What's my best option?--Dog Food Dilemma

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by tx_cowgirl, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    My dogs have been on Chicken Soup Adult for several months now, and even though it's a good food, I'm having to feed them A LOT! The fat and protein are lower than the previous food they were on, as well as the cal/cup. Total, I'm going through 12 cups/day(4 dogs, 30-75 pounds). I'm adding cannola oil, occasionnally raw, canned sometimes...a variety of extras, and I'm ending up buying a 35 lb bag of food every 2 weeks at best. The cal/cup are no higher than some of the crappy WalMart foods. So today I did some searching, and found some foods I like. I don't have access to much of anything here, but this is what I found...

    *What I'm Feeding Now*
    Chicken Soup Adult--DFA gave it 4 stars
    336 cal/cup
    24% protein, 14% fat
    $36.99 for 35 lb bag

    Barking At the Moon (by Solid Gold)--DogFoodAnalysis gave it 5 stars
    465 cal/cup
    41% protein, 20% fat
    $61.99 for 35 lb bag

    [I like this food, as far as calories and ingredients, but WOW, high protein. That concerns me. But, if I figured everything right, I would save roughly $20 a bag compared to what I'm feeding now. That's a rough estimate, but it should be close.]

    Prairie Salmon Meal & Brown Rice Medley/Prairie New Zealand Venison & Millet--DFA gave it 5 stars
    420 cal/cup
    26% protein, 14% fat
    $58.99 for 30 lb bag
    434 cal/cup
    26% protein, 14% fat
    $58.99 for 30 lb bag

    Instinct Rabbit/Instinct Duck--DFA gave it 6 stars
    482 cal/cup
    35% protein, 22% fat
    (Can't remember the price on that one...)

    464 cal/cup
    35% protein, 22% fat
    $60.99 for 25 lb bag (OUCH!)

    [These two are expensive, but I do like them....but expensive...]

    Any other suggestions? I haven't found a EVO dealer, Canidae dealer, Orijen dealer or Wellness dealer. I did notice that Blue Buffalo Wilderness is listed as a 6 star food on Dogfoodanalysis.com. 42% protein, 16% fat, a whopping 586 cal/cup. I really have been very leery of feeding anything over 29% protein for my dogs, but it seems some of the better foods I have access to are much higher. I did work with a guy who had a Schnauzer mix who was just a housedog--didn't get walks or anything--who was on Wilderness and was in great health. The extra protein didn't seem to have an adverse effect on him, although I still wouldn't feed the average housedog such high protein.

    -Chicken Soup puppy is listed as a 5 star food, but I discussed this with several vets and the growth hormones in puppy food can lead to a high heart rate in adult dogs.
    -One of the byNature foods is listed as 5 star(28% protein, 18% fat). Think it's $50-60 for a ...33 lb bag??

    I'm kind of at a loss as to which food to switch to. I didn't want to feed such a high protein food, but it seems most of the better ones are very high protein. Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Well, the 3rd and 4th bags you list, with only 2% more protein, seem like a waste of money to pay over $20 bucks more per (for even smaller) bag for 2% more.

    It'd be cheaper to just throw meat scraps on top than to pay $20+ more per bag. It is not quite double for the smaller bag, but not far from double the price.

    Meat itself is only about 20% protein, some meats are even less.

    So you won't mind the added co$t, so long as you don't have to go to the store as often?:msniwonder:

    I use Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul, because it lists meat as top FOUR ingredients--= very hard to find, and has NO CORN!!! and no carcinogenic preservatives which are so common in dog foods, ZERO by-products, (by-products means like, hooves and beaks and stuff are in your dogfood) is so cheap--ABOUT 1 DOLLAR A POUND!
    (we are currently poor)

    (some of this is for anyone else reading, Tx, i know YOU know all about dog food, but, most people do not know much about dog food and are out there feeding their dogs CORN!!) We DID try raw, but, Buddy got the kinda worms from eating raw, i forget the name, but, it is NOT the 'regular' dog worm, was the other kind. Many raw feeders never ever test their dogs' stool to see, :msneek:if indeed, their raw fed dog has worms or not. (We do)

    but, i always throw MEAT scraps on top for the extra 2% and for the VARIETY....

    and i add a dab of cannola oil, for his skin and coat, and for the fat to help him absorb the vitamins that are fat-soluable(vitamins which NEED fat to be absorbed). Ha, i'd left off the oil for a week or two, and Buddy started up scratching a lot...re-added it back, he quit the scratching.

    Buddy has bright white teeth,:dogbiggrin: a shiney coat and lots of energy. And he USED to be decrepit and could barely walk he was so malnourished when we got him a year ago-- and Buddy has zero odor whatsoever...no bad breath, no funky smell on him at all, not even wet.

    Tx, here is a RATE YOUR OWN dog food analysis site, you gotta scroll down to find the quiz link to click on.

    grab your bag of dog food, and
    take this quiz:

    Dog Food Ratings - Where Does Your Favorite Rank?

    Here's that site's list of top foods:
    The 10 Best Dog Food Choices

    but i can not afford any of those. KA-CHING!!!!

  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    It's not the extra protein I'm looking for, but the extra CALORIES. If I can find a GOOD, affordable food, that I can feed less of, then I'll save money. Each of my dogs is eating MORE than the bag recommends, not due to any health issues(vet says they are in great health), or to overexercise....just due to high metabolisms and low cal/cup.

    If I wasn't adding all the extra goodies that I'm adding, Dakota would be eating at least 8 cups a day to keep him at a healthy weight, Z would be eating at least 4-5. Chicken Soup also gives Mud gas. :dogtongue: Lol.

