hello - best food for itchy dog please!! (problems with Acana)

Hiya - I joined the site specifically to say what a disaster Acana is for my Tibetan T -errier - but I can’t work out how to post my comment on the Acana page - it repeatedly asks me for email verification which I have done 3 times now - anyone know where I am going wrong?

Anyway - I have tried my 2 yr old TT on several foods since he was a puppy (Origin, Eden, Canagan, James WB and Vet’s Kitchen) The only one that stops him itching altogether is JWB - BUT he hates it!!! He will only eat every 2-3 days on it, it just sits there in the bowl. Vet’s kitchen is tastier for him, but some itching.

So - I bought a 13 kg bag of Acana (stupid or what?!) He has been TORMENTED!!! Itching worst it’s ever been after only 2 days on it - he has drawn blood so I have had to stop it.

Is James Wellbeloved going to have to be it for my TT? I would like him to enjoy his meals ideally !

Many thanks for reading!

Hello and welcome to the forum. I am sorry to hear about this awful problem. All the foods that you mention (including Acana) are high in protein and I have read enough reviews to realise that some dogs have issues with this type of food. JWB has a much lower protein level. As it seems to suit your dog I would say stick with it but make it more tasty. You can do this by adding a topper. My favourite one is sardines, mackerel and other oily fish - dogs usually adore them and if you buy the ones in sunflower oil you can drizzle a little of it onto the kibble. My friend’s dog has always done very well on JWB Small Breed and she used to use their pouches of wet food as a topper. Now she uses Natures Menu pouches which he loves but cannot tolerate as a single food - just a small amount is best for him. One topper that he might like is Fish4Dogs Salmon Mousse. It needs to be something that you can coat the kibble with and that is nice and smelly. You might be able to think of something else besides these. You don’t have to give a lot - just enough to make the JWB more acceptable. Also consider giving him different flavours of the JWB to give variety. When I gave kibble I used to add a little warm water to it for my elderly rescue dog as it brings out the aroma and makes it a bit more tasty. Dogs are tempted by smell as much as anything else.

It really is too bad that you have bought this huge bag of quality dog food which is expensive and now can no longer be used. I do wish that manufacturers would help us pet owners out on this by selling smaller trial bags at a lower price. I recently wanted just a small amount of Gentle and the owner of the company obligingly sent me just the 2kg that I needed rather than buying a full 5kg bag. Sadly, not many companies are so helpful. Do you have a dog rescue nearby that would take it off your hands? They might be grateful for it.

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thanks Dottie, that is really helpful. I normally add some Yumega oil to his food as he has hip dysplasia, but it doesn’t seem to increase palatability! I am sure some fish will be far better and also the oil will help his coat too. We were very lucky to find out about his hips so early on through x ray as the only outward sign has been a slight hip sway which is barely noticable unless you are watching for it. Luckily, we were able to get him to a specialist in orthopaedic problems and he said as long as we keep his weight on the low side, there is every chance he can live his whole life through without the hips bothering him. So I am very careful not to give him any treats at all and eating not much wellbeloved seems to keep him in a good lean condition under all that hair!

Many thanks for your reply x

I tried Yumega on my itchy elderly rescue and she wouldn’t touch the food once I had put it on. Ended up giving the bottle away. However, she did like salmon oil, which I bought from Fish4Dogs. She also loved the oily fish. It seems to me that JWB is crying out for a topper - it is so boring with probably not enough smell and taste for dogs. The other thing that I have given as a topper is a small amount of lightly cooked mince. Given warm, they gobble it up. Doesn’t need to be particularly lean because dogs find fat tasty.

Try contacting Acanapetfoods.co.uk rather than acana.com.
Re advice on food - I would go for an exclusion diet to find out what does and doesn’t agree with your dog and then find the appropriate dog food. If you think you’ve found the ideal in JWB but palatability is low, then I would also recommend a ‘topper’ but go for a complete wet feed similar to JWB and lower the dry food accordingly - Natures Menu free flow or Country Hunter nuggets are a convenient way to do this.
Instead of adding hot water try zapping the kibble in the microwave for a few seconds, this heats up the oils in the kibble and makes them smell nicer for the dog.
On the subject of smaller bags - I would recommend visiting a good independent pet shop (I would, wouldn’t I) - often you will get smaller samples and many manufacturers offer money back if the dog doesn’t like a new food.


Never thought of zapping kibble in the microwave. I do agree about the small independent retailer and you will be glad to know that I buy from mine whenever I can. By coincidence Acana is the food that I referred to in this thread about herbal and flower additives. There is so much in there that it would be very difficult to know what it is that is affecting the dog. I started that thread because I was uneasy about all this stuff that companies are adding and may (or may not) be rather gimmicky. TBH I don’t know enough about the matter but I have a gut feeling that simple is best.

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I have the same thoughts as Dottie, insofar as, for an itchy dog, the fewer ingredients, the better. Less potential allergens in there.

Lots of people with itchy dogs have had good results with foods like forthglade and naturediet. These both have small lists in terms of ingredients. They are mostly meat with rice and vegetables. I would do some research in terms of naturediet however. I am still feeding it without issues but have the old style packaging. Lots of people have had issues since the factory and packing process changed.

It is frustrating when you buy large amounts of food and find it doesn’t suit.

