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Discussion Starter #1
Due to the other thread about Beneful and the posts in that thread I have decided to change my dogs food to a better quality food. These are my first dogs so I don't really know a lot about various brands. I used the PetSmart food selector. It asks you questions about your dog and then suggests various foods. The two brands that came up suggested for both of my dogs were: Eukanuba and Science Diet. I would like some input from those of you who know your stuff when it comes to dog health. Thank so much and once I hear from ya'll and do my own research I'll be switching and then will need to know how to go about doing the switch.

Thanks for all your help.

~Heather
 

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I wouldn't feed Eukanuba or Science Diet.

I feed dog food that is free of meat from rendering facilities, that uses human grade products and that doesn't contain a lot of useless calories from filler. I currently feed Eagle Pack, and Natural Balance....and also like Fromm, Wellness, Timber Wolf, and Canidae.

Here is an article on the pet food industry, and understanding labels and how misleading they can be. It is long, but does pull together a lot of information and provides an extensive reference list. It is a good starting point for anyone interested in learning more about this industry and gaining a better understanding of what is really in the food they feed their pets.

http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/784/...tml#fn109#fn109

Hope that helps.

Edited to add....if I had the time I would prepare homemade meals for my dogs since they are much healthier than commercial dog food, but with a house full of giant dogs it isn't realistic so I feed the best commercial food I can find that meets the specific needs of my particular dogs. While exploring dog foods you may also wish to explore feeding a natural homemade diet or raw diet if your lifestyle allows you the time to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Sandra. I certianly do not have the time to make my dogs' food. I need a commercial food that is good for them, a good price, and I can actually find somewhere. So far from the list you gave the Eagle Pack, Natural Balance and the Canidae are all at a place around here (though not a close place, but at least near my parent's house that I go to every Sunday). Thanks for the input and I will keep researching.

~Heather

Edited to ask:

Am I safe to pick an all natural dog food? I mean there's Nutro Max, and some other kinds that PetSmart sells near me. I just clicked on their dog food link and searched for Natural dog foods, plenty came up, but I wanted to know if they are safe. One of the ones they listed was that Blue Buffalo stuff, and I remember from another thread on here there being some controversy with that stuff so I know to stay away from that. I didn't realize this was so scientific, but am now learning. :unsure:
 

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I thought I would jump in on the Blue Buffalo. I was the one who started that thread awhile ago. I did gradually do the switch from Eukanuba Lamb & Rice to the Blue Buffalo Fish & Sweet Potato. They loved it but both had really loose stool. Their systems just weren't adjusting to it even with me doing a very gradual transition. So they are back on Eukanuba. The manager who I know said the Blue Buffalo is very rich and several dogs he's seen couldn't make the adjustment??
 

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I, too, would like to know what everyone thinks of Nutro? I am switching Daisy Mae over to Nutro. I've been writing down all the different names that have been popping up over the last little while and then going to the pet food stores. Not a whole lot of selection around here, but I did manage to find Nutro. I bought a bag and am in the process of gradually switching, mixing, etc. Heather, I'm in the same boat as you and am just learning. Thanks for starting this thread.
 

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There was a great article by Michael Pollan in the New York Times last Sunday about human food. The essence of the article was we need to eat *food* - not nutrients, but *food.* And if something is simply ingredients, especially manufactured ingredients, it isn't food. Our grandparents, g-grandparents and their dogs lived perfectly well on food, thank you very much. But we're beseiged by all these manufactured things calling themselves food and making all these claims.

My rule of thumb at this point is, when a dog food makes claims, esp. poorly substantiated or wholly false claims, they're off my list. Vet's foods are a different matter - some are formulated to, for example, get rid of kidney stones by being more alkaline or something, etc., stuff like that.

And many of the additives are useless - my own vet warned me off foods that claim to have glucosamine-chondroitin because the amounts are so minimal as to be useless, yet people pay high dollar for them.

I still have Lady and Yogi on Black Gold because both are thriving on it. There are a couple of other foods I'm interested in - Barbara told me about one - Wellness, I think? - that sounded good but I can't find it here!When I do, though, I'm planning to make the change because I like what I've read about it.
 

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I'll put in a plug for Wellness Simple Solutions. It has one protein source and one carb source, so there is much less chance of allergic reactions. Both my dogs have food issues and this works for them. Their coats are great, and no itchies. They have a fish formula and a venison formula, both with human grade ingredients.
 

