Author Topic: What should I really be feeding my dog?  (Read 5085 times)

lizzzi

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What should I really be feeding my dog?
« on: October 24, 2017, 04:53:21 PM »
Any vets on here? I am ready to tear my hair out trying to research dog foods. There seem to be only a dozen or so out of 2,000 that online researchers approve of, and I can't find any of them locally--and some are hard to find  on line. My dog has never liked the expensive, healthy food that he has had since puppyhood, and now that he's two...and I'm at the end of a bag...I want to start him on something different. But what? (Active, 8-lb. yorkiepoo.) Surely all those bags and bags of food at the grocery store and Petco can't all be terrible...can they? Yes, I asked at my vet's. The tech told me that his chihuahuas both love Cesar's. I got some, and my dog likes it, too. But guess what? Scores one star out of five on dog advisor.com, and is not recommended. Any thoughts? My parents' dogs and the dogs we had as kids did just fine on grocery store dog food. Gravy Train and all that. And the occasional table scrap. I want to do the right thing by my little guy...but what is the right thing?

Dave1442397

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 05:32:27 PM »
My dog eats Costco brand dog food, plus a lot of fruit. He loves apples and oranges, and watermelon is like crack cocaine to him. He's twelve-years-old and still bouncy as ever.

Daley

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 05:42:07 PM »
Have you given Susan Thixton's Petsumer Report a look yet?

Ultimately, you should be feeding a carnivore meat, and you should avoid kibble. Of course, modern reality hits the road hard on this one as most people don't have the time or the resources to make their own pet food, so it becomes a task that is farmed out. When it comes to processed foods, what matters most are proper nutrition for the species and quality ingredients. Unfortunately, a lot of the boutique food brands have been bought out by larger corporations such as Nestle Purina, and the quality of ingredients in their food has literally harmed pets in the past.

When Castor & Pollux was bought out by Nestle Purina, about six months later our own cat started having health problems related to the change of quality in the food ingredients despite being the "same formula" and it took us months to narrow it down to the food itself. The $18 spent on Petsumer Report was invaluable in helping us find a replacement given our cat is pushing 20 and has a couple very difficult to avoid food allergies (fish and tomatoes), doesn't care much for proteins outside of poultry, has some liver and kidney issues, and has developed a new aversion to wet food and now prefers kibble again after getting really sick off of some a few months ago - so we need to be very picky about the quality of food we purchase out of necessity. Fortunately, we found something new that works for her, and we found a feed and seed local to us that can order the stuff for us for a reasonable price.

The truth is, it's getting harder and harder to feed pets well these days short of making your own food so you can quality control it. Ignore most of the trendy pet food recommendations, and go right to the heart of the matter with detailed ingredient sourcing, proper supplementation needed for processed food, recall histories, and problematic ingredient watchlists when shopping, after you know what a good nutritional info profile will look like for dog food if you can't make it yourself. I don't necessarily agree with Ms. Thixton's approach on foods as she doesn't make a hard distinction on species-appropriate diets so much as simply foods that are made out of safe ingredients, but it's an invaluable tool on finding "clean" pet foods if you know to shop for high-protein, low carb, high moisture foods, and what specific dietary requirements your pet has. I don't know who the dog vet equivalent to Lisa A. Pierson, DVM of catinfo.org is to teach you the basics of canine nutrition, but hopefully someone else will know.

Hope this helps give you a good start.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 05:45:03 PM by I.P. Daley »

Cassie

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 05:47:00 PM »
I feed Earthborn to my small dogs and it has a 4 out of 5 stars.  I order online from Chewy.com and the food comes from a family facility that has never had a recall.

lentil

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 07:03:01 PM »
No feed stores or small local pet stores in your area? Both would have much better options than a Petco or grocery store. Costco's dog food is actually pretty decent, although I can't imagine how long it would take an 8 lb dog to finish a bag!

Linda Case wrote a great, science-based book on dog nutrition (Dog Food Logic). She does not provide specific brand recommendations, but the book really helped me understand basic nutritional needs and how to read a label/ask the right questions, which helped with figuring out the right answer for us. She has a degree in nutrition, and since the online discussion of "what to feed dogs" is often too overwhelmingly hysterical for me, it really helped to have a scientific take on the subject. Just a suggestion.

startingsmall

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 07:44:23 PM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

katscratch

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2017, 08:28:44 PM »
Purina ProPlan has been the #1 non-biased (as in, not tied to school sponsors etc) recommendation from all the veterinarians I've worked with across four states and in different regions of the country.

