Intolerance to Applaws – alternative recommendations?

Hello. My 7-month working cocker has been on Applaws dry food since we brought her home aged 2 months. She loves it but has always had very soft, gloopy stools, sometimes to the point of diarrhoea. Our vet recently put her on a hypoallergenic diet to see if she had a food intolerance, and overnight her stools firmed up. After two (very expensive) bags of the HA stuff, we now need to shift her over to a more “normal” food. Our vet is suggesting Wafcol. I wondered whether anyone else has had a similar experience with their dog and if so what alternative foods they put the dog onto?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Hello Marisol - welcome to the forum. Please could you let us know which hypoallergenic food you are giving and which Applaws product you were using? It would be useful to compare the ingredients. Usually when determining which food a dog is intolerant of it is a case of trialling different proteins slowly to see how the dog responds. With reference to the Wafcol is it the salmon and potato version? If you could give us a bit more information it would be helpful.

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Do you know which ingredients were absent in the vets food that we’re present in the Applaws.

The main culprits for intolerance are usually grains or chicken, though any ingredient can be a problem, so the only way to be sure is to eliminate as many ingredients as possible, then 're-introduce them one by one, giving time for any effect to be seen, until you find the problem one(s).

You may also need to double check the feed amount as over feeding of a higher meat content food will cause loose output and often reducing by only 10% can settle things down.

Look for higher rated foods in the directory and maybe start on one with only fish as the protein source, see how that goes. Obviously start with smaller bags first in case you need to swap again .

You can look for the vets recommend food in the listings also to see how it rates, which may also influence your decision making, if it’s not there you can enter the ingredients list into the instant review generator to get a good indication of rating.

Hope this helps.


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I agree with that.

The fact that your pup’s digestion improved on a hypoallergenic diet does not, in my opinion, prove that her problems were caused by allergy or sensitivity, only that they might have been. There are two other possibilities…

First, as suggested above, your pup’s symptoms could suggest that she was just being overfed. Too much food does not always cause weight gain, esp in puppies, often it just results in loose stools or even diarrhoea. I have used Applaws in the past, though only for a short time, and I found their feeding guidelines to be hugely too much for my own dogs, so that does sound quite likely to me.

Second (and I know David Green will disagree with me here ;D), I do think that a small but significant minority of dogs simply cannot tolerate dry foods with a very high meat content like Applaws, Orijen, Eden etc., they find them too rich. If this applies to your pup you might find she gets on far better with a slightly lower meat, grain free food like Acana Regionals or one with a small amount of eg brown rice such as Gentle.

I have myself experienced this in the past with one of my standard poodles, the vet said hypoallergenic only after a trial on a vet diet, but she turned out not to be sensitive to anything at all, it was simply that the food she had been getting was too rich for her - I refused to accept the vet’s opinion and switched her to Acana, and she did far better on that than the vet diet.

Whatever you decide to try her on though, do it cautiously. Try to get a sample, or at least a very small bag, and just mix a tiny amount in with the hypoallergenic food at first, and see how it goes.

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I don’t entirely disagree George, there are always a minority that have issues with any food, I do believe its usually one of the protein sources that cause the problem rather than total meat content, commonly chicken (1-2% of dogs are chicken intolerant, but you won’t see that on low meat content foods) but yes it is possible a few may do better with an overall lower meat content, you just have to be careful what you replace the meat with.

I would recommend a chicken free food (just to rule that out) but unfortunately many of the quality puppy foods contain some chicken. The widely available choices are mainly down to fish based - Wafcol, Simpsons, JWB or Lamb - Burns or JWB. If looking for a comparable to Applaws with high meat content ( I have also found overfeeding to cause upset tummy) the new Aatu range is for all life stages and they do a Salmon or Duck.

Hello we have tried Applaws well floss has, but now we are chicken free due to allergy tests and constant facial swellings plus bad rear end activity for years.
we use Millies Wolfheart but there are other chicken free out there !! if you search through the review site and ingredients lists , do check labels as they may say salmon and spud but look close and its got chicken meal or poultry meal /fat in.
Its worth isolating sources we ended up in blood tests after a bad reaction when we tried raw chicken and found chicken eggs and other sources an issue, funny though she can tolerate duck and turkey so go figure one odd working BC I have.
Do come back let us know what you have decided on as it may help someone else and keep us updated on your progress and successes

lou xxx

You may find this thread useful seehere for helping you to search for foods avoiding certain ingredients

Acana Regionals Pacifica is another chicken-free option - not as high in meat as Applaws at 60%, but grain free and one I can recommend from personal experience. I found it to be as good as any kibble I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a lot! At 7 months I wouldn’t worry about feeding an adult food , esp with a smallish breed.