Food for dog with lots of intolerances

Hi everyone!

I have a 2.5 year old Border Collie who unfortunately has a lot of food intolerances :frowning: I recently moved to Scotland from Germany and am now looking for a new food for him (also because I am starting to be unhappy with his curent food company, as I had 2 bags that smelled funny and 1 in which I found corn in even though the food is supposed to be without corn! >:( ) I am very unfamiliar with the brands offered in the UK and which ones are decent, which one’s to avoid, etc. so any help would be greatly appreciated!

He does not tolerate raw, and while I know it would be best, I unfortunately do not have enough time or finances at the moment to do a homecooked meal. Therefore I am looking at dry or wet food (I would consider adding some homemade). I want good quality for as cheap as possible.

He can have the following meats: duck, rabbit, turkey, fish. However, he CANNOT have any dairy, carrots or fruits. The fruits and carrot intolerances especially are already limiting a lot of dry food choices.

Do you have any suggestions or tips for brands/foods?

Thank you so much!

PS: Oh he is about 20kg (ideal weight), and obviously quite active :wink:

I got some samples of fish4dogs finest which my dog is enjoying. It doesn’t seem to contain any of the ingredients that may cause issues but if unsure, they would be able to give you more information. It may be worth asking for some samples. I am sure there are lots of other foods but I don’t have much experience with kibble.

You can have a search yourself on the dog food directory and the star rating will provide an indication of the quality of ingredients

*Go to the home page

*On the top right hand side you will see the quick search tool

*Enter the details for your dog and available budget

*Click on see more search options if you have any other requirements. You will see a list of further criteria for you search such as ‘avoid certain ingredients’ and ‘search by nutrient levels’

*Press go and the search should come up with suitable foods for you to look at.

I found this tool really useful. I was able to research further some of the options and therefore able to make a more informed choice for my dog.

You can also use the filter to the left hand side in the dog food directory section. Either tools will help to narrow down your choices of suitable foods. Hope this helps

Hi! Thanks so much for your reply. I just went to the fish4dogs homepage and what’s the difference between the finest and working dog except price? Unless I missed something it looks the same to me.

Is it a reputable company? Is the fish smell strong? I tried a fish kibble ones and it just smelled so intensely like fish I could hardly handle it (dog has to be fed in the house, no separate room, either in my bedroom or the living room). He didn’t tolerate that food anyway though as it contained mussels which turns out he can’t have…

I did see the functions you described and tried it, but I struggle because I do not know these companies and how reputable they are. Since I am switching from my current kibble also because the company is turning out to have recurring issues I would like to know as much as I can about the company.

Hope this makes sense.

The Finest and the Working are equivalent in recipe but the latter is sold in plain plastic bags (they are heavy duty) and only in 15kg amounts. Finest can be bought in 1.5kg and 6kg quantities and the bag is stronger and branded. You mentioned that your dog enjoys agility and Fish4Dogs is sometimes the choice for owners who pursue this hobby, probably because of the omega oils and their beneficial effect on joints.

You ask about the reputation of F4D - there is a review here in the Dog Food Directory.

I fed the product a few years ago and my youngest was raised on their puppy food - she had a gorgeous coat and did well on it. She has recently been on raw food and her coat is looking awful so I have put her back on F4D and am hoping to see an improvement in a few months time. The only problem is that it does have a high level of carbohydrate, as is pointed out in the review. I don’t feed anywhere near the recommended daily allowance because I don’t want them to gain weight - one of them is particularly at risk of this. I keep the quantity down and add extra protein in the form of cooked chicken, steamed white fish etc. She has a minor stomach problem and that is why I chose to return to it earlier this year. I am happy to say that she has had only one minor re-occurrence which was quickly and easily treated. I soak her kibble and mix the weight control and adult versions to try to keep her weight in check. I suppose the high carbs don’t help with the weight issue but I am managing to keep it under control at the moment. This wouldn’t be a problem with your dog as he is probably a lot more active than mine.

Obviously it does smell of fish but I have found that it is not an issue once you have got used to it. My observation is that the dogs tend to smell slightly of fish at first then within about a week or so it tends to disappear.

Have a good look at their website and also their Facebook page. If you plan to try the product maybe go for the Finest in a smaller quantity. You can choose between white fish and salmon. Mine have the Superior - that is a salmon variety. I choose that because it has green lipped mussel and spirulina, the latter being good for digestion AFAIK. The seaweed is kelp which is excellent for coat and skin; it seems to have made a difference in my dog (the one with the stomach problems). Her coat wasn’t very good but it has improved enormously. My friend has seen the same effect in her Labrador although it does take a few months to see the difference.

