best kind of dog food

Discussion dedicated to promoting the well-being of your dog through diet, exercise and general health tips.

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Salomé
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Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Salomé » Wed May 19, 2010 3:46 pm

I'm kinda obsessed with dog nutrition and spent a lot of time over the 10 or 12 years focusing on what is in dog foods and what is good dog food. During that time, I've gone through a *lot* of diff. kinds of dog foods. In my ideal world, I would prefer to do raw (preferably the "raw prey" model), but unfortunately, none of the dogs I have had seem to take to it for one reason for another. (Having one dog who is basically an exercise anorexic doesn't help. lol)

Anyway, in my opinion (and SOLELY in my own, obviously subjective opinion), based upon my readings, comments from breeder or rescue friends of mine, my dogs and those of the dogs I know, I would rate the following dog foods in the following way:

Orijen (esp. the Acana line, which is what I give now): A+
Evo: A
Taste of the Wild: A

Wellness CORE (no grain) version: B+
Merrick: B+
Wellness regular: B
Blue Buffalo: B+/B

Innova: B (but that was before P&G took it over)
Solid Gold: B-
Canidae: B-

Nutro: C+/C
Eukenuba/IAMs/: C-
Science Diet: C-
Beneful: D
BilJac: D
Things like most Purina brands that you can find in a supermarket: D or F

I've tried one of the Nature-something brands found in Petsmart but I can't remember which one. Nature's Remedy, Natural something but I can't remember the name and was not impressed. My dog at the time also didn't do well on it.

Now, again, this is just my personal opinion and I have no vet or specialised dog knowledge.

And, as Josie quite correctly points out above, different dogs do well on different things. Plus, some dogs need certain types of special diets for allergies, medical reasons, etc. But the list above is just an over-all framework based upon my own subjective opinion and stemming out of my experiences, what I've read, various brands I've tried, what my breeder friends have said, how the dogs in my family or my friends' dogs have done, etc.

Wicket
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Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Thu May 20, 2010 1:57 am

I feed my dogs Natural Balance but I'm not attached to it; if there's a better food out there, I'll buy it after mostly switching from Science Diet. (Dogs get a little bit of w/d [contains corn :(]to help with digestion.) My Poodle, while on Science Diet, kept biting her feet and scratching herself but that has mostly stopped since we switched. She has long struggled with weight but never quite fit the breed standard, in between a toy and miniature poodle weight wise. From what I've read, the aforementioned brands are high protein (which I can see can help with skin problems) but can help her lose some weight? (Most weight management foods I noticed are high in fiber, or corn.) Thanks!

Wicket
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Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Thu May 20, 2010 1:59 am

I found this article online from Best Friend's Animal Sanctuary, the shelter featured in "Dogtown."

Salomé
Posts:56
Joined:Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Salomé » Thu May 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Wicket wrote:I feed my dogs Natural Balance but I'm not attached to it; if there's a better food out there, I'll buy it after mostly switching from Science Diet. (Dogs get a little bit of w/d [contains corn :(]to help with digestion.) My Poodle, while on Science Diet, kept biting her feet and scratching herself but that has mostly stopped since we switched. She has long struggled with weight but never quite fit the breed standard, in between a toy and miniature poodle weight wise. From what I've read, the aforementioned brands are high protein (which I can see can help with skin problems) but can help her lose some weight? (Most weight management foods I noticed are high in fiber, or corn.) Thanks!
One of the many (MANY) problems with the common dog foods that have a lot of fillers in them is that the dog needs almost twice as much food in order to get the basic nutrients it needs and to feel satiated. Fillers like corn are cheap for the dog food companies to insert but they can -- among other things -- make a dog really fat. Partially because, as noted above, they need to each so much of the food to get the protein and other stuff their bodies need.

That's a really simplistic explanation but my point is really that switching your dog to a different type of food that is grain-free, for example, can really help with her weight. About 3 years ago, I basically begged my neighbor to switch her senior, massively overweight toy poodle from Iams (I think it was Iams, but it might have been Science Diet) to a better dog food. We settled on Wellness because it fit her budget and was easily available at Petco which is close to us. Molly Brown not only lost weight, but had a massive surge in energy and her coat became so much better. Molly Brown had always acted as if she were being starved. On the new dog food, she got the same amount as before but was no longer constantly hungry or acting starved, and, again, she lost weight. She also seemed to have less stiffness in her joints when she moved. The reason: she was getting the proper amount of nutrients and protein her body needed, instead of being junked up with fillers and things that dogs don't need and, in the wild, never originally ate.