One of the biggest food related causes of itchy skin is high grains/carbohydrates, they seem to promote an overgrowth of yeast which then causes itching


Thanks everyone for all your helpful tips. I donated the Acana to Greyhound rescue. My dog, Mr Murphles, is back on JWB for now. Unfortunately, although the itching has subsided considerably, he has given himself a terrible deep scratch just under his eye. I have some cream here, but if it doesn’t start to heal soon, he will be going to the vet’s. What an expensive mistake this has turned out to be!!

I have ordered some samples from Gentle and Fish for dogs and I will follow up with the advice here too. I will get back to you if I ever manage to find the perfect nutrition for him! He is due to go to the groomer next week, so I will ask her opinion about his skin condition. I know it has been dry in the past, despite the addition of the Yumega to his food. I keep his coat long (though he is just a pet, not a show dog) and it is lovely and shiney but that might be more to do with the magic mist coat conditioner, rather than his diet!!

Thank you for getting back to us on this. It is always interesting, and helpful to other dog owners to follow things up. I do hope that the trial foods are successful. My lot have done very well indeed on Gentle and it is my favourite food. Try softening a little of it in some warm water and putting it inside a Kong - it will keep him entertained. Fish4Dogs sell smaller packets of their food so it would not be too expensive if the product is not suitable. The smallest size of Gentle is 5kg but maybe if you contacted them they might sell you a smaller amount to continue the trial. I always find that the samples they send you are simply too small to form a satisfactory judgement about the product.

Thanks, the sample of Gentle hasn’t arrived yet but even if he LIKES it, it will be a start! Funnily enough, he prefers to eat his kibble from a kong, rather than the bowl. I was alarmed to see on the fish for dogs reviews (on this site) a few people saying their dogs weren’t keen on it. I have high hopes for that when it arrives, their customer support dept gave me so much helpful advice.

I think TTs are notorious for their various allergies, so it would be good to hear what other TT owners are feeding. Mr Murphles was started on Royal Canin by his breeder, but he was itchy when we first got him, so that’s not the one.

The vet had told us that, despite his itching, his skin was ok so he hasn’t needed any allergy testing. Tbh, there wasn’t even a definite connection to food until he tried the Acana - I have never seen a reaction like that. He has been itchy at various points, but never to such a degree.

Will keep you posted :slight_smile:

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Hi Tabelmabel …So glad you started this thread …one of my two dogs has itchy skin so have tried looking for Hypoallergenic foods to help him … mine are Shih tzu crosses.

At the moment Im using My Mad Dog Premium Chicken and Rice (because the price is good and Im on a limited income) but they are not too keen on this and I have been mixing in a tiny amount (quarter of a small flat can of Ceasar) and this helps …

Im thinking of trying the Burns Alert Chicken and Brown Rice this also contains Salmon oil, Chicken oil, Sunfower oil Seaweed and oats so hoping to get a small trial pack of this and see if it helps .

Flin - having checked out the food that you are currently using, it seems that it contains cereal, including maize. Unfortunately Burns has a lot of cereal in it so if your dog has issues with cereal (and bear in mind that we don’t know if this is the case) a change to it might not be helpful. It might be best to look for something that is grain free to see if it makes any difference. If you need any help with this, just ask. With regards to cost, some of the more expensive foods (usually of a higher quality) sometimes work out cheaper because you need to feed quite a bit less.


Hi, Have you tried feeding raw. I appreciate that it doesn’t suit some people but it really is excellent for the dogs and contains no fillers or nasties. I have fed Nutriment for the last year and it was the best moved that I made for the dogs. No tummy upsets,no itching and little poos and to top it all they love it !!

Thank you Dottie . I will give the burns a miss …I have looked around and have seen lots of good reviews for
Skinners Field and Trial Duck and Rice .

Thanks Vikkia .I will look into that .


Hello everyone! I have now trialled Fish for Dogs and The Natural Dog Food Company and the winner is . . . . . .The Natural Dog Food Company (adult chicken flavour)

Fish for Dogs was fairly well tolerated with itching reduced to an acceptable level BUT Mr Murphles wasn’t at all impressed by the taste of it and only ate a small amount when he realised there was nothing else on offer. I didn’t much enjoy the intense aroma from this food either.

However, he LOVES the chicken flavour Natural Dog Food company and there is NO ITCHING AT ALL!!! It seems to be perfect for him. I have also found that the company is excellent to deal with, fantastic speedy delivery and also very rapid response when I needed to phone them.

Fish for Dogs gave me excellent customer service too and sent a very detailed email about their products, it just wasn’t the food for my dog.

So pleased I have found the right food :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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Yay - that’s great news. Thank you so much for letting us know. I gave mine Fish4Dogs for quite a while and my youngest was brought up on their puppy version. They all enjoyed the food - pup used to like warm water on hers as it released the fishy aroma. I too find customer service and delivery very good. I always have a 2kg box of their sea jerky tiddlers in stock and if I wait until they have an offer on they are even better value for money.

I haven’t used food from the Natural Food Company so have just checked their website and the chicken product is here. The review on the Dog Food Directory is here.

Dried British Chicken (min 22%), Fresh British Chicken (min 21%), Whole Brown Rice (min 21%) Whole Oats, Mixed Vegetables and Herbs, Whole Barley, Refined Chicken oil, Sugar Beet, Linseed, Brewer’s Yeast.
Typical Analysis:
Protein 20%, Oil 8.5%, Fibre 3%, Ash 5%.