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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!
I know there are some really knowledgeable folks on this board who know dog food. I fed my previous dog Life Abundance and he did really good on it, such a beautiful coat, tons of energy, clear eyes etc.,  I am getting a puppy next month and am going crazy with the dog foods. His breeder recommends that I feed a non grain based food as they can have problems with grain based food. She is feeding Taste of the Wild and he will be weaned on Taste of the Wild. I looked it up on dog food anylasis and it gets a higher rating than Life's Abundance.  So you wonder what is my problem huh?  Well TOTW has been on the food recall list in the past, that makes me nervous and I wondered if anyone had any input. 

I like that I can get TOTW locally which saves on the shipping but it was convenient to have the food delivered but its not about convenience its about feeding the right food.

Any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you
Carrie

 

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I have a purebred Border Terrier.  Two years old next month.  Breeder recommended Solid Gold and Blue Buffalo so that's what I feed him.  I'm not knowledgeable about all the dog chows / foods these days.  Plenty around here are -- Amy and Tatiana for two.  So many years ago we fed the Beagle in my signature mostly Ken-L-Biscuit.  That was easy.  ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Sandpiper,
I have read your post on Burke in the past, he is a cute pup for sure.  It's been almost three years since we had the thumping of paws in the house so it's with excitement and some nervousness that we are getting a puppy so as you can imagine I just want to do everything right to give him a strong start to life.  He is four weeks old now and I will get him at ten weeks old.  TOTW had good reviews....I will look into the two you use. Much appreciated
Carrie
 

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Hi Carrie,

Let me preface this by saying, I am not an expert and the following comments are based on my years of owning dogs, most particularly the two rescue dogs (a poodle and Brittany) we've adopted in the past two years. Lots of folks on Kboards have been very knowledgeable and helpful which is where I learned much of what I know.

Things that stand out:

1) You should feed your dog a good quality food. What's good quality? Well, that is where you need to do your research.  ;) Stuff you buy at the grocery store is likely not "good enough" quality for you (or me).

2) You are better off not switching around to lots of different types of foods. If you find something that is good for your dog (good meaning nice bowel movements, bright eyes, shiny coat, etc) then stick with it. I don't think dogs think of food the same we (humans) do and I am not sure they get bored eating the same thing every day.

3) That said, I have learned that within a certain brand, we can switch without any problems. We've been feeding Merrick (on the advice of the woman we adopted our poodle from) and based on availability, we've switched around within different Merrick flavors without negative effects (ie, diarrhea). We didn't do this to give the dogs variety in food but because we've learned we can switch, maybe we will (or won't). It sort of satisfies a human need for variety.

4) I'd really question the breeder about why they want to restrict to non-grain based right from the outset. Is it something particular to the breed? Reading comments on this board (particularly the poodle thread, which I started) it seems that if you delete something from a dog's diet from the start, then it is very difficult (or impossible) to introduce it later. How much do you want to restrict the diet and what's available to you to buy? If, from the get-go you say "no grains," how many potential foods does that eliminate from the list of possibilities? What if later you find the dog can't eat chicken. Then the list gets narrower. Then green peas go off the list...See where I am going? Dogs eat food and you need to supply it. If you get yourself in the situation that only one certain food is possible then you've locked yourself into buying that certain food at whatever cost, with no guarantee it will be available forever. So I think you are better off to keep your options open (which might including a food that has grains but know exactly what percentage, etc) and then tailor the dog's diet based on your empirical observations: stools, coat, energy level, moistness of the mucous membranes and eyes, etc.

Like I said, we've been feeding Merrick with no problem (it was on a recall list at one point but seems okay at the moment). I do like that it is a family business and the dog food is made here in the USA. But there are zillions of foods out there...do your research to find what's best for your puppy.

L
 

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Hi Carrie,

I have read a lot about dog foods, and the ones mentioned here are all excellent.  There is a non-ad monthly newsletter/newsmagazine called The Whole Dog Journal.  Every year they do a review of many, many dry and canned foods and talk about the ingredients, where they're made, etc.  Some specialty pet food stores carry Whole Dog Journal.  I believe they rated dry foods 2 issues ago, and canned food either the next issue or the current one.  Might be worth a look.

