Author Topic: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?  (Read 8496 times)

supomglol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« on: January 18, 2016, 08:30:18 AM »
After lugging yet another 28lb bag of dog food from store - car - home, I have to wonder... is there a cheaper way?

We have 3 dogs at our house (2 large and 1 small) and I have joked on multiple occasions that I wish we could just purchase a pallet of the stuff and keep it in the garage until we used it.  Another issue is that we frequently find our preferred food is out of stock, and have to make a second trip or go to another store. 

Our puppy is on special (expensive) Science Diet "Puppy Formula"
The other two eat Pedigree "Active". 

I'm open to different (read: less expensive) food, especially once the puppy gets past 1yr. 
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with dog food co-ops or something similar; I feel like we could reasonably go through a standard-size pallet of dog food within a year just at our house.  ~40 bags. 

We have a CostCo opening in a couple of months here so that may be an option as well, but will still require transportation.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3370
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2016, 08:38:47 AM »
I don't know if it is cheaper, but the Kirkland dog food is probably better quality than what you are feeding.  Right now it's about $28 for a 40 pound bag.  My dogs have been on it their entire lives and are doing great at 10 and 13.  Interesting fact: they never really get stinky and one needs one bath per year and the other needs a bath never.

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.

supomglol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2016, 08:42:44 AM »
I don't know if it is cheaper, but the Kirkland dog food is probably better quality than what you are feeding.  Right now it's about $28 for a 40 pound bag.  My dogs have been on it their entire lives and are doing great at 10 and 13.  Interesting fact: they never really get stinky and one needs one bath per year and the other needs a bath never.

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.

Thanks for the recommendation.  I have continued to hear amazing things about the Kirkland brand.  We are super excited to have our first CostCo here in Tulsa.  We haven't ever shopped at one; but plan to be among the first to grab a membership when it opens in the Spring/Summer this year. 

The puppy (husky) was already on the Science Diet food when we got him so we've just kept him the same.  I believe the food is lamb-based. 

RysChristensen

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2016, 08:43:29 AM »
Another option is finding a local food distributor (the same people that deliver to independent stores) and see how much you'd have to buy to get an order from them. I used to order 10 40# bags at a time, which they would deliver to me on their route. No idea what variety of foods they would have (I was getting higher end stuff, back before you could get grain-free everywhere). I second the non-love for science diet.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4248
  • Age: 29
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2016, 08:50:50 AM »
Costco is a good start.  And Costco kibble (the grain-free "Nature's Domain" one, not the El Cheapo one) is miles ahead of Science Diet or especially Pedigree in terms of quality.  I think it's about $30 for 35lbs.

Chewy.com is also a place to look.  Back when we fed our dogs kibble, they had the best price on what we were feeding at the time (Earthborn Holistic I think).  They also offer free shipping over a certain amount, they have a monthly subscription option, and their customer service is fantastic.

DogFoodAdvisor is a good reference to compare kibble:
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/pedigree-dog-food-dry/
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/hills-science-diet-puppy-dry/
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/natures-domain-dog-food/

Decent quality grain-free food pays for itself.  For some dogs especially, it can be night-and-day.

As others have said, Science Diet specifically has been known to be overpriced junk hawked by vets.  Natural Balance too, but that stuff isn't junk, just overpriced and hawked by vets.

honeybbq

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1352
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2016, 08:57:32 AM »
Check out chewy's.com. They deliver for free and one of my dogs is on fancy pants prescription dog food. They have have a large selection.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 09:05:59 AM »
We don't use a co-op, but we buy diamond naturals for 30-35 bucks per 50lbs at Tractor Supply. The food has a 4 star rating on dogfoodadvisor.com and our dogs are doing well on it.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3370
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 09:19:10 AM »
The puppy (husky) was already on the Science Diet food when we got him so we've just kept him the same.  I believe the food is lamb-based.

Read the ingredients.  I bet it contains very little actual lamb.  If he's sensitive, you could probably buy a far-superior lamb-based food like Innova for the same price.

