can I have some dog food help please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 12-02-2010, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We brought home our new puppy almost two months ago :)

 

He is a mixed breed (shelter puppy) and all black. We are thinking lab/golden mix because he looks JUST like a flat coated retriever with probably some sort of Collie since he is not as big as a standard lab (about 40-45 lbs).

 

When he came home he was on science diet dog food and we switched him over to nutro max since that is what I have been feeding my other pets for years. Their large breed puppy is beef  based, and it made him throw up so we got the standard Max puppy food.

 

He seemed to be tolerating it in that he was not throwing up and he eats it fine but I am noticing some things now and starting to wonder:

 

*shedding... when we brought him home he was not shedding AT ALL. Now I am finding dog hair all over the place. Its not that I don't expect hair, its the change that I am concerned about.

 

*biting... he is biting at his legs, front and back, a fair amount lately. He did not do this before, and I know itching legs/paws is a symptom of food allergy

 

*coat... he had a beautiful shiny coat when we brought him home. His fur is still nice and full and pretty, just not as shiney as it was a month ago. I have also started to notice some more dander.

 

I am hoping to keep my price range about the same; $40 or so for a large (35-40 lb) bag.

 

Does anyone have any ideas for us? Thank you!


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#2 of 26 Old 12-02-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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We had great success with "Natural Balance" potato and duck formula.  I'm sorry, I can't remember the cost.  Our golden retriever passed away 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 15 so it's been a while since we purchased it.  He seemed to have allergy issues as well, the inside of his paws were very red between his toes and he chewed them.  The change in food helped.  It was also great for his coat, his smell, and (added bonus!) there seemed to be less dog poop to clean up, probably because there wasn't tons of filler in the food!


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#3 of 26 Old 12-02-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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My friend had a collie (not a mix, a pure collie) and she could only feed him very natural lamb based food. Apparently that breed has problems digesting other types of food. At least that is what the breeder she got him from told her. Maybe try it, see what happens? I think Nutro has a lamb line.

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#4 of 26 Old 12-02-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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Oh, and the shedding and biting at his legs could be signs of anxiety. I know my dog does that (well, she bites her paws) when she's freaked out. I sometimes also add olive oil to my dog's food. It seems to keep her coat nice and shiny, plus she loves it. She, however, is the sort of dog that can eat *anything* without consequence.

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#5 of 26 Old 12-02-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I believe Nutro was bought out a few years back and its not what it used to be. The max puppy you are feeding contains corn and wheat, both of which are fairly common allergens. Its also chicken based, which is another common dog allergy.

For $40/ bag you have a lot of options available. First, you could try grain free, which is a good option if you suspect food allergies. Taste Of the Wild runs about $45 for a large bag. And generally with a grain free food, you feed a lot less, so even if a large bag is a bit smaller, you still save money. Any formula EXCEPT the wetlands would be a great choice. I exclude the wetlands for you because it has chicken.

If you are a Costco member, look for either the Kirkland's brand dog food or Nature's Domain grain free. Both of which are high quality and fit in your budget.

There's also a new grain free on the market called Infinia Holistics. Its found mostly in feed stores. I haven't checked the pricing, but I believe it should be close to your budget.

You also have a variety of other choices. Brands to look at include-

Canidae
Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul
Nutrisource
Healthwise
Earthborne Holistics
Diamond Naturals (make sure its the naturals line)
4Health (found at Tractor Supply Store)

Most of the above run about $1/lb. And most have lamb or fish formulas so you can try something thats not chicken based. All are corn, wheat, and soy free. They'd probably be a step up from what you're feeding now, but at the same cost or lower. smile.gif


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#6 of 26 Old 12-03-2010, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone for your responses!

 

I have seen natural balance at petco, where I usually buy my dog food. I have also seen blue buffalo, which is what they were trying to sell me last time I was in.

 

As for anxiety, Carlos (our puppy) does seem to have his share of it, especially seperation anxiety and being in his crate, but it has actually been getting better over time.

 

Oubliette, thank you for your well thought out and concise post. I had no idea kirkland brand dog food was good! I do have a Costco membership and shop there often so that might be one to consider, though I don't think they carry puppy food.