The real question is: is Nature's Balance the best dog food out there? In my opinion, it is definitely not THE best.

Another question is, which one of the Nature's Balance are you feeding? From what I've heard, Nature's Balance -- like Canidae before it -- has unfortunately changed their formula to include ingredients of a lesser quality and source in order to save money. This applies particularly to the Duck and Potato line. I've also read that they're also supposedly no longer just made in the USA (although the company disputes that with some legalese, by saying that the stuff is "manufactured" in the US, despite the fact that their bags supposedly no longer say "Made in the USA" and that "manufactured" does not mean that the ingredients come from the US). If true, it could be a problem given that food from some countries (e.g., China) are sometimes subject to absolutely no stringency or safety standards.

But *either way,* the bottom line is that they changed their formula and that is rarely good. In fact, when that happens, the food's quality almost always takes a turn for the worse. That happened with Canidae which I used to feed one of my German Shepherds at one point, and with their Felidae line for cats. (And Canidae, even before the change, wasn't absolutely *the* best dog food around although it was still good, but I didn't know as much then as I do now about the diff. brands. I really think that, if I had known as much then as I do now, about the diff. kinds of dog foods and hadn't started him for the first 4 years of his life on such utterly ghastly foods like Eukenuba, etc., that he would have had 50% less health problems. Maybe even 70%.)

How much are you paying for Nature's Balance now? What size bag and how long does it last you?

You may want to check out these links which have a comparison of the various sorts of dog food out there, from those commonly available to those of a more speciality nature:
http://www.doberdogs.com/foodcht4.html
http://www.doberdogs.com/foodcht3.html

BTW, there are healthy things or sources of fiber that you can give to your dog to help with digestion instead of giving Science Diet's W/D. Canned pumpkin (without additives or sugar) is an easy, cheap alternative, but there are also others.

Wicket
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Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Mon May 24, 2010 5:51 am

Salome,
One of the many (MANY) problems with the common dog foods that have a lot of fillers in them is that the dog needs almost twice as much food in order to get the basic nutrients it needs and to feel satiated. Fillers like corn are cheap for the dog food companies to insert but they can -- among other things -- make a dog really fat. Partially because, as noted above, they need to each so much of the food to get the protein and other stuff their bodies need.
I can't tell you how many people I've encountered that feed their dogs Kibble n bits or Alpo, and then wonder why their dogs have behavior problems...It's like Twinkies for dogs.
That's a really simplistic explanation but my point is really that switching your dog to a different type of food that is grain-free, for example, can really help with her weight.
Wouldn't a high protein diet make her fatter due to the higher calories?
Another question is, which one of the Nature's Balance are you feeding?
Both dogs are on Natural Balance Ultra Premium. Click link for ingredients and more information.
How much are you paying for Nature's Balance now? What size bag and how long does it last you?
Right now, they are on the 12.5 lb bag which costs about $30. Both dogs get 1/2 cup *total* per day, which means one cup per day. It usually lasts a month or more. They get a pinch of w/d canned each. I've recently discovered that my Mom has been feeding the Poodle about a tablespoon of w/d plus the 1/4 kibble each meal. No wonder she's gained weight.
BTW, there are healthy things or sources of fiber that you can give to your dog to help with digestion instead of giving Science Diet's W/D. Canned pumpkin (without additives or sugar) is an easy, cheap alternative, but there are also others.
I'm aware. I like to use left over, steamed veggies or healthy fruits sometimes, which the dogs really love. My parents, however, have different views on dogs: they'd balk about using "human" food for dogs as part of meal but as a treat, it's okay. W/d is used mainly as a convenience but I'm phasing it out and seeing how Maggie does.

Ideally what I'd like in a dog food brand:
Healthy ingredients I can understand and recognize but not a super-long list, natural but not necessarily organic, affordable and easy to find, available in a small bites. No fillers, corn, wheat or soy. Has a canned food line.

Information of my dogs that might help:
Poodle: 8 years old, had a stressful year with joint problems and low palate count, tapering her off steroids in the next 2 weeks for her mentioned medical issues, very food motivated, bites her feet except after she's had a bath and/or been combed out
Chi-poo: 2 years old, pretty healthy, picky eater since puppy-hood, won't eat the kibble unless w/d canned is on it, does agility weekly so I'm worried about her joints too

Thanks for being my canine nutritionists!
P.S. Since I just bought the new bag of Natural Balance, I probably won't phase them out until that's nearly out.

Wicket
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Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Mon May 24, 2010 2:49 pm

Orijen website answered my questions about high protein diets in this paper. I'm contemplating Acana since my Poodle had a liver infection in the past and I don't want a super high protein diet to affect that.

