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    1. #1
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      Abulafia's Avatar
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      Any Thoughts on Orijen or other food?

      So, Hoku's been on Pro-Plan since weaning, and I have no complaints.

      However, I had always considered switching her to a higher-value food as she got closer to two years. Since her injury / CCL tear she's lost close to 10 lbs, really seems in great condition, but looking at her long-term joint health, I think this is a time for us to consider making a change.

      Frankly, if I felt confident enough about it, I'd feed her BARF, or would make her food (which is what I did for my cat, years ago—and the results were terrific: I had never seen a healthier, more muscular cat)—but I am not sure I feel competent with either (esp BARF), so I am considering higher-quality kibbles.

      Having researched for several months, Orijen seems like a very good brand. It seems to be grain free, which is not really a concern of mine—but with much higher quality proteins and vegetables, not dependent upon chicken as the sole protein, and less filler. I've compared the nutritional profile of Orijen Tundra to that of ProPlan: it's higher in protein and a little higher in fat, but lower in calories per cup. The EHA / DHA / Glucosamine levels are higher, which I like (she's on a joint support supplement, anyway).

      I think it would be a significant change, which worries me a bit (but I know how to go slowly, if we transition).

      I'm not going to get on a food roller coaster—which is why I've been considering this and researching it for months. Right now and for the foreseeable future we are a one-dog family, so although Orijen is expensive, it's doable.

      I know a lot of us are on ProPlan here, and I am want to be clear that I am not criticizing it. And while I am truly open to hearing about other upper-end foods (Royal Canin also seems to be a good one, but I like Orijen's ingredients and analysis a bit better), I am not going to get on a food roller coaster.

      Ditto if anyone here has negative things to say about Orijen (other than the price), or especial advice switching from ProPlan to a grain free like Orijen.
      Hidden Content Hokule'a ("Hoku") / b. 06.08.15

    2. #2
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      No real advice on that specific switch - never fed Orijen and mine have always been fine switching cold turkey. I have found though, that Chloe has an easier time maintaining a healthy weight on a grain free, regardless of brand (roughly equivalent calories per cup). Not sure why - might just be her particular metabolism, but since you are trying to keep Hoku’s girlish figure, hopefully you will find the same thing.
      Annette

      Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde, BN) 6/4/2015
      Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition, BN) 6/4/2015

      Chloe (HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX2, OM4) 6/7/2009


      Remembering:
      Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
      Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
      and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015

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      Abulafia (03-29-2017)

    4. #3
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      Thanks!

      I have to be very careful about my approach to the "grain free" thing, because my mother had—and died from—celiac disease, so I have a kind of negative reaction to "gluten free" suddenly becoming a trendy thing. It was not a trend for my mother; gluten could, and finally did, kill her.

      I think that most dogs can eat grains just fine—but I do feel that the grain content in ProPlan is higher than I'd like for daily consumption, and I'm not a fan of the first ingredients being meal. And yes, now that we have slimmed her down a bit (and would like to get, and keep, her at 75 lbs), I think it's a consideration.

      I'm also generally a little worried about chicken being her primary source of protein. We supplement w/ fresh salmon or other fish, but I'd like a little more variety in her primary food.

      Hoku doesn't seem to have a sensitive stomach. She's barfed up her food once or twice (once I think the fish was a bit off—we cook it in batches, this was end of batch), but nothing major. If we do this switch, I'll plan to go slowly, though, and she how she does.

    5. #4
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      I am not sure why you don't feel confident about BARF. We started with kibble w/cooked chicken topper then tried Orijen with sardines and canned salmon toppers and then went to raw. I think if you did a little more research about BARF or Ray Prey Model feeding you would want to try it. Our Lab has had two CCL surgeries and at 8 years young his only problem is a little stiffness/arthritis. He barely has any white hair on his muzzle. His weight is good and his skin and fur are in great shape. We haven't tried a protein yet that he doesn't love - pork, lamb, bison, beef, emu, alpaca, venison, rabbit, sardine/mackerel, salmon...he gets a mixture of protiens w/organ and bone daily.

      Some of the scientific stuff that convinced me was the moisture content at the cellular level that is destroyed in kibble. It is more work and can take more time but an organized person with a freezer and access to a RAW feeding COOP can easily be successful. The COOP that we used is WAZZUOR LLC - look for them on the yahoo group pages. They offer raw foods all kinds of raw food, holistic/organic, farm raised, commercially processed, dehydrated, frozen...but we also source from our local grocery store and Costco.

