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Discussion Starter #1
This kind of came about when I was looking at cat foods for the shelter kitties we adopted. I was looking at high quality grain free kibbles, as we of course want to put them on raw.

We did end up picking a grain free kibble for the girls, but I was thinking, are grain free kibbles really worth it? Don't get me wrong, if the animal eating the food has a grain allergy, of course I think they are necessary and worth the hike up in price, but other than that, I don't find them to be much higher quality, and certainly not justified in price.

From what it looks like, they take out the rice and barley, and add in potato and sweet potato, which are equally as species inappropriate and unnecessary. Am I missing something? What makes a sack of potato worth $75?

To me, the higher the meat quantity, the better the kibble, and by the looks of it, grain free isn't any higher in meat content I listed the first ten ingredients of two grain inclusive kibbles, as well as two grain free kibbles.



Canidae ALS (grain inclusive)
Chicken meal
turkey meal
lamb meal
brown rice
white rice
rice bran
peas
potatoes
oatmeal
cracked pearled barley


Merrick Puppy Plate (grain inclusive)
Organic Chicken
Turkey Meal
Oatmeal
Duck
Chicken Meal
Whole Barley
Whole Brown Rice
Flax Seed
Canola Oil
Freeze Dried Sweet Potatoes

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream (grain free)
Salmon
ocean fish meal
sweet potatoes
potatoes
canola oil
salmon meal
smoked salmon
potato fiber
natural flavor
salt


Merrick BG Buffalo (grain free)
Buffalo Deboned
Chicken Meal
Potato Dehydrated
Turkey Meal
Canola Oil
Sweet Potato Dehydrated
Yeast Culture
Natural Dried Chicken Liver
Dicalcium Phosphate
Lysine
 

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I have thought that for a while too...just haven't thought of saying anything about it.

What about protein differences? Where is the extra protein coming from because usually grain free foods are higher in protein...?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have thought that for a while too...just haven't thought of saying anything about it.

What about protein differences? Where is the extra protein coming from because usually grain free foods are higher in protein...?
I'm thinking it comes from the potato? Not sure.
 

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I looked up the nutritional information on potatoes and one large, russett I'm assuming, has about 7 grams of protein it it. But to me, that is still plant protein and is not as bioavailable to dogs/cats, but moreso than grains. So I guess taking that bit into consideration grain free kibbles are better. More protein, no matter the source is better than less protein I guess...in regards to kibble that is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I looked up the nutritional information on potatoes and one large, russett I'm assuming, has about 7 grams of protein it it. But to me, that is still plant protein and is not as bioavailable to dogs/cats, but moreso than grains. So I guess taking that bit into consideration grain free kibbles are better. More protein, no matter the source is better than less protein I guess...in regards to kibble that is.
Okay, fair shot, but would you say this ever so slight advantage is worth the price hike up? We're takling $20 more a bag sometimes. To me, not worth it.


If a grain inclusive kibble has more meat content in it than a grain free one, I would consider it superior, even if the grain free food does have more plant based protein.


The topic doesn't really apply to me so much being primarily a raw feeder, just throwing the thought out there as I was thinking about it this week.:rolleyes:
 

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Hey there...I might have missed something, but why wouldn't you feed your kitties raw like "The Kitah"? I know cats can be harder to switch, so maybe thats the reason...?
 

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Linsey, you make a great point! Just because potatoes aren't grains don't mean they're any more species appropriate. I'm sure there are several grain-free kibbles out there that rely on potatoes to achieve high protein content. Here is how Dog Food Analysis dissects levels of meat content;

The first four ingredients in this food are all named meat products. The first two are meat inclusive of water content (about 80%) and once that is removed it is likely that these ingredients would be more accurately placed somewhat further down the ingredient list (ingredients are listed in order of weight). However, since it is followed by two meat meal ingredients, and a further meat meal ingredient, herring meal, sixth on the ingredient list. This, and strong macronutrient breakdown give very high confidence in the level of meat content of the food. (specific example from EVO)