Sorry, Science Diet just irritates me to no end.  My co-worker just went through huge drama with having to switch her cat off of one of their prescription foods (vet wouldn't refill the Rx after he'd been on it for years without doing $$$ bloodwork for a 13 year old cat).  She went to the specialty pet food store and they helped her get him on a better diet and he's doing great last I heard.  No Rx needed.

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 498
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 09:20:02 AM »
I don't know if it is cheaper, but the Kirkland dog food is probably better quality than what you are feeding.  Right now it's about $28 for a 40 pound bag.  My dogs have been on it their entire lives and are doing great at 10 and 13.  Interesting fact: they never really get stinky and one needs one bath per year and the other needs a bath never.

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.
+1 to Kirkland.

Costco is a good start.  And Costco kibble (the grain-free "Nature's Domain" one, not the El Cheapo one) is miles ahead of Science Diet or especially Pedigree in terms of quality.  I think it's about $30 for 35lbs.

I surely hope by "El Cheapo one" that you do not mean the Kirkland brand of dog food.  Kirkland Private Label food is made by the same manufacturer as Taste of the Wild aka Diamond Pet Foods.  My purebred GSDs absolutely love it and my wallet does as well.  I can't speak for all breeds, but I free feed my GSDs and they always weigh in at perfect weights, never too light or too heavy. 

I was one of the first adopters of Nature's Domain and my GSDs responding negatively to it so I switched them back.  Their coats were in horrible shape and practically falling out.  Take with a grain of salt, but it didn't work for us. From what I read about Grain Free is that it was pretty much produced in response to the Human movement to live "Grain free" due to allergies, etc.  Seems to me like a warranty on a new car or a waste of money.       

Cromacster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1697
  • Location: Minnesnowta
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2016, 10:06:40 AM »
When I fed kibble I would order my food from pestmart's website.  I would wait for a sale then order 4 or 5 bags at a time.  Shipping was free, but I bet the UPS guy hated schluppin 150lbs of dog food to my door.

I've also heard good things about Chewy.com.  You can save some money by setting up auto delivery.

Mountainbug

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 10:15:03 AM »
Another vote for Costco's dog food. We feed it to our labs and they do great on it. Contrary to current marketing, dogs do not need a grain free diet. They are omnivorous. The first three ingredients in your dogs food are most important, and should be mostly meat.

I'm also posting to follow if someone has a better solution, because we also run through tons of dog food a year. We just buy a couple bags at a time to cut down on Costco trips.

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4248
  • Age: 29
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 11:05:55 AM »
I don't know if it is cheaper, but the Kirkland dog food is probably better quality than what you are feeding.  Right now it's about $28 for a 40 pound bag.  My dogs have been on it their entire lives and are doing great at 10 and 13.  Interesting fact: they never really get stinky and one needs one bath per year and the other needs a bath never.

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.
+1 to Kirkland.

Costco is a good start.  And Costco kibble (the grain-free "Nature's Domain" one, not the El Cheapo one) is miles ahead of Science Diet or especially Pedigree in terms of quality.  I think it's about $30 for 35lbs.

I surely hope by "El Cheapo one" that you do not mean the Kirkland brand of dog food.  Kirkland Private Label food is made by the same manufacturer as Taste of the Wild aka Diamond Pet Foods.  My purebred GSDs absolutely love it and my wallet does as well.  I can't speak for all breeds, but I free feed my GSDs and they always weigh in at perfect weights, never too light or too heavy. 

I was one of the first adopters of Nature's Domain and my GSDs responding negatively to it so I switched them back.  Their coats were in horrible shape and practically falling out.  Take with a grain of salt, but it didn't work for us. From what I read about Grain Free is that it was pretty much produced in response to the Human movement to live "Grain free" due to allergies, etc.  Seems to me like a warranty on a new car or a waste of money.       
Feed what works best for your dogs, of course.  I'd never recommend anything with grains though.  Cheap filler with no nutrients.  Some dogs can tolerate more starch than others, but none is strictly necessary.  Grain allergies are very common in dogs.