I would guess the breeder suggested a grain free food because many dogs do have problems with corn and wheat ingredients.  These are usually top ingredients in what we call "grocery store foods".  I would feed what your breeder recommends and then consider switching.  Just be sure you're feeding a puppy formula rather than adult.

I work with a dog rescue organization, and we have a neat handout called "Avoid Feeding Your Dog Junk" which we give to all new adopters.  It has a rating system to rate the ingredients of the food you're considering or feeding.  If you'd like a copy, PM me privately and I'll email it to you.

Have fun with your pup!!
 

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Hi, we own two pet nutrition stores in VA...quality pet food is our business.  :D ;)

Last year about this time, Taste of the Wild's manufacturer, Diamond, issued a recall of it's TOTW food and some other brands made in their plants.  Until that time TOTW was the best selling dry dog food in our store.  We recommended it highly.  DH no longer trusts the company as this was not their first recall.  This recent recall was for Salmonella, but the first time about 4 or 5 years ago it was for toxic mold.  The most recent recall was originally  limited to products made in their SC plant but about ten days later he was notified by the VP of the company that they extended the recall to their Missouri plant also.  DH had been unhappy with the way the company handled the recall in the first place and when it extended to the Missouri plant it was the final straw.  He decided to never again carry TOTW in our stores or trust Diamond.  Believe me we took a hit at first but he found a better food to replace it.  He recommends EARTHBORN in its various flavours instead.  Earthborn is also grain free.

We firmly believe in grain-free foods for pets.  Realistically, cats and dogs (felines and canines) do not eat grains in nature so why should grains be in the food we feed our pets?  There are some really good grain free dog foods available. Stay away from foods with corn, wheat or soy, by-products, glutens, beet pulp, brewers rice and un-named meats (like fish rather than a specific kind of fish).  Glutens, is a way manufacturers raise protein levels without actually using meat in their foods.  It's cheaper than using meat for actual protein.

Merrick has come out with a good grain-free line, there is Earthborn of course, EVO by Natura, Solid Gold's Barking at the Moon, and two Canadian brands we highly recommend...Orijen and Acana. We've also started carrying Legacy by Horizon. There are more grain-free I could list but this is just to mention a quick few.  Our store doesn't have any food containing corn, wheat or soy as an ingredient.  We do have some biscuits with wheat in them but we personally don't feed our dogs any treat with grain in it either.  Corn, wheat and soy are high on the allergen list in addition to being generally unhealthy for the animals.

Also, rotating between different 'flavours' of a particular grain-free food can help cut down on the chance of the pet developing an allergy to a specific ingredient they have been eating for a long period of time.  We personally feed raw meat (frozen in 8 oz patties and thawed) and rotate every bag with a different meat...chicken, beef, duck/goose, rabbit, venison, pheasant, quail, turkey and sardine, beef and salmon.  We don't feed lamb because our five yo Scottie doesn't digest it well (it gives him terrible gas  :eek:).  When we fed dry kibble we fed Orijen.  Years ago we fed our first Scottie  Barking at the Moon.

I  agree with Spotsmom...don't feed junk...that includes grocery store type brands.  A good, healthy diet makes for a healthy pet just as a healthy diet aids in our personal good health.  If you want some specific recommendations let me know.  Dog Food Analysis is a good resource for rating foods.  DH uses another site and I'll ask him about it and let you know.

BTW, what kind of dog are you getting?
 

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Burke eats grains.  Staying with Solid Gold and Blue Buffalo as breeder recommended.  Lately I've been getting chow, treats, toys, etc. from Chewy.com.  Someone there told me the biggest problem when changing chows is going from chows with to without (and vice versa) grain.  If you stay with or without grain, switching chows is not such a big deal.  Can just go half / half different chows for a few days instead of switching more slowly going by quarter/three-quarters, etc. if switching from with to without grains (and vice versa).  Am I clear?  True?

