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Discussion Starter #1
In order to avoid typing a novel to explain my huge situation, I need some suggestions on dealing with grain mites in dry food. There is very little information available out there, add that to my vets' attitudes, and I'm at a loss for what to do.

After long boughts of diarrhea, a stool sample revealed many LIVE mites in my dog's stool. I need to switch his diet. Due to his allergy/sensitivity to grain mites I need to either:

A) A food that contains NO MITES (which I've read is hard to come by)
B) Canned food only (mites cannot survive in cans)
C) No-grain dog food (very expensive)
D) Raw feeding

I'm looking for insight from anyone, as to what to do next. Before making my new feeding decision, I need to weigh out the following: PRICE, AVAILABITITY, and CONVENIENCE (I know raw taking a lot of time for research and preperation).

Which is my cheapest option?
Which is the most convenient?
Which is readily available?
 

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I think raw is your best option. If you go with canned only, it's ridiculously expensive and not to great for the teeth. If you go with grain free dog food, it's usually a lot more expensive. And finding a mite-free dog food is hard to come by since I've heard that almost any food with grains in it is almost guaranteed to have some mites in them (made worse, I've heard, by exposure to air).

Raw is easily going to be your cheapest solution (you can get some pretty cheap meat, especially if you have a Super WalMart, large chain grocery stores, or ranchers in your area). I feed all three of my dogs raw for about $60/month total. CHEAP!

Raw is convenient, you can pick it up when you go grocery shopping. You don't have to worry about measuring and mites and supplements. You just grab the food out of the fridge (or freezer) and hand it to the dog and they eat it happily. This is also great for their teeth.

As far as readily available goes, if you can feed yourself, you can feed your dog. But I don't know what kind of area you live in exactly. Like I said, if you have either a Super Walmart, large chain grocery store, or ranchers, it's available, convenient, and cheap.

What kind of dog do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lyndsey:

There was a long discussion on Itchmo about this very thing a while back. I just went & found it for you. HTH:

Purina Beneful Pulled From Shelves in VA-Mite Contamination

If I remember correctly, I think there are links in there that may be helpful to learn a little more about this.

Thanks for the link, but I've already read all of that before. What I'm looking for is how to eradicate the problem. From what I've gathered, mites are in just about everything, and no one knows it and it doesn't cause problems. But when a dog is exposed to them for long periods of time, they develop a sensitivity or allergy to the mites. My dogs have bad, sometimes bloody diarrhea. I've been battling this since Nov. I follow all the recommendations for food storage and I've never SEEN them in the food, but they showed up in stool samples. I'm not feeding the Beneful or Ol'Roy....vet said it was "from bad food"...so I dumped all of my open food and opened newly purchased bags. Meds from the vet helped, but by the time the meds are done, it comes back. Switching foods is their other recommendation, but I have a feeling it won't help.

I live in a very rural area. No one knows squat about nutrition, including the vets. So I'm on my own, per se. If you would do a poll around here, most would say they feed Ol'Roy. The best they come around here are Nutro, Eukanuba, Science Diet, and Purina Pro Plan. Anything else I would have to have shipped to me, which costs as much as the food itself. I am currently feeding DIAMOND NATURALS dog and puppy foods. Seemed to score the highest on dogfoodanalysis.com compared to what else was available. It doesn't have corn, wheat, soy, or by-products. I know they had a lot of recalls a few years ago, but at this rate, which company hasn't?

I do all my grocery shopping at a Super Walmart. I don't have just one dog.....drumroll please: I have 8. I have 3 puppies, ranging from 17 to 46 lbs and 5 adults ranging from 66 to 90 pounds. Youngest is 4 months, oldest is 12 years. I've read a ton in the past about raw feeding. I already supplement with raw (once a week I substitute food for rmb, organs, or meat). I've never went full raw, b/c of the cost....I'm a planner and can't start feeding raw until I know what it's going to cost me a month....afterall, the most expensive things at the store are meat and produce!

To those who feed raw and have about a 75 lb dog, what does it cost a month?
 

