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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for new food for my 5 1/2 year old female Chesapeake Bay Retriever. A few things about her - I have not been able to find her a kibble she really liked except for a sample of Science Diet Nature's Best someone gave us, and she literally cried to get into it. I know the SD is not good for her, but I'd like to find something else that she likes that much. Over the years we have tried Wellness, which she did not like, Eagle Pack Holistic Select, which she would eat if I put olive oil on it (did this for years), and Canidae, which also needs the olive oil treatment to go down. Also, she has from time to time had somewhere between soft and/or mucusy stools and diarrhea her whole life, except for a while before I knew better and fed her junk food (Beneful). The last thing is that she is a big girl - about 90 lbs, and while she is not fat, she can gain weight easily.

Given this information, am I best going with a kibble that has grain, or is grain free? If with grain, which do dogs seem to like best? I can easily find CA Natural, Halo, Innova, Nature's Balance, or Solid Gold. I probably can find others less conveniently.

If grain-free, I can get Evo easily, Orijen not as easily. Is there a clear benefit of one over the other? Taste-wise? Will the grain-free fill her up at a reasonable portion size, or is she going to be hungry (this would be a problem)?

Thank you for your insights.
 

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I have used both Natural Balance and California Natural. They are both good kibble without a great deal of ingrediants. I like Orijen but it is difficult for me to get it and I have to have it shipped to me which makes it very expensive.
 

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I would recommend grain free, as it has considerably more meat than grain kibble. Evo is good, but some dogs can't handle it because it is so rich. My brother's dog was on Evo original formula and had horrible gas. Orijen six-fish looks very promising based on the ingredients, although it is expensive. I would stay away from Solid Gold as it has fish meal that is not guaranteed to be free of ethoxyquin:eek:(a known carcinogenic fish meal preservative).
 

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One of my dogs is allergic to Olive Oil and will get really bad colitis if she eats food that has it (Bad mucousy diarhea,). You might want to eliminate the extra Olive Oil you are putting on the food. If she is eating a good quality food, then olive oil isn't necessary. If you feel you have to supplement with an extra oil I would try a fish oil capsule (although the dog with allergies is allergic to salmon oil too, so I have to be careful).
 

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I have used EVo, Orijen, CN,NB,
alot of the premium brands. as for taste I know the dogs here like the chicken and red meat also they went thru a fling with the fish and now they are backing off it! Gee too much of a good thing I guess or they are tired of it thats all and will agian go for it ha!
As for quality the Orijen is I think the best one out there! I have 2 labs a beagle and ori~pei, my labs will eat anything though so they arent good at being finicky at all! Gee they are actually a joy to feed haha! No problems with food, but my one lab has displayed a looser stool at times with the food regimine! She gets a looser stool at times especially if I add which I do every evening the wet food the ones she has the biggest problem with would be the evo95% grain free wet and the wellness core wet so for her its that! She doesnt get this at all times just with the grainfree wet at times too only!(Gee I have to keep a list here haha)
I find on grainless they have a tendency to gain more weight mine do at least but then I will feed less of the recommened amount and i also feed my one lab especially the weight management one which has alot less fat in in the evo or any top brand food. She has though lost weight on the weight management foods. you can just feed less then the recommened amount of food and it will be good for the pup!
go here to see some of the better brands

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If you go grain free & definetly feed less than recommeneded this food is rich and very good for them. If you go with a grain food such as Innova whatever, the dog should be filled on what they say even less than this.
My one lab I give her two cups of food dry per day & in the evening I split one can of wet food amongst 4 dogs . As for treats, I dry in my deghydrator alot of thing such as beef liver, chicken liver, chicken breasts, just whatever I think they will like and I of course do buy things but I try to do the fat free or something healthy like sweet potato I look at the fat content! Hmm Now I have not dried sweet potato maybe I will also try this ha! (the ligthbulb went on)!!!!!

Some dogs always seem hungry I know my one lab if I put 5 cups of food down for her shed eat the 5 cups shes a foodie type haha, so I have to watch her! Shes a begger and will just give you those so sad eyes! They have those ways about them. So I just feed her the controlled diet and she is doing great!
Hopefully you will find a good quality food your pup enjoys!:smile:
 
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Thanks all for the good information. I have kind of had my mind made up for me, at least for the next few weeks, as my pet food store had an unbelievable deal on Innova Red Meat. I don't think she likes it - while she sniffed at the bag, she wouldn't even taste the bowl of part-Innova until I put a little olive oil on it - Chowder, the olive oil is just for flavor, and just enough to coat the kibble. I don't think it's causing her poop problems as they have been intermittent, even when I was giving olive oil every day. But thanks for the heads up - I didn't even think of olive oil as the cause of an allergy or sensitivity. Something else, I think maybe the fishy smell of the Innova is what she doesn't like. I think that was the problem with Wellness.

Still, please keep the advice coming. Especially as she does not yet seem to like the Innova, I don't expect this is the last dog food we are going to use. Whatever information I can get on what foods might be best for my girl would really be appreciated.
 