Burke is into eating anything.  Well, almost anything.  I got a box of dry treats -- duck and cherry Sojos made with garbanzo bean flour, duck stock, cherries, canola oil, eggs.  Burke does NOT like them.  I'm guessing it's the cherries?  Can't imagine he wouldn't go for duck.  I recently bought frozen cherries for myself.  When I open the bag, I'm going to offer one to Burke and see what he thinks of it. 
 

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We've used blue buffalo for over 10 years.  Our current dog was at the vet for his annual check up and the vet mentioned that they didn't recommend Blue Buffalo due to dogs gaining weight on it.  I pointed out that he's been on it for 3 years and was the same weight.  She laughed and said that she guessed it worked for him.  It was the first time they told me something I didn't agree with.  I would bet that the families whose dogs gained weight were feeding more than the suggested amounts.   
 

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Carbs are what tend to put weight on a dog/cat.  Foods with higher proteins fed in proper amounts will, usually, not cause weight gain.  Like in people...carbs cause weight gain.  Believe me...I know that from experience. ;)

With the higher protein/low carb/grain free foods a person needs to feed less than the cheaper, high carb/low protein foods.  If you take an 8 oz cup by measure of a cheap grocery brand and the exact same 8 oz cup of a quality high food - the quality food will actually weigh MORE than the cheap food.  It is more dense and has lots more protein and very little filler compared to the cheap brand.  Filler weighs less than protein.  Therefore, you actually have to feed a smaller amount of food  if you feed a higher protein, quality food.  Many people don't realize it and continue to feed the same amount of the quality food as their cheaper, high carb food and the animal's weight increases quickly. 

We've seen this at the store all too often. 
 

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I would recommend looking at The Honest Kitchen. http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/ It's a dehydrated food, not a kibble. There are lots of options - you can go grain free, they also have complete diets, or ones where you add your own meat. The complete foods are very easy to prepare. I don't think people realize there's an easy to use alternative to kibble out there.

A little history. We got our first puppies ~16 years ago. We fed Iams because we didn't know any better. When those dogs were about 8 we did some research into better food. I wasn't willing to take on home prepared food. We decided to go with a better kibble. We chose Avoderm by Breeders Choice. The change in the dogs coat was dramatic - thicker, silkier hair. We lost the first of those dogs to cancer when she was 12. She was a 90+ pound german shepherd mix.

At that I really wanted to do better with food. I did take on making home prepared food. As my guide I use:
http://www.amazon.com/Pitcairns-Complete-Guide-Natural-Health/dp/157954973X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363635719&sr=8-1&keywords=pitcairn

When switching to this food the improvement in the dogs coats was even more dramatic, and improved with every major shedding for about a year and a half. This isn't for everyone, but I would never go back.

The first puppy I raised on this food is now 2.5. She grew well and was able to put on weight as she grew - she never went through that super scrawny phase some puppies go through.

Every now and then I evaluate what I'm feeding. That's when I found The Honest Kitchen. I decided to try it. The end result is I still prefer to make my own food, but I was pleased with The Honest Kitchen. If I ever decided to stop making my own food, it's where I would turn. I would never go back to any kibble.

River (the puppy in my profile pic) is our newest family member. She's a 7 month old border collie. I'm also very pleased with how she's done on the homemade food.

What you feed your dogs is a personal decision, along with how much effort you are willing(and able) to go through for each meal. There is real difference in the quality of different kibbles. I don't want people who are making the effort of using a high quality kibble to think I don't respect that decision. You are in the minority of trying to the best for your dog; I respect that a lot. High quality kibble is a ton better than low quality - I believe The Honest Kitchen is a step better than that.
 

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Hmmm. Burke is on his 2nd or 3rd 15 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo chicken and brown rice chow. I just weighed him -- 17.8 lbs. A little more than in the past. (I've never been overweight. He won't either.) Back to Solid Gold. What do you think of Solid Gold Sun Dancer? It's grain free.
 