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What it costs really is a loaded question - I have a Newfoundland - right now it costs me about $90.00 a month to feed her and my Mini Schnauzer (17 lbs). But, I have the opportunity to buy in bulk, at wholesale prices - and I buy in BULK. This is primarily pork and salmon with some turkey and rabbit (rabbit is most expensive). I go through about 90 lbs of pork a month, ten pounds or so of salmon, and the others vary. I do throw in venison when I have it in the freezer, this usually does not cost me anything. When I rotate off of pork and onto lamb, it may cost a bit more. This $90.00 is just the meat and bones - my Newf is on numerous supplements as she has a lot of issues. Unless you have particular reasons to supplement, you won't really need to worry about that unless you are not feeding prey model which would include organs, glands, etc.

If I were to feed primarily a chicken based diet, it could cost considerably less. When I do feed chicken, it's typically whole chicken which is most cost effective. This is also what I do with rabbit. Pork and the larger animals, I typically buy the necks, cheaper cuts of meat and organs. Most is under a buck a pound when I go this route.

Honestly, if you have a meat distributor in your area, check with them. If you have the freezer space and have a distributor in your area, you can save a significant amount of money.

In regards to grain free kibble and mail ordering, there are sites that often offer free shipping. When feeding a grain free such as Orijen or Evo, you typically feed considerably less than grain inclusive kibble so I would personally sit down and do a cost comparison based upon feeding amounts. For example, for a 70 lb dog, one would typically feed about 2 cups of Orijen a day. On California Natural, the same dog would eat about 3 1/2 cups of food a day. While California Natural may be less expensive for a 30 lb. bag (here, it is 43.95) than a 29.7 lb. bag of Orijen (57.95 here), if you do a cost per feeding comparison, the California Natural is not going to end up to be that much of a savings, if at all. Then when you factor in the benefits of feeding a high protein, low carbohydrate, grain free food, there is no comparison.

There are other grain free foods that are less expensive, however, make sure you look at the recommended feeding amounts as some are obviously higher than others.
 

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If you go grain free I don't know what you consider expensive, but Natural Balance has grain free options that are between $42 and $45 a bag (either a 28 or 30 depending on the variety you go with) which personally lasts me between 3 and 4 weeks with (2) 65 pound dogs depending on which variety I go with. They have a Duck and Potato, Fish and Sweet Potato, and Venison and sweet potato options.

There is also the homecooking option which may work better. You could do a chicken and potato or chicken and rice (not sure if the rice would have the same issue if it is marketed for humans). I have also heard that putting the food into a plastic storage bin can help drastically reduce the mites. But homecooking is also an option. When I've done it I just get the leg quarters at Wal-Mart which is 10 pounds for around $5, some rice, a few veggies on sale and there ya go. When I figured it out it would cost me around $60-$65 a month for (2) 65 pound dogs.

My dog also has severe food allergies so I feel your pain. Best of luck to you!
 

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Or if you can just get the 10 lbs bags of chicken leg quarters and feed feed them to your dogs without the bother of cooking them, that's what I do.
 

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If you go grain free I don't know what you consider expensive, but Natural Balance has grain free options that are between $42 and $45 a bag (either a 28 or 30 depending on the variety you go with) which personally lasts me between 3 and 4 weeks with (2) 65 pound dogs depending on which variety I go with. They have a Duck and Potato, Fish and Sweet Potato, and Venison and sweet potato options.
My main problem with NB's so-called "grain free" foods is that they're mostly made of potatoes. I guess that's why they're called a "Sweet Potato and Venison" formula or "Potato and Duck" it's cuz they're admitting that it's mostly potatoes in the food. I know dog food companies like to use potatoes in grain-free formulas so they can have something to make it stick together but this seems like an abuse of that ingredient, IMO.
 

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My main problem with NB's so-called "grain free" foods is that they're mostly made of potatoes. I guess that's why they're called a "Sweet Potato and Venison" formula or "Potato and Duck" it's cuz they're admitting that it's mostly potatoes in the food. I know dog food companies like to use potatoes in grain-free formulas so they can have something to make it stick together but this seems like an abuse of that ingredient, IMO.

Well for people that want or need grain free and don't choose to feed a high protein food, it is about the only choice you get. Personally my dogs have done the best on this food of any food they've been on (even my non allergy dog) including Canidae. I've used all sorts of foods, Innova, California Natural, Canidae, Blue Buffalo, among others, and they've both done the absolute best on this hands down. In fact even my vet commented at my senior's yearly check up the other day that she thought her coat looked better than the last time she saw her and the only thing I've done different since then is the change in food.