Salomé
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Joined:Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Salomé » Mon May 24, 2010 5:10 pm

Wicket wrote:Orijen website answered my questions about high protein diets in this paper. I'm contemplating Acana since my Poodle had a liver infection in the past and I don't want a super high protein diet to affect that.
Gosh, I love Orijen so, so much and that White Paper just reconfirmed some of the many reasons why. My GSD is on their Acana line, specifically the green Grasslands type which has lamb, fish and eggs. He's a finicky eater (bordering on anorexic), yet this food... this food he not only eats but actually looks around to see if there is more!! (And he did NOT do that for either Blue Buffalo, the raw diet (which he starved himself rather than eat), EVO (probably because it has less healthy carbs), or Merrick.) So, Acana may be one consideration for your finicky Chi-poodle and poodle.

I read the list of ingredients for Nature's Balance Ultra Premium and... hm. On the face of it, it doesn't sound terribly bad. But it's got Brewer's Yeast which... ACK!! :x Most people know that corn can trigger skin allergies but they don't know that Brewer's Yeast is just as bad. A *LOT* of dog food and most treats as well include Brewer's Yeast, and it can cause itching, chewing on paws, shedding, and all the other things that your poodle seems to have.

Orijen does not have Brewer's Yeast. I spend $63 with tax for a 30 lb bag, so it is cheaper than than the $30 you spend for a $12 lb bag. The place I get it has a deal with Orijen where, after you buy 12 bags, you get the 13th one free. (They submit the receipts to Orijen who repays them.) If you can find a store who sells it near you, see if they have the same deal with the company because I believe it is something set up by Orijen itself. The deal applies to any size bag; you just have to buy 12 of the same size bag and you can take as long as you want to do it.

Another thing about the Acana line. They have 3 diff. types of food. For some reason, 4 of the breeders I know (one breeds/shows English Mastiffs, one Jack Russels, one Rotties, and one who is the Corgi breeder who owns the store where I buy Orijen from)(so, you see, all diff. size dogs can do well on Orijen), they all mix the diff. Acana lines together so that their dogs sometimes get more of the Fish line, sometimes more of the other more meat-based one, sometimes the more chicken-y one. There doesn't seem to a diarrhea problem since the lines are so close, but if your dogs are ultra, ultra picky, you may want to consider that as a way of ensuring a variety of tastes.

The only problem I see is that you want some wet food too. Orijen does not make canned food. Where are you located, if I may ask? I would do a check on Orijen's site for a local distributor close to you, go in and see what labels they carry in terms of wet food. A distributor that carries Orijen will have other, similarly high quality dog foods. Perhaps try Taste of the Wild or EVO, both of which have a canned food line.

A suggestion for you: Salmon Oil. Now, I do NOT mean the fish oil tablets or liquid that you can get in most stores or even Petsmart because the source of those things are anchovies, sardines or other small fish. Some of those may come from contaminated water, but more importantly, they don't offer the best source of Omega-3s and Omega-6s. I get a big bottle of Alaskan Salmon oil from Amazon for about $24 with free shipping and no tax. I put about 2-3 pumps of it on my GSDs food and it not only helps the skin and reduces itching but -- more importantly -- it also acts as an anti-inflammatory for joints. I made my best friend give it to her newly adopted Goldie who had been abused, had the most ghastly coat from flea infestation and neglect, and was walking like an old man. On his 2nd vet visit, 2 months later, the vet couldn't believe it was the same dog as his coat was incredibly thick, soft and plush, his joints were no longer stiff and he could run like a younger dog. I would suggest you try it for your dogs since both could benefit given what you've described or what your concerns are, esp. the poodle.

There are many good kinds on the market, including one that comes from the deep waters of Norway, but this is the one that is most affordable for me:
http://www.amazon.com/Alaskan-Bear-Trea ... B000H57EA2

As for the current bag of dog food you're on, many places like Petsmart, etc., will accept a return of an open, relatively new bag. I would get your poodle off the Nature's Balance as soon as possible because of the Brewer's Yeast. If you have to wait, then, in the meantime, toss out any treats that you may have that have yeast in them. And definitely get the salmon oil!!! Most dogs really like it on their kibble, but if your Chi-Poo is ultra finicky, you may have to ease him into it. Given the size of your dogs, I would only use 1 pump's worth per dog per meal, so that bottle will probably last you forever.