For a dog with intolerances it might be worth trying because it is a simple formula and fish is very easily digested. If you do try F4D look out for the offers because they have them every Friday. This week it is Working Dog small bite. Also, you will need to weigh the food as it is quite heavy in comparison with some other types of kibble.

Thanks so much for your reply!

What do you think of the Wainwright trays? Looks like they have few ingredients as well. I was looking at the German brand “Hermanns”, but the one he can have has only 5% protein content which seems low to me. They do sell 100% meat tins as well so I can add protein, but it would make it pricier.

I am tempted to try him on a wet food, just because he has had mostly kibble (only tins he ever got was when he was on Hills I/D, which I stopped because of the yucky ingredients…), maybe that will make a difference even?

You asked re Wainrights trays…

My daughters 2 year old Pug seems to do well on the Wainrights trays (duck) .

I researched on here & elsewhere before we introduced it. We change to an alternative ingredient occasionally so as to avoid intolerance.

I think they claim hypoallergenic for all or some & also do grain free.

It certainly reviews fairly well on here & I couldnt find anything else comparable for similar or lesser cost when we inroduced it last year.

Dont dismiss proper research on mixers if wanting same to go with a suitable wet complete. The listed ingredients of some are allegedly vague to say the least & some raised a question mark or two for me. No good feeding an acceptable wet complete and adding unknown rubbish to the bowl.

We feed laughing dog mixer wheat free I think. We were feeding the Burns hypoallergenic mixer but it was significantly more costly. I havent mentioned our daily feed ammount as Collie & Pug feed needs are clearly worlds apart.

Thanks for your reply.

May I ask why you are feeding a mixer if the wet food is complete?

A: Mixer added for Variety, meal enjoyment, Dental maintenance (we clean teeth also) & to give small increase to overall feed ammount…He has 1/3 of a tray per feed, (2 per day), plus 3 or 4 biscuits each feed. Half a tray per feed a little too much for the relatively small dog currently in household fed on this.

Method is to some extent a left over from learned old school dog feeding going back to 70’s when I was a kid & the household dog (ironically a Border Collie) had tins of chum and winalot mixer…Not my feed choice then & there were far less dog foods available then. ( ironically back then I seem to recall as a kid being told the breeders feeding recomendation for the Border Collie back was fresh game amongst other things ! )

No real nutritional need for a mixer.

Some may regard our use of mixer here as not needed. That said I have in past seen some a dog food customers buy cheap kibble to use as mixer with tinned wet. (Personally I would never consider doing that.

I believe the proprietor of CSJ owned & worked Border Collies. (Keri or Ceri if my memory correct). It may seem obvious but bear in mind they & other sellers sell many foods under one brand name but composition varies greatly. I say that as on other dog forums I see some saying they feed a certain brand name but not actually mentioning the actual named food. She also used to sell Autarky kibbles which arguably take some beating for those watching costs & keen to avoid poorer quality foods for similar cost. Essentially CSJ proprietor understands Collies.

The Labrador (3 year old ) here is on Akela Fish (dry complete) but a very recent switch so I cant really comment other than to say no issues thus far, decent stamina & acceptable waste output relative to suitable feed ammount. My buyers needs were fairly specific in wanting fish as protein souce, low carbs, no grain , no white potato, higher omega 3 than Omega 6 & other composition from a dry complete.

If low carbs & grain free weren’t important factors in my dry complete choice I would have also seriously considered trying him on a decent cold pressed food.

What suits one dog might not suit another.

Not wshing to stray widely off topic so will briefly show my appreciation for Border Collies ( in my experience somewhat unique, highly intelligent & very trainable…but you already knew that of course )

Good Luck :slight_smile:

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Wainwright’s grain free wet food scores 4.8 on the Dog Food Directory. I had a short spell of feeding it to my dogs but not long enough to evaluate it properly. The lamb version made two of them vomit but I have a feeling that I may have given lamb in some other food with the same result. I avoid it now.

As for mixer, this food is complete so shouldn’t need it. As it stands, the carbohydrate is on the low side of average. By adding mixer it will raise the carbs which may be useful for an extra burst of energy if the dog has some work to do. Many years ago, before all the dog food brands started flooding the market owners used to the feed their dogs tinned food and a handful of mixer so to a certain extent the practise is ingrained (probably more so in older folk like me). However, the wet food in those days was nowhere near the quality of some of them that we see now, Wainwright’s included. The product is low in fibre so if your dog gets a bit constipated then mixer might help redress that, particularly if you use a wholegrain one.

Some time ago I had a few months of feeding my lot a quality wet food plus a small amount of mixer and they piled the weight on. I had an awful job getting them down. Your dog might not have a problem with weight control but I would advise to weigh the food just as you would with dry, at least until you get used to it. If money is an issue, you might find Wainwright’s a bit pricey, particularly for your size of dog.