 

About Nutro being bought out over the last few years, that makes perfect sense. I have noticed a decline in quality but assumed it was because I switched from the natural choice line to their max line. Many years ago (well over 10) I had a border collie with what I believe were food allergies and I switched him to Nutro natural choice dog food. I saw such an amazing difference in his coat and general well being that I kept feeding it to all my pets since. I think its definately time for me to explore other options.

 

So, should I be looking more at a fish based food? Lamb? Duck?


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#7 of 26 Old 12-03-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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I think you could do one of two approaches- the first is to simply choose a better formula that is wheat and corn free and see if it helps. Sometimes food quality and omitting those two ingredients are all you need to do. In that case, pick any formula you like. smile.gif

The second is to consider that the chicken may be an issue as well. You don't know at this point. So you could try foods without chicken as well and see if that helps. If he improves, you could try adding chicken back into his diet at some point to see what happens if you like.

At this point I don't think you necessarily need a hard core allergy diet. Any protein source should be fine- fish, lamb, duck etc with the exception of the chicken and beef thats been discussed already. I might look at lamb because its cheaper and most foods have a lamb variation so you have more options.

Costco does make a puppy food, or at least they used to (its been a while since I've been). They also have a lamb variation, but I'm not sure if it comes in puppy. However, puppy food is not necessary so long as you are feeding a high quality diet. It used to be dog food was so deficient that adult food really couldn't adequately nourish a puppy. Now we have all of these high quality super premium brands and adult food is quite adequate for a pup. In fact, some breeders swear by NOT using puppy food at all. Since your pup appears to be medium/large in size, I think this option is certainly safe for your dog.

Oh, one last thing to consider, if you suspect that you has a bigger problem with corn, wheat, soy, or chicken, you don't need to just cut it out of his kibble, but he shouldn't get it AT ALL. This means reading the ingredients on all his treats, declining unknown treats for strangers (you know, like dog biscuits at the bank) and making sure noone slips him table scraps with those ingredients. I usually tell people to think of someone with say, a milk allergy. If they cut milk out of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but snack on ice cream and milk shakes- they're still going to have issues!

At this point, I'd say thats up to you. His kibble is not particularly high quality, so merely switching to a higher quality may be what he needs to stop itching and gain the luster back to his coat. If you suspect a food intolerance though (or say, his itching is INTENSE) then you need to be very serious about eliminating potential allergens for him.
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#8 of 26 Old 12-03-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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Seriously? My animals have been eating Nutro Natural for quite some time. I trusted it, so I wasn't reading the ingredients anymore. Alright, well, I'm almost out of dog food anyway. Guess I'll go read the labels again. Blue looks like it might be a good bet. 

 

OK. I'm not hijacking. Back to the OP. Sorry, just had to vent a little :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post

I believe Nutro was bought out a few years back and its not what it used to be. The max puppy you are feeding contains corn and wheat, both of which are fairly common allergens. Its also chicken based, which is another common dog allergy.
 
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#9 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again everyone, this has been very helpful.
 

Oubliette, I appreciate all of your information, it has given me lots to think about. I think I will take the second approach you suggested which is to elimate chicken as well as wheat and corn and try at a later point adding chicken back in.

 

Thankfully Carlos's issues don't seem huge. He is definately itchy, but its not horrible or non stop. On a scale from 1-10 I would give it maybe a 4. What is most concerning to me is that these issues (itching, dull coat/more dander, increase in shedding) have developed seemingly since starting him on the nutro puppy. Its pretty clear to me he needs to be on something else.

 

So how do I go about switching? I know that it will take some time to see results so do I go ahead and purchase a big bag of whatever food I decide on (still in the research phase, so many choices!) Should I follow the standard of mixing in the new food slowly or would this be an ok situation to do a faster switch?

 

ETA: that's Carlos in my avatar picture. It was taken on halloween and he is wearing his superdog costume and standing behind my daughters wheelchair :)


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#10 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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For food allergies that cause dramatic symptoms (vomiting, hives, etc.), you will see changes almost immediately, but for stuff like the itchies and a dull coat it may take 4-6 weeks of food.

 

I usually gradually mix the new food into the old food over a period of 7-10 days.  Days 1 and 2 might be 1/4 new, 3/4 old, days 3 and 4 would be 1/2 of each, days 5 and 6 would be 3/4 new, 1/4 old, and then 100% new by the 7th day.  You can add more time at each stage if you see any tummy upset.

