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  • Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
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    1. #11
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      I went to my local natural pet food store on Saturday to pick up a bag and because it was Saturday, they had reps and samples and so forth. There is a new brand, Nulo, and they were all over everyone about how the food was created by an endurance athlete, and blah, blah, blah. I looked at the ingredients and the nutritional profile and didn't see anything I hadn't seen before. And, how many dogs are actually "endurance athletes"? 1%? Why would the average dog that sits home all day sleeping while the owner is working, goes for a couple walks and then maybe a hike or two on the weekends need food for an endurance athlete? Marketing! Pets are a multi-billion dollar industry and everyone wants their piece of the pie. Which is great! But too many options leads to confusion. Blue Buffalo has awesome marketing, but lied about their food and many pets do awful on it. People feel good when they purchase it though, which is how this all works.

      At the end of the day, feed your dog what works for him. Is that ProPlan? Great! Is that raw? Great! Is that the most expensive and hard to get bag of food available? Great!

      Wet or dry, and why.

      - Dry. I have two 80+ lb dogs and wet is out of the question based on cost, convenience and space. I do get wet toppers for them from time to time, also use wet for Kong-stuffing. I get the 99% real meat in various brands at the healthy pet store (Merrick, Wellness, Canine Caviar and similar brands -- for variety).

      The following are concerning dry.

      I've read a lot of bad things about corn in the diet, yet Pro Plan, which has a few corn ingredients listed, seems to be a popular food with some on this forum, why? and is corn really that bad?
      - Considering that some dogs can live long healthy lives on garbage, table scraps or Ol' Roy, corn is probably not bad for them. Some dogs, however, do not tolerate corn. So, the answer to "is corn really that bad?" is, it depends on the dog. You can read a lot about hotter foods and lower glycemic foods and determine which is a better fit for your dog. My black Lab, Sam, seems to be sensitive to carbs. I think Linus is much more flexible with the types of foods he can eat. How long before you wean your puppy off of puppy food and/or the food he came from the breeder with?
      - If the puppy is doing well on the food, I recommend giving it a year or staying on that food forever. If you trust your breeder and trust that your breeder knows her lines, you should also trust her advice when it comes to nutrition. I did the food roller coaster with Sam because I wasn't going to feed Purina. That was a mistake! I kept Linus on ProPlan Sport 30/20 for a year and ended up changing him to raw when he was a ittle over ayear and now Fromm with some raw meals. Sam is sensitive to something in the food and got nasty ears and Linus' teary eyes cleared up after getting him off of ProPlan. Otherwise they did fine, but I knew that it wasn't for them.

      Is grain free all natural really a better diet?
      - Only if your dog requires it. All foods have carbs, some in the way of potatoes, peas, lentils, etc. And, what do you mean by "all natural"? I think that is a marketing term.

      If you find a food your dog likes why "rotate" foods? Is there a problem with always feeding the same food if the dog seems to enjoy it?
      - I rotate between flavors and proteins because I like to. But I stay with the same brand. I also feed a raw meal now and then. There is nothing wrong with staying with one flavor or one food if that works for your dog.

      I'd like to hear what foods you use and why?
      - I feed Fromm, grain free. As mentioned above, my dogs have some sensitivities that seem to be tied to grains or possibly chicken (so the Fromm flavors I feed are also sans chicken). My dogs will get fat if I let them and Fromm, without fillers, seems to work for them and help them stay in better shape. They both eat 2 cups a day plus some green beans or pumpkin or spinach leaves or whatever type of filling veggies I have on hand. They both also seem to have better endurance since I switched to Fromm, but that could be due to the recent weight loss. I trust Fromm (no recalls) and I know a lot of dogs do great on this food. It's also available to me locally.

      I want to do the best I can for Zeke, but at the same time not end up in the poor house, some of the so-called better foods are pretty darn expensive.
      - Feed him what works for him AND you. If he is a field Lab, he may require a large amount of calories than a conformation bred Lab as many conformation bred Labs are easy keepers. It depends on the dog, the lines, lifestyle, etc.

      Does anyone have experience with Berkley and Jensen Chicken and Brown Rice, a slightly less costly "Natural" dog food.
      - Again, what do you mean by "natural"? I think that is just a marketing term so you'll feel better about feeding it to your dog. I was once told by someone who worked for a dog food manufacturer for decades that the only food she would not feed is from Costco or Sam's Club. Apparently, the food is made based on cost or controlled by cost which means that the nutritional analysis changes from batch to batch. And yes, it is a Diamond food and Diamond has lots of recalls. So, no, I would not feed this food.