I think they all use something somebody isn't going to like, it's about finding the right food for each individual dog. No such thing as a "one size fits all" food that's for sure.
 

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I know, i was just letting her know that for her dogs, a mostly potato diet might not be best.
 

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I really pointed it out for the fact that she was saying grain free was too expensive. NB is one of the more reasonable if not the most reasonable grain free kibble I've come across.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My main problem with NB's so-called "grain free" foods is that they're mostly made of potatoes. I guess that's why they're called a "Sweet Potato and Venison" formula or "Potato and Duck" it's cuz they're admitting that it's mostly potatoes in the food. I know dog food companies like to use potatoes in grain-free formulas so they can have something to make it stick together but this seems like an abuse of that ingredient, IMO.
I just researched this food yesterday! My first feeling was that it was mostly potatoes instead of meat, without even looking at the ingredients (I did eventually look at them)...it's called "Potato and Duck" not "Duck and Potato"....
 

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Or if you can just get the 10 lbs bags of chicken leg quarters and feed feed them to your dogs without the bother of cooking them, that's what I do.
About 4 or 5 months ago, I started researching raw feeding. My first thought was those chicken leg quarters. I buy them for our family, b/c they are cheap meat! I googled something (too long ago to remember what it was) and kept pulling up information saying that the bone in quarters wasn't appropriate b/c it didn't have the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio.

I can't get any straight-forward answers. While one thing says home-cooked, another says raw w/veggies and supplements. Others say raw w/veggies, supplements, but NO BONES. Then there's only meat/bones w/supplements and no veggies....and you say just meat/bones???

I saw chicken quarters at the store the other day for $0.45/lb !!! My problem right now would be we have no freezer space! We just bought 1/2 cow, and 1/2 lamb, and couldn't fit it all in our freezer, so we are borrowing freezer space from the neighbors!!! I give my dogs what we call the "dog meat" from these animals (liver, tongue, oxtail, etc)....I have quite a stockpile, but I've been trying to fix their systems before giving them more meat, b/c the meat usually upsets their tummies for a day or 2.

Who ever thought feeding dogs would be so complicated. I've been worrying myself sick over this whole thing for the past 2 weeks!
 

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Straight forward is this....dogs have a ZERO nutritional requirement for carbohydrates, period. If fed a proper raw diet, one which does include meat, bones, fat, connective tissue, organs, glands, etc. requires nothing else nutritionally speaking. For those that cannot feed a PROPER prey model raw diet, supplementation should be provided to ensure everything that the dog is missing out on is being provided. Keep in mind that most people do not have access to true prey model raw.

If you were to make a spreadsheet and list each item in a true prey model diet, including glands that most do not have access to, and break down the nutrients in each, you will come up with a balanced diet for your dog. This, of course, is assuming the prey you are feeding has not been artificially pumped with steroids, antibiotics and has been fed a proper, natural diet that will not alter the natural nutrient balance within their body.

Bones are needed, no questions asked. If you choose to feed meat without bones and supplement with another source of calcium, your dog will miss out on important minerals and nutrients within the bone and bone marrow. Not to mention that they will miss out on the natural teeth cleaning and the nurturing of their natural instinct to chew. Weight bearing bones - one should be more cautious with these than non-weight bearing bones as they are harder. With an experienced chewer, one who breaks up the bones nicely prior to swallowing them, there is less concern. Weight bearing bones from larger animals, cows, deer, etc. most often are best left for recreational chewing.

Some people choose to add vegetables or fruits to make up for some of the nutrition lost by not being able to feed a true prey model diet. Fruits and vegetables are not what a dog is meant to digest, period. So much so that WE need to pre-process them in order for a dog to be able to utilize any of the nutrition in them. Doesn't that tell us something? Dogs in the wild do not have food processors or vegetable steamers and they certainly wouldn't know how to use them if they did. Rather than fruits and vegetables, or carbohydrate sources, I much prefer a natural supplement to round things out if it's needed.

The ideas behind going grain free are this: First, using potato or a similar carb source allows the manufacturer to be able to physically make the kibble using more meat protein. This is more of an equipment issue for production than anything. In turn, yes, you are able to feed your dog a dry diet that is a bit more appropriate than a grain laden kibble with minimal meat protein. Second, it allows you to get away from grains in general. Third, it gives the ability to feed less kibble than you would a typical grain inclusive diet. And fourth, stools, coat, skin, etc. tend to improve because of the above.

