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Dog food recommendations

We've had our new rescue dog, Zoe, for a few days, she's a very mellow 4-year-old Australian Shephard mixed with something...she weighs about 50 pounds.

The rescue gave us a small amount of dog food for her, and we will run out soon. It is not a high quality food, as they rely on donated dog food. Sadly, her foster only had her 2 weeks and said in that 2 weeks she had 2 kinds of dog food due to the donation situation.

Can anybody recommend a good, healthy dog food for Zoe? She's such a sweetheart and I'd like to get her onto something healthier asap. 

I also am wondering if people's vets usually recommend a dog food, we haven't had a chance to bring her in yet.

Re: Dog food recommendations

  • Most vets don't recommend very good brands. I wouldn't suggest going with anything they suggest as it's unlikely to be much better than what your girl is getting now.

    Check out dogfoodanalysis.com. Try to find a food with at least 4 stars. There are a lot of them out there in a wide price range. Keep in mind that a higher quality food requires less to be fed to meet your dog's calorie and nutrient requirements, so while you might spend a little more, you won't go through as much of it as with a lower quality food (and your dog will produce a little less waste, too!).

    If you need help narrowing down brands once you've checked out the site, post again! 

    ETA: avoid any foods with any corn whatsoever or anything with by-products listed. If it doesn't include a named protein, you don't want it (eg, "poultry fat" [what the eff kind of poultry?], "poultry by-product meal" [it's an unnamed source and a by-product, double strike]. 

    Anything with a named meat/meat meal as the first ingredient(s) is your best bet. A meat meal is the meat with moisture removed, so to have the meal listed first means it was added after the water content was removed; it a meat is listed first, it was added before water content was removed, which happens later in kibble production, and it then falls further down the ingredient list, since the volume decreases once you remove the water content. 

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  • Whatever you do, DO NOT USE BLUE BUFFALO. PLEASE. I have heard so many stories about how it makes dogs and cats sick. My IL's cat actually had to be put down after eating BB. She got very sick, and then they found MAGGOTS in sealed bags of BB food.

    PLEASE do not use Blue Buffalo!!!!!!!

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  • Ugh I hate that site. It is bases on opinions not on fact or even logic it seems.  It is filled with a lot of misinformation. 

     

    There is no perfect food out there every dog is different and their nutritional needs vary.

    Some basic tips in picking out a food.  

     

    Look at the AAFCO statement

    - if it doesn't have one move on

    - make use it is formulated for maintenance. An adult dog, in general, should not be on an all life stages diet. 

    - a food trial is ideal. They are far from perfect but they are better than just based on formulation. Also diet trials means a veterinarian was involved in the process which is a plus.

     

    Some common misconceptions.

    -in human food, preservatives are used to add flavor. In pet food they are used to stabilize and make the micronutrients available to the animal. 

     - by products are not bad. They are organ meat and a vital part of a balanced diet. 

    -corn is not a "filler". it is a dense source of readily available nutrients to the pet.  In this vein grain free is not necessary for most pets and can give you a false sense of quality. 

     

    As far as brands go I beg you plead to avoid Blue Buffalo. It is very expensive Alpo 

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  • image aggiebug:

    -corn is not a "filler". it is a dense source of readily available nutrients to the pet.  In this vein grain free is not necessary for most pets and can give you a false sense of quality. 

    To which I say:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/dog-food-corn/ 

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    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
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  • I just want to add that every dog is different, so it might take a few tries before you find a food that is a good fit for your pup.  As a result, you may want to buy a small bag to start (rather than investing in a big bag), just in case it doesn't agree with your dog.  Once you find the right food, you can start buying bigger bags (they usually cost less per pound).

    When you are transitioning foods, be sure to do it gradually over the course of at least a few days or even a few weeks. That can help avoid intestinal upset from the switch (which you might mistake for a disagreement with the food itself). Starting with 3/4 old food + 1/4 new food for a few days. If there are no issues, move to 1/2 old food + 1/2 new food for a few days, then (assuming no issues) 1/4 old food + 3/4 new food, and eventually 100% new food.

    You may also have to play around with the amount of food you're feeding in order to determine the ideal amount for weight maintenance (or weight gain/loss if your pup is over- or underweight).  Of course, you may need to increase or decrease the portion depending on your dog's activity level during certain seasons or if they get a lot of treats (for example, while training) on a particular day.  For example, when we have a training class (1 hour with LOTS of high value treats), my dogs get 1/2 breakfast.

    My dogs both do very well on Wellness Core, but there are lots of other high quality foods out there, and not every one will work for every dog.  Both of my dogs were on one of the Hills/Science Diet formulas (one for suspected allergies/skin issues and one for colitis-type problems) before we switched them (I'm not a fan of the Hills/SD foods), but they were still having problems.  The improvement when we switched foods was really remarkable - no more colitis issues at all for one, and the other's skin issues cleared up within a week.  That's purely anecdotal, but I thought I would throw it in there.

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  • image aggiebug:

     - by products are not bad. They are organ meat and a vital part of a balanced diet. 

    And this is why by-products in pet foods are bad:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/

    It's not the fact of the item being considered a by-product; it's how poorly they're typically handled before STILL making it into the food I'm going to put in front of my pet. 

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
    image
    Badge Unicorn
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  • Looks like everyone has pitched in some pretty good for thought, but I just wanted to second the idea of staying away from foods that have fillers in them. In my past experience, vets tend not to recommend the most healthy foods. I switched all of our pets (cats and dog) to Wellness brand a few months ago and they seem to be doing really well on it. It is a little pricey but I find it worth it. One of my cats was borderline diabetic and I think changing his diet greatly helped improve his health, and our dog loves his food. We also got him at a shelter and when we were feeding him the food that they gave us he wasn't really interested in the food, but the day we switched to Wellness brand he gobbled it all up. We had first tried Blue Buffalo brand, but my friend (who is a vet tech) said that she sees a lot of cats come in for GI issues that are on that brand (not sure if it can also affect dogs similarly), so that's why we switched to Wellness. 