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My pup and her friends (I buy the food for friends' pups too) were on EVO and then I switched em all to Orijen. I can say with 100% certainty that all 3 liked the Orijen better.
 

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Thanks all for the good information. I have kind of had my mind made up for me, at least for the next few weeks, as my pet food store had an unbelievable deal on Innova Red Meat. I don't think she likes it - while she sniffed at the bag, she wouldn't even taste the bowl of part-Innova until I put a little olive oil on it - Chowder, the olive oil is just for flavor, and just enough to coat the kibble. I don't think it's causing her poop problems as they have been intermittent, even when I was giving olive oil every day. But thanks for the heads up - I didn't even think of olive oil as the cause of an allergy or sensitivity. Something else, I think maybe the fishy smell of the Innova is what she doesn't like. I think that was the problem with Wellness.

Still, please keep the advice coming. Especially as she does not yet seem to like the Innova, I don't expect this is the last dog food we are going to use. Whatever information I can get on what foods might be best for my girl would really be appreciated.
Ok...sounds to me like you have a picky eater on your hands. You will definitely not have a problem with her turning her nose up at food that you pick out for her if you address the real problem.

You are the pack leader right? From what it sounds like to me, your dog has you wrapped around her little finger (toe? LOL) which makes her the pack leader.

She seems to decide on what to eat, not you. She likes the cheap, crap food. Why? Cuz its like junk food for dogs...of course she is going to like it. Same prinicple needs to be applied to your dog as with trying to feed green healthy veggies to little kids. If kids are given the choice between green beans vs cake...of course they will choose cake. Same goes for your dog choosing SD...

Put down a bowl of food of YOUR choice. Give her 15 minutes in order to eat it. If she doesn't eat it, she has chosen to skip a meal. Put down the EXACT same food for 15 minutes when the next meal time comes around. If she chooses to not eat again...it is her CHOICE not to eat. You are not starving her, she is choosing not to eat, HUGE difference there. Dogs will not starve themselves on purpose. Do this until she gets hungry enough to eat, which might take a few days.

That will make you the pack leader and in charge of the situation. Which all in all is totally worth it. She will have more respect for you, and vise versa.

I would recommend RAW diet, but for kibble grain free would be ideal if she can handle it. I had my girls on EVO before I switched, and they could not handle it. I would say that any of the food suggestions made are good ones. Good luck!!!
 

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Thanks all for the good information. I have kind of had my mind made up for me, at least for the next few weeks, as my pet food store had an unbelievable deal on Innova Red Meat. I don't think she likes it - while she sniffed at the bag, she wouldn't even taste the bowl of part-Innova until I put a little olive oil on it - Chowder, the olive oil is just for flavor, and just enough to coat the kibble.
You are spending way too much time worrying about what the dog likes and doesn't like. As the human, it's your job to pick out a good food for her and have her eat it. It's not the dogs job to determine the menu.

Picky dogs are created, not born and you have created a picky dog by letting her decide what she wants to eat. It doesn't matter what you feed her, she is going to play this game with you as long as you allow it.

My suggestion for curing this chronic pickiness is to put her meal down and walk away. After 10 minutes of the dog showing no interest, pick up the food and put it away until next meal time. Put the same food out the next meal time and again, walk away and leave her with it. Repeat this process until she decides she isn't getting anything else different and eats her food.

Don't beg, cajole, intice, add anything to the food, or do anything else to get the dog to eat. Let the dog decide when she will eat. Don't feel like you are starving her. You aren't. You are offering food at each meal time. It is the dog who decides to eat or not to eat. If she goes 4 or 5 days, she just goes 4 or 5 days. It won't hurt her. No dog will starve itself in the presence of food. Make sure she has plenty of water. A dog that size can go 2 weeks or more without food with no ill effect.

Don't keep searching for a food she likes. She is playing a game with you and won't like anything. Find a food you think is healthy for her and feed it.

ETA: Dang!! Natalie typed faster than I did. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rawfed and Natalie, while I was trying to formulate a response to your posts, it was dinner time, and I gave her a bowl of just her old food and Innova. Wouldn't you know, she looked at it a minute, then ate the whole thing without protest. Either she heard what you said, or it just took her a little time to adjust to the change, but she is now scarfing it down happily - go figure. So thank you for your advice. I will try to bear it in mind.
 

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Unless your dog has an allergy to a particular grain, there is no reason to avoid any of these grains in their diet. In general, the consensus is that diets containing grains are perfectly healthy for dogs, as long as they are complete and balanced nutritionally. Grains provide a good source of carbohydrates for energy and fiber for gut health. Importantly, the carbohydrates are in a healthy form for the body to digest, rather than the high levels of soluble carbohydrates found in non-grain alternatives such as legumes, lentils, and sweet potatoes.

I think it`s important to provide your dog with products that best for them. So, if your dog feels good and healthy after taking grain food, why not? I also saw at this source that there is no proof about the connection between a grain-free diet or grain diet and dog diseases.
 
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