OES puppy, severe ear infections....food recommendations?

Puppyhas severe ear infections…vet recommended hills z/d ultra, although a hydrolysed protein, does not support growth and joints in a large breed puppy…fed Arden grange at the moment…not sure where to turn??.

Hello and welcome to the forum. Is your vet absolutely sure that your dog’s ear problems are food related? Ear mites can cause repeated infection - has this been excluded?

Yes…said to try a food trial, recommended the hills but I’ve spoken to them and they don’t think it’s suitable. My puppy is only 5 months old and had two sedations to clean all the black muck from her ears :frowning:

Is the Arden Grange version that you are using Puppy Junior Large Breed? Looking at that recipe there are two ingredients that are more likely to cause problems. Maize is one and the other is chicken. This gives you a starting point for an elimination diet.

First of all you need to decide on the type of food. There are advantages in avoiding dry food for now. These can contain storage mites, particularly grain based products and dogs can be intolerant or allergic to them. The other thing is that wet foods tend to have much simpler recipes and this is exactly what you need when commencing an elimination diet. It makes it much easier to pin point problems. There are some good quality wet foods on the market and we can help you source one if you wish. There is no need to avoid grain because the best ones only contain brown rice, which is usually well tolerated. If going for grain free, choose those with sweet potato or butternut squash.

If you wish to try a raw diet, use one of the reputable companies and telephone their customer services department. Nutriment, Natural Instinct, Natures Menu are just three. The latter company sells good quality tinned food if you prefer that and don’t have freezer space.

Another option would be so called ‘home cooked’. Butternut Box sells this kind of food but it’s expensive. It is freshly cooked and very high quality. Tesco Freshpet is a similar thing but a number of their recipes contain chicken. Your dog might not be intolerant of this but maybe avoid it just for now.

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Thankyou for your help…I have two other dogs who are on a dry food, I would if possible prefer to stay on dry? I’m also concerned that going on to an adult feed she would be lacking in minerals/supplements for her growth and joints?

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Just to say that vets are very good at what they do but they are not always good at what food is best for your dog.
There are lots of dog foods companies, a good one is Millies, they do lots of dried food, and tinned too, if you want to stay on dried.
There is another one called pure dog food, which is dehydrated and needs mixing with warm water. I did do a post on there so you can look at this if you wish, and there are lots of reviews .I hope that your puppy gets sorted out. :slight_smile:


The issue likely aggravated by diet or an allergy exposure environment (the later not necessarily in the home but make sure you are happy re carpets, bedding etc). Ear mites need a host so main focus is the dog.

Blood tests can be done for both the above.

I am not suggesting existing diet is the issue but I prior noticed maize content in AG large breed chicken & after they allegedly revised their compositions some years ago. I should clarify that I am NOT saying Maize is the issue or that the issue is diet related.

A quick Google search yielded various results with natural suggestions for treating ear mites. Corn oil seemed to be frequently mentioned.

As with any treatment regime, do ensure you do your research 1st…particularly you should consider any specific issues for younger dogs. There can be risks or pitfalls from various treatments. Treating your dog on your own or at variance with vet advice not for everyone . Consider a soft padded Elizabethan collar if itching aggravates the issue or topical applications might cause dog to scratch, rub or itch.

Proper research is key.

As for specific food recommendations I suggest you decide on food type (whether continuing with kibble or trying another type/category). Personally I would aim for appropriate protein level to assist appropriate growth rate but I would keep ingredients natural and basic. I might consider Fishmongers from PAH or fish4dogs if keen to keep it kibble based. If looking into cold pressed Gentle fish might be worth a look. Wainwrights or forthglade worth a look for grain free wet complete trays. I see diet elimination has been sensibly prior mentioned.


As you have said that you prefer dry food, I think that Coaster’s suggestion of cold pressed (notably Gentle Fish) is worth consideration. It is single source protein and few dogs have problems with fish. I am not sure, but perhaps storage mites may be less of an issue because cold pressed food has a shorter shelf life. These foods achieve good scores on the Dog Food Directory.

Another cp product that has single protein is Tribal TLC Salmon. Guru Full on Feast might worth looking at. It is grain free and contains duck and fish. Your dog might be ok with these two protein sources. It also has a mixture of oils which are good for skin and coat. We have a thread on cold pressed foods under the Dog Foods section of the forum.

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Years ago protein & nutrition levels were typically lower in many adult kibbles. Accordingly &/or perhaps seizing market opportunities some kibble brands also sold puppy/breeder compositions.

Dog food has improved recent years…especially for those prepared to look beyond supermarket shelves.

