Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum

Doodle itches - Considering switching food - Venison to Salmon (Natural Balance or Blue Buffalo)

Hi, my Goldendoodle is almost a year old.  When we first brought her home from the breeder, we noticed she scratched herself a lot (breeder fed her Beneful kibble).  When we brought her to the Vet the vet recommended a grain free Venison flavored diet.  We have fed Melody Natural Balance Venison/Sweet Potato, Grain Free kibble food since then and it alleviated her scratching.  Lately, she has started scratching a great deal.  The only time she seems to do it is out on walks.

I am considering switching her food to a Grain Free Fish/Salmon flavor and my question is, should I stick with Natural Balance or try another brand? The other brand I am considering is Blue Buffalo.  If I switch Iwould prefer to try Blue Buffalo since that brand is carried at Petco and Petsmart.  I order dog food for the most part from Amazon, but sometimes need to buy in person.

Thanks so much for your help!


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Replies to This Discussion

Ironically I have the same issue, scratching, mainly on walks but some in home as well. The breeder was feeding Bil Jac, and I am considering Blue Buffalo as well, for the same reason, local availability.

Let's think about this logically. If Melody's itching is due to something in her food, or a lack of something in her food, that would be a particular ingredient, or ingredients, and not the brand of food itself.

Natural balance LID formulas are often used for dogs who have sensitivities to multiple ingredients.

However, itching is rarely caused by an allergy or sensitvity to a food, especially in a puppy or very young dog, despite what the internet and the GP vets would lead you to believe.

In fact, even in dogs who do have verified allergies, only 1 in 10 has an allergy to food. The rest of the time, it's something that is inhaled, such as pollens, dust mites, cereal mites, and molds.

The fact that Melody's itching has recurred at the time of year when things are blooming, coupled with the fact that it occurs when she is outdoors, leads me to believe that it is not the food that's to blame at all, but more likely, pollen.

The ingredients in food that are most likely to cause an allergic response are beef, chicken, soy, wheat and corn. None of those are in the NB formula you are using.

The fact that switching to NB originally helped stop the itching may have been due to several factors:

1. A food that contains no grains also contains no cereal mites (also called storage mites); the Beneful did. Storage mites live in particulate matter in cereal type foods, and are one of the leading causes of allergy and asthma symptoms in human children, and are a very common allergen for dogs.

2. The NB food has a higher Omega 3 content and a better Omega 6:3 ratio than beneful. Omega 3 fatty acids have been clinically proven to reduce itching and inflammation in both dogs and humans, and are part of most allergy treatments.

3. The timing regarding seasonal allergens such as pollens may have coincided with the food switch.

Basically, I do not believe that switching from any of the NB formulas to any of the Blue formulas is going to make a difference. Blue Buffalo is fine, especially the Wilderness formulas, but if food isn't casuing it, food can't fix it, and there is really nothing in the NB formula you are feeding that is likely to be causing the itching. You might consider giving her salmon oil capsules or evening primrose oil capsules, to add some essential fatty acids, which might reduce the itching. Buy human supplements.

If you are going to switch foods for the purpose of reducing itching, I would go with a food that has a much better Omega 3 content and a higher protein level. At the big box pet supply stores, there are not many to choose from. You might consider one of the Wellness Core formulas. Fish based foods are going to be your best bet in any case.

I would also consider that it is pollen that is causing her discomfort; there are a few things you can do for this. Wipe her down thoroughly when she comes in from outdoors, especially her feet, and brush her frequently. Wash her bedding often. Ditto her food & water bowls. Keep the areas where she spends the most time as dust free as possible.

When bathing her, use a good oatmeal shampoo or one formulated for dogs with itchy skin, and leave the lather on for at least 10 minutes. Use a cool dryer, or let her air dry; no hot dryers and no leave-in conditioners, rinses, detanglers, etc. 

Hope this helps.   


Wow, leave the lather on for at least 10 minutes? I've been using anti-itch shampoo with Rook that doesn't seem to be working, but I guess it could be that she'll barely stay in the tub long enough for me to rinse her. I'll have to try to get her to stay in longer and maybe the anti-itch stuff will kick in.

Yes, the lather has to be left on for at least ten minutes in order for it to do any good. :(

Hi Peter.  I'm wondering if this new scratching perhaps has nothing to do with the food?  You have her on a good food now, and she did great with it over the winter.  The reason I ask is because I've had dogs with allergies before - allergies to grass, as near as we could figure.  I rescued King in the summer, and he scratched quite a bit, we tried several different foods.  He was constantly licking his paws, as well. He seemed to do fine over the winter, then scratched down to the skin on the side of his face in May.  The vet put him on steroids and he had to wear a huge cone collar.  The next May he did the same thing, and we realized it was allergies.  I starting giving him generic Claritin (Loratidine)  once a day, and ALL of his symptoms stopped.  He was such a happy dog, once we figured it out!  You can purchase it at Sams - 120 tablets for around $20.00.  Maybe if you try it for a week, and see?

Loratidine is the antihistamine my Jack's veterinary dermatologist recommends, and it does seem to help him. But the dosage can be tricky. Jack gets two to three times the normal human dosage, which is 2-3 10mg. tablets once a day.

Clinical studies have also shown that the effects of antihistamines and fatty acid supplements are enhanced when used together.

Oooh, we'll have to try Claritin. Benadryl hasn't been working for Rook, and neither has the Hydroxyzine that the vet clinic prescribed.

OK--I skimmed the responses so this may be repetitive . . . What color is Melody -- not that that has to be a factor. Last year, Dakota was itching really bad. I had to take him to the vet for shots or something and I asked his vet about the possible cause of the itching. He laughed and said, "Of course he's itching! He's a white dog with pink skin and this is spring!--He has allergies!" He went on to say that lighter colored dogs woth pink skin are very prone to allergies and he prescribed a a topical antibiotic. He said as soon as I see Dakota scratching in a particular spot, spray the antibiotic on and rub it in a bit. He said it would stop the allergy area from scabbing over. It seems to help a lot. We're just now getting into spring weather so we'll see what this year brings . . .

Well, I've done an awful lot of research on seasonal allergies in dogs, and I have not seen anything in the veterinary literature suggesting a link between color and allergies in dogs. I think that if your vet's theory is true, it might be because the disease is genetic and does run in certain breeds and lines, including Labrador Retrievers and to a lesser extent, Goldens. I think perhaps the skin of GRs and yellow Labs is pink, I'm not familiar with the breed standards. The skin of a white poodle should actually be black, but might be pink in the apricots and other related shades.  

Sadie has what seems to be seasonal allergies, in the past we used a topical for her toes and benedryl. This year the vet had us try Zyrtec and what a difference.



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