Dog Food Allergies & the Clean Label Project
There's nothing worse than an itchy pup. It just hurts my heart to see such sweet babies so uncomfortable.
There's been a lot going on about our sweet companions and what we feed them. I've seen a lot on Facebook and Instagram and thought I would share what we went through with Grohl when he was a puppy, hoping it might help somebody else.
When we first got Grohl, we put him on a somewhat nice beef and wheat based food. At first it was okay, but as he grew (and grew quickly) we noticed that he scratched...A lot. And not only was it annoying, but I just felt awful that he would running around like a puppy should, and all of sudden he'd have to stop, lay down and scratch.
We tried itching sprays; we tried benadryl; we tried creams. They were temporary fixes. They fixed it on the surface, but didn't take care of what it was causing the issue.
So I researched his breed. Grohl is half Golden Retriever and half Great Pyrenees. And as I was googling it, Golden Retrievers tend to have a lot of food allergies such as beef, chicken and wheat. They also tend to have sensitive stomachs and digestive systems. Of course, my dog would have food allergies, right?! (I have Celiac's disease and eat a gluten free diet).
And I'll be honest, I LOVE Grohl. He is my fur baby. But he eats A LOT. And as much as I wanted to make sure I was giving him a quality food, we just don't the budget to spend hundreds of dollars on food every month. Not to mention, do you know how much dog food has beef or wheat in it?! Like 75% of it. It was really hard at first to find treats and bones without beef or rawhide in them.
I switched from a beef and wheat food to a salmon and wild rice. Specifically, Purina Pro Plan Salmon and Wild Rice for Sensitive Skin. And it worked...kind of. For the first two years, it was great. He stopped itching, he seemed fine and great. Most of the time.
Early this year, he started having weird spells where he didn't want to eat. And his stomach would get super gurgly and he would throw up. The first time it happened, I rushed him to the vet because I didn't know what was going on. Then it kept happening every few weeks. Some mornings, he would even refuse to eat the food all together until he got so hungry that he couldn't help it. He would go back to normal, but I just had this gut feeling that it was the food.
Well, I was right! A few months ago, my mom turned me on to the Clean Label Project and I started doing some research. And sure enough, his food was not rated very well. In fact it only had 1 out of 5 stars (check it out here: Purina Pro Plan). Why was it rated so low? It had heavy metals, byproduct contaminants and poor ingredient quality. This is a little dramatic, but I felt like I was almost poisoning my dog.
I felt just awful! So I immediately started to do more research. I looked at food options online, in my local dog store, Dog Krazy, checked out their pricing options, and researched them on the Clean Label Project.
Going into Dog Krazy was the most helpful because they are awesome. They know so much and make great recommendations. I went in and told them about Grohl's allergies and that I didn't want something super expensive and they pointed me to a few different options to choose from, so I chose the one that best fit my budget. They've also helped me find treats and bones for him that fit within his dietary restrictions. For example, these rawhide free Salmon bones are his favorite.
I ended up choosing Pro Pac Bayside Select Fish & Potato Dry Food. And it's been a huge difference! It's been 3 months now, and Grohl not only loves it but hasn't been sick since, hasn't scratched since, and I feel so much better about what I'm feeding him.
So if your dog is having issues and you think it might be his food and diet, I highly suggest checking out what's in your dogs food, because there's certainly a chance it's stuff you didn't think you were feeding them. Obviously, my goal is to keep Grohl around for as long as humanly possible because he is the sweetest and best companion I could ever ask for!
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way a professional, which is why I went to Dog Krazy with my questions. They are the pros, and they are awesome! I wanted to share my experience and hope that it might help someone else or even encourage you to double check what your feeding your best friend to ensure there's nothing bad in there!
And of course, I can't have a blog about Grohl without some photos.