Teddy The Dog Needs Advice

Frequent visitors to this page will know that Teddy the Dog is a prominent and important part of my life. Yesterday, we returned from another visit to the vet and learned that Teddy is (again) suffering from some type of allergic dermatitis. This time, it’s in her ears.

More medication has been prescribed, but I’m starting to think this is food related. For the last three years, she’s been on Purina One Dog Food. I was suitably impressed that “chicken” was its first ingredient, but I’ve since learned that meat as a first ingredient is not really enough to assure that it’s a quality product.

In fact, this website states that Purina One is a sub-standard product.

I’m posting this here to ask if anyone can recommend a kibble that is ideal for dogs with a tendency toward allergy-based dermatitis.

Teddy and I thank you!

To read more about Teddy, click here.

Interested in reading about identifying kit homes? Click here.


Doesnt *every* dog have a monogrammed bed from Orvis? :)

Doesn't *every* dog have a monogrammed bed from Orvis? 🙂


Teddy has a friend spend the night.

Teddy has a friend ("Roxey") spend the night.


Teddy was a beautiful baby.

Teddy, at eight weeks. She's being held by my beautiful daughter, Corey.


The dog days of Teddy.

The dog days of Teddy.


Teddy and I used to drive out to the old TCC campus (Suffolk) and take a long walk along the edge of the Nansemond River. This is also the site of Pig Point, where unused shells from Penniman were stored.

Teddy and I used to drive out to the old TCC campus (Suffolk) and take a long walk along the edge of the Nansemond River. This is also the site of Pig Point, where unused shells from Penniman were stored.


This was actually a picture of my freshly painted sunporch, but the worlds most persistent photo bomber appeared.

This was actually intended to be picture of my freshly painted sunporch, but the world's most persistent photo bomber appeared. Apparently, she spotted a squirrel in her back yard.


During our last episode with dermatitis, I made up this goofy little sweater for Teddy, to keep her from gnawing on the hot spot on her front leg.

During our last episode with dermatitis, I sewed up this goofy little sweater for Teddy, to keep her from gnawing on the "hot spot" on her front leg. It worked well, and it was so darn cute.


Teddy has always been game for every adventure.

Teddy has always been game for every adventure, even a walk in one of our rare snow storms.


And shes the consummate house-hunting companion, always on the lookout for kit homes!

And she's the consummate house-hunting companion, always on the lookout for kit homes!


Thanks for any advice! Please leave a comment below!

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  1. Maddy's Mom

    Dear Teddy,

    Many, many dogs are sensitive to chicken, so the first step is to try a food with a less-commonly-eaten protein (buffalo and venison are commonly recommended), and with limited ingredients, so your mom knows exactly what’s in there.

    It’s not necessary to get a grain-free food, but it’s probably a good idea to look for one that does not have wheat, or probably even rice, as its starch component, since those can also cause reactions in sensitive dogs.

    Many limited-ingredient foods use oatmeal or potatoes as their starch component. Sweet potato is especially good for you and easy to digest.

    The site dogfoodadvisor.com is very useful for investigating which brands are best, but of course it’s important that your mom be able to get the food she wants to feed you locally.

    I’d advise making a trip together to a local store that carries high-quality pet food and asking for advice in choosing a limited-ingredient, uncommon-protein food.

    This is a widely-recognized category of food, so a good pet-food retailer should know exactly what you’re talking about and have some options for you. Buy a small bag and see how you like it and if it helps.

  2. Peggy Johnson

    I have a 9 year old standard poodle. He had problems with his ears when he was younger and I found that he cannot eat chicken type kibble.

    I feed him Authority (PetSmart store brand) lamb and rice kibble and he’s done fine on it for several years.

    I also add a little of the same type can food to his dinner plus a tablespoon of coconut oil (good for skin) melted in about 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth and mix it all together.

    He loves it. Even tho he’s a big guy (about 60 lbs.) he prefers the small size kibble.

    There is a newsletter called “The Whole Dog Journal” that has a lot of good informationand they also have a FB page.

    They do a lot of reporting on dog food and the industry. They’re not afraid to say what they think about the various brands.

  3. Nanny Springer

    Dear Teddy and your owner(s):

    While I agree with everyone else about finding a suitable dog food, I also want to urge you toward another practice that hopefully will help: Ear cleaning on a frequent (every other day or so) basis for a while, then taper off.

    If you’re hesitant about cleaning your dog’s ears, have a vet or vet’s assistant show you how to do a deep cleaning and suggest a suitable ear cleaning liquid.

    An antibiotic specially designed for ear infections will help as well, but you HAVE to be consistent.

    We had a GSD (flunked out of police training, best dog we ever had) with chronic ear problems so severe that his ears wouldn’t stand up.

