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    1. #1
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      That's right, another food thread ... :p

      The internet can be a wonderful thing, offering a wealth of information, it can also confuse the heck out of ya. I've spent a lot of time over the past couple weeks researching dog food. Like most things in life, opinions are all over the place. I've never really given the food much thought in the past with other dogs I've had, they seemed to do well on whatever I brought home. Stools were always firm, no throwing up, etc. My nearly 5 month old Zeke is the first dog I've had that is a purebred and wasn't a rescue. For whatever reason I've decided to look into things more with Zeke, food, training, general knowledge and such.

      So I thought I'd pose a few question to the knowledgable folks here at the Labrador Retriever Chat Board.

      Wet or dry, and why.

      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?

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

      Is grain free all natural really a better diet?

      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'd like to hear what foods you use and why?

      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.

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


      Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, rice, oats, rice bran, chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid), herring meal, natural flavors, dried egg product, dried blueberries, dried spinach, potassium chloride, salt, fish oil (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid), choline chloride, calcium carbonate, zinc sulfate, vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, manganous oxide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, rosemary extract
      I realize there are many threads here that may cover some of these questions but without the time to read every thread in existence I thought I'd ask in a new thread to contain the info in a single place.

      Thanks in advance for your insightful responses.

      Have a great day .... unless you made other plans,
      Bill

    2. #2
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      I'll answer a few of your questions but, as elsewhere, this is mostly opinion or based on other opinions, not on hard scientific study. I think feeding trials are considered the gold standard for determining whether a food works or not and off the top of my head, I cannot recall what the wording on dog food packaging would be if food trials had actually been conducted. I think food trials have not been conducted by most companies but they build on what has worked and what hasn't in making their foods.

      I use dry food for convenience, I'll admit it, and at dinner time they get 1/2 can of green beans or 1/2 a tuna fish sized can of wet dog food, or some canned sardines, or if I'm cooking something for dinner that I can give some of to them, they'll eat their dry food at their dinner time and get some cooked hamburger, chicken, or plain, unseasoned stuff like that after we've eaten.

      1. Even though ProPlan has some ingredients or practices that people object to, they have many years behind them and have been fed to generations of dogs (monkeys, pigs and other feed animals) successfully. Whether on not breeders get a bonus/kickback/discount for ordering the food in bulk from the company, they also find that generations of their dogs do well on the food. If your dogs do well on the food and live good, long lives, do you turn away from that food for something more trendy, such as "grain free", or use what you know works?

      2. Our labs are from 2 different breeders who said they could be switched to adult food at about 4 months or age. I probably waited to closed to 5 or 6 months.

      3. "Grain free" doesn't mean no carbs. There would be peas or rice or potatoes or lentils taking the place of the corn, wheat or whatever. I guess some dogs have allergy issues with grains, so grain free might be a better choice for them. "All natural" has no meaning. It's a marketing term with no specific definition. All natural does not mean there are not ingredients you wouldn't oppose to. Same with human products labeled all natural.

      4. I rotate some between proteins and brands mainly so that if there's a recall of one brand, I know I can switch cold turkey to another brand my dogs have had in the past. I do try to avoid brands with significant recalls in their past. If I'm traveling with the dogs and run out of their usual, I want to be able to find a food that's pretty widely available.

      5. I feed mainly Annamaet foods but rotate to ProPlan, and other foods occasionally.

      6. I have not heard of Berkeley and Jensen food. The only thing I would say that is useful to know when looking at any food is that when "chicken" or any whole meat is listed as an ingredient, that is the fresh meat and ingredients are listed by weight. Fresh meat contains a fair percentage of water weight. Once the whole meat is cooked and dried down to make the kibble, the actual content of that meat by weight shoots way down. But the food has other named meat meals in it, which I think is a good thing. Nothing else particularly jumped out at me but I do not study food labels super carefully.

      A book I've read and found informative by an animal nutritionist is: Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices: Linda P. Case: 9781617811388: Amazon.com: Books

      She doesn't tell you what brand to feed but gives you some info on the dog food industry, labeling, and things to consider when selecting food for your own dog.
      Last edited by smartrock; 02-24-2016 at 09:44 AM.

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    4. #3
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      I learned a lot at the link below, it answers a lot of your questions. I would say generally it's best to educate yourself and make your own decision but on this board we do have a lot of food knowledgable owners but still, what works best for YOUR dog is what is best.

      The Dog Food Project - How does your Dog Food Brand compare?

      You didn't mention feeding raw, that's an option but requires lots of study and is not without controversy and conflicting opinions on which type, prey? BARF? If you go raw it's really, really nice if your Vet supports it.

      Wet or dry, and why.

      CAnned is more expensive by far. If I went wet it would be raw.

      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?

      Corn is discussed in the link above. It is a high energy food that most dogs can digest just fine. The source of the corn, IMO, is the bigger concern as some is exposed to Aflatoxin, but that can be in many other crops used for dog food too. For me corn is fine as long as it is not near the top of the list.