IMHO, having a grain free kibble that is not high in meat protein defeats the actual true benefit of feeding a "grain free" kibble. The highlight, IMO, of feeding a grain free kibble is giving consumers the ability to feed a bit more appropriately by having higher amounts of real meat protein. To me, a high carb, grain free kibble is no better than a high quality, grain inclusive kibble, with the exception that it opens up options for those with real grain allergies.
 

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And that would be me. I do not choose to feed a high fat high protein diet, however my boy is allergic to gluten which throws out barley, oats of any kind (bran, meal, whatever), and millet, which leaves me with rice or potatos or sweet potatos really. So for me, the NB line with one meat source and no gluten but a "normal" protein and fat level is what I need...and I know for a fact I'm not the only one out there as I know of others with allergy dogs that have the same issue.
 

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I googled something (too long ago to remember what it was) and kept pulling up information saying that the bone in quarters wasn't appropriate b/c it didn't have the correct calcium/phosphorus ratio.
Don't worry about ratios, weights, percentages or any of that nonsense. If you feed your dog a variety of animal parts from a variety of animals eveything will automatically balance out. No one knows what balance is anyway.

I can't get any straight-forward answers. While one thing says home-cooked, another says raw w/veggies and supplements. Others say raw w/veggies, supplements, but NO BONES. Then there's only meat/bones w/supplements and no veggies....and you say just meat/bones???
Whenever I have a question, here is the way I straighten it out. Look to nature. Nature provides everything any species needs to thrive. What would your dog eat if he was in the wild? He would eat meat, bones, and organs from whatever animals he could catch and kill. He would not eat fruits or veggies. He would not take supplements. He would eat meat, bones and organs.

I saw chicken quarters at the store the other day for $0.45/lb !!!
Get them. I feed them 2 or 3 times a week. Sometimes more. Just remember that variety is important. Don't feed them a diet exclusively of chicken quarters.

Assuming you have a reasonably healthy dog you don't need veggies or supplements. There are no nutrients in plants that are not in the meat, bones and organs of the prey animals that eat them. I have been feeding my dogs for 6 1/2 years without feeding fruits or veggies or grains or supplements and they are healthy. Don't worry about the exotic organs and glands. It's not necessary to feed those. I only feed my dogs liver and heart(not an organ).

My problem right now would be we have no freezer space! We just bought 1/2 cow, and 1/2 lamb, and couldn't fit it all in our freezer, so we are borrowing freezer space from the neighbors!!!
You can get freezers REAL cheap on Craigslist if you keep an eye out for them.

I give my dogs what we call the "dog meat" from these animals (liver, tongue, oxtail, etc)....
Yes, feed them that but also feed them some real meat and bones. They could eat any part of the lamb and anything but the leg bones from the cow.

I have quite a stockpile, but I've been trying to fix their systems before giving them more meat, b/c the meat usually upsets their tummies for a day or 2.
Check out my web page listed in my sig to learn how to switch your dogs to a raw diet.

Who ever thought feeding dogs would be so complicated. I've been worrying myself sick over this whole thing for the past 2 weeks!
Its not complicated unless you make it that way. Once you have been doing it for a few weeks it will become as routine as feeding kibble.
 

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I can't get any straight-forward answers. While one thing says home-cooked, another says raw w/veggies and supplements. Others say raw w/veggies, supplements, but NO BONES. Then there's only meat/bones w/supplements and no veggies....and you say just meat/bones???
Oh no, I'm sorry if you misunderstood me, I was just saying out of all those ingredients given to you to make a homemade diet (chicken leg quarters, rice, and veggies) you really only need the chicken leg quarters. You definitely still need organs too! Like RFD said, look to nature: wild canines eat meat, bones, and organs of their prey. Some people argue that they also need veggies because of the canines consuming the food in their prey's stomach but even if this were true, that would really only include leaves, grass, and twigs, maybe some crabapples or whatever the animal got into. But certainly not tomatoes, zucchini, bananas, etc and not in any large amount either. And most raw feeders will tell you that if their dog catches its own prey, they'll actually rip open the stomach, dump out the contents, and eat the rest of the animal, so those dogs don't voluntarily consume any vegetable matter either.
 
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