My dog had the most foul smelling mouth on the Costco food. Which was a bummer, it was a great price. I usually bought a bag then sold half of it on NextDoor. So I had nearly free dog food for six months he ate it. He's back on Wellness (which doesn't indicate feeding trials) which was my go to food primarily for senior-cat years (customized kidney diet for one of them) because I know he does fine on it and it's at my local store where I get every 10th bag free.

My cat has terrible (tested and confirmed) food allergies so he's not exactly a money saver in the food department ;)

startingsmall - I saw videos years ago of dogs at the Royal Canin feeding center, and the dogs all looked ridiculously happy to be running around in grassy fields and playing. I'm sure it was heavily promotional but it was really fun to see the unusual breeds like Leonbergers in the mix.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 08:38:43 PM by katscratch »

Undecided

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2017, 09:03:53 PM »
My dogs ears primarily raw meat, bones and organs. He also gets a multi-vitamin.

lizzzi

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2017, 09:19:46 PM »
Thanks for all the good advice. There is a small, local pet store here that is considered to be very good in the pet foods they carry--but I have not been over there yet. Petco has the Purina ProPlan, Royal Canin, and Science Diet. We don't have a Costco anywhere close.  I am looking for a food that will be easy to find anywhere, as Small Dog and I travel a few times a year between two states that are 400 miles apart. Obviously I can carry food with us, but I just feel life will be more simple with a dog food that is not too rare and esoteric. (Assuming he'll eat it.) I have just paid for Petsumer, but can't get into the website for some reason. I've just sent them an email asking what's the next step (after paying) to get in to their system.  Small Dog is perfectly happy to exist on cheap, non-recommended dog food with some  chicken or beef mixed in, the occasional carrot to chew on, and those oh-so-delicious dead birds or pieces of snake chopped up by the lawn mower. Sigh. But I'm determined he's going to have good nutrition despite all...I'll keep the group updated.

chasesfish

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2017, 04:45:27 AM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

I'm going to second this recommendation and I married my veterinarian

Walsh1122

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2017, 05:04:18 AM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

I'm going to second this recommendation and I married my veterinarian

Veterinarian here and Startingsmall summed this up beautifully!

elaine amj

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2017, 05:59:57 AM »
We did Costco dog food but it is a giant bag for my 15 lb poodle. Plan to try dog food from Aldi's next. I also feed him raw meaty bones like chicken feet and cheap cuts of pork. He doesn't like organs etc so I still give lots of kibble too for a more balanced diet.

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lizzzi

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2017, 07:14:42 AM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

I'm going to second this recommendation and I married my veterinarian

Veterinarian here and Startingsmall summed this up beautifully!

These. Thanks everyone, I feel like I've finally cut through a lot of nonsense and got some meaningful advice. I had an email from Petsumer this morning directing me how to finish my registration and log on, so have been doing some reading there, too. Thanks I.P. Daley, for that link. Small Dog notes that no one is recommending his healthy skin regimen of rolling in bird poop, and suggests that all humans should try it.  : D

dcozad999

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2017, 08:30:49 AM »
Where is the most affordable place to purchase dog food like Purina Pro Plan?

We are actually bringing home a new puppy in 2 weeks.

NeonPegasus

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2017, 08:39:27 AM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

I'm going to second this recommendation and I married my veterinarian

Veterinarian here and Startingsmall summed this up beautifully!

Does this hold true for cats as well? Should I spin this off into a new thread?

startingsmall

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2017, 09:12:52 AM »
Where is the most affordable place to purchase dog food like Purina Pro Plan?

We are actually bringing home a new puppy in 2 weeks.

Around here, Tractor Supply typically has the best price on ProPlan.

startingsmall

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2017, 09:14:54 AM »
Vet here.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet. But really, there are good foods at just about every price point.

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

I'm going to second this recommendation and I married my veterinarian

Veterinarian here and Startingsmall summed this up beautifully!

Does this hold true for cats as well? Should I spin this off into a new thread?