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Murray has been on Wellness Fish and Sweet Potato for four years. He is allergic to just about every other protein source- itches and bites himself and develops hot spots- so a fish based food was our only option. He loves it, I add a kind of stew with salmon, bran, brown rice,raw carrot, along with a big spoon of Dannon Plain Yogurt for his yeast problems, and a spoon of canned pumpkin for his anal galnds. His coat is beautiful and his allergies are under control.

We get Wellness at a local farm and pet supply store. It is about $28 for a 15 pound bag.(I know this is not cheap) This has worked well for us, but I know there are lots of other good choices out there. For those interested,here are the ingredients copied from their web site:

"Wellness Fish and Sweet Potato Dog Food:

Ranked #1 by The Whole Dog Journal (WDJ)
Ingredients
Whitefish, Ground Barley (dehulled), Rye Flour, Menhaden Fish Meal, Ground Pearled Barley, Sweet Potatoes, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of vitamin E), Tomato Pomace (natural source of lycopene), Natural Fish Flavor, Flaxseed, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride.
Minerals
Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate (a chelated source of zinc), Iron Proteinate (a chelated source of iron), Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate (a chelated source of copper), Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate (a chelated source of manganese), Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite.
Vitamins
Choline Chloride, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin K Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Taurine.
Old Mother Hubbard uses ethoxyquin-free meat sources.
Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein Not Less Than 22.0%
Crude Fat Not Less Than 12.0%
Crude Fiber Not More Than 3.0%
Moisture Not More Than 11.0%
Omega 6 Fatty Acids* Not Less Than 2.70%
Omega 3 Fatty Acids* Not Less Than 1.10%
Beta-Carotene* Not Less Than 5 mg/kg
Lycopene* Not Less Than 0.37 mg/kg
Taurine* Not Less Than 0.09%
*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.
Calories Analysis (calories per 8 oz. cup)
1 Cup 400 "
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I looked at the website for the wellness stuff, but of course it isn't sold by me. I am going to try one of the all natural brands I find and go from there. My dogs are about out of food and I'm going to start the gradual switch tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

~Heather
 

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there are many,MANY foods out there to choose from,with all sorts of different formulas.DRY,CANNED,HOME MADE.what ever you pick it's best to feed what your dog does best on.some dogs may be fed Ol'Roy and never have a problem,some may have a special diet and have special needs,it's up to you to find one that is with in your budget and what works best for your dog. the Nutro brand is not to bad if your dog does good on it with no problems and it fits your price range go for it. i have gave a few brands b/4 that i liked and have fed b/4 and were all within different price ranges.but now i'm feeding Purina Pro Plan products.i feed the Performance Formula 30% protein 20% fat, my dogs are active hunting and field trial dogs and this is what works best for them.How do i know this? well they are in good health, they have a good coat,and they have a LOW stool volume,this means they are digesting all the food and very little is WASTED so to speak. does your dog get alot of exercise? if it does you may want to try for a food in the 24-26% protein range with 14-18% fat range.any food with in this range should be good for most "couch crawlers" if you think they are getting to fat but they are doing good on the food just cut back on the amount they get until they are at a better weight. what i do look for is meat as the first product,Chicken is what i prefer and that it is preserved with a mixed tocopherols( a type of vitamin E).everything else after that is a crap shoot. i hope that i was of some help and if you like you can private message or e-mail me and i'll bore the hell out of you with all sorts of dog food talk. Billy
 

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there are many,MANY foods out there to choose from,with all sorts of different formulas.DRY,CANNED,HOME MADE.what ever you pick it's best to feed what your dog does best on.some dogs may be fed Ol'Roy and never have a problem,some may have a special diet and have special needs,it's up to you to find one that is with in your budget and what works best for your dog.[/b]

That's to the point you need to feed what works for your dogs. The activity level, metablisim and genetic of each individual dog is different so the needs are different. also keep in mind that much of the hoopla of may premium and superpremium brands is just that.

My favorite article on the subject <a href="http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/dogfoods.html" target="_blank">Dog Foods
Help in making the choice easier </a>
My dogs tend to do better on what I consider medium grade foods. Not the best/priciest stuff (Innova, California Natural, Canidae) but not the really cheap stuff either (Hi-Pro, Dog Chow). Remember price has nothing to do with what might work for your dog. Just because a food is listed in a magazine as their 10 best, doesn't mean its better than another food that isn't listed. They do no testing of the food, they base their opinions on the ingredients. My dogs have not done well on any of those foods. Think for yourself and don't get brainwashed into thinking you are a horrible pet owner if you don't buy these foods for your dog.

This website has a very down to earth attitude on dog food. PetDiets.com Though the owner offers nutritional consultation, therefore making it a commercial site, they have a lot of good information on the site.

