Lexi has eaten Blue Buffalo kibble since she was about one year old. I just switched her to the grain free. I have been thinking about this for awhile now, but this was the conversation I had with a young man who works at Petco. I was standing in Petco talking about switching her to grain free with dh when a employee came by and said "I overheard you talking about grain free food. Can I ask what your concern is and why you want to switch your dog." I then told him that I noticed that most of the grain free food is higher in protein that what she is eating. I also mentioned that she has an itchy face. His reply to me was "I know you don't want to hear this, but she might have lice. A dogs head is the cleanest part of their body and that is where lice go." I told him that first off, I do know what lice look like, second off, I brush or comb her about every other day and on top of that she is fully groomed often. She does not have lice. When that didn't work he suggested some kind of supplements. I guess my question is what are the advantages of grain free kibble? Also, she does have a very itchy face, but no other part of her itches nor does she lick any other part of her. High up on her cheek bone, she will rub and often will scratch it to the point that it bleeds. One swipe of those big ol feet and there is a scrape that is bleeding. I deal with this often. She does not get her face clipped super short, the groomer goes one up and that has been working for a long time now. Could her whiskers itch as they grow out? I guess I am hoping that the grain free makes her face less itchy. Any other ideas of what could cause a itchy face?
Poodle Type: Standards, Solid Silver and Parti Silver
Location: Athens, Georgia
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I don't know about the itchy face, but I can give you my opinions on grain free!
Dog's don't have a biological need for grains (or really carbs at all for that matter, although all kibble will have some carbs). I don't necessarily think that grains hurt them (unless they have a grain or gluten sensitivity), but the more grains are in a food, the less meat can be there, and meat they DO need. So, reason #1 for going grain free: A lot more meat content!
In addition to meat content, yes the protein percentage is higher. Do dogs need higher protein? That's debatable. I like to stay above 30% with kibble, because to me any less means there can't be much meat there. Protein and fat are the two main fuel sources utilized by dogs, so the more protein in the food, the more "fuel" it is providing. Generally, this translates to higher calories per cup and having to feed less food to get the same results. The higher protein content also contributes to lean muscle development, and I've noticed dogs on grain free tend to look leaner and more muscular than dogs on grain inclusive foods. So reason #2 for going grain free: feed less, poop less, buy food less often and reason #3 for going grain free: have a leaner and more muscular dog. BUT be wary of going too high protein. Remember, high protein = more fuel, and some dogs can't handle as much as others. This is why very "rich" (aka nutrient dense aka high protein) foods like Orijen may not be tolerated by some dogs.
I've also noticed that dogs on grain-free foods have fewer skin, ear, and eye problems (including allergy symptoms) than those on grain-inclusive foods. Grain free foods tend to yield better coats and, in breeds that shed, less shedding. I'm not 100% sure how the biology of all this works, but I think it stems from the dog not needing so many carbs in their diet, and the excess carbs (and excess work the body has to do to process them) wreak havoc.
I don't feed kibble anymore (have gone raw) but when I did, I ONLY fed grain free. I rotated between brands and varieties frequently. I don't think there is anything wrong with a high quality grain inclusive kibble, but I do think that a high quality grain free kibble is even better.
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I feed both raw and grainfree. I like Wellness ocean grainfree the best. I like the carb better in it than most of the other stuff. Blue has chicken in all their food, and alot of dogs don't do well with chicken kibble.
Could your dog have ear problems and she is rubbing her face because of the ears. I know when Carley had the yeast in her ears she rubbed her face.
I would try another food and have her ears checked by a vet if she were my dog. Sorry that you are having this issue.
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Blue that I am feeding her now is 24% protien versus 22% in what she was eating. We did try Innova one time which is around 30-34%(can't remember exactly) and it seemed to much for her and upset her tummy. Lexi has had yeasty ears and I clean them out once a week and keep an eye on them. She has not had any ear problems in a long time. The groomers are also very observant with her ears. I like to switch her to different flavors to give her a bit of variety. Maybe this will help with the yeast in her ears. She is due to go to the vet for her eye, which is whole other thing but I will have them double check her ears.