Yep, same recommendations for cats. Only caveat in cats is that the evidence suggests that most cats will do best on a canned food. (I will admit, however, that my own cats do not eat canned food. Bad vet.)

lexde

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2017, 09:37:57 AM »
PTF


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ketchup

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2017, 09:46:59 AM »
Dogs are carnivores.  I'm a bit of a raw feeding evangelist.  I feed our dogs raw, which can be very expensive or very cheap depending on your approach.  For us it started out expensive, but as we found better sources and did more of the processing and preparation ourselves we drove the cost way down (and the quality/variety up).

Undecided

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2017, 09:57:49 AM »
Dogs are carnivores.  I'm a bit of a raw feeding evangelist.  I feed our dogs raw, which can be very expensive or very cheap depending on your approach.  For us it started out expensive, but as we found better sources and did more of the processing and preparation ourselves we drove the cost way down (and the quality/variety up).

What do you feed your dog? Mine primarily eats pork, and the only "processing" I do is cutting soft tissue into manageable bites, and segregating rib cages into single ribs. I'd like to give him more variety, but he balks at any transition from one meat to another. We have had luck with chicken and turkey in the past, but the switch from one to another is always a struggle.

BigHaus89

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2017, 10:02:27 AM »
We use natural balance limited ingredients. Our puppy is allergic to something that is in cheaper dog foods and gets really bad yeast infections in her ears. This seems to be some of the only food she can handle long term. Our older dog also eats it and he is extremely healthy.

lizzzi

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2017, 10:21:40 AM »
What worries me about raw feeding is that you don't always know where the meat came from. And if you buy from a really high-quality local butcher shop, it's going to cost a fortune.

Lanthiriel

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2017, 10:35:55 AM »
I have a dog with severe chicken and grain allergies. We feed Canidae Limited Ingredient Bison. It's not cheap, but I don't have to feed a lot of it, and it doesn't make my dog's turn black and red.

ketchup

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2017, 10:49:07 AM »
Dogs are carnivores.  I'm a bit of a raw feeding evangelist.  I feed our dogs raw, which can be very expensive or very cheap depending on your approach.  For us it started out expensive, but as we found better sources and did more of the processing and preparation ourselves we drove the cost way down (and the quality/variety up).

What do you feed your dog? Mine primarily eats pork, and the only "processing" I do is cutting soft tissue into manageable bites, and segregating rib cages into single ribs. I'd like to give him more variety, but he balks at any transition from one meat to another. We have had luck with chicken and turkey in the past, but the switch from one to another is always a struggle.
I feed mostly venison, beef, duck, goat, and lamb, but also rabbit, pork, salmon, whiting, anchovies, chicken, llama, quail, and some other random weirdo meats (I like to give them at least once "unusual" variety meat a week in addition to the cheaper/routine staples).  The main intense "processing" I've done was cutting up nine free vension carcasses that I scored last November; that was a bit of a project.  As far as switching between, I usually will not only feed one kind of meat at a time, it'll be a mix of some kind based on what I have around and what fits the balance needed.

Daley

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2017, 11:06:58 AM »
Forgive the internal quote responses on the first part, bold/italic/blue are mine...

Here are some factors that I'd consider, if you're interesting in buying a food that's not on that list.
- Figure out where you want to buy your food and what you're willing to pay.
Absolutely agreed.
- Look for a food that contains a statement on the label that it has been through an AAFCO feeding trial.
Absolutely agreed, this should be a minimum, but it should also be pointed out that AAFCO is a minimum standard for pet survival and is woefully behind when it comes to subjects like probiotics. Carnivores will eat entrails for gut flora, and there's a direct link between maintaining healthy gut flora colonies and proper digestion in all critters leading to greater health (and it's gotta be populated from somewhere), yet AAFCO doesn't recommend or require probiotics in dog and cat food.
- Look for a reputable company. A lot of people think boutique companies are better, but very few of them employed trained veterinary nutritionists, do their own R&D, or even have their own dedicated manufacturing plants.
Agree in principle, but it should go far deeper than this. It should be about stewardship and respect for life in general (from the life put into the food to the life the food sustains) before shareholder profits.
- Don't pay extra for grain-free. It's just a marketing ploy.
Agree in principle, but there are some carb sources that are more prone and frequent to rapid mold growth than others. However, if you only embrace manufacturers that have ethical stewardship toward life and ingredient quality, that becomes a far lesser issue and point of concern.
- Don't pay any attention to the Dog Food Adviser or most of the other online sites. Lots of pseudoscience and 'woo' there.
Don't disagree on a lot of the woo and pseudoscience out there. However, hard-line science can be taken to an equal extreme that can also betray the fundamentals of ethical stewardship. Just because you can manufacture a vegetarian dog or cat food that technically ticks off all the known hard data points on needed nutrition for the species and keeps the animal alive, doesn't make it any more appropriate to feed an obligate or facultative carnivore than overly diseased and rotten food compensated with the same nutritional supplements to make it equally "acceptable" to feed after killing off the pathogens through extreme heat treatment. The problem in both cases is that you're using extreme nutritional science to make palatable and acceptable from a purely laboratory standpoint "food" that should never be fed to the animal in the first place.