At a minimum, the first ingredients should all be meat and not grains.  If your kibble smells like corn chips (looking at you, Purina Pro Plan), run away.  Switch up the meat in the food with each bag (and feed poultry and fish less frequently than red meats) if you're not using kibble that's a blend of different meat sources (and if you are, make sure poultry and fish aren't over-represented).

We feed raw now though, so I'm pretty out of the loop on current kibble trends.

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 498
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 11:09:52 AM »
Feed what works best for your dogs, of course.  I'd never recommend anything with grains though.  Cheap filler with no nutrients.  Some dogs can tolerate more starch than others, but none is strictly necessary.  Grain allergies are very common in dogs.

At a minimum, the first ingredients should all be meat and not grains.  If your kibble smells like corn chips (looking at you, Purina Pro Plan), run away.  Switch up the meat in the food with each bag (and feed poultry and fish less frequently than red meats) if you're not using kibble that's a blend of different meat sources (and if you are, make sure poultry and fish aren't over-represented).

We feed raw now though, so I'm pretty out of the loop on current kibble trends.

I didn't mean to come at you with my response.  I agree completely with your logic that you shouldn't feed your dog absolute trash like Purina Pro Plan, Pedigree, Ol Roy, etc. 

I know a lot of folks on here swear by the Kirkland Brand dog food (not Nature's Domain) including myself so I wouldn't want to see it get misrepresented. 

Agreed with the allergies, however, depends on the breed.  For me and my GSDs, grain does just fine. 

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2016, 11:18:28 AM »

...
Sorry, Science Diet just irritates me to no end.  My co-worker just went through huge drama with having to switch her cat off of one of their prescription foods (vet wouldn't refill the Rx after he'd been on it for years without doing $$$ bloodwork for a 13 year old cat).  She went to the specialty pet food store and they helped her get him on a better diet and he's doing great last I heard.  No Rx needed.


Ditto.

I buy Nature's Domain fish/sweet potato (blue bag) at Costco: 4 dogs, smallest is 50lbs.

Although made by the same company, Taste of the Wild smells fishier when you open the bag...and now the Costco one doesn't seem as oily as it used to.

But have a dog who needed 7 allergy shots a year: scratched so hard blood ran down her muzzle and she damaged both corneas scratching her head.

All that stopped when I switched to the blue bag.


As for the tests....it BEYOND pisses me off! I had a dog on the exact same dosage of seizure meds since 2005. This one vet demanded $$$ bloodwork every 6 months. I balked, they said they wouldn't renew her prescriptions. "it's Fed law" etc.

Moved vets...no more bs. They recommend it, but I say I'm not paying for it and they don't insist.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1567
  • Location: High COL
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2016, 05:43:54 PM »
+1 again for Costco dog food.

I don't love Costco and so I usually buy a couple bags of dog and cat food at a time and stack it in the garage. It does suck hauling the bags, but easier to do only every few months. 

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2016, 08:01:37 PM »

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.

Just an fyi: in most cases, Chicken Meal is a better ingredient than "chicken."  The reason being is that the ingredients are weighed before processing/cooking.  If it says "chicken" as the first ingredient it's 70% water.  By the time it's cooked and processed, it's not the first ingredient, it could be the 5th/6th or lower.  Where as chicken meal is precooked prior to adding to the mixture, it's 100% chicken meal, more meat and protein per serving.  With a food that doesn't have a meal in it, just chicken as the first ingredient, it's really a sweet potato/pea/rice based food with chicken.  Not a chicken based food with sweet potato/pea/rice.  I hope that makes sense!     I'd avoid the byproduct meal of course, but chicken meal itself is generally considered a good thing.  Despite a lot of misleading advertising, even from some of the better food companies like Blue.