    It took about 18 months, but I cleaned his ears religiously, put in drops, kept cleaning ears (he got a little pudgy from the after cleaning treats) until he finally could put them up and keep them there.

    After that, we did an ear cleaning once a week and did not allow him to stick his head out of the car window while we drove.

    Sadly, ear cleaning couldn’t cure Degenerative Myleopathy, a nerve disorder that eventually robbed him of the ability to walk; we let him go when he showed us how much he was suffering.

    Clean ears can be done even in the worst of situations. You’re a good-looking critter and we don’t want you uncomfortable!

  4. Patricia

    I had similar problems with my dogs.

    First, I no longer use Purina products.

    Both my dogs were having problems with their digestive systems. Runs, bloody stool,etc. Vet thought it might be a wheat allergy. At first I used Prescription ID ($$$ from the vet).

    After they cleared up I tried Newmans (Paul) all natural dog food.

    A little more expensive than Purina but not as pricy as the vet. Sold at the grocery store but not Walmart.

    Second one dog has allergies.

    My vet has me give him 10 mg of Claratin (generic loratadine) one to two times a day. This has cleared up his chronic ear infections and runny eyes.

    Last, on my small dog (who has hot spots) I use Sulfadene shampoo. It has cleared up her bald spots (from licking).

    Good luck with Teddy feeling better.

  5. Debbie

    I asked a friend about this. She said to check pet stores and look for dog food that has fewer ingredients, such as duck and venison-based foods.

    She also said you could try applying coconut oil on the affected area and see if that helps.

  6. Chuck

    We use Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain Free.

    One of our border collies is a dilute, and has suffered from allergy related dermatitis since he was a pup.

    It tends to be more common in dogs that carry the dilute gene anyway. Higher quality food helps greatly with his allergy-related itching.

    We’ve used about 20-30 different high quality dog foods over the years (our other border collies work for a living and need excellent quality to maintain health).

    We’ve largely settled on Nature’s Variety as the best bang for the buck of those we’ve tried so far.

    It gets along with all four of our dogs, including our 14 year old, provides the two 7 year old workers with the nutrition we need, and causes our itchy four year old the minimum of trouble.

    You can get it locally at PetSmart, which is handy if you run low.

    However, prices are considerably better on Amazon Prime.

    We keep Duck and Turkey on a Prime subscription, and whenever we run low before the monthly shipment, we hit PetSmart and buy a different flavor so they don’t get too bored with it.

    You can assume at least one to two weeks on a new food before he really starts to get acclimated and you really start to see how he’s going to do to on the food in question.

    Of course, the most effective thing for our little guy’s itching when he was younger actually turned out to be frequent (weekly) baths with a soap-free pet shampoo.

    He was much itchier through puberty, and that made a *huge* difference.

    Good luck! It’s no fun being itchy!

  7. Tammy Stowe

    I agree with Maddy’s Mom, dogfoodadvisor.com is a source of excellent, unbiased information on dog food.

    He gets into some pretty detailed analysis!

    I have an Airedale terrier and a terrier mix who both suffer from allergies.

    I feed them “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Silly name for dog food; I get it at our local feed store.

    A #25 bag costs me $36 – less pricey than Blue Buffalo or Taste of the Wild and it’s grain-free.

  8. Akon

    Eukanuba has a wide range of kibble types catering to dogs with allergies (prim. chicken), irritated intestines (which shows primarily on skin/coat) or other issues.

    Among the large manufacturers, it has reputation for being consistently satisfactory.

    Orijen (from Canada) is another quality brand, all natural, no additives and no “fillers” as they are called. (WHY would a dog eat something as remote from natural nutrition as corn/wheat?).

    Raw (frozen) food is another solution for dogs with various problems/afflictions/illnesses.

  9. Chuck

    I agree with Akon on both Orijen and Taste of the Wild. We’ve fed both successfully.

    We were feeding several Taste of the Wild flavors as our primary for a couple of years, but we were of the opinion last summer that the quality seemed to be declining a bit, so we made the switch to the Nature’s Variety.

    We didn’t notice a strong change, we’re just very picky, and our guys were beginning to get a bit gassy on it (which is usually a sign something has changed that they don’t agree with).

  10. Sears Homes

    Thanks for all the comments!!

    I thought we’d had this solved, as I bought Teddy some new super-dooper expensive dog food (Evo, Herring and Salmon), which she loved the FIRST day, but now she hates it. 🙁 Next, I’ll try Taste of the Wild, and hope she likes it.

  11. Alyse

    Our small, locally owned pet store has free sample bags of all the pet foods they carry, so it may be worth checking a small pet store to try several food and protein sources your dog might like.

    As an fyi my equally sensitive-eared collie mix likes Fromms, http://frommfamily.com, made here in the USA. It’s a little more expensive, but he eats less of the food when it’s grain free anyway.