Survival is not the same standard as healthy, though there's a lot more money to be extracted from sickly life, but that's the vertical integration business model for you...

Here are some good resources if you're interested in learning more:
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Nutrition%20on%20the%20Internet%20dogs.pdf
http://www.wsava.org/sites/default/files/Recommendations%20on%20Selecting%20Pet%20Foods.pdf

There's some good information there, but there's also a little poorly informed information designed to undermine what may otherwise be perfectly good info. My biggest objection is from the first link, "The Savvy Dog Owner's Guide: Nutrition on the Internet":

Quote
Read the website address. Sites with an address ending in .com are commercial. Those ending in .edu are educational and those ending in .org are nonprofit organizations. Large pet food companies often have high-wuality websites with good general nutrition information that is separate from their product information.

ICANN does not restrict which people and legal entities can and cannot register in the .COM or .ORG namespaces. Though they are correct that .COM was intended for commercial organizations and .ORG for nonprofits, .COM and .ORG TLDs (top level domains) should never be used as grounds to determine information quality and source because of registration audience guidelines. I've seen NGOs register .COM domains, and I've seen for-profit companies register .ORG domains, and there's nothing legally stopping them from doing so. I've also seen quality information from .COM TLDs, and I've seen garbage information from .ORG TLDs just as much as I've seen the inverse be true.

As for absolutely trusting anything published on the .EDU namespace, remember two things: 1) Many colleges and universities still allow webspace for students to publish anything they want under an .EDU domain without peer review; 2) Look up the domain of The University of Phoenix. 'Nuff said.

My go-to brands, based on the research and quality control that go into their foods, are Purina ProPlan (what my dog & cats eat), Royal Canin, and Science Diet.

I do want to respect you and other vets here, Startingsmall, I do... but this statement bothers me. Nestle Purina has a long established history of putting profits over life in all their market segments, and no matter how "complete" the basic nutrition is with Purina Pro Plan, given the quality of meat and vegetation they have been known to put into their food for years? It's clear they do not respect life. Diseased and gangrenous rotting chickens and healthy chickens legally on ingredient lists due to the blind eye the FDA turns towards pet food are both listed as chicken, just as an example. Using these sorts of ingredients for "food" for an animal demonstrates a failure to respect the life that went into the food and the life that food is meant to sustain. Just because the diseased animals and plant life have been cooked to the point of killing off the pathogens to make it "safe", doesn't magically make it healthy or appropriate to feed.

It's not that Nestle Purina is intrinsically evil, it's that they're indifferent so long as they turn a profit, and will do whatever it takes to keep that profit as high as possible with little ethical framework but money itself to guide decisions.

When a vet, a profession with an oath designed to respect and nurture life, recommends a pet food manufacturer that abuses and exploits life for profit... it leaves me to pause and ask if that is a vet I would trust my own pets' lives to, because your recommendation is not practicing the values your degree professes.

Cassie

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2017, 11:16:50 AM »
Many vets sell and recommend Science Diet which is actually a horrible food. I wonder if they make $ from recommending it.  As Dailey said there are a lot of horrible food practices by the big companies. As someone else said Natural Balance is also a decent food.

ketchup

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2017, 11:22:04 AM »
What worries me about raw feeding is that you don't always know where the meat came from. And if you buy from a really high-quality local butcher shop, it's going to cost a fortune.
You can always figure out the source if you ask your supplier.  How far you go up the chain is up to you.

katscratch

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2017, 07:17:44 PM »
Many vets sell and recommend Science Diet which is actually a horrible food. I wonder if they make $ from recommending it.  As Dailey said there are a lot of horrible food practices by the big companies. As someone else said Natural Balance is also a decent food.