I hope that helps. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. I mean it, don't hesitate. :) I love talking about dog food and animal nutrition, crazy person that I am. :lol:

Wicket
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Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Mon May 24, 2010 6:57 pm

Orijen does not have Brewer's Yeast. I spend $63 with tax for a 30 lb bag, so it is cheaper than than the $30 you spend for a $12 lb bag. The place I get it has a deal with Orijen where, after you buy 12 bags, you get the 13th one free. (They submit the receipts to Orijen who repays them.) If you can find a store who sells it near you, see if they have the same deal with the company because I believe it is something set up by Orijen itself. The deal applies to any size bag; you just have to buy 12 of the same size bag and you can take as long as you want to do it.
That's a great deal. I'll probably start with a smaller bag and see how they like it.
Another thing about the Acana line. They have 3 diff. types of food. For some reason, 4 of the breeders I know (one breeds/shows English Mastiffs, one Jack Russels, one Rotties, and one who is the Corgi breeder who owns the store where I buy Orijen from)(so, you see, all diff. size dogs can do well on Orijen), they all mix the diff. Acana lines together so that their dogs sometimes get more of the Fish line, sometimes more of the other more meat-based one, sometimes the more chicken-y one. There doesn't seem to a diarrhea problem since the lines are so close, but if your dogs are ultra, ultra picky, you may want to consider that as a way of ensuring a variety of tastes.
So in other words, they are interchangeable and can be mixed together too?
The only problem I see is that you want some wet food too. Orijen does not make canned food. Where are you located, if I may ask? I would do a check on Orijen's site for a local distributor close to you, go in and see what labels they carry in terms of wet food. A distributor that carries Orijen will have other, similarly high quality dog foods. Perhaps try Taste of the Wild or EVO, both of which have a canned food line.
I'd want the canned since my Chi-poo is finicky but loves canned or fresh food. With Natural Balance, she actually eats the kibble; when the dogs were on Science Diet Lamb and Rice, she would pick out the canned w/d from the kibble and that would be only thing she'd eat. I switched to Natural Balance since my Poodle's allergies were driving her crazy and Chi-poo wouldn't eat the kibble anyway.

The closest Acana dealer is about 20 minutes away in another town. There's a Natura Pet dealer that's about 5 minutes from away. How do you feel about Natura Pet brand foods? My Poodle was on California Natural Lamb and Rice when she was a puppy but my Mom switched her to Nutro Natural Lamb and Rice due to the cheaper price, and then we went on the Science Diet, and now the dogs are on Natural Balance.
A suggestion for you: Salmon Oil.
Do you think the Acana fish would have lots of omega 3s too? I'd hate to accidentally over supplement.
As for the current bag of dog food you're on, many places like Petsmart, etc., will accept a return of an open, relatively new bag. I would get your poodle off the Nature's Balance as soon as possible because of the Brewer's Yeast. If you have to wait, then, in the meantime, toss out any treats that you may have that have yeast in them. And definitely get the salmon oil!!! Most dogs really like it on their kibble, but if your Chi-Poo is ultra finicky, you may have to ease him into it. Given the size of your dogs, I would only use 1 pump's worth per dog per meal, so that bottle will probably last you forever.
I bought it 5/12 and they've had about 10 cups from the 12.5 lb bag. The back of the receipt from Petco says that you can return it within 30 days but the merchandise must be in its original conditioning and packaging, and must not show signs of use. *sigh* What can I do?

Thanks you for your helpful information about brewer's yeast and all your nutrition info. :)

Wicket
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Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Mon May 24, 2010 7:21 pm

P.S. How big the Acana kibble? I noticed that Acana has a low carb, non-grain free line. Do you still think that I should go grain free?

Salomé
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Joined:Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Salomé » Mon May 24, 2010 10:34 pm

Wicket, you're more than welcome. :) The following will jump around a bit as to topics, but I'll try to get to all your questions:

I liked Natura brand food. Note the PAST tense..... I still think highly of their EVO (at least their Red Meat line for certain high-energy breeds) at least for now. (See, way down below)- That said, my breeder friend who is a big into animal nutrition and owns the store which sells all these Premium lines does not. She thinks it's not the best and that dogs do better on a bit more carb than what EVO has. But that's neither here nor there. My issue now with the Natura company is that it was just bought by Procter & Gamble.