I'm a huge fan of the Nature's domain and costco dog foods.  I choose to go grain free, because my dog does best on it (his seizures have all but stopped), but an FYI: Nature's Domain did a major recipe change on all of it's foods recently.  The salmon is now not just salmon, but includes other fish and major recipe changes.  My friend could not figure out why her dog was itching so much and while her other dog didn't want to eat until I noticed the changes.    Your dog may be unaffected, but keep an eye on the  ingredients.  If "Pea" is listed in four different forms on the label, your food is Pea based, not meat based.  That's my issue with the Nature's Domain Organic.  It's all pea.   

I hope this was helpful.   Best of luck!

supomglol

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2016, 05:06:36 PM »
This is great info, thanks!

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3370
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2016, 06:22:39 PM »

Take a hard look at that Science Diet and the ingredients in it.  It's usually overpriced crap that they give the vets big kickbacks for selling.  The ones I've looked at have tons of fillers and "meal" (e.g. chicken meal, not you know, chicken).  If your pup has a health issue, there are probably better foods out there for the same price or cheaper.

Just an fyi: in most cases, Chicken Meal is a better ingredient than "chicken."  The reason being is that the ingredients are weighed before processing/cooking.  If it says "chicken" as the first ingredient it's 70% water.  By the time it's cooked and processed, it's not the first ingredient, it could be the 5th/6th or lower.  Where as chicken meal is precooked prior to adding to the mixture, it's 100% chicken meal, more meat and protein per serving.  With a food that doesn't have a meal in it, just chicken as the first ingredient, it's really a sweet potato/pea/rice based food with chicken.  Not a chicken based food with sweet potato/pea/rice.  I hope that makes sense!     I'd avoid the byproduct meal of course, but chicken meal itself is generally considered a good thing.  Despite a lot of misleading advertising, even from some of the better food companies like Blue.

I'm a huge fan of the Nature's domain and costco dog foods.  I choose to go grain free, because my dog does best on it (his seizures have all but stopped), but an FYI: Nature's Domain did a major recipe change on all of it's foods recently.  The salmon is now not just salmon, but includes other fish and major recipe changes.  My friend could not figure out why her dog was itching so much and while her other dog didn't want to eat until I noticed the changes.    Your dog may be unaffected, but keep an eye on the  ingredients.  If "Pea" is listed in four different forms on the label, your food is Pea based, not meat based.  That's my issue with the Nature's Domain Organic.  It's all pea.   

I hope this was helpful.   Best of luck!

Fair enough and good point.  I haven't looked at dog food ingredients in a while.  A "filler" ingredient like corn meal might have been a better example. 

lvbhappy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2016, 02:26:13 PM »
I use Petflow.com.  It's a pet website where they have all kinds of products and dog food at a discount. I feed my pups Wellness, which is $75 at Petsmart, plus the hassle of going to the store, lugging the bag in, running out at times....I love pet flow.  They have autoship (free, and mine gives me a 5% discount for being subscribed), and they have almost all brands of dog food.  They allow you to pick how often you would like it delivered, and it automatically ships. I have mine set to deliver a bag (free shipping over $50) every 2 weeks and the cost of it is $53 instead of the petsmart $70+.  It's a beautiful thing.

snuggler

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2016, 05:27:48 PM »
Just wanted to mention that if you buy a lot of stock at one time, and have to store it in a garage/basement/etc., be careful about pests. Some rodents and other small animals would find it easy and delightful to chew through certain pet food bags and gorge themselves.

Molzy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2016, 05:38:43 PM »
Our dogs do best on a good with some grain (they need the fiber for uh...the other end of things). We've done merrick chicken and rice, and just switched to wellness oatmeal and chicken (because merrick was sold). We order ours on Amazon and it shows up at our door - a 30 lb bag lasts our two 40 lb dogs a month.

CanuckExpat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3001
  • Age: 37
  • Location: North Carolina
    • Freedom35
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2016, 12:26:54 AM »
Generally speaking, we go with the regular Kirkland Dog food, unless we have some reason to buy elsewhere (sales, coupons, giftcards, promos, etc).
The price is great and the savings on the dog food probably pays for our Costco membership.
If lugging the bulk dog food is a pain, you could consider something like Google Shopping Express to have them deliver it to you. I don't know what the cost is now, but we've done that when they had free trial memberships.