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Sandpiper said:
Hmmm. Burke is on his 2nd or 3rd 15 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo chicken and brown rice chow. I just weighed him -- 17.8 lbs. A little more than in the past. (I've never been overweight. He won't either.) Back to Solid Gold. What do you think of Solid Gold Sun Dancer? It's grain free.
DH and DS both looked at the ingredients and protein level and agree it's a good grain-free food and is preferable to the Solid Gold foods with grains. DH said it's a good food and provided this link for an analysis. He feels it's a much better food than the Blue Buffalo one you've been feeding and it will be slightly lower in carbs. You should carefully watch the portions on this food and may have to feed less than the BB. Portion control is important with this food.

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/solid-gold-sun-dancer/
 

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I had wonderful luck getting my shepherd mix to lose weight with Evo.  Took a few months but she lost 10 pounds (and she started at 59).  Another way to help lose weight is the famous "green bean" diet in which you cut the amount of kibble and add canned (or frozen) green beans which fill up the dog with empty calories.

I thought Blue Buffalo was recalled a couple of years ago.  I was thinking about going back to it with my cat.  Was it recalled?
 

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Tatiana said:
You should carefully watch the portions on this food and may have to feed less than the BB. Portion control is important with this food.
I do watch portions -- Burke's and mine. I have a kitchen scale. I start with recommended dry measure amount of chow on the bag and weigh it for ounces (to 1/8 oz). Then adjust as necessary.

Pretty sure I did feed Burke a 15 lb bag of Solid Gold Sun Dancer some time last year. Was next to impossible to find around here. Chewy.com has it. Wanted to change at least flavors with the next bag. I will get SG Sun Dancer next.

Was just looking at Chewy.com again. Blue Buffalo now has a grain-free line -- Blue Buffalo Wilderness. There's a salmon-based chow and a duck-based chow in that line.

ETA: Dog Food Advisor highly rates the Blue Buffalo Wilderness line. Fine dining for Burke!
 

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spotsmom said:
I had wonderful luck getting my shepherd mix to lose weight with Evo. Took a few months but she lost 10 pounds (and she started at 59). Another way to help lose weight is the famous "green bean" diet in which you cut the amount of kibble and add canned (or frozen) green beans which fill up the dog with empty calories.
It looks like Evo was just recalled yesterday.

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall/evo-innova-california-natural-healthwise-dog-food-recall/
 

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Sandpiper said:
I do watch portions -- Burke's and mine. I have a kitchen scale. I start with recommended dry measure amount of chow on the bag and weigh it for ounces (to 1/8 oz). Then adjust as necessary.

Pretty sure I did feed Burke a 15 lb bag of Solid Gold Sun Dancer some time last year. Was next to impossible to find around here. Chewy.com has it. Wanted to change at least flavors with the next bag. I will get SG Sun Dancer next.

Was just looking at Chewy.com again. Blue Buffalo now has a grain-free line -- Blue Buffalo Wilderness. There's a salmon-based chow and a duck-based chow in that line.

ETA: Dog Food Advisor highly rates the Blue Buffalo Wilderness line. Fine dining for Burke!
Blue Wilderness is a good food but DH says the Solid Gold Sun Dancer you mentioned is a much better choice than the the Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
 

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I tried Blue Bufffalo on a friend's recommendation for Cali, my five lb. yorkie.  My vet recommended against it and aaid it's too rich and a lot of dogs have problems with it.  And my vet isn't one to think you have to go with the most expensive food either.  He does think there should be a mixture of kible and wet food though. 

I moved to Life's Abundance and have my fourth and fifth bag on it's way to me.  That being said, my niece worked at a very high end pet store and is now a consultant for Honest Kitchen.  She raves about Honest Kitchen and I believe she also recommended grain free for Cali as she has allergies and licks herself a lot.  I think I am going to try one of the Honest Kitchen foods soon.  I was just looking at them online. 

My niece is fussy about her dog food and really really has been impressed with Honest Kitcehn as a company long before she started representing them. 
 

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Tatiana said:
Blue Wilderness is a good food but DH says the Solid Gold Sun Dancer you mentioned is a much better choice than the the Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
This drivin' me nutsies. If you look at DogFoodAdvisor, it gives BB Wilderness slightly higher rating than SG Sun Dancer. I noticed minerals in BBW are chelated -- not in SGSD??
 

