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Super Contributor
Posts: 305
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Can you please give me your opinions on the best grain free dog food? My Cairn has the itchies a lot - I really don't think it is the food causing the allergies, but who knows? I am feeding her Blue Buffalo, Senior Small Bites.

Any ideas on a medication or topical treatment that might help?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,596
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

We have a 12 year old cairn and a 9 year old keeshond. We've fed Taste of the Wild for several years and both dogs eat every morsel, so no waste. This food is completely grain free and they love it. It's a little more expensive but worth it to us.

I love the cairns. How old is yours? Per your post I assume she is a senior. Our cairn is a certified therapy dog and we just retired him this year after over 1,000 therapy visits. He earned it!!! He will be 13 in August.

"Today is full of possibilities not yet achieved." ~The Silver Fox~
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,348
Registered: ‎03-20-2010

If it is the food, it may not just be the grains. Some dogs can be allergic to the protein (i.e. chicken or beef). I would see if you could fine one with limited ingredients and an unique protein source.

You might also try adding fish oil to his diet. This winter has been hard for a lot of dogs skin. Many of my friends with dogs are having the same problem and this has given them some relief.

Someday, when scientists discover the center of the Universe....some people will be disappointed it is not them.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,025
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

I can't speak to itching, but I have a 13-year-old Lhasa Apso with back and leg problems. She's also prone to bladder stones so has been on a prescription food for that for several years. Problem with that is that it is very low in protein (to help prevent stone recurrence) and high in carbohydrates. The lack of protein began to aggravate her leg pain and weakness, so at my wit's end I tried a grain-free food. She totally improved and hasn't had bladder problems either.

I use Orijen Senior Grain-Free. It's not only grain-free, but all natural steamed food (not raw, but much better quality than 'regular' dog food). However, it IS expensive--about the same price as her prescription food. To me, it's worth it because she is much more mobile, less pain, and her little legs don't shake or collapse nearly as much. It's made in Canada and they have several varieties. It is available at some pet stores, Amazon and other on-line pet retailers.

If you do try a higher protein, grain-free food, I suggest you introduce it very gradually as many dogs have problems digesting it. Some never can tolerate it and continue to have diarrhea or stomach problems. My dog had no problem switching, but she has pretty much a cast iron stomach.

I also suggest you check with your vet about other causes for your Cairn's itching. It could be several things other than food. Good luck--I hope you find a solution for your poor pooch!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,994
Registered: ‎10-03-2011

We feed our dog Nature's Domain, from Costco. I've read that it's their private label packaging for Taste of the Wild. It comes in three formulas - Turkey, Beef, and Salmon, all with sweet potato and grain free. All I know is that our dog (Golden Retriever) is doing great on it.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,596
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

I wanted to add that our dogs eat a small amount of fruits. Every time I or DH eat an orange they are there for a few small pieces. They also like small apple slices, blueberries and bananas on occasion, but not as much as oranges. Never ever feed them grapes. So, you could try fruits for your cairn and see if she likes them.

Check out this website for fruits that are safe for dogs. You may have to cut and paste the link.

<cite>www.yourdogquestions.com/can-dogs-eat-fruits</cite>

"Today is full of possibilities not yet achieved." ~The Silver Fox~
Valued Contributor
Posts: 664
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Hi Txblonde! I feed my Sheltie Orijen. She was real itchy, scratchy and since I have switched her over last year she has been much better. Like geezeretee said, it is made in Canada, so sometimes the feed store I get it from has trouble getting it. I just don't wait until I'm almost out to go get some. l would check out their website for more info, the food is all supposed to be species appropriate with all local ingredients. I've even started feeding my cat that brand and he loves it.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,025
Registered: ‎03-16-2010
On 2/25/2014 Sheltie Mom said:

Hi Txblonde! I feed my Sheltie Orijen. She was real itchy, scratchy and since I have switched her over last year she has been much better. Like geezeretee said, it is made in Canada, so sometimes the feed store I get it from has trouble getting it. I just don't wait until I'm almost out to go get some. l would check out their website for more info, the food is all supposed to be species appropriate with all local ingredients. I've even started feeding my cat that brand and he loves it.

I've considered trying my cat on it, too. Especially if I could just feed him just the dry Orijen. Right now he gets canned and dry 'regular' food. He drives me crazy because I never can tell which flavor of canned food he'll eat on any given day. I vary the flavors with the theory that he won't get bored, but one time he'll like one and the next time he hates the very same type. It's frustrating. He does love the little "appetizers" I get him which are human food-grade, so I've been thinking perhaps he would go for the Orijen. It is more expensive than what I'm feeding him right now, but if I keep throwing out cans, it won't be!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 49,692
Registered: ‎03-10-2010
Did you know that there are websites that analyze and rate various brands of dog food? Here is one of them......http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/showcat.php/cat/4/page/5
New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Super Contributor
Posts: 407
Registered: ‎03-12-2010

I agree with CrazyDaisy - if its a food allergy it could be a lot more than just grains. My 3 year old DDB is allergic to wheat, corn, cheese (so probably other dairy as well), root vegetables, beef, duck and chicken ... and that's just what I know for sure. I tried a couple of the commercial hypoallergenic dog foods, but she flared up on those. Because of her allergies, all my dogs are on Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Hydrolyzed Protein dry food. I have to get it through my vet, but it's no more expensive than other high end food. When we switched to that almost two years ago, my vet at the time said the factory that this food is made in was the only one in the country certified by whatever group does that (she named it, I just can't remember it) to only produce this one type of food so there was no chance of cross contamination. I don't know if that's still true or not.

I've also found that she can eat brown rice flour, pumpkin and butternut squash - so I make homemade treats for the dogs using those.

If you find that your dog's problems are caused by food, you'll have to be a food detective and really pay attention to what causes the flare ups. My old vet told me about the allergy tests they can perform, but she didn't have confidence in their accuracy so she didn't do them.

Good luck!