      How long before you wean your puppy off of puppy food and/or the food he came from the breeder with?
      My puppy was always on adult food. The breeder weaned him directly onto an "all life stages" food. Your breeder is the best guide as to when to switch and what to switch to.


      Is grain free all natural really a better diet?
      No, as explained by Smartrock above. Also learn to read labels. "All Natural" has no legal meaning. If you go by that you are going solely by your faith in the manufacturer.

      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?
      My previous dogs were fine and long lived on mostly one food. Then I thought to avoid build up in the body of the crap that accompanies foods, like fertilizer, pesticides, hormone injections, antibiotics - reasoning chickens did not get the same crap pork did but I confess I did not investigate this to be sure. I rotated three foods with different main source protein and carb but made sure to keep Protein, Fat and Kcal/cup numbers close.

      I'd like to hear what foods you use and why?
      Oban got sick and he has Lymphangiectasia. He is now on a limited ingredient (kangaroo) as per the Internal Specialist Vet. The cause of L. is not known but it is not thought to have anything to do with what he ate. He was on raw for a while and his previously dandruffy, itchy skin and coat were mcuch better but it's hard to control fat levels in raw. His rotated foods were Eukanuba (the breeder's food) Adult Maintenance, Acana Pacifica and Acana Lamb and Apple

      Good luck, it's like learning a new language, all this food information. Mind boggling.
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    6. #4
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      I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as others here. I feed Fromm because of it's good record, started when Archie joined us as he was on it at the time. Weight control is very important to Mardi and I find that it's a lot easier with Fromm's whitefish, especially during the winter when she is much less active.

      Just like people, each dog is different and may respond differently with each kibble. At one time we were on the kibble roller coaster trying to get just the right food. It comes down to what your dog does well on, is a good quality food.
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    8. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by smartrock View Post
      ~snip~

      6. I have not heard of Berkeley and Jensen food.

      ~snip~
      Thanks for your very insightful, helpful response.

      Berkley and Jensen is the house brand name for BJ's Wholesale Club. (Similar to COSTCO & Sam's Club)

    9. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by soberbyker View Post
      Thanks for your very insightful, helpful response. Berkley and Jensen is the house brand name for BJ's Wholesale Club. (Similar to COSTCO & Sam's Club)
      I wonder who actually makes it. The Costco brand dog food, Kirkland, is manufactured by Diamond which has been plagued by some pretty bad recalls for the past 10 years.

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    11. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Snowshoe View Post
      ~snip~

      The Dog Food Project - How does your Dog Food Brand compare?

      You didn't mention feeding raw, that's an option but requires lots of study and is not without controversy and conflicting opinions on which type, prey? BARF? If you go raw it's really, really nice if your Vet supports it.

      Good luck, it's like learning a new language, all this food information. Mind boggling.

      Thank you for your very insightful, helpful response as well.

      The dog food project is a site I had glanced at. I did read that the corn thing is mostly based on how the corn is processed, but it's been brought up enough to cause question. During my research of ingredient labels I was surprised how many "regular" dog foods have some sort of corn as the first ingredient.

      I considered a raw diet but it would be much too costly.

      Mind boggling is putting it mildly, I might have an easier time getting a law degree.
      Last edited by soberbyker; 02-24-2016 at 11:26 AM. Reason: spelling

    12. #8
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      I've heard good things about Berkley and Jensen's food. It's from the BJ's warehouse club like Costco. I've never tried it though. Sam's breeder fed Pro Plan and that's usually my go to food. However Sam tend to gain weight easily and a lot of the Pro Plan formulas are too high in calories for him. Frank does well on Pro Plan. I actually am in the process of switching Sam to Performatrin Ultra large breed from pet valu because he is getting too fat on Pro Plan. So far so good on the new food.
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    14. #9
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      I will address the rotation of food question. I do rotate kibbles as well as feeding raw and home cooked. The awful recalls in 2007/2008 and the build up of certain ingredients is my reason for doing so. The kibble I use are all grain free and include Orijen, Wellness, Fromm, Earthborn, Acana and a few others. If I had to pick only one kibble to feed it would be Orijen without question. I would rotate between the protiens, 6 Fish, Tundra, etc. I usually add fresh meats and veggies to the kibble, occasionally I add Wellness 95 percent canned. My 2 eat kibble for breakfast and raw or home cooked for dinner.

      I do agree the amount of info out there is enough to make your head spin! I have researched and am happy with the different kibble I feed. There are a few I would not feed because of previous recalls and not so great track records, like anything from Diamond. Having said that, as long as the food works for your dog and you are happy with the results that is all that really matters. I find the rest to be personal preference and opinion.
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    16. #10
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      Mine have been on raw about five years now....at this point kibble really confuses me and I would be lost in the dog food aisle of the store, lol. Yes raw is definitely extra work and requires extra planning, but for me it is worth it and I am thankful I am able to feed that way.

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