Remember, high protein = more fuel, and some dogs can't handle as much as others. This is why very "rich" (aka nutrient dense aka high protein) foods like Orijen may not be tolerated by some dogs.
The other day I was talking to a friend who is a vet about this; we commented that it seems that foods like Orijen are much better tolerated by toy dogs/small breeds in general, and the upsets/diahrrea usually appear in larger breeds (and I don't know why).
katbrat, my three dogs have been on Blue Buffalo grain free for a long time. All are at a great weight, don't have any itchies, never had yeast or other problems. They look healthy and muscular with shiny, thick coats. I have occasionally thought of trying a different food, but have found no reason to switch. If it isn't broke...
Before switching my other dogs from BB regular to BB Wilderness grainfree I had my whippet on a weight control food, but he didn't like it much and he was a little lethargic. I had a heck of a time thinning him down and he pined away for the other dogs food, so I decided to just feed them all the same. That was a while ago and now he is lean, more active and muscular plus enjoys his food. The BB Wilderness comes in several flavors for variety, but they like the chicken the best.
I have noticed that they do lose or gain weight quickly on it. I can't say their poops are particularly tiny, but they are very firm and healthy looking. I also add high quality canned to it, which might account for the normal sized poop. They love the canned so much mixed in with their food with a touch of warm water for gravy. I do it for their pleasure and for variety for them. You don't have to do that.
My sister in law said her poodle didn't like BB, so not all dogs like it? Mine sure do.
Sorry you had a nut case in the pet store. LOL I don't think there is anything wrong with the high quality foods with grain in them. They might help a dog who has trouble maintaining a good weight because of the carbs in them, but mine are doing great on grain free.
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Dogs are basically carnivores; they will eat other foods if meat isn't available.
The itchy face may be due to an allergy. My westie mix will rub her face frantically after eating a kibble she's allergic to - and she's allergic to a lot! She can't tolerate grains of any kind, nor potato, alfalfa, chicken, or lamb. Yes, it was hard finding a kibble she could eat. We finally tried California Natural Salmon Meal and Peas (grain free, LID). So far, so good.
The itchy face also occurs in some humans. My husband can't eat fresh mango - it makes his lips very itchy. If I eat a lot of it, it does the same to me!
My boxer can't tolerate grains of any kind either. I even tried a "premium" kibble that my pet food supplier said was basically hypoallergenic - Acana Chicken and Burbank Potato, which also includes steel cut oats. Itchy..., so back to grain free we went. Allergies to grains is VERY typical of both westies and boxers, btw.
Finally, grain free usually creates less poo, b/c more of the food is digested efficiently. High grain foods create more poo, b/c the dog can't process most of it; grain in - grain out. Prey model raw results in very little poo, and the poo that is produced, turns to a fine grey crumble within a couple of days. I don't feed raw, but I don't disagree with it.
Beth, mom to adopted rescues: Maddie (malti-poo/westie, age 6?), Sunny (cream toy poodle, age 9), and Jackson (boxer, age 8?)
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Thank you everyone for your replies! I am going to give the BB grain free a go and see how Lexi does on it. She has stayed a consistant weight but sometimes goes thru spells where she just isn't a big eater. She seemed to like the new flavor food. I do hope it helps her itchy face. When she scratches her face, it takes a good bit to get it to heal. Like I said, one swipe with those feet and we are back to square one.
How old is Lexi? Demodex mites can be commensal on most dogs, but in young dogs (or when dog is stressed) the immune system may not completely control them. Peeves (our German Shepherd dog) had quite a bit of hair loss with some soreness on his muzzle when he was younger as a result. Our vet used the analogy of teen acne. We put him on a course of ivermectin and it cleared it up.
Make sure you mix new food into old gradually. Too much new too fast can be a source of intestinal distress. It took us six months to switch foods because it was hard on Peeves every time I upped the portion of new.
Lily AKC: CGC CD HIT CDX, RN RA RE RAE RAE2 RAE3 RAE4 RAE5 Multiple Rally High Combined, NA NAJ; APDT: RL-1; CPE: CL1-R, CL1-H, CL1-F, CL1-S, CL1
Peeves AKC: CGC BN RN RA