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I adopted my Lab/GSD Mix from the shelter roughly 11 weeks ago (they said he's 2 years old). They were feeding him Royal Canin Medium Adult so I thought to keep it as his diet. That is, until I discovered the numerous bad ingredients in RC. I also noticed that my dog would be scratching/nibbling on his back every so often, not constantly but still a cause for concern. So I thought to attempt to combat this with some grain-free food. (Perhaps I was wrong to assume so?). After much research, I decided to try out Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Chicken/Turkey...seeing that it's not only affordable but contains pretty good ingredients.

My pup loves food so he has been chowing down WEF with no problem (for about 10 days now- including a week of transitional time) but I've noticed that he has been drinking more water as well as shedding more than usual. I also discovered a 2" long (literally a line) bald patch? where his back and hip-bone connect. I'm not sure where it's from butI have a hunch it may be caused by WEF. (Or perhaps from Royal Canin that I didn't notice before?)

I'd like some advice, please. Should I wait until he finishes the 12-lb bag and see how he does with WEF? Should I move him back to Royal Canin or try another grain-free brand? Or try another food (not grain-free) in general?

Thanks in advance. :)
 

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Kibbles usually are much higher in sodium than they need to be so the dog drinks. Not drinking is a bad thing. Measure his intake, a very rough estimate is 1 ounce of water per pound of medium sized dog at a minimum per day. Perhaps the new food is higher in sodium than the RC. I do not know if the kibbling process makes legumes like peas easier on the gut than how they are prepared for humans but I don't tolerate much legume content in my daily diet. Wish I could, love my beans! Many dogs do poorly on grain frees that have legumes.

Usually food sensitivities and allergies manifest with red feet and ears and digestive upsets.

A bare spot at hipbone and backbone? Fleas. Get a white paper towel damp and do the flea poop test. Put towel under his rear and give him a nice scritching. If you see a tiny speck that dissolves reddish a flea landed, fed, pooped and jumped off. You might see a single speck, just that can cause intense itching in a flea allergic dog. I had my first allergic dog for 16 years and probably saw half a dozen fleas on her. You are far more likely to see poop than fleas as they don't live on the dog, they feed and jump off.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your help, Kathyy :)

I guess perhaps there is more sodium in WEF and that is why he's going through more water than usual? :confused: He typically goes through anywhere between 6-8 cups of water (last weigh-in was on the 26th of December, at 58.7 lbs). But aside from the unusual (perhaps he is just shedding) large amount of fur around the house and his water intake, his feet are normal and no digestive upsets.

I checked him for flea poop using the test you suggested, nothing. Towel was completely clean. Here's a picture of that bare spot.


Guess I'm just kind of confused and at the same time wondering if I should keep him on WEFs...

Thanks again for your help :)
 

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Towel was clean and he's shedding too much? My dogs are bathed monthly and groomed at least once a week and a lot of nature and hair comes out when I give a good scritching over a wet paper towel.

He is a cross between two breeds that shed a lot. People refer to German Shepherds as German Shedders! Oddly sometimes my lab mix used to shed heavily in winter. I used to weigh the fuzz that came off. I'd weigh up to 20 grams, the long haired spaniel would only get up to about 12 grams even though they were quite close in size and his fur was 2-3x longer than hers.

Fat? Skin is a fatty organ, if there isn't enough in the diet it can cause dry skin and a good fatty layer seems to help hold the hairs in properly. Is the new kibble higher or lower in fat than the old? RC is a company that does provide all the essential nutrients, the ingredient list just looks horrible. Which one has more omega 3 fatty acids? Some dogs look much better when they get more of the stuff.

Possibly the change is due to stress at a nice new home, 3 months is only half way through the process of learning what's what in his new home.
 

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Perhaps I decided to switch food on him too early? New owner mistake in where I want to do everything at once? D:

Do you know any foods that's close to what RC offers without the list of horrible ingredient.
I'm waiting to hear back from WEFs about their Omega-3 content and will respond when they do.

Thanks again for all the help, Kathyy :)
 

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Reply from WEFs....

Thank you for contacting us. We do not provide specific numeric values for omegas as they are not guaranteed on our label. What I can tell you is these elements are not added to our recipes rather occur naturally in ingredients we use in these high quality all natural recipes.
:doh: Guess I didn't do a good job researching...
Back to square one.

Which grain free food do you guys recommend?
 

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They got back quickly!

Omega 3s are extremely fragile. I've read that some companies test after storage to simulate what happens as the kibble is used and they claim they survive. Whole Earth has salmon oil which a very nice addition but they don't do the extra testing I guess.

Just to be sure many dog owners supplement with fish oil. Since it is so fragile I prefer to feed capsules rather than liquid oil. My dogs will chew them up like candy. I just give normal human use ones and since my dogs are small they don't get them daily.

How much fat is in the RC and the new stuff? I'd look for something with more fat, not necessarily grain free. What kind of grain is in RC? Maybe try something with a different grain. For this trial stay with the same protein. If he is still itchy then try a different protein after feeding for a couple months. There are loads of threads here on the subject. In the end you probably will try a number of different ones. Many settle on rotating a few different kibbles.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fat content for RC:
Crude: 12.00%
Dry-matter: 13.33%

Grain inside of RC:
Brewers rice, wheat, corn gluten meal, oat groats
Guess it's back to the drawing board, looking at higher fat content first (and with high or higher Omega-3 than RC) with different grain.
Then if he's still itchy then move to another protein after a couple of months.

Thank you very much!
 

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Farmina Ancestral Grain is the first chicken grain inclusive food that comes to mind. They have other proteins too. It's a pretty simple food and most people I know with sensitive dogs have had great success with it. 18% fat and the omega 6 and 3 isn't bad, though I don't like to rely on kibble for that. Might be worth checking out.
 

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Farmina Ancestral Grain is the first chicken grain inclusive food that comes to mind. They have other proteins too. It's a pretty simple food and most people I know with sensitive dogs have had great success with it. 18% fat and the omega 6 and 3 isn't bad, though I don't like to rely on kibble for that. Might be worth checking out.
Awesome, I'll be sure to check 'em out. Thanks! :D
 
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