That is bad, bad news for all the Natura lines, whether Innova, Evo or California Natural. Here is one article discussing how a dog food's quality goes down when being bought out by one of the big multi-nationals:
http://blog.timesunion.com/petsandvets/ ... pet-foods/
Excerpt:
"You may recall P & G bought Iams and Eukanuba years ago, back when premium pet food was defined by those brand names. Where are those brands today? Sold in supermarkets and wholesale clubs, with formulas and ingredients quite different from those that the brand made its reputation on. The same story can be told for Science Diet, purchased long ago by Colgate Palmolive. Yet many consumers are unaware of these facts, formula changes, use of Chinese based ingredients (can you say pet food recall?), and worse. They happily fill the bowl with cereal based, inappropriate, and overpriced foods, thinking they are doing their best for their pet. In my humble opinion, these brands are deceiving their customers. One could argue that they have done even worse, given the dogs and cats that died in the wake of the recent pet food recalls."
P&G can say what they want until the cows come home about keeping the food as it is, but the reality is that the big 5 multinational food giants focus on profit and the bottom line, and only on that. And they almost NEVER stick to the original quality or ingredients, as the Iams example makes clear. Smaller companies who originate a brand of pet food have a conscientious thoroughness, dedication, and responsible approach to ensure that their food is the absolute best it can be. That will never be P&G's goal. So, imo, stay away. Far away!

Also, according to one dog food/feeding group that I read, people started complaining a week or so before the news of the P&G sale was announced that their dogs were suddenly getting bad diarrhea from food that they'd been on years and never had problems with before. That food: Innova. Which is one of the Natura lines just taken over by P&G. In fact, some people think that P&G is *ALREADY* changing the formulae or quality of ingredients in some of the lines but hiding it. Further proof is part of a post by someone on that board which states:
"I thought you all might find this interesting. I do a lot of surveys and I got one yesterday on pet food. The survey was from Natura and was about them changing the ingredients of Evo Red Meat formula. I'm usually not allowed to tell what the surveys are about but needless to say, they were considering making the formula into something that I would no longer buy, and keeping the price the same (actually higher then what I pay now). I gave them detailed information about my opinion of their new formula and why I would not purchase it if they changed it because I had many other alternatives in pet food."
So, me personally, I would stay away from anything bought or owned by P&G. I realise 20 miles may be a bit to drive once a month or so for dog food, and it's your choice. But I would stick to Orijen. For my own peace of mind, and knowing I was giving the best thing I could, I would make that drive without question. Perhaps, once you saw if the dogs liked it, you could buy a bigger bag so you wouldn't have to make the drive so often?

And, please, NEVER EVER -- EVER -- go back to feeding Nutro, no matter what your mom may think. I'm so glad you got off it because it is beyond terrible food and has been the subject of a lot of controversy and a LOT of deaths! People know about the recall in 2009 and the FDA probe, but they don't know that the deaths have continued (albeit not on such a mass scale as in 2009). See, e.g., http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/nutro.html

About Orijen and Acana. Your post made me wonder if there was some confusion about the diff. foods. Technically, there is a difference. Orijen has a whole lot of lines under its Orijen name. Acana is a totally diff. brand of dog food, but put out by the same company. Sometimes it's referred to as Acana Provincial and comes in 3 diff. flavours:
http://www.championpetfoods.com/acana/

The biggest difference with the Acana grain-free is that, instead of using strictly potato as a binder (which some animals have an issue with), the Acana uses potato, peas and pumpkin. And pumpkin is not only easy on the tummy in some ways, reduces chances of a reaction, but it is also a great form of natural fiber. According to someone on one of the boards I read and who sells it at her rescue: "So far, the response we have gotten from our clients (I run a rescue) has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly from the Grasslands. Lots of people have even switched right over without much digestive upset. The pumpkin serves as a great binder, unfortunately it's not an easy ingredient to source in large quantities and so raises the price of the food. However, it's a top quality binder and a great source of fibre with a great nutritional profile."

And yes, all the Acana/Acana Provincial lines are inter-changeable and inter-mixable. :-) Plus, I think the Acana line is actually a little bit cheaper than the regular Orijen, although I"m not 100% positive.

I don't want to seem as though I'm pushing the Acana if it's not convenient for you, so a more easily available food that is good is Wellness CORE. Grain free, comes in 3 diff. flavours and also has a canned line. I believe it is available in many Petsmart stores. This link will give you a list of its ingredients:
http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product- ... ngredients

It's nowhere in the same class as Orijen which won, yet again, the award for the top food in the country but it is a good brand that has the benefit of being easy to find. It's maybe $4 or $5 cheaper than the Orijen's Acana line.

Also, don't worry about the Salmon Oil causing an overdose of Omega-3s or 6s. I promise you, it won't. In fact, with the small, tiny amount of fish in the kibble and just a tiny pump's worth of the oil, it's probably way below the amount they should be getting anyway given your poodle's massive skin issues and your concern for your Chi-poodle's hips. Personally, I'd give your poodle a LOT of Salmon oil to help her with her painful skin issues. You really have to see this stuff's benefits to believe it. It's THAT incredible!!