In my experience (which was in a supporting role, not as a doctor) in different areas of the US there aren't kickbacks, but there are affiliations with universities. For instance, here in Minnesota, many vets recommend Hills foods as their first go to because that's the brand they learned about most in school (per conversation with those docs about their preferences).


I've fed all manner of foods over the years. For myself as a dog owner, my first priority is his mental and physical stimulation, then regular dental cleanings, then food. He's 16 and trucking right along, my Costco food experiment and all. My cats have all lived over 22 years so far, one in kidney failure that lived for another 5 years by not following conventional rx low protein diets (but monitored with monthly bloodwork a bonus of having a ton of veterinarian friends). My food offerings have ranged from total crap food when I was in college to a local boutique raw diet (with listed source farms) to specialty store foods. My current cat is now on Fromm's but is recommended by his DVM dermatologist  and his primary DVM to transition to raw. I'm lucky that I live in a city with several raw food companies so that takes the guesswork out for me and brings the cost down.


All that said: In my opinion (as a consumer, not a scientist or clinician), for the average consumer feeding their dogs kibble, ProPlan and Royal Canin are easily accessible and animals do fine. Maybe not ideal, but fine. Most of the extremely geriatric pets I saw in the clinics I worked in were on non-grocery-store foods or raw, with the most common brands in our area being Wellness, Royal Canin, or local food brands.

PDM

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2017, 08:12:43 PM »
I'm another raw feeding advocate. I mix up batches of kangaroo mince, beef mince and chicken mince with a fibre, vitamin mix designed to include any potentially missing vitamins.

I can't recommend it enough. When they eat dry their poop quality goes down dramatically. On the raw, the overall volume is tiny, the smell is super mild and not stinky.

JetBlast

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2017, 11:11:45 PM »
My wife went big into researching different foods when we got our dog. Eventually she chose Wellness. We tried it and the dog didnít like it. She wasnít excited to eat (rare for a corgi) and had loose poops. Next my wife said letís try Taste of the Wild. Mildly more excited to eat but still bad poops. Tried different proteins in that brand with no change. Tried Blue Buffalo, both regular and Basics, and again no real difference both in excitement to eat and stools.

Vet said to try regular Royal Canin. Our dog absolutely loves it. More importantly her poops firmed up. Stomach problem solved and itís cheaper than all the fancy foods we tried before.

Many vets sell and recommend Science Diet which is actually a horrible food. I wonder if they make $ from recommending it.  As Dailey said there are a lot of horrible food practices by the big companies. As someone else said Natural Balance is also a decent food.
Many vets sell Hills Science Diet because it is one of the two major manufacturers for prescription foods along with Royal Canin.

Off the Wheel

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2017, 11:30:52 PM »
Any thoughts on Acana? That's what we feed our 2-year-old shepherd-mutt rescue. Might be Canadian though?

https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/acana-dog-food-grain-free/

https://acana.com/

chasesfish

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2017, 05:12:08 AM »
I forgot to warn the two veterinarians on here:  The huge group of internet dog food police have a few members that show up here.  I've made the mistake of posting about dog food and gotten lectures on how we should feed our dog raw food.

That's up there on the top reasons my wife left practicing, couldn't stand clients who wanted to argue with her statement "Outside of dog food, if you won't eat it, don't feed it to your dog?"   She called those clients "Dr. Google"

chasesfish

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2017, 05:17:37 AM »
Oh, the other great argument the internet police say is "veterinarians get kickbacks for recommending X"

The "kickbacks" people reference (at least 10-12 years ago at a major state school) were the two major pet food manufacturers would give completely broke Veterinary Students 1 bag of food a month for their pets.  One company just delivered the bag at the school at the same time they were delivering their order to the clinic.  The other gave one coupon a month.   We're talking about supplementing a $50/mo expense that a vet would have to build a comfort level with their product.  Its probably less of an economic benefit than every profession gets, especially considering vet students rack up $100,000 to $200,000 in student loan debt for a job with a $60,000/yr starting salary

SimpleCycle

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2017, 05:30:02 AM »
katscratch, what did you feed your cat in kidney failure?  We are dealing with that right now with an 18 year old cat.