Remember, what works for my dogs or anyone else's dog might not work for yours. Buy the smallest bag you can find of what you want to start trying and if the dog doesn't eat it or you don't like the results, then you aren't out much and you can donate the rest to a shelter.

...Human grade foods

What does this mean? If you're starving, you will eat garbage so does that make garbage human grade food? Some countries eat chicken feet or other things that we might not eat. So that would make chicken feet human grade food, right? Heck, I won't touch broccoli so in my opinion its not human grade. See my point?

Its all relative. Don't get sucked into buying a food because they claim to be "human grade". Your dog won't care and there is no scientific proof that the "human grade" foods are better than any other premium food.

If a company claims "human grade", it just means they buy their food from the same places which sell to humans, not that their products could be consumed by humans. Once they hit the property of the pet food manufacturing plant, they are considered animal grade products, since pet food processing plants are not required to be inspected the way human plants are, there is no way a product could be considered "human grade" after production. So, watch the labels.

Mostly, in my opinion, people who insist that human grade ingedients and foods are better are trying to guilt you into spending more money than you need to[/b]
<a href="http://www.timberwolforganics.com/s.nl/it.I/id.8/.f;jsessionid=ac112b1d1f434c93765511a0448fb5518126eb463196.e3iKaNePch4Re34KaxqQa3yMa41ynknvrkLOlQzNp65In0" target="_blank">Myths & Misconception of dog food
</a>


The Pet Food Ingredient Game
"Natural And Organic
...I say the list is ridiculous
not because such ingredients may not be wonderfully nutritious but because the consumer does not really
know what part of the ingredient is being put in, in what form, how it is being protected from degradation
and toxin formation and, as you will see below, the economic math does not add up.

...Although the idea of organic agriculture is excellent, the use of the “organic” name just for marketing
isn’t. Something may be labeled organic to entice customers but only contain a small percentage of organic
(see below). Or, it may be that the particular organic ingredient may be of low nutritional merit – chicken
heads, feet and feathers can be “organic.” Regardless, even if the food is 100% organic prime rib, that is not
an argument for the exclusive feeding of the food to pets. ...


Human Grade
Then there are claims about “USDA approved” ingredients, “human grade” ingredients and
ingredients purchased right out of the meat counter at the grocery store. Again, at first glance – and
superficiality is what marketers like to deal with – it may seem that such foods would have merit over
others. But such labels only create a perception of quality. People would not consider the food pets are
designed for in the wild – whole, raw prey and carrion – “human grade” or “USDA approved.” Because
something is not “human grade” does not mean it is not healthy or nutritious. For example, chicken
viscera is not “human grade” but carries more nutritional value than a clean white chicken breast.
Americans think that chicken feet would not be fit for human consumption but many far eastern countries
relish them. On the other hand, “human grade” beef steaks fed to pets could cause serious nutritional
imbalances and disease if fed exclusively. Pet foods that create the superficial perception of quality (USDA,
human grade, etc.) with the intent of getting pet owners to feed a particular food exclusively is not what
health is about.
There are also the larger concerns of the Earth’s dwindling food resources and swelling population.
Should “human grade” food products be taken out of the mouths of people and fed to pets with all of the
excellent nutritional non-“human grade” ingredients put in the garbage?"

...Doing The Math
Now when I go to the grocer or health food store and find these type of ingredients in raw,
unprocessed, fresh packaged form, I don’t see hardly anything for $1 a pound, let alone 50 cents. Some of
the organic meats are more than $15 a pound! Something’s afoul. But people are just not putting two and
two together. How could a producer buy such expensive ingredients (as they are leading the public to
believe they do) transport them to their “human grade” factory, grind, mix, extrude, retort, freeze,
package, ship, advertise and pay salespeople and hefty margins to distributors, brokers and retailers and
then sell them at retail for less than the cost of the bare starting materials? They can’t. So obviously
manufactured pet foods making such claims are misleading (to put it gently). They may have organic filet
mignon and caviar in the food but it would have to be an inconsequential sprinkle at best. Consumers
must do the math and get realistic in their expectations.

