it is all grains or just barley. I tried a lamb food and she had a terrible digestive reaction, so much diarrhea that she had to be put on Tylon powder for 3 weeks to recover. Needless to say that food trial did not last long.

    Two of the vets at the clinic I take her to told me not to put her on Taste of the Wild until she is fully grown because it (Pacific Stream) has a Calcium level of 1.9%. I think she would do well on it but I am afraid of that level of calcium.

    To answer the question about where she came from. I purchased her from a very good breeder here in Arizona. When we took her home at 8 weeks old, she was eating Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy food. I noticed right away that she constantly scratched and also bit at her paws. I did not change her food right away but waited for a month or so and then under the suggestion of the vet, put her on Wellness Large Breed puppy food. The idea here in the early times was to eliminate corn, wheat, soy. This did not go well. Major digestive problems and more scratching and biting.

    I may talk to the vet about Royal Canin. Also the Acana sounds like really good food. This is really frustrating..

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    Did you call the breeder and ask about if the pup showed the same signs at their home? The pup would have been on the food for about 4 weeks before you got it, so I am just curious if they saw the same signs on the food as you did when you got her home. I would also be curious if the other littermates have the same issue and if either parent have food intolerances.

    Why not go raw? There are plenty of commecially prepared raw diets such as the one by Nature's Variety. You can feed a unique protein (one that is not chicken nor lamb).

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    Acana Pacifica has a Ca:P ratio of 1.27:1.0. It's a little higher than ideal, but seems like another okay grain-free option. Personally I would try a hydrolyzed protein just to get her system totally back to normal. The problem with doing short diet trials (as it sounds like you guys have done) is that you never give her system a chance to chill out, per se, and see if she's reacting to the food or just another diet change. Diarrhea after changing diets isn't uncommon at all. But if you switch, see diarrhea, and then switch again - you're just starting a food roller coaster (and exposing her system to many other antigens to develop allergies to). Going a full 8-12 weeks of nothing but one specific diet (no treats, people food, etc.) and then slowly adding in new proteins is the ideal way to diagnose food allergies. Some dogs do need Tylan or (I prefer) metronidazole to make it through the change. My apologies if I misread and you did do a long-term food trial to establish the allergies.

    Also, with the calcium levels. It's not so much the absolute level as it is the ratio of calcium to phosphorus. Ideal for growth is 1.2:1 (Ca:P). But your vets are absolutely right that TOTW is not appropriate for growing puppies.

    ETA: TOTW has a Ca level of 1.9% and phosphorus of 1.1% - a ratio of 1.7:1.0 - that's I wouldn't recommend it for growing large breed puppies despite the "all life stages" AAFCO label (remember AAFCO also certifies Old Roy as a-okay).
    Last edited by YellowJakesMom; 01-10-2011 at 05:13 PM.

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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