On a side note, our dogs must have iron stomachs because they seem to chow down whatever we put in front of them just as happily. Every now and then I switch to the more premium grain free stuff if it comes on sale at the same price as the regular stuff, dogs seem to enjoy it all the same, but with the grain free stuff I swear they poop more.. I'm not buying them more expensive dog food just so they can crap it out faster...

Larabeth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 279
  • Location: Alabama
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2016, 04:33:45 AM »
We use Canidae All Life Stages:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001D9JC0G?refRID=C06GKQA6HE3RDPHEGRCG&ref_=pd_ys_c_rfy_rp_2619533011_0

It's got a decent rating on dogfoodadvisor.com and our dogs stay very healthy.

Lanthiriel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 803
  • Location: Portlandia
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2016, 02:39:58 PM »
I know everyone has already got on the Nature's Domain train, but I also love that brand. Such a value for the money.

Unfortunately, I have a dog with severe poultry allergies, and the only food we've ever found that he doesn't react to is Natural Balance Rabbit and Potato Limited Ingredient Diet. Luckily he's a corgi and so only eats a cup a day...

Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2016, 06:48:29 PM »
The hard thing with pet food is people what to know what is "the best."  But what is the best for your dog could be different than what is good for another's.  Just like people do better on different diets.  I'm not brand loyal, I buy any and all higher end brands, with different proteins.  Mostly grain free, but sometimes with rice/oat as long as the rest of the ingredients are good.  Both my dogs have had their diets change all their lives, so they don't mind a food change.  I know how lucky I am to not have poo-splosions when changing food.  Also, by exposing them all their lives to different proteins/foods they are less likely to develop sensitivities/allergies later in life due to over exposure.  "They've eaten this for years!  How are they allergic?"   Overexposure.   Every meal is a different food for my pups.  This allows me to buy high end food when it is on sale/clearance no matter the protein/grain, so I save money.  However, I know not all dogs can handle this with their stomachs. 

Just thought this might be helpful. 

PS: My price point is always Nature's Domain (roughly $1 a lb) so I'll buy other food when I can get it for that or better, but will buy Nature's Domain if I cannot.  I also do a lot of home made dog food and that's free to me (I ask for freezer burnt meat and people give it to me). 


startingsmall

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 680
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2016, 09:07:46 PM »
As a veterinarian, I can never resist jumping in to these conversations...

- Byproducts are not bad.  A dog in the wild would eat the whole chicken, not just the breast and thigh meat. In fact, some fancypants pet foods actually will state that their foods offer heart, liver and kidney tissue like it's something special. What are those tissues? Byproducts. All that the term 'byproduct' means is that it's a part of the animal that U.S. humans don't typically eat.

- Exposing pets to a wide range of foods actually makes life more difficult if they ever develop allergies. Allergies can develop to any antigen that the pet has been exposed to... and treatment of food allergies requires feeding a novel diet. If a pet has eaten everything under the sun, it's really hard to find a completely novel diet. A dog who has been eating the same food it's whole life? Super-easy to find a food with different protein sources.

- FWIW, my four recommendations are usually Purina ProPlan (what my 2 dogs & 1 cat eat), Royal Canin, Science Diet, and Eukanuba. There are decent foods at all price points, though, and a good food is whatever the pet does well on. As long as a food has been through AAFCO feeding trials (true of most major brands, not always the boutique brands), it's going to be nutritionally adequate. I work in a vet clinic that does not sell food, so I get no kickbacks for recommending any of those foods... they're just the companies with the best R&D and quality control (in my opinion).

- Dogfoodavisor is run by a human dentist, not anyone with training in veterinary nutrition. Believe very little of what you read on that site. Believe very little of what you read on the internet, period.

- While some dogs may do better on a grain-free diet (there have been some documented cases of dogs whose seizures resolve when wheat is removed from the diet and wheat can, rarely, be an allergen), there is no benefit for most dogs in going grain-free. Interestingly, grain-free diets are typically higher in carbohydrates than 'conventional' foods. Dogs are scavengers/omnivores, not carnivores.


