Posted by: geargals | March 31, 2011

Premium Fish and Potato Dog Foods

Geardog has had some substantial food allergies in the past. We had a lot of success with a Eukanuba prescription food, but eventually that food was recalled due to contamination and Eukanuba opted to stop producing it. I didn’t like any of the other prescription options; they were either carefully disguised garbage in a veterinarian-approved package, or were so expensive I may as well just fly to Kodiak four times a year for a fly in fishing trip to stock up on salmon for Geardog. The hunt was on for a commercially available dog food that was based on fish and potatoes, didn’t contain fillers that would harm Geardog, and wouldn’t trigger any of his allergies. Here are the ones I tried:

1. Wellness Core Ocean

This was a really nice food and Geardog did decently well on it. It’s very, very fish smelling which I’m used to. His coat stayed nice on this food, and he was full of energy as usual. I like that this food is reasonably high in protein for the working dog at 36%. I think more than that is overkill (and it turns out, I am right – read the second item on the list for more information) but is still enough for a dog who works as hard as Geardog. Unfortunately, this food gave him major gas. It was so awful that I switched him to the next food on the list because the gas wasn’t tolerable to me and probably wasn’t very comfortable for Geardog.

2. Innova EVO Herring and Salmon

Innova is really capitalizing on the whole high protein idea. This food is very high in protein at 42%. Geardog did well on it for 6 months or so; or so I thought. During that time, he had a training accident and had to have minor surgery. We did a quick round of blood work and found his creatinine (kidney) levels were high. I pursued a number of follow ups, including several more blood tests, kidney x-rays, an ultrasound, and constant monitoring. After a few months of this, we moved to Durango and consulted a new vet, who noted his OTHER kidney values were now high. She wondered if the high protein levels of this food were to blame. I switched him again (to the next food on the list) and his kidney values were normal within a week. Thanks for costing me about $1000 in vet bills, Innova.

3. Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Formula

Admittedly, Geardog has only been on this food for about a month. That’s plenty long enough for the allergies to kick in, though, and they haven’t. No allergies, no weird kidney problems, no gas, so far so good. I think it’s weird that they put smoked salmon in this; how would dogs care if it’s smoked or not? Still, he likes it, and the 25% protein level is more reasonable on his system. I think we’ve found a winner.

This little experience has also impressed on me the importance of regular blood work for dogs. Without the pre-surgery blood panel, I’d never have known the food was harming his kidneys. Thank goodness for that stick that impaled him…I think?

I have also learned that premium dog foods can be just as good, and in many ways better, than the uber-expensive prescription diets carried in vet clinics. Reading and comparing labels was really important when choosing a food. Because Geardog’s food allergies were so severe when we was a puppy, I was really worried about switching his food at all, but I was successfully able to switch him three times without triggering his allergies. Hooray for improvements in dog food technology and availability of premium ingredients on the consumer market!


  1. Thanks for the dog food suggestions. I am having similar issues with my dog – although not the kidney issues, and have been searching for some other food brands that he can handle eating. Almost everything seems to make him sick, so the food has to be really simple and clean. I’ll give a couple of those a try.

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