Help! Finding the perfect food

Hi! I’m new to this group and wanted a bit of advice :). I have a 3 yr old big Labrador. His ideal weight is around 38kg but he’s been very poorly (food poisoning) so trying to get his weight back up to that. He has always had a problem with loose stools and occasional sickness. He also has reoccurring yeast infections in one ear. He’s had problems with itchy skin before too. We need to get his anal glands expressed monthly and his back legs are giving him slight problems already so we are expecting problems in the future with them. (When we got him, he was a very poorly pup but we have managed to keep on top of his issues as best as we can. I imagine this list may look a bit lengthy but apart from these issues, he is a very healthy, bouncy boy!

We have tried various dog foods but we cannot find THE perfect one. The one he was most suited to was AATU duck but he seemed always hungry and put on a fair bit of weight. His recent one was one from tails but he had runny stools and a few ear infections on that. We have also tried barking heads, a vegan one, taste of the wild and a few others. We had him on raw but I couldn’t do it, as a vegan it literally turned my stomach.

I liked AATU for the content but it was a bit pricey for such a big dog. Is there any similar that is more wallet friendly? Or any others to reccomend?

Oh I should also add that he’s a bit hot and miss with fish and chicken.

Any help and advice would be greatly recieved! Thank you!

I have had various problems with our Red setter who has a sensitive tummy, and also needed to gain weight as he is so thin.
I have tried lots of different foods including raw but have now found the best food for him is butternut box. It is not cheap but worth the money ,keeping his health up to scratch. His coat is shiny , is poo is consistently good , and he is very happy with the food. Worth thinking about.

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Thank you for replying and I’m glad you have it all sorted now. Will check it out now! :slight_smile:


He is so beautiful!

My last dog had some of the issues you describe, he was always prone to tummy issues and also suffered with itchy skin. I found that Forthglade grain free wet food worked well in improving his digestive issues and I used to add Yumega Itchy Dog to his meals which helped the itching tremendously.

Like Rebecca, I now feed Butternut Box but as it’s a little pricey I also feed a cold pressed food, Tribal TLC. My dog has this for lunch and Butternut for breakfast and dinner. Tribal has added joint care and Butternut Box contains linseed oil. I do, however, also add a supplement as my dog is a large breed and, although young, she has suffered some stiffness in her back legs-like you with your pup I worry this may be an issue in the future. I add Mobile Bones granules to her meals and it has seemed to help her.


We have a thread on dogs with a sensitive digestion system here. There might be something of use in it. The symptoms seem to point to intolerance or maybe could be due to the dog’s immune system.

Dry food is probably not going to be the best thing for your dog because they tend to be high in carbohydrate and this is reputed to stimulate yeast growth in susceptible dogs. You could try a high protein one e.g. 80/20 but they sometimes have complex, multi meat formulas and with a dog like yours it is best to keep it simple. I don’t know whether these will suit your dog - we hear that some dogs have loose stools when on such foods but in fairness that could be due to overfeeding.

Some things to consider:

  • See your vet and start a proper, tightly controlled elimination diet. They often start with a prescription food containing hydrolysed protein source. Different foods are then added very gradually and the dog’s response monitored. Takes a while but can be useful.
  • Consider a home cooked diet but research this thoroughly first.
  • I appreciate you dislike feeding raw but it is something to consider because of the low carb. If you go for raw complete it is no different to feeding tinned food. You don’t have to handle it. If you are minded to try this again, please choose one of the larger companies and ask for their help/advice because you need to give one food at a time to monitor the dog’s response.
  • Low carb wet food e.g. Natures Menu Country Hunter, Forthglade. There are more and they can be found using the Dog Food Directory. Again, one flavour at a time to monitor response. These can be expensive though.

My dog has many allergies (food & enviromental) and he has problems with his anal glands and ears plus ,flaky skin. I’ve just started him on Akela fish feast. His skin is starting to clear up, his poops are fab and I’m hopeful for his ears and bottom problems ( Rome was ‘t built in a day!). Akela have 4 flavours, duck being one of them. I tried my dog on AATU and it was too rich for him so I was doubtful that an 80:20 food would suit him but within the first few days of being on Akela his runny poops cleared up. They are very reasonably priced too and delivery is excellent too

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Thank you all so much for replying. I will get his tests booked at the vets, but I’m in need of new food pronto so that I can mix his old and new food together. I really cannot stand the raw meat and I wish I could as I 100% would put him on a raw food diet. I can smell a butchers a mile off and even with the ‘natures menu’ which I used before, I could not stomach it, especially as I’ll soon be trying for a baby. My partner cannot be relied on to feed him either due to work.

I looked at butternut box and it looked amazing but at around £5 per day it just isn’t tangable for me at the moment. I’d like to keep him on kibble if possible as he likes to eat out of his kong treat dispenser thing. Takes him around half an hour to eat his meals as he carefully carries it to a specific spot and takes great care in dispensing the kibble and cleaning it. I would rather feed him food that I can put in there so that he can still do this.

I have looked at tribal, Akela and Eden so far. I like that tribal is highly digestible but it doesn’t seem to have much on allergies? I liked the look of Akela too, in fact it seemed pretty similar to Eden food but at a much lower price! I was considering Eden semi moist food as it seems almost in between wet and dry and he could still use his beloved kong. I’m pretty stuck out of those 3, do you think it would be a case of just trying all three, one at a time? I’m concious not to change his food too much, however!

What would you guys reccomend? I will look at thT thread you mentioned too, Dottie! Thanks

The famous kong!

I haven’t tried Eden as he’s allergic to most flavours but I’ve tried Tribal and Akela. Tribal was good … poops excellent but he still had dry flaky skin. Since moving him to Akela his skin is starting to clear up, his fur is getting softer and his poops are still good so I would personally say Akela for my dog but I do acknowledge what is good for one isn’t necessarily good for another.

I have fed raw complete BARF in vegan occupied house. I wouldn’t personally feed the raw product brand you did…wolftucker chicken is almost like pate.

If jumping from barf/raw I would try cold pressed…look at the cold pressed foods in dog food dirctory on this website.

Danielle - I can understand your aversion to raw diet, and your cautiousness in view of the fact that you are hoping to start a family soon. As you want something quick I can only advise that you have a look at some of the wet foods that you can get off the shelf. Morrisons has Forthglade on offer at the moment - 5 trays for £5. It is a tad expensive for a Labrador but you can mix it if you wish. Also, it is a high quality food so you might not need quite as much as is suggested on the packet.

I did look at the cold pressed foods for you yesterday but you mentioned your dog not being too good with chicken and fish. Most of the cold pressed foods that I am familiar with (from Markus Muhle) contain a small amount of fish/fish oil. This could be acceptable to you so if it is, it might be useful to have a look at:
Black Angus - contains beef but no chicken. The problem here is that it only comes in 15kg bags.
Guru Surf and Turf - as above but comes in 5kg bags. It does have four types of oil which is good for coat and skin issues. The brown rice is useful for digestive health and it contains dried moor which is also good for the promotion of a healthy digestive system.
Red Deer Venison - based on duck with added venison. Again, it contains a small amount of white fish.

As you are vegetarian, do not overlook the fact that suitable vegetables and a few fruits can be good for dogs. We have information about this on the forum so if you are minded to look for it, use the search box at the top. Remember that vegetables need to be cooked and pureed for the dog to make the best use of the nutrition. Check out Rodney Habib (Planet Paws) for more advice about this.