 

FYI, Kirkland does make a puppy food, but it is chicken based.  Their lamb adult formula is what my youngest was raised on and he's a happy, healthy 2 yo now. :)


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#11 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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I like this site for information about the quality of the dog foods.  Ideally you would want to feed a 4 star or above.  Some of them are more expensive, but much of that is due to the difference in the cost of actual meats being in the food as opposed to the corn and other fillers found in lower quality foods.  

 

http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/

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#12 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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I like the dog food analysis site too, although generally I find anything 3 stars or higher is a quality food. Once you get into 5 or 6 stars it starts to get sort of nit picky, and I don't always agree with their placements. Its a good guide, but not the be all end all. For instance, there are some 6 star foods I wouldn't personally use due to ethoxyquin preserved fish and/or non-species specific fish. And there are 3 star foods that I recommend often ( and I am rather picky about what I recommend). There are for instance, 4 star foods that I think use better quality ingredients than some of those 6 star foods. I like the site, just don't let yourself get too caught up in the ratings. I'd stick to those that are 3 stars and up, I've never seen anything decent lower than that.
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#13 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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I love that dog food site.  I'm a dog groomer and work in a store that sells a wide variety of good quality dog food.  I discontinued using Nutro after they had all those problems.  Most of it was from canned food, but I wasn't willing to take the risk.

 

Costco's line of blue food (not generic Kirkland brand)  is really good.  The ingredients match up with some of the higher quality food on the market.

 

Like many of the PP stated you might want to check out an ALS (all life stages) food. 

The constant biting at his feet is typically a sign of a food allergy...i see this a lot. 

 

I would recommend switching the protein ingredient in his food and if that doesn't work then I would go to a grain free food. 

 

It is also recommended that every time you get a new bag of dog food that you switch the main protein ingredient so that your dog doesn't develop an intolerance to it.  Eating the same thing time after time can build up an intolerance in a lot of pets.  Obviously not the case because you dog is just a pup. 

 

Other option in a raw diet.  If you google the prey diet, it can be done fairly cheaply. 


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#14 of 26 Old 12-06-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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I agree that the DFA site isn't a be all end all.  But it's a good place to start and they do seem good at identifying potential allergens in the foods as well as known carcinogens such as the ethoxyquin in some fish. 

 

Some of the Kirkland foods have sugar beet pulp which is a by-product of the sugar industry and is controversial and thought to be related to some allergies and other illness.  Just wanted to point that out.  I know we all want to feed our dogs well.

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#15 of 26 Old 12-07-2010, 06:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawaiianBlesing View Post

Other option in a raw diet.  If you google the prey diet, it can be done fairly cheaply. 



After trying a bunch of things for our underweight pup with digestive issues, we ended up doing some research and going this route.  It seemed extreme at first, but when I look at all the benefits for our pup (weight gain, healthy teeth & coat, small/inoffensive poop) the few negatives (effort getting and storing meat) are really worth it for us.  We manage to do it for less than $30/month too, so the cost is not really an issue.

 

I found a lot of help and support at http://dogfoodchat.com/forum/raw-feeding/

 

Good luck and hope your little guy feels better regardless of how the situation is resolved! :)


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#16 of 26 Old 12-07-2010, 06:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawaiianBlesing View Post


 

Other option in a raw diet.  If you google the prey diet, it can be done fairly cheaply. 


I second this suggestion too. Here is a link to a post I wrote in reply to another raw thread in which I have lots of resource links. My 5 month old puppy has been on raw since we got him at 9 weeks and he looks the picture of health, his coat is superb.


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#17 of 26 Old 12-07-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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We feed a partial raw/ partial grain-free kibble diet to our pup. We can't go 100% raw because she does spend some time at daycare and baording kennels when we go out of town. Plus, my husband just isn't up for going 100%.
We use Canidae ALS Grain Free and a variety of raw foods: chicken quarters, beef ribs, lamb necks, turkey necks, liver, gizzards, heart, etc... She also gets salmon oil every day and a raw egg a few times a week.

She is doing so well on it. She doesn't have any huge growth spurts like my dogs used to get on puppy food, but has had a nice, steady weight gain. She is trim, and is calm yet energetic. She is a black dog, and we comments all the time on her mirror-bright coat. Someone compared it to a peacock tail the other day because of the shine and highlights in the sun, LOL!
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#18 of 26 Old 12-07-2010, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again everyone, this has been such an informative thread for me!