One last thing, if you want to cook a little bit to add onto the kibble to tempt your finicky Chi-poo, then do it. Don't let your mother persuade you otherwise by saying it's silly. It's not. Dog food was only invented about 80 yrs ago. What did everyone do before that? They fed their dogs raw or fed them cooked food! Victoria often suggests mixing kibble with human food for finicky dogs. Perhaps you can get your Chi-poo some chicken livers, sautee them mid-way with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it, and keep it all in a small container. When it's dinner time, heat up a tiny bit in the microwave, mix it with the kibble and serve. The parmesan cheese in particular seems to lure even finicky dogs and triggers their appetite. Try it and see if it does anything.

Let me know what you decide and how it all works out. And, again, don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions. Your furbabies deserve the best, esp. if one is experiencing the misery of skin issues. {hugs}

Wicket
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Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Tue May 25, 2010 4:57 am

And, please, NEVER EVER -- EVER -- go back to feeding Nutro, no matter what your mom may think. I'm so glad you got off it because it is beyond terrible food and has been the subject of a lot of controversy and a LOT of deaths! People know about the recall in 2009 and the FDA probe, but they don't know that the deaths have continued (albeit not on such a mass scale as in 2009). See, e.g., http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/nutro.html
That sounds like my Poodle but she was affected earlier. She had, for no reason, suddenly getting diarrhea so the vet recommended putting her on w/d which helped.
So, me personally, I would stay away from anything bought or owned by P&G. I realise 20 miles may be a bit to drive once a month or so for dog food, and it's your choice. But I would stick to Orijen. For my own peace of mind, and knowing I was giving the best thing I could, I would make that drive without question. Perhaps, once you saw if the dogs liked it, you could buy a bigger bag so you wouldn't have to make the drive so often?
I've discovered that the place I'd get Acana will ship it to you or deliver it to you too. No information about cost on the website though...
The biggest difference with the Acana grain-free is that, instead of using strictly potato as a binder (which some animals have an issue with), the Acana uses potato, peas and pumpkin. And pumpkin is not only easy on the tummy in some ways, reduces chances of a reaction, but it is also a great form of natural fiber. According to someone on one of the boards I read and who sells it at her rescue: "So far, the response we have gotten from our clients (I run a rescue) has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly from the Grasslands. Lots of people have even switched right over without much digestive upset. The pumpkin serves as a great binder, unfortunately it's not an easy ingredient to source in large quantities and so raises the price of the food. However, it's a top quality binder and a great source of fibre with a great nutritional profile."
If I understood you correctly, is that a grain-free uses potatoes, peas and pumpkin while the non-grain free uses only potato?
I don't want to seem as though I'm pushing the Acana if it's not convenient for you, so a more easily available food that is good is Wellness CORE. Grain free, comes in 3 diff. flavours and also has a canned line. I believe it is available in many Petsmart stores. This link will give you a list of its ingredients:
http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product- ... ngredients
It's nowhere in the same class as Orijen which won, yet again, the award for the top food in the country but it is a good brand that has the benefit of being easy to find. It's maybe $4 or $5 cheaper than the Orijen's Acana line.
Thank you for that recommendation as well. Here's more about my situation which might explain all these questions about kibble. While I may doing the actual buying of the food, it's my parents whom are paying for it since I'm unemployed and have a DL but am not currently driving yet. (The latter is a long story.) I'm ultimately going to convince them to buy the food. My mom has listened to me when we switched to Science Diet and then Natural Balance. My dad works for a big pharmaceutical company's animal health division in the marketing department; he's critical of natural and organic products and doesn't mind voicing his opinion. The cost of the Acana, Natural Balance, and Wellness Core are around the same so I'm worried that it may come down to convenience. My parents are currently out of town and I'm stuck at home and can't get a new bag of dog food until my driving situation is rectified. If I had my druthers, I'd try a Acana sample (assuming there's one) and see how the dogs do.
One last thing, if you want to cook a little bit to add onto the kibble to tempt your finicky Chi-poo, then do it. Don't let your mother persuade you otherwise by saying it's silly. It's not. Dog food was only invented about 80 yrs ago. What did everyone do before that? They fed their dogs raw or fed them cooked food! Victoria often suggests mixing kibble with human food for finicky dogs. Perhaps you can get your Chi-poo some chicken livers, sautee them mid-way with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on it, and keep it all in a small container. When it's dinner time, heat up a tiny bit in the microwave, mix it with the kibble and serve. The parmesan cheese in particular seems to lure even finicky dogs and triggers their appetite. Try it and see if it does anything.
I've used Swiss and feta cheese in the past in training and sometimes add to their kibble to promote healthy bacteria. :) I have some left over smoked, raw salmon and I'm contemplating cooking some of it for them as a special treat or adding it to their food. I'll have to try Parmesan cheese/livers too.
Let me know what you decide and how it all works out. And, again, don't hesitate to ask if you have more questions. Your furbabies deserve the best, esp. if one is experiencing the misery of skin issues. {hugs}
You've given me lots of think about it. From what I've seen, there are many opinions on dog food kibble and both sides are vocal. Right now, I'm wondering what's marketing and what's the truth with dog food. I really want to do right for my dogs but I'd hate to accidentally hurt them by giving them wrong food, especially since I nearly lost my Poodle a few months ago. A grain free, high protein diet nothing I've tried before but nothing is without risk. Don't get me wrong, I am impressed with Orijen's site and how informative and forthright it is. It would help if I could see how the dogs react the new food but getting it right now isn't an option for awhile. Just not quite sure what to do...

