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Discussion Starter #1
I feed my dog Science Diet dog food.  I'm not a health-nut on behalf of my dog.  In fact, I've always used Purina Dog Chow and my dogs have been very healthy and lived very long lives.  But now that I am in an apartment and have to pick up after my dog--ahem--I wanted a dog food that has as little filler as possible.

I've been using Science Diet for several years, but noticed the last time I picked some up that there are other "premium" dog foods that are just a little bit cheaper than Science Diet.  And then I was reading the other thread on dog food, and found that apparently Science Diet doesn't have the greatest reputation.

So--what dog food do you prefer?  If I can find something a bit cheaper than Science Diet, maybe a bit healthier, and without any more filler, I'm all over it!
 

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I have a fairly short list of foods I'll consider feeding my dogs.

Anything by Natura Pet: Innova, California Natural, Healthwise
Merrick
Natural Balance
Wellness
Orijen

I'm sure there are some others but I haven't researched dog food for a while.
 

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Basically I look for a food without corn, wheat or soy as they are common allergens and corn is used as a cheap filler.  I want my protein source to be specific and if not at the top of the ingredients list it should be in the top 3, I also don't want to see the words by-products which could be anything from feet to beaks to feathers etc..  Fat should also specify source and not just say 'animal fat' or something similar.  There are some other things I use to rate my dog food but I'll just give you a quick comparison.

Here are the first 10 ingredients of Innova:
Turkey
Chicken   
Chicken Meal
Barley   
Brown Rice   
Potatoes   
Rice   
Chicken Fat
Flaxseed 
Herring   

and the first 10 ingredients of Purina Dog Chow:
Whole grain corn
poultry by-product meal
animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E)
corn gluten meal
meat and bone meal
brewers rice
soybean meal
barley
whole grain wheat
animal digest

I don't think I even want to know what "animal digest" is but I do know I don't want my dogs eating it.



 

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Buttercup said:
I have a fairly short list of foods I'll consider feeding my dogs.

Anything by Natura Pet: Innova, California Natural, Healthwise
Merrick
Natural Balance
Wellness
Orijen

I'm sure there are some others but I haven't researched dog food for a while.
Ditto, except for Merrick. Their ingredients look nice, but I don't trust the company. They've had way too many recalls in the past for my comfort.
 

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I'm only aware of one Merrick recall of one variety of canned food, what others have there been?  One of my dogs eats Merrick so I'd like to research them if possible but can't find anything on an internet search but the one.
 

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Buttercup said:
I have a fairly short list of foods I'll consider feeding my dogs.

Anything by Natura Pet: Innova, California Natural, Healthwise
Merrick
Natural Balance
Wellness
Orijen

I'm sure there are some others but I haven't researched dog food for a while.
This is a good list.

Science Diet is a scam. Vets are brainwashed into recommending it and essentially get kickbacks. The majority of pet foods on the market should leave their makers unable to sleep at night, and this makes most of the claims in commercials just laughable. The whole thing about pets living longer and healthier on Purina makes me wonder if this is compared to feeding them broken glass and rusty nails. The worst food is Ol' Roy -- Walmart's house brand.

Pet foods are easily researched and it's worth the time to do so!
 

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Buttercup said:
I'm only aware of one Merrick recall of one variety of canned food, what others have there been? One of my dogs eats Merrick so I'd like to research them if possible but can't find anything on an internet search but the one.
The first recall I'm aware of involved a food called Go Natural (Merrick produced it for Petcurean) back in the 1990s. IIRC, the food was contaminated with salmonella and there were some dog deaths as a result. They've also more recently been involved in recalls due to pieces of plastic and shipping staples being found in some of their canned foods. That's more than enough for me to seriously question their quality control procedures.

And FWIW, Merrick also owns the largest rendering plant in Texas. A couple of years ago the CEO of that plant wrote a letter to the FDA advocating for the use of "downed" cattle in pet food. There used to be a copy of that letter available at the USDA.gov site, but now it's no longer there. I know many people who are really into pet nutrition. Some say the use of downed cattle wouldn't stop them from using Merrick, as they produce many different lines of food, from the very cheap to premium, that they likely aren't interested in using downed cattle in their premium foods, etc., etc. Others believe that if they'll use suspect ingredients in cheap food, they'll use it in premium food. I tend to believe the latter.

Since the big dog food recall, I'm as much or more concerned with a company's reputation for quality control than I am about the ingredients in the food. I simply don't see the need to use a food from a questionable company when there are other dog food companies who are known for having stellar quality control (Natura Pet comes immediately to mind).
 

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We are using Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Duck and Potato.  Molly has eaten it before and she and we were happy with it.  We tried the Wellness Fish and Sweetpotato but she did not like it and I was disturbed by the visible hard bones in the kibbles.  Trixie is still on Wellness Senior but I think we will try to change her over to Natural Balance when she finishes what is left.  They were both on Hills Science Diet Rx foods from our Ex-vet and neither one of them did well on it.  I looked at the ingredients in Science Diet and I don't want to feed that to my girls.  That said, my son and daughter-in-law have always fed their dog Science Diet and she the the happiest healthiest little thing you would ever want to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the ideas.  I think I'm going to try the Natural Balance.
 

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I like the Wellness and Innova brands.  I believe both brands use human-grade meats, so no "3-D" meat:  down, dead, diseased. 
 

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Natural Balance was recalled with the contaminated rice gluten so I don't trust them either.  My top choices would be:

California Natural
Innova (these are both made the same great company)
Wellness (the cat eats wellness)
Canidae - although they've changed some things lately, I think it's probably a pretty good food.
Organix
Newman's Own

I actually cook my own homemade dog food using a premix and they only get dry food left out as an extra treat if they want it.  Yes, I'm insane. lol
 

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MichelleR said:
Science Diet is a scam. Vets are brainwashed into recommending it and essentially get kickbacks.
I am a veterinarian, graduated in 2000 from a well-respected American school of veterinary medicine. I have not received one dime of kickbacks from any pet-food company, Hills included. I have never been subjected to any form of brainwashing. I am HIGHLY offended by your remarks. (edited to correct typo - left out the word NOT in the second sentence!)
 

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I'm not the one who made that comment but I'm just wondering....  Why do most (if not all vets) only ever recommend Science Diet when it is a nutritionally sub-par food that is loaded with corn and by-products and can basically CAUSE health problems in some pets.  Every vet I have ever gone to, insisted that I feed Science Diet and basically scoffs at the fact my dogs eat a carefully prepared, balanced whole food diet (NOT raw btw... I don't believe in the raw diet) and/or holistic food with better ingredients.  My dogs are 7 years old have NEVER been sick, are wonderfully active, and their coats are gleaming (thanks to omega 3 EFA supplements).  My first dog, when I didn't know better, was fed Purina and was dead of kidney failure in 2 years after I adopted her.  I'm not saying it was the Purina but that is when I learned the importance of a proper diet the hard way. 

This is not to put you on the spot or accuse you of doing this or anything.  This has always just been my experience and I'm just really curious as to why that is.  If you are one of the few vets that is aware of the benefits of holistic feeding and/or treatments, I commend you for that!  I'm sure you are wonderful vet!
 

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Webhill - it's great to have a veterinarian here.  I'm hoping you can get past the one comment that offended you and join the discussion.

I love my vet and think he is great but he seems non-committal when I ask him about food.  I get the impression from him that much of the food is about the same and I can use any (science diet, iams, etc).  Would you be willing to share your opinion? 
 
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