Tami1982

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2016, 12:34:17 AM »
Exposing pets to a wide range of foods actually makes life more difficult if they ever develop allergies. Allergies can develop to any antigen that the pet has been exposed to... and treatment of food allergies requires feeding a novel diet. If a pet has eaten everything under the sun, it's really hard to find a completely novel diet. A dog who has been eating the same food it's whole life? Super-easy to find a food with different protein sources.

I have no way of knowing this, perhaps you have a better idea, but what is the likelihood of a dog developing an allergy to every food it's ever been exposed to, when it's been exposed to a huge variety of food, verses a dog developing a sensitivity/allergy when it's been overexposed to the same thing it's entire life?  I honestly don't know where to find information regarding this, but I would lean towards overexposure causing a more likely problem than rotation.

Of course, a person or pet can be/or develop allergies to anything at anytime, but I find the idea that I should have my pet on one food their entire lives, just in case they might possibly develop an allergy at some point in their life far reaching. Perhaps my logic is false, but I do my best based on research available to me.  I'm always glad to learn new things and share information. 

I can see how my manner of feeding, protein rotation and a variety of foods could make it difficult to track if any of the food had issues/recalled/source of a problem should there be one.  I've definitely given that some thought.  Weighed pros and cons. 

It's always nice to hear from a veterinarian.  There's been a lot of negativity spread about in regards to veterinary nutrition training and the link with vet schools nutrition classes being funded and even taught by Science diet/Royal Canin from text books they themselves wrote/endorsed and give to the students.  Can you weigh in on this?  Your experience?  You never hear about it from the vets themselves, just the researchers on the outside and the media.  And we all know how that goes.

I agree with you on the byproducts.  My only issue with that is when the protein source is not indicated.  I hate those really cheap foods and their "meat meals" and unidentified, "animal fats."    I think the problem is that often you find byproduct meal in foods with other less desirable ingredients.  I do definitely take issue with the advertising Blue Buffalo and ProPlan have done in regards to "real chicken being the first ingredient," so misleading! 

And my experience is definitely anecdotal regarding my dog's seizures.  But for him changing his diet to reduced grain, keeping it slightly higher fat, resulted in a dramatic reduction in seizures for him, but it's hardly a scientific study.   No more Zonisamide.

I have seen that the grain free can also be higher in carbs (you ever notice a ton of foods don't even put the carb percentage on the bag?  You have to calculate it yourself!).  I discovered this was due to the extrusion process.  They have to get the dough to a certain consistency to use the extruders.  However some foods are dehydrated/freeze dried/ or baked and can have higher amounts of meat, and be grain free without using giant piles of potatoes/peas but most grain free kibbles are higher in carbs.   It's amazing the amount of foods available now, the labeling, the assertions of the foods. 

Thank you for weighing in and sharing your knowledge! 




startingsmall

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 680
Re: Bulk Dog Food or Co-Op?
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2016, 06:14:24 AM »
Exposing pets to a wide range of foods actually makes life more difficult if they ever develop allergies. Allergies can develop to any antigen that the pet has been exposed to... and treatment of food allergies requires feeding a novel diet. If a pet has eaten everything under the sun, it's really hard to find a completely novel diet. A dog who has been eating the same food it's whole life? Super-easy to find a food with different protein sources.

I have no way of knowing this, perhaps you have a better idea, but what is the likelihood of a dog developing an allergy to every food it's ever been exposed to, when it's been exposed to a huge variety of food, verses a dog developing a sensitivity/allergy when it's been overexposed to the same thing it's entire life?  I honestly don't know where to find information regarding this, but I would lean towards overexposure causing a more likely problem than rotation.

Of course, a person or pet can be/or develop allergies to anything at anytime, but I find the idea that I should have my pet on one food their entire lives, just in case they might possibly develop an allergy at some point in their life far reaching. Perhaps my logic is false, but I do my best based on research available to me.  I'm always glad to learn new things and share information. 