 

I appreciate all the info on raw. I had looked into it a while back for my ferret, and ultimately decided it just wasn't right for me, but I do see how amazing it can be for those who can do it!

So, as I am looking into kibble options more and more, i am getting more and more overwhelmed! Every store employee I speak to has a different food recomendation. In my price range, I had thought about Blue Buffalo and Taste of the wild. Most other foods seem great but are very pricey, and that takes them out of the running. I called blue buffalo, and they are insisting that my dog needs to be on puppy food until at least his 1st birthday and that going grain free is overkill and would have too much fat/protien and is only intended for dogs with extreme allergies or working/very active dogs. The lady on the phone felt pretty confident that his issues were corn/soy/wheat not chicken... how she felt so confident I have no idea. I went to an independant pet store today to ask about food, and they also recomended a chicken and brown rice formula (fromm?) and when I said I was leaning towards something fish based mentioned I should not feed fish based long term because dogs can develop an intolerance to it. This particular lady suggested changing out his protien source every 3 months or so. I fed my dog a sample of the taste of the wild lamb formula and he has had really stinky gas all day, so I am not sure thats the best choice for him either!

 

I swear, I am really feeling like I am going nowhere with this. What should I do with this new information? Why would blue buffalo be so pushy about the puppy formula?


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#19 of 26 Old 12-07-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I thought most puppy foods were higher in fat and protein than an all stages food or other adult types of foods?  I'm guessing that the person you spoke with about puppy food was just going on the conventional belief that puppies need puppy food.  And my personal belief is that if we know certain food stuffs are likely to create allergies, then why take the chance of creating the allergy in the first place?  How many dogs/pets live with untreated allergies because the owners aren't aware of it?  It just seems unnecessary and silly to me.  And at this point, it seems like almost every food is a potential allergen (to the right animal), but we just have to work with the knowledge we have, you know?

 

The breeder I got my 1yo mini schnauzer from had her on Fromm Senior.  This is because high fat/protein foods are not well tolerated by this breed.  And she had been feeding the Sr food since weaning.  I think the Fromm is a good food, but I'm trying to switch my dog over to Wellness Core Reduced Fat in part because Fromm doesn't state that their foods are free of ethoxyquin fish.  I gradually mixed the new food into her servings and also added fish oil.  I had to buy a bag of each to get her started and now she is eating half an half until it's time to buy more food, then I'll mix that in with what she has now to further reduce the Fromm to Wellness ratio.  It's not necessary to drag the transition out so long, it's more because I was starting from scratch.  I also try to give her a raw egg a few times a week and we are working to find out what veggies she will eat also.  I don't want to feed her exclusively dry kibble, but we travel frequently and going all raw isn't really feasible for us either.  So I try to compromise with adding other whole foods to her diet like the eggs, veggies that are easy to get anywhere.  I've only had her for 6 weeks now, but her coat is shiny and she seems to be tolerating the change in diet quite well.

 

Is your dog a pure bred or mixed breed?  I've gotten lots of information from perusing the websites of reputable show breeders of mini schnauzers.  Some have dog food reviews and others give a good breakdown of known allergens for the breed and other breed specific feeding information.  If you dog is a mixed breed, try to figure out what breed(s) are predominate and go from there in researching specific dietary needs.  Take your time too.  It can seem really overwhelming, but if you narrow it down to several options, then you can work on narrowing it down again until you have the food/diet you would like to try.  Then you can transition your dog over to the new food.

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#20 of 26 Old 12-08-2010, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a quick conversation with our vet last night, who also suggested eliminating kibble with soy, corn, wheat, beef, and chicken. She seemed to think things like sweet pototo and brown rice should be fine, and verified that puppy food was not really neccesary at this point. So I think that helps a little.

 

Carlos is a mixed breed, though we don't exactly know what. He looks JUST like a flat coated retriever, so much so that people are very frequently asking me if he is a flat coated puppy. He has something else mixed in there though because he has almost a chocolate brown shimmer to his fur if he's in the right light. And, he has a patch just a few white hairs on his chest, which I don't think flat coated retrievers have. If I had to guess, I would say border collie in there because of the agile body (though no herding instincts) and maybe chocolate lab or chow? He is not big or bulky (about 40 lbs @ 8-9 months old) and he seems to have a more slinky looking body than most labs I have seen.