KCM5

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2017, 06:11:33 AM »
katscratch, what did you feed your cat in kidney failure?  We are dealing with that right now with an 18 year old cat.

Not katscratch, obviously, but I had a cat with kidney failure and we fed him Hills Prescription Diet k/d dry. He never did eat their wet food - we also gave him a small can of whatever he would eat of normal food. And the food worked for about 2.5 years until it didn't and he died at 16 (diagnosed at 13). I think the food made all of the difference, honestly. He was in pretty rough shape when he started on it and for quite a while his bloodwork was almost normal and he certainly acted normal, so I think he felt good for those 2.5 years. Then he stopped eating as much, lost weight, got a rabies shot (mistake) and we the poor kitty euthanized the next day.

startingsmall

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2017, 09:01:12 AM »
I forgot to warn the two veterinarians on here:  The huge group of internet dog food police have a few members that show up here.  I've made the mistake of posting about dog food and gotten lectures on how we should feed our dog raw food.

That's up there on the top reasons my wife left practicing, couldn't stand clients who wanted to argue with her statement "Outside of dog food, if you won't eat it, don't feed it to your dog?"   She called those clients "Dr. Google"

What does your wife do now? I'm desperately seeking an escape from practice.

And yeah, I'm familiar with the internet dog food police. I used to have the energy to fight them, but not anymore. Now I respond to genuine requests for help/advice (because I DO still care, even if the profession is burning me out) but ignore those who are committed to their 'cause.'

katscratch

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2017, 09:47:20 AM »
Dr Google hahaha - exactly. I'm in the human side of medicine now and it's just as prevalent ;)


Regarding my kitty's kidney failure, if I didn't have access or the funds to check his full bloodwork often I probably would have just stuck to the prescription food and SQ fluids.

My cat was blind for the last years of his life and became quite picky about his food - he absolutely refused to eat either Hills or Royal Canin prescription low protein diets, even transitioning very slowly, and lost an alarming amount of muscle mass within a month with no change in his kidney values and a negative change in electrolytes. It makes sense he wasn't a fan; those foods do not exactly smell appealing and are pretty bland. We kept him on his preferred Wellness canned food but only a few flavors with the lowest protein and phosphorus. He was also put on a phosphorus binder (a powder) and I did SQ fluids daily. Within the first couple of months his kidney values actually improved a bit then remained stable with a very slow decline for the remaining years.

use2betrix

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2017, 10:12:51 AM »
My German Shepherd came with a health guarantee from his breeder. His breeder, also happens to be a veterinarian. By contract, weíre required to feed him Purina Pro Plan for his health. She feeds it to all her dogs.

Iím sure thereís other great foods, and we may switch to raw down the road, however for dry dog food, I feel the pro Plan is one of the best.

FYI - you save a LOT by buying big bags. I think his 30lb bag is like $45, while a 15lb bag is like $33 (or something like that) lol.

ketchup

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2017, 10:34:28 AM »
FYI - you save a LOT by buying big bags. I think his 30lb bag is like $45, while a 15lb bag is like $33 (or something like that) lol.
This is very true regardless of what you end up buying.  Small portions of any kind of dog food are hilariously expensive per unit.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2017, 11:38:33 AM »
I feed my dog and my two cats Science Diet. It's what my Vet recommends and all three have led pretty healthy and happy lives. I tried some of the all natural, mostly meat, very little filler food when my dog was a puppy and it gave him the worst diarrhea. My dog is a ten year old lab mix and no one believes he is ten. He runs circles around puppies and other than a little gray in his beard you wouldn't know he's a senior citizen. Science Diet solved my cats hairball/upset stomach and vomiting issue. My cats are eleven and fifteen-ish.

All that being said, I've not seen any good peer reviewed studies of the best dog foods. They may be out there but most of what I see is pseudo-science reviews of different brands that were sponsored by the brand itself.

For price though, I get my dog and cat food from Amazon Subscribe and Save. It's cheaper than Petsmart and Petco and I don't have to make a trip to the store. Also, Chewy's prices for their food can be good.

doggyfizzle

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #40 on: October 26, 2017, 12:05:36 PM »
Both my vet and breeder I got my Aussie from recommended Eukanuba (for me small breed).  In the 3 years my dog has lived in our house, she's never had a single weird poop or upset stomach.