I've read that high protein diet affects aggression issues. What do you think?

Wicket
Posts:739
Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Tue May 25, 2010 5:09 am

P.S. This question must have gotten lost in the other ones: What size is the Acana kibble?

My Chi-poo is about 8 lbs. She has a long snout, legs and body of a toy Poodle while she has the eyes, half pricked ears and kinked tail of a Chihuahua. Probably due to anatomical reasons, she prefers a smaller kibble. My Poodle will eat anything and doesn't seem to care about kibble size. I ask because non-grain Acana has a small bites as well as agility within that line. Thanks!

Wicket
Posts:739
Joined:Mon May 03, 2010 11:36 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Wicket » Tue May 25, 2010 5:11 am

non-grain free*----how can you edit posts after they've been posted?

Leigha
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Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Leigha » Tue May 25, 2010 5:22 am

Exactly the way you did it :) There is no post-edit function. :)

Salomé
Posts:56
Joined:Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:52 pm

Re: best kind of dog food

Post by Salomé » Tue May 25, 2010 6:31 am

Wicket, thank you for explaining your situation. I was in a similar sort of situation a few years back after a horrendous car accident, so I completely understand and commiserate. It is definitely frustrating, esp. when you want to do your best for your dogs but are dependent on others for even small things. Hang in there, honey. It does get better. {{hugs}}
If I understood you correctly, is that a grain-free uses potatoes, peas and pumpkin while the non-grain free uses only potato?
I've been terribly unclear and I apologise. I'm an insomniac, you see, and I've been going on 24 hrs without sleep, so I'm even more incoherent than usual. :) LOL. BOTH Acana and Orijen are grain-free. One of the differences is the amount of carbs levels. But here is a specific list of difference between the company's two lines, as stated on their website:
A | While there are many differences between ACANA and ORIJEN, both diets reflect our belief in “Biologically Appropriateness, and “Fresh Regional Ingredients”.

Five of the main points of difference are summarized below:

1.MEAT CONCENTRATION: ORIJEN is made with 70-75% meat ingredients while ACANA has between 40 to 65%, depending on the formula.
2.AMOUNT OF PROTEIN: ORIJEN diets range between 38% and 42% protein, while ACANA features protein levels of 29-34%.
3.AMOUNT OF CARBOHYDRATE: ORIJEN diets range from 18-22% of carbohydrate, while ACANA diets are typically in the 28-30% carbohydrate range.
4.AMOUNT OF FRESH MEAT: ORIJEN is made with 28-35% of fresh meats, compared with ACANA which ranges from 9-15% of fresh meats.
5.VARIETY OF FRESH MEAT: ORIJEN contains a minimum of 5 fresh meats, compared to ACANA which contains 3 different fresh meat ingredients.

Put simply, we believe ORIJEN is the best dry dog or cat food available worldwide. Although lower in protein and total fresh meat content than ORIJEN, ACANA provides unbeatable value and a price point that makes Biologically Appropriate pet foods accessible to a wide range of pet lovers.
(Source: Orijen's FAQs at http://www.championpetfoods.com/faq/ )

So those are the main differences, but again, BOTH are grain-free.