I would think that potatoes play a considerable role in protein content if it is listed in the top 4 ingredients or so, like this site says. The examples you listed may have more protein coming from potatoes than other grain-free foods. For example EVO here has potatoes, but not in first 4 ingredients. That's the measuring stick I would use. Also, in another thread someone's asks about Nature's Logic, which is a grainless, high protein food without potatoes, however it's overall meat content is still questionable. The first two ingreadients are meat products, however the second two are Montmorillonite (A group name for all clay minerals with an expanding structure, except vermiculite. The high-alumina end member of the montmorillonite group; it is grayish, pale red, or blue and has some replacement of aluminum ion by magnesium ion. Any mineral of the montmorillonite group) and brewers yeast. But i wouldn't think that those two things would really add a lot of protein content. I question the chicken fat being at the top of the list as well. That isn't bad, but shouldn't take the place of meat sources. So, overall, I think this is a good, but not great food. btw, if u want a list of the ingredients, i posted them on the official Natures Logic thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey there...I might have missed something, but why wouldn't you feed your kitties raw like "The Kitah"? I know cats can be harder to switch, so maybe thats the reason...?
This is the exact reason they aren't on raw yet. They won't eat it. I was starting to transition them by hiding small amounts of ground meat in their food, but one of the cats might not work out (she was fine, but we are having to wash her mouth out twice a day for her gum disease, and since we started that, she has gotten incredibly aggressive with us... to an extreme, and I'm not sure we are experienced enough with cats to help her.) and the other has an URI right now, and is a kibble junkie, so the raw transition is on an ever so slight hold right now. But ultimately, yes, raw is our goal... whenever they decide to cooperate. lol:rolleyes:
 

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Lindsey, you make a great point! Just because potatoes aren't grains don't mean they're any more species appropriate. I'm sure there are several grain-free kibbles out there that rely on potatoes to achieve high protein content. Here is how Dog Food Analysis dissects levels of meat content;

The first four ingredients in this food are all named meat products. The first two are meat inclusive of water content (about 80%) and once that is removed it is likely that these ingredients would be more accurately placed somewhat further down the ingredient list (ingredients are listed in order of weight). However, since it is followed by two meat meal ingredients, and a further meat meal ingredient, herring meal, sixth on the ingredient list. This, and strong macronutrient breakdown give very high confidence in the level of meat content of the food. (specific example from EVO)

I would think that potatoes play a considerable role in protein content if it is listed in the top 4 ingredients or so, like this site says. The examples you listed may have more protein coming from potatoes than other grain-free foods. For example EVO here has potatoes, but not in first 4 ingredients. That's the measuring stick I would use. Also, in another thread someone's asks about Nature's Logic, which is a grainless, high protein food without potatoes, however it's overall meat content is still questionable. The first two ingreadients are meat products, however the second two are Montmorillonite (A group name for all clay minerals with an expanding structure, except vermiculite. The high-alumina end member of the montmorillonite group; it is grayish, pale red, or blue and has some replacement of aluminum ion by magnesium ion. Any mineral of the montmorillonite group) and brewers yeast. But i wouldn't think that those two things would really add a lot of protein content. I question the chicken fat being at the top of the list as well. That isn't bad, but shouldn't take the place of meat sources. So, overall, I think this is a good, but not great food. btw, if u want a list of the ingredients, i posted them on the official Natures Logic thread.
Some thoughts on high protein formulations. Look at this EVO formulation below: The Turkey and Chicken will have ~70% moisture content, Eggs will have ~75% moisture content and Potatoes will have ~80% moisture content. The Chicken Fat is actually lower in moisture (~10%). My point being like meats whoes moisture goes away, potatoes moisture goes away post process unless they are listed as dehydrated as an ingredient. I suspect their starches are acting as a binding agent for extrusion. There should be less of them than either poultry source post-cooking by mass. The same is not true with a grain.

Food for thought.

Ingredients:
Turkey, chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, potatoes, herring meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, egg, apples, tomatoes, potassium chloride, carrots, vitamins, garlic, cottage cheese, minerals, alfalfa sprouts, ascorbic acid, dried chicory root, direct-fed microbials, vitamin E supplement, lecithin, rosemary extract.
 

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Well you only touched on a couple. And grain free has higher protein, for instance heres CORE Ocean, which is what Chocolate eats.

Whitefish, Whitefish Meal, Salmon Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potato, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Pea Fiber, Tomato Pomace, Natural Fish Flavor, Flaxseed, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Vitamins & Minerals, Choline Chloride, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Products, Rosemary Extract.

Heres EVO which is in my rotation as Well

Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Egg, Apples, Tomatoes, Potassium Chloride Carrots, Vitamins,Cottage Cheese, Minerals, Alfalfa Sprouts, Ascorbic Acid, Dried Chicory Root, Direct-Fed Microbials, Vitamin E Supplement, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know, I'm just not entirely sold on it being superior enough to justify the price tag.
Potato is no better than rice in my book, and grain free foods don't necessarily have more meat content than their grain inclusive counterparts.

Raw feeding is SO much less complicated than this kibble junk. lol:rolleyes::tongue:
 

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I agree corgi.
i dont like feeding my dogs taters no more than i like feeding them rice!

i did chose grain free because we thought that maybe it would help with Ruckus badly cracked paw pads and dull coat.
months and months later.... it didnt help at all.
 