Sibley

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2017, 08:51:29 AM »
I have 2 cats, 18yo and 9.5yo. The "rules" have been shifting pretty consistently for me for the past year. That's what happens when you have a beyond senior pet!

At this point, I'm feeding Purina One dry, sensitive formula, and am going to try the Purina ProPlan senior food to see how they like it. I try not to mess with the cat's food unless I need to. My older cat is having minor digestive troubles depending on the food, so trying to balance that out. They also get 2 cans per day of Fancy Feast wet.

In terms of what I feed them, I try to feed good quality foods that they like to eat and do well on. That last piece is what I'm struggling with currently, and it's really an aging issue. Plus, my cats will not eat separate foods, so they both have to do well.

lizzzi

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #42 on: November 12, 2017, 06:44:04 AM »
Hello--OP here...just getting back to the group for completion. A bit of a journey here, but I've put Bandit back on his original, high-quality dog food, Holistic Health Extension Little Bites. I subscribed to Petsumer, and it gives that dog food a high rating. I was getting tired of all the diarrhea from experimenting with Cesar's (rated low anyway)...even mixed half and half with the Little Bites, he was enjoying it but having diarrhea. I wanted to try either the Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin, or Science Diet, but was just at the point of hysteria with the diarrhea cleanups when we couldn't get outside fast enough.  So I put him back on the Little Bites with a couple tablespoons of something from the table he likes...like some plain chicken or beef...to encourage him to eat it. What I found was that I need to leave a bowl with dry food out for him at all times. He doesn't just scarf down his food in the 30" I was leaving his bowl down. He likes to pick a little here and there through the day. I find that he eats much better this way, and he is still pooping normally at his usual times. (I wouldn't feed this way while house-training a puppy, but Bandit is two years old..normally poops a couple times a day, and tells me when he needs to go out.) So thanks to all for all the good advice, particularly from the vets and from I.P. Daley for telling us about Petsumer.

Crease

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #43 on: November 12, 2017, 08:27:21 AM »
I'll +1 the veterinarian recommendations above. The only thing I'll add is that pet food is not a spending area I like to be frugal with. A good quality food (and, sure, you can shop around once you figure out which product is best for your pup or kitten) is a sound investment as it will keep future vet bills down.

I fed my labrador a high-protein no-grain kibble by Orijen and Blue Buffalo for years. He did very well, great coat and energy once we figured what proteins he's not allergic to. As he's gotten older and at the recommendation of our vet we switched him to Hills prescription kibble so that his kidneys can enjoy a nice retirement, if you will. Every trip to the park someone asks how old my puppy is. He's 10. In a sense I'm very lucky but I do feel a lot of it has to do with the quality (high) and quantity (just enough) of food he's been getting over the years. Dogs and cats are no different from us in that regard.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 08:50:13 AM by Crease »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #44 on: November 12, 2017, 09:42:36 AM »
I have had basenjis for 25 years and it's kind of known among breeders that quality of food is important in this breed. I got my first (2nd and 3rd) from a veterinarian who approved of what I'm feeding. I started with Nutros but they came out with a Nutros Ultra 20 yrs ago and now feed just that.
My dogs have been dying at 15-17 with only genetic problems, and the breed average is 12-13, so this shows me that my choice of food is ok.

Cassie

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Re: What should I really be feeding my dog?
« Reply #45 on: November 12, 2017, 01:41:26 PM »
For the past 13 years we have had 3 or 4 dogs. One thing I have found is that a food that works well for one may not work for another.   Since they free feed it has been a challenge to find one that works for everyone.  All of our Maltese have lived 12-20 years and we have a shepherd/husky mix that is 12.  I read that vets in college only get a half day on nutrition so don't necessarily know a lot about it. My vets who I love sell Science Diet and I would never feed that to my dogs. There are a lot of good quality dog foods and you just need to research it and then see if it works. That is good to know that vets don't get kickbacks for recommending Science Diet.   About a year ago we had to go to a bland diet for my old big dog.  Our vets in the clinic we use stay forever and seem to enjoy their jobs.  I am sure pay really varies by region. My friends in KS and TX pay a third of what I do for services on the West Coast.  We don't live in a big town either.