Are By-Products Evil?
In the processing of human foods there are thousands of tons of by-products that cannot be readily
sold to humans. Does that make them useless or even inferior? No. Such by-products could include
trimmings, viscera, organs, bones, gristle and anything else that humans do not desire. Should these
perfectly nutritious items be buried in a landfill? As I mentioned above, while Earth’s resources continue
to decline and people starve around the globe, should we feed our pets only “human grade” foods and let
perfectly edible – and sometimes even more nutritious – by-products go to waste? How is that
conscionable or justifiable for either the consumer or the producer?
Road Kill and Euthanized Pets
This shift to “human grade” for pet foods is partly due to a variety of myths that have gotten much
stronger legs than they deserve. Lore has spread in the marketplace that road kill and euthanized pets are
used in pet foods. I have never seen the proof for this outrageous claim and after twenty years surveying
ingredient suppliers I have never found a supplier of such. However, fantastic myths easily get life and the
more fantastic they are the more life they have. It’s the intellectually lazy way and what lies at the root of
so much misery. Sloppy superficial thinking is what leads to racism, sexism, religious persecution and
wars. People would like to think the world is sharply divided into right-wrong, good-evil, black-white.
Marketers capitalize on this by trying to create such sharp distinctions for consumers to easily grab on to:
human grade = good/all others = evil; organic = right/all others = wrong; rice = white/corn and wheat =black ...

Digests, Meals And Other Boogeymen
Many producers attempt to sell their products by claiming they contain no “digests” or “meals.” The
idea is that these are wicked ingredients and consumers should stay away from all products that contain
them. A digest is a product created when enzymes break down foods. After you eat a meal and it is
subjected to the acids and enzymes in the digestive tract it becomes a “digest.” Fermented (digested) foods
made from soy, dairy and vegetables are among the most nutritious of all foods. Some “primitive” peoples
bury food in the ground to rot and ferment and then uncover it later to consume it with great savor and
nutritional benefit. Scavengers survive, and survive quite well, on fermenting, rotting and digesting foods.
Meats, organs and trimmings can be likewise digested in vats creating both liquid and dried forms of
commercial pet food digests. Being predigested they are highly concentrated and nutritionally efficient. If
we are to listen to the taste buds of pets they would vote yes on digests since they find them highly
palatable.
A “meal” is a food product that has been ground, mixed and dried. Meals are often used in pet foods
because they are stable, easily transported, stored and handled. Dried pet foods themselves are ground,
mixed and dried meals. So that makes an interesting dilemma for those who promote their products as
having no meals.[/b]
euthanized Pets as Pet food
more myths busted

Fancy food for Fido?
We all want to feed the best to our pets, but beware of marketing terms that don’t necessarily mean anything. Terms such as “natural” or “premium” have no official legal definition when it comes to pet foods.

“The word ‘natural’ is loosely defined, and a food with some ‘natural’ ingredients may also contain a lot of what most of us would consider very ‘unnatural’ items as well,” says Jean Hofve, a veterinarian in Jamestown, Colo. “The terms ‘premium,’ ‘super-premium’ and ‘human-grade’ have no meaning and can be misleading. Claims of ‘human-grade’ or ‘USDA-inspected’ do not guarantee any official sanction or oversight of the production of those ingredients.
 

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From The Myth about Corn
Only feed foods which contain ingredients form human sources.[/b]
!!! :blink: :blink: :blink: !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I found this food called Authority. It has no artificial junk, it seems good. I started the gradual switch today. My fiance had the day off today so he was here while they had their first taste. We thought Lily the princess would have a problem, but she ate it first and then ate the old food. Gibbs ate the new food piece by piece and ran off with it as if he had some kind of prize. The price is only about $5 more than what I was paying for the junk I was feeding them before, so I am pleased. Thank you everyone for all of your advice and help.

~Heather
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok I switched my dogs food to that stuff called Authority. Gibbs just isn't doing well on it. He isn't eating like he should. I knew that it would be difficult and they may eat less until they get used to it, but this is ridiculous. Yesterday Gibbs was in the living room while I was back here in the office (with the t.v. on) and I could hear Gibbs' stomach growling from here because he won't really eat. This is just unacceptable to me. I found another kind at PetSmart Purina Pro Plan Select. We mixed that food with the old stuff and Gibbs scarfed it down. I hope I'm doing the right thing, I just couldn't take his not eating. Any input would be helpful.

~Heather
 

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you did the right thing,your dog wasn't doing well on the replacement food and you have to replace that now. at least you didn't go through 15 different types of food!!! Purina has some real good foods,i'm not a big fan of their lower end foods dog chow for instance,but have used it in a pinch and it didn't kill them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for the reassurance. I could be wrong but I believe that the Purina Pro Select stuff is a "premium" dog food. Gibbs is actually eating again (though it hasn't even been a full day). The crappy thing is that my fiance feed the dogs last night (I usually do) and so Gibbs was all happy with Bryan for the new food-even though I was the one that bought it. <_<
Oh well as long as he continues to eat I'm happy.

~Heather
 
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