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Discussion Starter #1
So I have started switching Mack, Golden Retriever, over to Taste of the Wild High Prairie from Large Breed Science Diet. I am switching due the TOTW being more nutritious and Mack's numerous ear infections that he has had since birth. After discussing my concerns on here, you guys helped me discover why his SD isn't a good food.

I picked up the TOTW (20 minutes away from me) on Saturday and started him on it Saturday night, slowly mixing it in with his SD. He is currently getting 3/4 cup TOTW and 1 cup SD twice daily.

I do ear checks on Mack weekly at least due to him being prone to ear infections, and while I was checking his ears on Sunday night, I noticed quite a bit of ear wax in there, so I cleaned them out before bed. Monday morning, I checked his ears again, and there was still quite a bit of ear wax, so I cleaned them again. Last night his ear was still not showing signs of improvement, so I gave him a squirt of EasOtic in the ear that I have on hand from the vet in case he gets an ear infection when we are not near a vet. I will keep giving him a squirt of the EO once daily as recommended by my vet for 5 days, which normally fixes the ear infection.

So, long story short, my question is: what could be causing these ear infections? I am switching him over to grain-free in hopes of ending this problem, but he hasn't had an ear infection in months, and now has one once I started switching him over. Do you think that I need to switch him over to the Pacific Stream formula to eliminate the chicken? If he keeps this up I might have to take him to the vet and have an allergy test done (I am assuming that there is such a thing?) to see what exactly is causing the ear infections. But money is tight right now, so I am trying to figure this out without the vet...

Thanks for the help!
 

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Allergy tests aren't very good yet. Try an elimination diet first, one of the simple kibbles with one protein and one starch source. Most of the grain free kibbles have long lists of awesome sounding ingredients and any of those could cause a problem no matter how little is in there. The simple kibbles came out after I stopped feeding kibble so haven't tried any. Back to Basics and Nature's Variety are high end ones, Wellness and Natural Balance are lower protein but most companies have come out with them in the past few years.

Max had really horrible goo in his ears from sardines. Sardines are great for most dogs. Not Max!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have been doing some research into the different brands/foods that I have fed him at various stages in his life (there are only four, two of which are grain-free). I know that he was having some difficulties on Science Diet (an ear infection every couple of months) so there is most likely something in that food that he is allergic to, but the only ingredients that were different from what he has been ok on are Bison, Venison, and EGGS. (At least in the first 10 ingredients). None of the other food that he has been on has had eggs in it, so I am wondering if maybe he is allergic to eggs? I am going to put him on just Nature's Recipe Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin for now with nothing else mixed in to see if that helps things. I will be able to get ahold of TOTW Pacific Stream towards the end of the week (hopefully, otherwise on Sunday), so i may switch him to that and see how he does, because the Nature's Recipe is super expensive here...
 

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Try adding a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar into his diet too. We did that for my Dad's lab and also clean her ears out with half white vinegar and half witch hazel with a few drops of tea tree oil versus the veterinary stuff. It's helped a LOT - and she has to be on a fish-base or she breaks out. Any poultry in the kibble will mess her up badly (except, oddly, eggs).
 

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He could very well be reacting to egg and it could even be the particular way it is presented in the kibble so giving him a bit of your scrambled egg is just fine but egg product isn't okay.

It is also possible he is reacting to contamination of the kibbles - mites, mold, bacterial toxins and such. Some happen during manufacture and some happen during storage and use. Any chance you can remember the age of the kibble bag when issues started up?

Or did you go completely through the list of ingredients? Not just the top ten, down to the rosemary or whatever. A long shot, I did that with every kibble I could remember Sassy getting to see if I could figure out what could have been the reason she stopped having anal sac issues and couldn't figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
His food is never more than a month old (I buy a bag at a time, which lasts about a month), but I am pretty sure that the TOTW High Prairie caused the flare-up, or at least it just seems odd that he got an ear infection days after I started switching him over to it... I am going to have my mom pick up some TOTW Pacific Stream (she is going to be traveling near a store that supplies TOTW) on Thursday to see if that helps since it does not contain chicken or eggs. He seems to be doing well on the Nature's Recipe Salmon, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Grain-Free, but it costs about $60 for a 25 lb bag here, and there is no way that I can afford that, especially right now since I am unemployed. TOTW is $23 for a 15 lb bag and about $46 for a 30 lb bag, so it is more practical for me if it works for Mack.
 

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Usually ear infections are Yeast (smells yeasty), bacterial (smells pungent), or ear mites (dirty). Ears usually have a balance of flora, and allergies can affect this balance. (Normal bathing with dog shampoo and water can also affect the balance - go figure) The ear wash can help things, and sometimes over the counter allergy meds (benedryl, Claritin [get generic]) can help. Non-food allergies can trigger ear issues... Don't know if this helps... but it helped me reduce the number of my Lab's infections.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info! Mack's are almost always yeast infections :( I took him to the vet today to have her look at him and get a refill of the EasOtic medication that we use on his ears when infected. His ear finally started looking better today (of course since I already had a vet appt :)). I just switched him to TOTW Pacific Stream this morning, which doesn't have chicken or eggs and is grain-free, so hopefully this helps. Otherwise the vet suggested using their new laser treatment to stop the inflamation and ear infection occurrences, but that sounded extremely expensive and I would have to take him in 3 times the first week, 2 times the second, and once a month there after for treatment... Hopefully this food works!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just an update! I switched Mack back to Science Diet for a few weeks to get everything under control. His ear infection is almost gone (just finished up the meds yesterday) and he goes back to the vet on Monday. I am going to try introducing the TOTW Pacific Stream in a few weeks to see if that triggers an ear infection again. Hopefully he does well on it. If not, I have decided to switch him to the Nature's Recipe Salmon, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin which is grain-free. He has been on this before without any problems, although it was only for a week or two until I could get TOTW. It is costly for me ($52.99 for 24 lbs) but with manufacture's coupons and rewards dollars, I should be able to get it down to a more reasonable price.

I wish he didn't have so many allergies, but what can I say, I love him! :D
 

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Not sure if you are aware or not, but TOTW is not a good food. Anything manufactured by Diamond should not be even remotely considered. Even though a couple of the Diamond brands are soon going to be venturing off to their own plant, it's not worth the risk. If you look up "Taste of the Wild customer complaints and reviews" you will find LOTS of scary info. If you want more info, look up the site www.dogfoodscoops.com. They are much more reliable than the traditional Dogfoodadvisor. I suggest you do more research before feeding TOTW..also science diet shouldn't even be on the shelves. It's not worth the dirt on my shoes. I'm sure your vet pushed for it..well they get kick backs. If a vet has a science diet display, they will get money when you buy it. Do LOTS of research.. Science Diet recently aquired a patent to use a plastic coating on their food to "prolong" shelf life. Please stop feeding SD. I suggest Acana, Innova, Merrick, brands that are 100% made in the USA or Canada. Most of these are more pricey than other foods, but you feed less because it is more balanced and nutricious.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
TOTW is not a bad food. The recalls and issues that they had were due to people getting sick, not dogs. SD isn't bad either, but not as nutritious as I would like it to be. The vet did not push SD on me, my family has been feeding SD to our dogs for the last 20+ years without any issues. The problem is that Mack is allergic to the ingredients in most Innova and Merrick brands,and Acana is not available here. I am going to try the TOTW again on a different formula and see if that works or not, otherwise he is going to be getting Nature's Recipe Salmon, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin. He was on that for a short period without any issues, but TOTW is cheaper so I figured I would try that first.
 
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