It is now possible to feed a quality adult kibble that may provide more for a puppy than a lesser quality puppy kibble. Some studying of adult &/or puppy composition lists will explain this better.

One more thing to consider is that there can be mixed views re appropriate protein levels when feeding puppies. Some advocate high protein levels whereas some advise not exceeding a given amount. I could suggest you speak with your vet or breeder but the reality is that many owners have a good understanding of what to feed.

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Hi’coaster’ …the breeder is feeding James well beloved and her dog suffers with bad ears too! I’ve got 2 patterdale who are on Royal Canin gastrotestinal and are 12 and 13., So I’m not concerned about them.
I’ve gone round and round, read and reread and still don’t know what one to chose…I’d sort of decided on Origen but she loves her food and I think she would want more…

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It is interesting that the breeders dog has bad ears too. If the breeders bitch had ear mites it might suggest why yours has same assuming you have had a correct diagnosis.

I have prior fed both AG & JWB…better than some kibbles but neither would be my choice now…If I had to feed a kibble & could justify cost then origen would be at the top of my shortlist. As for dogs wanting more…many dogs will happily eat more of most foods we provide if allowed to do so.

I am not a vet but I would look beyond diet to get rid of the ear mites. I haven’t read lots about them but limited reading suggests they are living things & passed from cat/dog to dog.

Some reading today suggests some results from using corn oil…Please do some research before engaging in any home treatment programme & make sure treatment is specific and appropriate to the condition.

Have you had proper confirmation from your vet that your dog has a parasitic infection rather than a bacterial or dietary related infection ?

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The fact that other puppies have the ear problem is suggestive of mites. Have you had a second veterinary opinion? If not, it might be useful to do so.

On the subject of protein in puppy food, we have a thread here on feeding giant breed puppies. Orijen sell excellent quality products but the recipes are complex. Puppy version includes chicken.

Only the mother has had ear problems not the other puppies. Il double check with the vet tomorrow re ear mites but I’m pretty sure it’s not that. She’s had her ears cleaned out completely under sedation and had antibiotics put in them. The next step is a new type of treatment that paints the inner ear and stops bacteria from forming.

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A quick call to receptionist at vets will clarify.

If vet recommended diet change I suspect NOT mites.

Consider a decent quality fish based kibble such as fish4dogs puppy.

Dottie makes a good point re relative complexity of Orijen. A simple initial approach may be better if wanting to evaluate improvements &/or rule out issues.


Fish4Dogs puppy could be a good choice. It has a simple recipe and fish is usually well tolerated. Once pup is settled on it you could then enhance it by gradually trying a little suitable home cooked food. This would give a bit of variety.

Throwing an alternative out there having had a dog prone to ear infections… but Thornit Ear Powder is definitely worth exploring in terms of relief & results. You’ll find much more information about it through some searches and reviews. It’s readily available on Amazon with excellent reviews too.

In terms of foods, agree with the suggestions provided thus far from Dottie and Coaster but I too would be surprised if this is a food related issue.


Thankyou for all your help and suggestions…made a decision, ordered gentle and Fish4Dogs samples…as she is a bit fussy and will chose one of these! Will also get the ear powder for when and if her ears settle down.


I think your choice of foods to trial is good. Of the two foods named I would be keenest to get my dog onto the Gentle CP…assuming dog got on with it ok.

Once you ascertain if dog likes a particular food I suggest you trial it for say a month…During which time you may see gradual changes. Difficult to evaluate what change is diet related when a dog is still growing. Stool output is a pretty good indicator when judging correct feed amounts in adult dogs, however, pups can have sensitive stomachs and are prone to garden scavenging so don’t dismiss a food until you have given dog time to adjust & worked out correct amounts.

Make sure you only give ear powder or other treatment once certain what the specific ear issue is.

I am still not entirely convinced whether you or your vet are that clear re the specific problem so be careful…Someone suggested a 2nd vet opinion - I agree with that advice & would add that it is important to find the right vet. I am presently happy with mine but have changed practices 3 times in last 5 years.

Good Luck


PS I just edited my post slightly…my thoughts & general advice still the same.


OES puppy would have floppy down ears. I have 2 dogs with floppy ears. I always make sure their ears are dry and clean after a bath and l dust over the inside of the flappy parts with Thornit once a week. I also pull out any hair from inside the ear (a little thornit dusted over the ear or on your fingers will make this easier) for airflow and to keep the ears cool and to stop any debris collecting in hairy ears. Both my shih tzu x and Maltese require a little more attention in the hairy ear dept. Have you been advised to remove hair from inside the pups ears? Anyway this is what I do… both hairy dogs and l haven’t had any problems with their ears. Hope it helps :slight_smile:

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