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      soberbyker (02-24-2016)

    3. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      ~snip~

      - Again, what do you mean by "natural"?

      ~snip~
      Thanks for the response. Yes the Term "Natural" is what's on the bag, just as "Chicken is the first ingredient" and so on. When comparing ingredient lists I chose to compare products with similar claims on the bag.

      I know I've over thought this whole thing, that dog food is sold to your senses (eyes, nose, etc). The gimmicks never drew me in. I honestly didn't know all the differences in food content and what it meant. Dogs I've had up until now seemed to do well on whatever brand was on sale.

      To be frank, it wasn't until I joined this forum did I start to wonder about this kind of thing. I've never had a purebred animal before. I wanted to learn about him. I didn't realize there was a whole other world of dog ownership. Is he a show dog, a hunting dog, a family pet? People asked, so I've tried to educate myself and figure that out. I belong to a gun club, my wife and I shoot trap a lot. Never hunted before. Once a year our club takes the junior members on a pheasant hunt. We thought we might like to help out, and maybe go bird hunting ourselves sometime. I've taken Zeke to the club a few times and the gun blasts don't bother him. The amount of information is overwhelming, and not just about what to feed him.

      I'm in construction, I'm currently on an annual winter lay-off, I've had a lot of time to read and spend with the dog. My wife is a school teacher, she has a little time off in the summer. In between though he will be home alone, well, as alone as being with two other (small) dogs and four cats can be. So that's another thing that needs to be considered when deciding what direction to take him.

      This has been an experience, places like this website are a great help, but can also be confusing at times.

      I thank all of you for helping me learn about my dog.

      Bill

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      smartrock (02-24-2016)

    5. #13
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      Sometimes there is just too much information available! It can be a problem. At one point I was freaking out over food and feeding a ton of supplements. But then, I remembered, I have had dogs before who lived long, healthy lives without this stuff! I always go back to this vet I had for a couple years. He'd been the only vet in town for decades and when I went to him, he was like 95 years old. It took weeks to get an appointment because he was always full. He was awesome! He told me once, "Keep your dog lean and pray." Basically, genetics and not letting the dog get fat was key. Much like us humans.

      There is also another layer that this board barely covers. My obedience trainer and many of my class-mates also purchase crates for their cars that are indestructible (and cost a ton) and they take their healthy dogs to acupuncture, massage therapy and water therapy. They will drive three hours to get to a specific acupuncturist or massage therapist. They give their dogs Chinese herbs with their meals. They have multiple vets depending on the situation they are addressing. They are involved in several sports with their dogs and take their dogs to classes and lessons at least three days per week and some who are retired, twice in one day. Food is raw, grass-fed and organic and many of them raise meat animals specifically to feed their dogs with. And, we're talking, they do all of this for every dog and typically have 2-5 dogs. It makes me feel like a lousy dog owner!

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      soberbyker (02-24-2016)

    7. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      ~snip~

      There is also another layer that this board barely covers.

      ~snip~
      I know, it's crazy just how much you could do with these guys/gals. I read about taking the dog to a pool this morning, and you can swim with him, cheaper than joining the local swim club.

    8. #15
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      Many of my answers will parallel those of others.

      Quote Originally Posted by soberbyker View Post

      Wet or dry, and why.

      —Dry. We have her on ProPlan Sport All Stages 26/16 chicken and rice. We have her on that because it is what her breeder recommended. She also regularly gets fresh salmon, broiled or boiled chicken, sardines, and various fruits and vegetables (berries, apples, carrots, spinach, zucchini, yams, squash). These are added to her food.


      The following are concerning dry.

      I've read a lot of bad things about corn in the diet, yet Pro Plan, which has a few corn ingredients listed, seems to be a popular food with some on this forum, why? and is corn really that bad?

      —As above, we have Hoku on ProPlan because that is the breeder's recommendation. The breeder has been breeding Labs for decades, and I trust her judgment. Vast quantities of corn are probably not a good thing, but most human beings eat more corn in incidental doses (fillers, sweeteners, etc.) than anything that is found in dog food. It's hype.

      How long before you wean your puppy off of puppy food and/or the food he came from the breeder with?


      —Hoku switched to All-Stages when she was about 12 weeks old.

      Is grain free all natural really a better diet?

      —No. Some dogs profit from it if they have physical conditions that make grains difficult to digest. Otherwise, absolutely not. It's as much of a fad as the "gluten free" thing (and don't get me going—my mother had celiac disease, so I am well aware of the real dangers of gluten if someone is actually celiac).


      If you find a food your dog likes why "rotate" foods? Is there a problem with always feeding the same food if the dog seems to enjoy it?