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#21 of 26 Old 12-09-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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Nutro is not a good food at all.  They use corn gluten, soy, wheat and menadione.  Their ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is very bad, 20 to 1 in some foods 17 to 1 in others.  The absence of the corn, wheat and soy is very important and a good ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is very important for the skin and coat.  Some good choices are Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Castor & Pollux, Merrick, Taste of the Wild, Canidae and Solid Gold.

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#22 of 26 Old 12-09-2010, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found nature's domain salmon and sweet potato at costco, and it looked pretty good!

I have narrowed our food choices down to about 3. As you can tell, I want to try him out on a fish based food to see how he does before trying lamb or duck.

 

*nature's domain salmon and sweet potato

*blue buffalo fish and sweet potato or fish and oatmeal

*taste of the wild pacific stream

 

I could not find the nature's domain on the dog food review site, so I don't know how it compares to the others. Does anyone have any feedback pros/cons about the three listed above? I narrowed it to these because they were the closest in my price range.

 

Thank you again everyone!


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#23 of 26 Old 12-09-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I would be willing to bet that the Nature's Domain is veeery similar to the TotW since they are both made by Diamond.  I'd really like to try the ND but it's brand new and our Costco doesn't carry it yet. :(  The ingredients list looks GREAT!


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#24 of 26 Old 12-09-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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I think I'd cross off the Blue Buffalo. First, don't use their Blue Wilderness Salmon, as it contain chicken. Thats a little trick manufacturers sometimes use- label a food as "fish" and then sneak chicken in further down the list.

The other Blue formulas I don't like because they don't contain much fish. They do have fish as the first ingredients, but it is WHOLE fish. Ingredients are listed by weight, and when it says "fish" or "chicken" it means whole meat. Which is theoretically good. BUT, kibble is a dry product. And whole meats are about 70% water in weight, which is cooked off in the process. The next few ingredients on the Blue lists are all heavy grains or starches. Once you add all the non-meat 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ingredients together, and account for the loss of the water weight in cooking of the meat, these foods are really mostly grains/starch.

What you want to see is MEAL- ie "Salmon meal" or "chicken meal" (named is best- byproduct meal and "poultry meal" or "meat and bone meal" are low quality) What meal means is that the meat has had most of its water weight removed. Think, sort of like jerky. So a food that has fish meal really has more fish meat in it.

10 pounds of fish meal= 10 pounds of fish meat
10 pounds of Fish = 3 Pounds of fish meat, 7 pounds of water

See how the food with meal actually contains more meat?


I like both the Nature's Domain and the the TOTW. I like TOTW a bit more because I think it contains more meat. Its protein and fat counts are slightly higher than Nature's Domain. In TOTW the first two ingredients are meat (the first is Salmon inclusive of water, but thats ok because it is directly followed by a meal) and of the first 7 ingredients, 4 are meat, and one is oil.
Nature's Domain, the first ingredient is salmon meal, but you have to go to ingredient #10 until you find another meat ingredient. It also does a lot of "splitting" which is listing a non-meat ingredient in several forms, all in the first 7 ingredients (potato, potato fiber, potato protein)

I think they are all good foods, and better than your previous food. But I would choose TOTW as the best quality of the 3. smile.gif -Neb

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#25 of 26 Old 12-11-2010, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have another question :)

Bison... is this something concidered safe to try for a dog with potential allergies? I know that beef is not a good choice, would bison be digested in a similar way? I just got some samples of the ToTW food and I wanted to ask before trying the bison formula. Thanks!


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#26 of 26 Old 12-12-2010, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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just a small update...


I just came home with a bag of Taste of the Wild Salmon forumla for our dog :) I hope this is a good choice, my only hesitance is because it has lower protien content compared to the other TOTW foods, and Carlos is still a puppy, but I did want to stay away from chicken for now so the only two choices left were lamb and salmon.

 

I also purchased a small bag of Chicken soup senior formula for my 9 year old shih tzu. I figured I should step up her nutrition a bit too. Of course I also got some peanut butter treats (corn, wheat, soy free).

 

Thank you everyone for all of your help. I really appreciate the time and energy spent in helping find the best food for our dog!


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