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Sorry, I've been away...and then last night my laptop crashed. Urk. Still have the desktop.

Okay...big breath... the MAJORITY of dogs do well on high quality commercial foods, those that have been around for many years and have food scientists on staff with a proven track record. That's the majority. :)

But some dogs--just like some people--have more specfic food needs, tolerances, and suchlike. I would pay attention to what the breeder recommends. Sure, the pups/dogs may do okay on something else, but you have to respect the breeder's knowledge and what (from their own experience) has worked well for their particular line of dogs. Some breeders will offer limited health guarantees but only if certain restrictions are followed, such as diet and checking for certain health clearances.

The other thing re: food recalls (and here's the latest one covers dogs, pups, cats, kittens, etc):

http://puppies.about.com/b/2013/03/19/pet-food-recall-natura-pet-recalls-california-natural-innova-evo-and-healthwise-products.htm
(edit: just saw that Tatiana already posted about this...)

Apparently some of the "tolerance/limits" of the past have been tightened. Salmonella is in the environment and nearly all food (even our own) will occasionally test positive. There are many strains of salmonella, too. Today the FDA recommends recalls for even the suspicion of a problem. You'll notice that the vast majority of pet food recalls are not mandated, but are voluntary by the manufacturer even when no sickness has been reported. That makes my virtual tail wag cuz it tells me that 1) the food company cares about my pet's health and/or 2) they're scared spitless about bad PR and so are extreeee careful.

Anyway, you get 3 pet food experts in a room and you'll get half a dozen contradictory recommendations. ;D So I'd go with the breeder recommendation, and then LISTEN to what the dog/pup tells you in terms of condition (growth, hair coat, etc) as others have said. A lot of the hand-waving over "human grade foods" or "no grains" or whatever-du-jour claim truly is more about marketing than what's ideal for the MAJORITY of pets (with, of course, some that do better).

Okay, slinking back to finish my deadlines...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi All
Thanks so much! Now I am really confused! LOL.... His breeder stays away from grains due to it not being a normal diet of a pet and their is a high rate of this breed having grain allergies. I believe that as I didn't jump into this pup without doing my homework, I spent three years looking into this breed seriously from contacting the local breed organization and taking it from there to visiting breeder who did and did not have pups on the ground just to see the dogs and then went to more and found breeders who said I have one of my dogs not far from you, here call that person and talk to them their dog is just a companion dog, go see that one.. I logged alot of miles and countless evenings and saturdays and tons of emails and phone conversations and the one thing that stood out was that these dogs have reactions to vaccinations and likewise my breeder had me confirm with my Vet the brand of vaccines they use and made me get it in writing! and also out of the ten people I visited some were breeders most were not, i want to say 70% had noted grain allergy in their dog.  So I think its just wise to start out healthy - otherwise they are known to have cast iron stomachs and will eat just about anything!

The pup is a Rhodesian Ridgeback he is four weeks old now and just adorable. He is a red wheaton with clean mask and eye liner.  My heart smiles so much and I am soooo looking foward to having those thumping paws in our home, I can't get him till he is 10 weeks old as his breeder says they need the additional time with the pack to learn proper manners and she feels it just makes a better dog.  Pretty amazing she starts potty training next week and they know their name, I have to send a "scent" shirt something me and the hubby wore and had the cat lay on and send it to down to him so that he will get a tasty treat everytime the shirt comes out, she said it helps with the seperation and its like he knows you when you come in..he will know how to sit and come when called and walk on a leash.. granted these are not rock solid skills as he is just a pup but at least the foundation is set to the making of a great dog.  That is why I choose this breeder even though she is 1300 miles from me and its going to be 22 hrs plus in the car  each way with a howling pup! LOL... Music to my ears.. I may have to keep reminding myself of that on the drive home.

I appreciate everyone's help in this regard, I just want the best i can for this boy - its my job to keep him happy, healthy and safe!
Carrie
 
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