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It depends on the food, not all grain free foods are meat based, such as Natural Balance which to me is a sack of potatoes.
I look for at least a first named meat followed by named meat meal. Even with grain free kibble, something needs to be used as a binder to hold the kibble together, whether it be potato, grains, pea starch or tapioca.
As long as it doesent make up the bulk of the food, I dont think its that big of a deal, but I personally prefer to avoid grains, since it made my dog itchy and I noticed increase in ear infections during summer.
Something else I noticed is that the poos on grain free are very small and firm, not so on grainy foods.
 

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yeah natural balance is the one exception. It has way too much potato.

EVO actually does has less carbs and more protein then grain-inclusive foods so thats why I prefer it for my dog.
 

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yeah natural balance is the one exception. It has way too much potato.

EVO actually does has less carbs and more protein then grain-inclusive foods so thats why I prefer it for my dog.
Me too.

Zio has a wonderful shiny coat, is able to keep weight on, and is generally much healthier looking on EVO than he was on the stuff the trainer recommended.
 

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Reading an ingredient label

I just wanted to clear something up about reading ingredient labels. According to AAFCO ingredients are to be listed "... being greater or equal to the next ingredient..." In theory, the 4th ingredient could only be 5% of the formula.

I've seen foods critisized because fat is high on the ingredient list. With chicken and chicken meal being #1 and #2. All this means is it is a high chicken diet.

Look at the total crude fat content in the dog food. If it is 20%, then the "fat" ingredient (contributing 100% fat) can't be more than 20% of the formula. Since chicken and chicken meal contain fat, then it's more likely that the fat component is only 15-18% of the formula.

Egg is also added as a dry ingredient, too many quality safety issues with using liquid egg.

Just a little bit on ready an ingredient label, thought you might want to know.:smile:
 

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Grain free doesn't necessarily mean a sack of potatoes added in place of grains (though some practically are, such as Natural Balance). Most grain free kibbles do have potatoes or sweet potatoes in place of rice, oatmeal etc. Potatoes are somewhat more digestible than rice and other grains. The main thing to look for is meat as the first ingredient.
I think one of the best grain free kibbles is Acana's Grassland, Prairie Feast, and Pacifica.



This is the exact reason they aren't on raw yet. They won't eat it. I was starting to transition them by hiding small amounts of ground meat in their food, but one of the cats might not work out (she was fine, but we are having to wash her mouth out twice a day for her gum disease, and since we started that, she has gotten incredibly aggressive with us... to an extreme, and I'm not sure we are experienced enough with cats to help her.) and the other has an URI right now, and is a kibble junkie, so the raw transition is on an ever so slight hold right now. But ultimately, yes, raw is our goal... whenever they decide to cooperate. lol:rolleyes:

Some cats can be a pain to switch to raw. I know some cats can take up to a year or more before eating only raw. My Penny is proving to be a royal pain. The other two are kind of hestitant about it, but they're better about it then Penny is.
 

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should i go grain free or not?

hi,

im new to this forum. i'm getting my mini labradoodle puppy tomorrow and i'm very excited! i've been doing research on dog food and i can't make up my mind if i should go grain free or not. dog bar (the store i go to) sells mostly hollistic food, and they say "go grain free", as do many websites. however, my breeder says "dont go grain free until he's 12 mos. old because his stool will be very lose". however, she's giving him royal canin (which i'm planning on changing, slowly, as soon as he gets here)! so i don't know if i should rely on her advice regarding this matter.

i found a great site for grading dog food:

Grading Dog Food for Australian Labradoodles Manor Lake Australian Labradoodles Blog

using their parameters, i found that ACANA (grain free) and GREAT LIFE (which has grain&potato free and with grain versions of their food) are two good products. their main 5 ingredients are:

ACANA (grain free) - chicken meal, russet potato, deboned chicken, deboned walleye, whitefeash meal (and so on)

GREAT LIFE - freeze dried chicken, freeze dried chicken liver, freeze dried ground chicken neck, mxed high antioxidant berries, inulin, mixed baby sprouts (and so on)

should i definitely stick to great life because of the potato content in acana? they are both made with fresh natural ingredients, no artificial presertavives, omega 3 oils, and all the good stuff.

thanks so much! :)
 

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Most on here are going to steer you towards Acana because of who makes it and HOW they make it plus they only use all grass fed ingredients. I use Acana when I first get a dog in before switching over to a raw diet, it has proved to be the best of any food I've tried.
 
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