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    7. #5
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      You know—I don't know. I fed my cat raw for the 7 years he was with us—he was 18 lbs of muscle, had the most amazing coat I've seen on a cat, and never smelled (he died young, I believe of a brain tumor, that had nothing to do with his diet). I truly think that raw is better for animals—cooking food is something only humans do, and for what it's worth, I'm all for eating raw fish and beef if you are sure of the quality of it (I don't eat much raw beef, but I'd eat raw fish every day, if possible).

      I guess that right now I am just a bit fuzzy on how to do it. For our cat's food, we did a mixture of ground turkey, raw eggs, bone meal, kelp, taurine, Vit E, lecithin—it was a Vet-developed raw "recipe," so I felt more confident.

      We can easily buy a small freezer for the basement—we were going to do that for her bone broth supplies, anyway. We have a Whole Food very close, and several excellent butchers. I'll look for some groups.

      Here's my beautiful Homer. With a dumb plastic dinosaur my husband had put in front of him. He was the best cat ever, raw fed from the day he showed up at our door as a kitten.

      -homer-jpg

    8. #6
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      My crew eats a combination of homemade, raw, and kibble weekly. For kibble, two of the three eat Annamaet and the baby eats ProPlan 30/20. We have rotated through Orijen Six Fish, Nature's Instinct/Variety, Fromm and others through the years. I actually look for a meal as the first ingredient. Meals seem to get a bad rap over "fresh" meats, but once the kibble is processed, and all water weight is removed from the "fresh" meats/fish, they really are lower down on the ingredient list, but for marketing purposes it looks good to have all those meats as the first xxx on the label. Meals are concentrated protein and IMO perfectly fine. The only reason all my dogs aren't on ProPlan still (which they looked amazing on, and since I am competing with them, I probably have higher standards for how my foods perform than the average pet owner), is because two of them get yeasty on it. Not awful yeasty, but dirty ears, and enough where it wasn't a good fit.

      I think Orijen and Fromm (the fancy grain-free versions) are a little busy ingredients-wise, which is why we settled on Annamaet. The guy behind Annamaet is into sled racing, and seems like a canine food nerd based on his published studies. Anyway, works well for us.

      The only way you'll find out if Orijen agrees with your dog is to try it. I'd probably just cut down her ration of ProPlan and call it a day if she's doing well, but that won't satisfy your desire to feed a "better" food.

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      Abulafia (03-29-2017)

    10. #7
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      Thanks for the details!

      I don't really need Hoku to lose more weight—she's lost about 10 lbs, perhaps another two to go, but the issue isn't her current weight. It has more to do with longterm health. I admit that I think raw-based is better for animals, so I might go in that direction.

      Again, thank you. Not rushing into anything, but it had been a long-term plan to probably move her off ProPlan, anyway.

    11. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by dxboon View Post

      I think Orijen and Fromm (the fancy grain-free versions) are a little busy ingredients-wise, which is why we settled on Annamaet. The guy behind Annamaet is into sled racing, and seems like a canine food nerd based on his published studies. Anyway, works well for us.
      Chloe is on Annamaet Lean ... she just looks at food and puts on weight (kind of like me!) and I like that that one has a higher protein level (and lower fat) than her previous food for the same calories.

      Cookie and Sassy are on Pro-Plan 26/16 and maintaining well, so haven’t felt any need to change them, especially since some of the other foods out there can be pricey. Chloe did fine on Pro-Plan as a puppy and again when she was pregnant and nursing, but to get the calorie level to where her normal daily maintenance is I’d have to cut her back to about a cup a day, which seems cruel. She can get 1.5 cups a day of the Annamaet.

    12. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Annette47 View Post
      Chloe is on Annamaet Lean ... she just looks at food and puts on weight (kind of like me!) and I like that that one has a higher protein level (and lower fat) than her previous food for the same calories.

      Cookie and Sassy are on Pro-Plan 26/16 and maintaining well, so haven’t felt any need to change them, especially since some of the other foods out there can be pricey. Chloe did fine on Pro-Plan as a puppy and again when she was pregnant and nursing, but to get the calorie level to where her normal daily maintenance is I’d have to cut her back to about a cup a day, which seems cruel. She can get 1.5 cups a day of the Annamaet.
      I feel like a lot of Lab folks in my circle feed the PP 26/16. It must work well for a wide spectrum of lines.

      I'm sure Chloe appreciates your efforts to keep more in her food bowl! A cup a day does seem like a downer when you live to eat (like my guys do). :-)

    13. #10
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      I tried Orijen and did not agree with my dogs. Possibly too rich? Not sure. I've been really happy with Fromm (Pork and Pea, mainly) on my chunky monkeys who have lost a lot of weight and have maintained it for over a year now. I do supplement with fresh veggies, the occasional raw meal and the occasional home cooked meal. They tend to puff up like corn-fed cattle when I feed grains (esp. corn).

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