    The cost of each of these is initially more, but I'd be feeding less---higher calorie/cup. One of them I listed but don't think I'm all that interested in is Wilderness--586 cal/cup, but very high protein. First 6 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potato Starch, Turkey Meal, Whitefish Meal, Salmon Meal.... 5/6 named meats. But again, high high protein.... Dogfoodanalysis.com gave it 6 stars--their highest rating. I'd be feeding much less of this, if the really high protein wasn't a danger--and I really don't know if it is or not.
  5. fickla Experienced Member

    i admit I don't know that much about the effects of such high protein on dogs, but right now I'd be leary of switching any dog to the high protein foods unless they were extremely active performance dogs. I wouldn't even put my active Vito on one of these foods without doing a lot more research.

    There is a good article here though on trying to disect the protein issue:
    The Dog Food Project - Is too much protein harmful?

    If there's a dog food that you are leaning towards but can't find a store that carries it, try asking them if they could order it for you. Their distrubutor might be able to get it for you. or there's always online. of course you have to worry about shipping, but a lot of online stores offer free shipping or orders over a certain amount, or even have a flat rate regardless of weight.

    As an aside, I currently feed Canidae and am happy with it. but every dog is different.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I've read that before, and just reread it twice....basically, what I'm getting from that is that most of the foods I'm looking at, would be fine. The protein sources are named meats. One that I wasn't really looking into all that much is Wilderness, but I'll use it for example:
    First 6 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Potato Starch, Turkey Meal, Whitefish Meal, Salmon Meal
    If I'm understanding the article right, the body would use and easily digest a large percentage of the protein from these sources. So, even though the protein is high, it wouldn't necessarily harm the dog in any way to be on such a high-protein diet.

    I've read several articles on the effects of high protein diets, as I've always been leery of feeding them. Every article has basically said that there is no harm in feeding high protein, unless the dog already has a kidney condition severe enough to be effected by protein intake.

    For the time being, they will stay on what they're on, until I find a different food that I am comfortable feeding. So far that's proving difficult. ><
  7. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    OH, extra CALORIES!! OH now i understand! WHAT a nice problem!!

    since article(great post, Fickla) above is indicating high quality protein is not a concern for the kidneys,

    how about a tub of liver --only costs $1, boil it up and throw a little of that on top eveyr day or so, for extra calories? LIver has a lotta calories.:msnohyes:

    YOur dogs ARE way active,:dogbiggrin: Buddy is holding his weight at only 1 and 1/2 or 2 cups a day, plus all the meats on top..and the cannola oil.

    oh yeah, AND all his training treats, he gets probably about 1/2 cup or so, all minced up into teeny pieces.. and that is all meat or hotdogs.

    And every dog is different. :msnohyes:

    OH yeah, gas!? eeeough! Not good!! :dogtongue: Glad buddy doesn't get that!!

    Also, do keep in mind, in your search, the ingredients are listed in order of WEIGHT.

    The deboned chicken, is weighed when not yet dehyrdrated, and when it IS dehydrated, it might move to way way further down the line in ingredients. "Meal", however, IS deydrated, and it's placement is usually about right in the order. It must be a large pile of potatos to weigh more than the meats that follow it...

    so the potato proteins ARE most likely that foods' 2nd most common ingredient.

    I reeeeeeeally wish that dog foods ingredients would be listed like this:

    "For every 16 ounces of dog food: (using chicken soup's top four ingredients):
    Chicken--4 ounces, but, after deydrating, it reduces down to 2 onces..

    turkey,--2 ounces

    chicken meal--2 ounces

    ocean fish meal-- 2 ounces

    I wish they'd list BY AMOUNTS, YOU KNOW? Wouldn't THAT be nice!!?? So one could determine if, the Wilderness food would look like THIS:
    Deboned Chicken--4 ounces --BUT, after deydrating---2 ounces
    , Chicken Meal--4 ounces
    Potato Starch--4 ounces
    so it'd be easier to determine/guess how much of that 28% protein was from potato protein or meat protein..


    I sure admire your being so careful Tx, wish MORE people were careful about what they fed their dogs!!

    Here is yet more info: good article!!! ( i almost wonder if your busy dogs need more carbs to keep weight on???):msniwonder:

    The Dog Food Project - Identifying better products
  8. herb2relax New Member

    I have used the blue buffalo large breed puppy food. The problem I had with it was diarrhea and/or soft stools. I mixed it with another food until it was gone.
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I don't like the regular Blue Buffalo; and I haven't decided yet if I like the Wilderness either. Not sure. I know the regular Blue is pretty rich, I'm assuming the Wilderness is even more so...but who knows??

    Thanks Tigerlily. ^^
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'm trusting DogFoodAnalysis's rating of Wilderness, and I've been looking into it a little more than I had originally planned to. Did some calculating, and a 26 pound bag of it would last me 20+ days, whereas a 35 pound bag of Chicken Soup is lasting me 14 days. The equivalent poundage of Wilderness would last me over a month. I would save between $10-15 every month. I would probably buy two 26 pound bags at a time, which would be $63 for 52 pounds--lasting me 40+ days. I think that's great for as many dogs as I'm feeding. I'd be feeding almost half as much as I am of the Chicken Soup.

    Again, I haven't decided if I like this food(in terms of ingredients), but I do like that it would last for so long. I must admit I was surprised that Petsmart had a food rated so high by DFA. If Chicken Soup didn't give Mud gas, I wouldn't mind just adding liver along with the other goodies I'm adding, but phew. Stinky. Lol!

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