      —At present, I don't rotate, but Hoku does get a rotating variety of additional fresh foods. I may introduce one high quality rotation kibble as she gets a bit older.


      Does anyone have experience with
      Berkley and Jensen Chicken and Brown Rice, a slightly less costly "Natural" dog food.

      —As a Pacific Northwest honest to god flannel-and-jeans wearing, tree-hugging, pescatarian who literally eats no junk food whatever, the word "Natural" as a marketing gimmick makes me want to scream. It is meaningless. Ignore it. Read labels. Buy (and eat) good food (you and your dogs!). "Natural" means nothing; "organic" doesn't mean what most people think it means, and "GMO" has become a cry of hysteria. (There are things I definitely avoid, such as BGH—I don't eat much dairy, anyway—and corn syrup, anything artificial, etc.: but labels like "natural" and "grain free" and "organic" and all that have been massively overused and are just confusing people. Drives me crazy.

      Just figure out what works for you (financially, in terms of availability) and what works for your dog, and stick to it.
      Hidden Content Hokule'a ("Hoku") / b. 06.08.15

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      soberbyker (02-24-2016)

    10. #16
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      I had a 4 year old yellow Lab placed with me in 1999. I had numerous/serious issues with yeast, feet, chin, and multiple ear infections. She is the reason I really started to learn about food/dog nutrition.

      Some dogs can be fed Old Roy and thrive. Some can be fed the "best" food on the market and do very poorly. It completely depends on the dog. I've been feeding a rotation of Fromm 4 Star, Fromm 4 Star Grain Free, and Petkind Dry Tripe for almost 3 years. I also supplement with raw salmon. Sophie's coat looks amazing. Her poo's are smaller than the cats. That tells me the nutrients are going into the dog and not the poo. She is very well muscled and has great energy.

      All that being said. If you're happy happy with how your dog is doing on his current food, leave well enough alone, if you're having issues, try something new.

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      soberbyker (02-24-2016)

    12. #17
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      Again, thanks to everyone who has offered their experience, much appreciated.

    13. #18
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      Not much to add over what’s been said but to share my experiences:

      I’ve had dogs do well over the years with foods that contain some corn products (Pro-Plan, Royal Canin). The one ingredient I’ve had a dog have a problem with (hot spots, loose poops) was chicken - that was Mulder and it took us way too long to figure out the problem.

      We’ve found that for some reason, Chloe maintains a healthy weight better on grain-free foods. Possibly the ones we’ve chosen have a lower calorie profile than the grain inclusive foods we’ve tried, but that’s mostly because we’ve found it easier to find lower calorie grain-free foods. She tolerates grains just fine, but has a rather efficient metabolism, LOL, so weight is something we have to keep an eye on.

      In terms of what we are currently feeding, the pups are on Pro-Plan Sport 26/16 as it’s a good, all-around food that Labs tend to do well on. They were weaned onto Pro-Plan Puppy and we switched to the all-life-stages one at around 4 months. Chloe is currently on Annamaet Lean which is a grain-free. I like it because it is high protein, lower fat. In the past she’s done well on Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain, which is a grain-free lamb based formula that was good for both her and Mulder but is much lower protein than what she gets now. She had been weaned onto Kirkland (Costco house brand) but we don’t have a Costco so switched her to Pro-Plan when we brought her home, and then when she was fully grown and getting pudgy switched her to the TOTW grain-free. Scully lived to be 15 eating Pro-Plan for the first part of her life and Royal Canin for the rest. Mulder had the same, but when he was 10 we realized that he didn’t do well with chicken and he got put on the TOTW and he made it until almost 16. I know people don’t like Diamond foods, but we didn’t have any problems with it. We tried Fromm briefly but for some reason it just didn’t agree with our dogs that much - they didn’t seem enthusiastic about eating it and we didn’t get good poops.

      I think the main thing is to feed what works. We’ve always had dogs with cast-iron stomachs, so we don’t rotate foods - if for some reason we need to do a cold-turkey switch it’s never been a problem. They do get to sample almost everything we eat though, which may help explain why they are so tolerant of variety.
      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

      Hidden Content

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    15. #19
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      In the end there is just as much conflicting and trendy information about the food we eat, as much as the food we feed our dogs. I guess the best we can do is be educated via multiple sources, and then apply some common sense reasoning. After all we all know that fresh local sourced fruits/veggies/proteins are better for us, however lots of people still eat McDonalds and imported food from China ect...

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      soberbyker (02-28-2016)

    17. #20
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      No matter what you choose, information on diet in general for dogs can be found here: Choosing the Right Foods for Your Dogs Sensitive Stomach

      Good luck on your search and on making a choice!

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