BTW the figures that you quote in the Hermann’s are probably as served. When you are researching wet food you need to compare the dry weight of the product. The calculations are already done on the Dog Food Directory and can be seen on the dials at the bottom of each reviewed product. If you cannot find this particular dog food you can work the dry weight out yourself - there is a thread here which will help you with this.

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…developing what Dottie correctly said highlights that mixer adjustments, (minor ones with the small dog I feed) , can be used to tweak carb input & dog weight management (particularly when on this relatively low carb wet complete)

Just as with humans I feel we should consider food input relevant to age, energy output & body condition. (Rather than sticking to a rigid daily amount we don’t adjust or tweak).

On a side note I have recently been researching pros and cons of simple carbs within context of the dry complete I feed the Lab. The carb reláted conversation deveoped within this topic is now rightfully causing me to re-evaluate the pros & cons of adding mixer to wet complete.

I would be feeding the regular trays and not the grain free as my pup cannot have any carrots or fruits. It still has a rating of 4.5 though. These are the nutrient values: Protein 10.5%, Crude Fibre 5.1%, Oils & Fats 5.5%, Crude Ash 3%, Moisture 75%.

Wainwright actually seems to be the cheapest wet food based on the directory (I searched for wet foods and the rest of the filters I need and then input chepeast ranking…). Pricier than dry food, but maybe it is worth it considering he has had mostly dry and still shows issues :frowning:

Just did the math and Hermanns does have lower protein content than e.g. the Wainwrights. If I did it right :wink:

I am not really concerned about weight, I always rather struggle keeping weight on ;D

If the dial is correct, the product is very low in carbohydrate. That would be desirable for some. However, in view of the fact that you struggle to keep the weight on your dog you may need to supplement. You will just need to try it and see. Wet food is a good choice for dogs with intolerance issues because the formulas are usually much simpler than dry products.

What would you supplement in our case and how much?

Could I for example try ad feed the salmon and potato in addtion to either turkey or duck, so i.e. do 5 days of one and 2 days the one higher in carbs. Or should I add carbs homemade (e.g. just cook some potatoes).

I would obviously start out with only one to see how he tolerates it and then try a second type…

Using wet food as a topper is what some people do. They give a slightly lower amount of kibble then add some wet food for flavour. It’s useful for fussy eaters. For a dog with intolerances I would not be inclined to do this because it’s best to keep it simple. It’s also more difficult to determine what is causing any reaction that they might have. With my stomach problem dog I’ve learned the hard way to stick with the food she has because when I’ve tried something different it has affected her negatively. It’s a plain diet but it works.

Looking at the Wainwright’s, the protein and fat are high but it is low in carbs so if you need to raise that, the logical thing to do is to supplement the brown rice that it already has. Give it well cooked though. You could also consider well cooked oats or perhaps sweet potato. Good quality whole meal mixer might be something to consider.

Oh the salmon and potatoe is also a wet food frm wainwrights, sorry if that wasn’t clear.

But that makes sense. Thank you so much for all your help! I’ll probably try the wainwrights turkey and rice for a start and then see how things go.

I think it is good when there is more than one variety within a range because then you can vary the diet a little without too much risk of upsetting the dog. In your case I reckon it would be best to stick with the turkey and rice just for now and if all goes well, introduce the salmon and potato when you are satisfied that your dog is OK. It looks like a good food and hopefully he will do well on it. Please let us know how you get on with it, especially as we haven’t had anyone review this product on the forum itself.

Will do. I am going to go buy some tomorrow probably. Fingers crossed he tolerates it, because I am so sick of trying to figure out what to feed :wink:


The mixer consideration comments by Dottie ironically might bring my suggestion of mixer (I currently use) with Wainrights trays back into consideration :wink:

I haven’t posted a full review on it before as I am Neebie, but no issues here on Wainwrights duck & rice. No reactons, dog likes it, coat good, plenty of energy (2hr off lead walks a non issue for the Pug on this).

I acccept Pug & BC are miles apart but I consider the food is hard to beat when composition & price considered against other wet complete foods.

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I had not looked at the Wainwright’s wet with brown rice. I can’t really understand why they include ‘brown rice, minimum 5%.’ It doesn’t really tell you how much carbohydrate it actually has, with the result that the dry weight dial gives a reading of zero carbs. I’ve seen this before in wet food - Natures Menu pouches being one. If anyone can find an explanation for this I would like to hear it.

There’s a lot of anti carb sentiment these days but each dog is different and carbs in the form of a small amount of good quality mixer may be of use to an active dog that doesn’t gain weight easily. They can also sate appetite in the same way as for us when we eat a meal inclusive of some starch such as potatoes/rice.