Now, I don't know why, but from what I hear and read, a lot of people -- even people who originally fed Orijen's main line -- seem to have transferred over to the Acana line. It's not the price difference. My Mastiff breeder friend thinks dogs just do better on the level of protein which, while being relatively high, is not as high as Orijen's main line, let alone some other dog food brands (e.g., EVO's Red Meat). The Corgi breeder who runs the Houston Corgi Rescue center and owns the store where I buy my dog food says that the Acana is flying off the shelves and even people who were die-hard fans of EVO or the main Orijen line are transferring over and rave about it. I know Acana is a relatively new line, but the explanation for all the fuss seems to be that dogs do better (and like the food more) when there is a slightly higher carbohydrate level.

Okay, I've just looked at the Orijen and Acana websites more closely and I have to say, now I'm confused by how they categorize the Acana line since they are ALL grain-free but the way the website is set up, it makes it look as if there are 3 diff. types of dog food and that not all of them are grain free. It's silly because they've made it look like there is: Orijen, Acana and then, Acana grain-free. (Compare, http://www.championpetfoods.com/acana/products.php and http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/products/ ). So you're completely right to be confused.

But just stick with this nutshell based on the company's own FAQ page: Orijen has a line of grain-free dog food called Orijen, a line of grain-free called Acana and a line of grain-free called Acana (I guess) Regional (?). :!: :roll: The latter would be the one with the Grasslands, Prairie and fish versions and *THAT* is what I've talking about. (Now I finally understand what someone on one board meant when they referred to Orijen Acana Regional.)

But bottom line, according to the company's own FAQ, they're ALL grain-free!

If I were you, I'd call the store near you and see what which Acana lines (Regional or otherwise) they carry. As you noted, Acana has a small breed size kibble. See how much ALL the Orijen lines (Orijen, Acana, Acana Regional) cost. See if they carry Wellness CORE and, if not, then call a Petsmart near you and see how much a similarly-sized bag of CORE costs. Then you can decide what you is best for you. But I'd also see how much the Wellness wet/canned food costs in order to change over from the Science Diet cans to that for your Chi-poo.

About kibble size, I'm terrible at providing an exact size assessment for almost everything. Let's just say that the Acana Grasslands (Regional) food I give is about a medium size kibble piece. It's not tiny like most of the Science Diet ones but it's not as big as some other ones I've seen on the market. I do suspect though that the one I give may be too big for your dogs. I suppose it's the size of a nickel? I believe -- but cannot remember off the top of my head -- that the Wellness CORE kibble is smaller.
I've discovered that the place I'd get Acana will ship it to you or deliver it to you too. No information about cost on the website though...
In my experience, shipping is always very ridiculously expensive when it comes to dog food and, if it's free, then the site's price for the dog food is jacked-up to compensate. One suggestion: see if there is a Yahoo dog feeding group for your area. If so, join and see if anyone is willing to go tandem with you to get the food. Let me see if I can explain better. For example, I live in Houston and belong to a Raw Feeder's Group for Houston. Many of the people get together to buy food in bulk from certain wholesalers. Sometimes, one goes and picks up everything for the others to split up at a meeting point; other times, they alternate which person goes when. Bottom line, there are a ton of Yahoo dog groups that are localised for one's specific area. See if one of them can help you out in terms of transportation and splitting big bags, etc.
I've read that high protein diet affects aggression issues. What do you think?
I know this may seem like a cop-out but I think aggression is not tied to any one, single thing. There are a host of factors which go into it, from environmental ones to hereditary, from training and discipline to food and more. I do think that biologically inappropriate diets can cause a variety of problems; I also think some breeds do better on less mega-high protein levels such as may be found in ultra-high protein foods like EVO's Red Meats. But I don't think that food and food *alone* can be the one single contributor in causing aggression. What may happen though, in some cases, is that certain ultra-high protein diets can cause a greater surge of energy, restlessness and hyperness in certain dogs and that -- in the absence of the owner providing sufficient exercise or an outlet to release that increased energy -- the dog may act out. But then, that could happen even without the food if the dog does not have a sufficient outlet for its energy.

As for editing, I *wish* we could go back and edit our posts! LOL

I hope this has been of some help. I truly am not trying to push just the Acana/Orijen line. I'm in no way affiliated with the company or anything. I think there are some other very good dog foods out there like, for example, Taste of the Wild. But the problem is that those other foods are as hard to find (ie, not in your local Petsmart) as Acana and/or more expensive. Ideally, you'd buy sample sizes of diff. brands (most have sample sizes, although I'm not sure about Wellness' CORE) and see what your dogs like. Because, ultimately, this is all just a general framework; different dogs respond to diff. foods in different ways and so long as you get something in the "very good to good" ballpark and not crap like Eukenuba or Beneful, then you've done your best.

I've been blathering enough so I'll shut up now and hope I haven't bored you all silly. :)

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