     

    ?Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.?
  • Some natural pet stores allow you to try samples of dog foods, if you want to go with natural food I would go that route and see what is healthy and that Zoe likes.

    Also check out typical allergies her breed may have, for one I know my American Staffie cant have corn so we go corn free for her, and she has a sensitive stomach so we get Pro Plan sensitive stomach to accommodate her with both things. For our rat terrier-mix we changed to Purina One Beyond after it came out to get him onto a healthy food.

    What I have always heard about dog food is to make sure there arent chicken by products (i.e. chicken poop) but I have never seen it in the ingredients and I have read a lot of ingredients panels on dog foods to accommodate the Staffie's diet restrictions.

    I asked clerks and trainers about food and treats that would be ok with the diet restrictions and what was healthy and I got a great response, and good information. Some times vets or pet store workers will have the best info for you since they do deal with 4-legged friends all day! :D

     

    ~E~
  • lucky: those two links are exactly why I am disgusted with that website.  Those myths take the smallest nugget of fact and twist a story around it that is quite deceptive.  

    for example  

     

    "myth #1" glycemic index.  Yes corn is not on the low end of the glycemic index, but look at the corn replacements in a grain free diet (conveniently omitted in the chart) and you will see they are MUCH worse than corn.   Russet potato: 111.   And this myth makes a direct correlation of high glycemic index is automatically dangerous/ unhealthy- which is again untrue.  

     "myth #2"  yes corn can be allergens and if your dog is allergic them they are bad, but an dog with tendencies towards allergies will develop allergies to what its exposed to.  We are seeing an increase in allergies to lamb, salmon etc etc because pets are becoming exposed to those proteins. They blame the quality of the corn, well what makes corn different than the unknown quality of the barley, and brown rice used in other foods? they are just as susceptible to "undetected contaminants"

    "myth #3"  Yes corn in its unaltered state is not as digestible and nutritionally valuable as ground corn.  Same goes for wheat, barley, oats, potatoes.....  And the processing of those grains also effect their glycemic indexes.  (a fact omitted in the original glycemic list).  The nutrients in corn are made available through processing, yes, just like it is for us.  Corn is processed, to help make corn more nutritionally valuable and to make nutrients more easily accessible same thing is done with oats, rice and barley too.  

     "myth #4"  yes other ingredients contain nutritional properties that you can also get from corn.  That doesn't make corn's nutritional benefits useless.  Creating a diet is a huge balancing act. Yes you can get plenty of nutrient x from eggs but along with nutrient x we also get a lot of nutrient y which throws the proportion of 2 other nutrients completely out of balance.  A complete diet like dog food you have to look at the entire picture its not as easy as replacing one ingredient for another.  And again this assumption is all based on corn being bad which its not.  

     

    Skipping ahead to the "truth about corn"  recent studies have actually shown the domesticated dog tied to a high grain diet as a reason for them coming in contact with people ie farmers.

     I can dissect the other link as well but its facts are just as grossly misconstrued and used to promote an agenda not science.  

     

     

    Like I said, feel free to feed a balanced, corn free diet.  It is just not a requirement in finding a high quality, dog food for your pup.  

     

    image
    DD born 1.25.15

  • Hi! finding the right dog food can be a pain but it all comes down to what works best for your pup. if you choose to use a natural dog food that is a personal choice. i have tried a few but did not work how i wanted it to ( i have a great pyrenees who had weight issues) i use beneful dog food and i have really liked it. i use the healthy weight and she does great on it. my brother uses the puppy version for his actively growing puppy and he likes it. It is a great healthy dog food brand and they have several options. i would recommend it because it is nutritional and reasonable priced. Hope that helps!
  • image LuckyAngel07:
    image aggiebug:

    -corn is not a "filler". it is a dense source of readily available nutrients to the pet.  In this vein grain free is not necessary for most pets and can give you a false sense of quality. 

    To which I say:

    http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/dog-food-corn/ 

    I just can't. I've fought this fight before.  

  • All dogs are different, I have two my pit bull, lab mix that I have had sense he was 4 weeks old has only ever wanted pedigree, he will not eat anything else, ive gotten expensive stuff recommended but the vet and he refuses to eat it. if its not pedigree it will just sit in his bowl he wont touch it, and only if its the one that's just round and square bits, if it has any other shapes he doesn't like it. he is very picky. but that's what hes been on for over a year, and the vet says hes one of the healthiest dogs that he sees.

    my other pit bull Shepard mix, was a rescue and she will eat anything you give her, mostly because when she was rescued she was skin and bones and never got fed and her old home.

    but then my brothers 3 year old pit bull, only likes a lamb, and chicken food that you can only get at feed stores.

    you can try all different kinds but you don't need to get anything super pricey, if youre looking to get her nice and healthy maybe try and half 1/3 mix of pedigree, and something else like from a feed store.

     

     

  • I agree, you may have to try a few to find one that 1) you are comfortable with; 2) your dog will eat; and 3) is a price you can afford.  For what it's worth, I feed my rottweiler and bullmastiff and my shepherd mix before, taste of the wild (the venison/buffalo version).  We arrived at this after my bullmastiff had issues with other food--one made her sick, one the kibble was small and got caught in her jowels, one gave her seizures (but my two other dogs never had a problem with it), one caused her weight to balloon in a month (feeding even small amounts).  There was nothing wrong with any of those other foods for the right dog, just not her. 

    Do any switching slowly over a couple of weeks.

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