I can see how my manner of feeding, protein rotation and a variety of foods could make it difficult to track if any of the food had issues/recalled/source of a problem should there be one.  I've definitely given that some thought.  Weighed pros and cons. 

It's always nice to hear from a veterinarian.  There's been a lot of negativity spread about in regards to veterinary nutrition training and the link with vet schools nutrition classes being funded and even taught by Science diet/Royal Canin from text books they themselves wrote/endorsed and give to the students.  Can you weigh in on this?  Your experience?  You never hear about it from the vets themselves, just the researchers on the outside and the media.  And we all know how that goes.

I agree with you on the byproducts.  My only issue with that is when the protein source is not indicated.  I hate those really cheap foods and their "meat meals" and unidentified, "animal fats."    I think the problem is that often you find byproduct meal in foods with other less desirable ingredients.  I do definitely take issue with the advertising Blue Buffalo and ProPlan have done in regards to "real chicken being the first ingredient," so misleading! 

And my experience is definitely anecdotal regarding my dog's seizures.  But for him changing his diet to reduced grain, keeping it slightly higher fat, resulted in a dramatic reduction in seizures for him, but it's hardly a scientific study.   No more Zonisamide.

I have seen that the grain free can also be higher in carbs (you ever notice a ton of foods don't even put the carb percentage on the bag?  You have to calculate it yourself!).  I discovered this was due to the extrusion process.  They have to get the dough to a certain consistency to use the extruders.  However some foods are dehydrated/freeze dried/ or baked and can have higher amounts of meat, and be grain free without using giant piles of potatoes/peas but most grain free kibbles are higher in carbs.   It's amazing the amount of foods available now, the labeling, the assertions of the foods. 

Thank you for weighing in and sharing your knowledge!

The truth is that we really don't have any hard studies on whether rotating the foods will increase or decrease the risk, because we know so little about food allergies in general. I can say, though, that I've had a number of patients develop allergies to a food that they were only fed occasionally (for example, one Lab that would break out only when he got into his owner's garden and ate tomatoes) and so have most other veterinarians. That's why we don't really think rotating foods will help. It probably doesn't hurt either, from an allergy standpoint (aside from making them much more difficult to treat if they do develop), so I don't have a huge problem with owners who decide to rotate foods... just realize that doing so probably isn't providing any benefit.

Our veterinary nutrition training was a several-credit course in vet school specifically on nutrition, plus nutrition being worked into all of our other courses in relation to the management of diseases. We didn't have a nutrition textbook other than the spiral-bound typed class notes that were written by our professor, so no funding by the nutrition companies there. (I have seen the food companies handing out textbooks at other locations, but never actually read one of them myself.) Nutrition lectures at veterinary conferences are sometimes sponsored by a food company, but speakers are required to disclose any conflicts of interest and are not permitted to refer to any products by brand name... so while the sponsor gets some advertising from the "these lectures are sponsored by XXXX" statement at the beginning of the lecture, the content is not theirs. Yes, the major companies do provide grants to fund a lot of the research that happens at veterinary schools, but I view that as a good thing. I'd much rather buy from a company that's actually investing in understanding animal nutrition than buy from a company like Blue Buffalo or Taste of the Wild that invests only in marketing.

The carbs are often higher in grain-free diets because the carbohydrate sources they're using are higher in carbs (or have a higher glycemic index) than grains. For example, a lot of the grain free foods use tapioca as a carbohydrate source, which has a much higher glycemic index than wheat.

The number of foods out there, and all the money spent on marketing, is definitely overwhelming. That's why I prefer to stick with The Big Four - they've been around the longest, they have a good reputation (except among fringe groups who hate all big companies!), and they invest heavily in R&D and quality control. Could there be some smaller companies with a quality product? Sure, it's possible. But I think most smaller companies are much lower quality and therefore I feel comfortable that the four companies I recommended will be a good choice over the lifetime of my patients (and over my professional lifetime).