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Hi all!

I'm new here, and looking for some advice on dog food. I have a 13 month old GSD/collie mix (my avatar) named Timber and an 8 year old beagle, Bonnie. (I also have a cat, chickens, and a horse.)

Anyways, to make a long story short, I had fed Purina One to several dogs over the years with good results, but now they've changed formulas and Purina One Smartblend is awful, so I've been researching my other options. (Smartblend made both dog's coats go to crap, and my beagle's eyes have been runny & I don't like her poops.) I currently am adding fresh eggs from our own chickens to their food.

The two brands I came up with that are in our price range and corn/soy/wheat free are Diamond Naturals and Tractor Supply's 4Health. (And yes, I know that they are not the "best," but they seem to be "better" brands.)

Now, here is where I need assistance: Besides price, and 4Health including glucosamine & chondroitin in all foods (not just the large breed formulas), what are the main differences between these two in terms of quality, etc?

Also, do you think it's beneficial for the GSD to stay on a "large breed" food? She's my first large breed dog, and had been on large breed food from when I got her as a pup until I tried the Smartblend about a month or two ago.

(And if anyone's a cat person, I think I'm switching my kitty Hemi to 4Health's all life stage food.)

Thank you all so much, I appreciate it!
Jess
 

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4 Health is made by Diamond as well. I know a few breeders using it and they seem to like it. You can also try Costco's Kirkland, which is also made by Diamond but is much cheaper than 4 Health or Diamond Naturals. I believe the Costco food is $23.99 for 40lbs. People that use it give it high marks.

What you will find on many forums is that people slam products they have never used just by reading labels.

The other recommendations I have are Canidae ALS & Pro Pac.

You will find many recommendations for Orijen, Acana and several other very expensive foods that have no known benefit, except to the company that sells them.
 

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Kirkland is a mid ranged food, and canidae is alright as well.. both are made by diamond. Pro pac has corn.. which I would avoid.. because of coat issues and allergies.

I think for the price Taste of the Wild is a great grain free food for a decent price. Don't just look at the price, look at the ingredients as well.. you will be feeding less of the TotW because there is no fillers like rice. Your dog's poops will be smaller as well. I think it would be no more expensive to feed than Purina One, and probably cheaper.

Acana and Orijen are great foods with many benefits to the dog, but they ARE on the pricier side. Check out Taste of the Wild. It's part of the rotation my dog's breeder was on.. and she feeds working herding dogs.
 

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"Pro pac has corn.. which I would avoid.. because of coat issues and allergies"

This is what I am talking about. This person has absolutely nothing to support this. Every Vet school in country has looked into this and the answer is Rice & Corn have same incidence of allergies.

Please refer me to the scientific journal that say corn causes coat issues & allergies???

Please send me the link.
 

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This is why.. I am recommending a grain free food, which has neither.

I am only going from my own experiences, with my two cats and my parent's dog, ALL THREE who have a corn allergy (not one to rice, wheat or soy). Either way, any grain is a mostly indigestable and cheap source of protein and filler... which would be better off being replaced by meat.

Anyway, I am still recommending the grain free food due to filler and allergy issues, it's a great price and can be found at Tractor Supply. If you like, here are the ingredients:

Bison, venison, lamb meal, chicken meal, egg product, sweet potatoes, peas, potatoes, canola oil, roasted bison, roasted venison, natural flavor, tomato pomace, ocean fish meal, choline chloride, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces cerevesiae fermentation solubles, dried Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

4Health:

Chicken, chicken meal, cracked pearled barley, millet, brewers rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, glucosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, yucca schidigera extract, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Diamond Naturals:

Lamb, lamb meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, egg product, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), millet, beet pulp, potatoes, flaxseed, natural flavor, fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, Yucca schidigera extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, L-Carnitine, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid


So both the two brands you listed are close to the same.. they are pretty decent.
 

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I wouldn't lose too much sleep on the 4Health --or-- Diamond Naturals decision. They are both manufactured by the same company...ingredient lists are nearly identical. Personally, I'd buy whichever is least expensive.

For pete's sake, I saw Diamond Naturals Red Meat(whichever formula that is) on sale recently for 19.99 for 40 lbs.

I wouldn't put any weight into Glucosamine.... most of believe its a gimmick and the levels are too small to have much if any impact. If you believe in Glucosamine(and there is some real evidence to indicate it doesn't do much for humans, not sure about Dogs)...I would supplement with it outside of the food.

Don't be ashamed of Diamond Naturals or 4health. While they aren't the best, they are certainly decent foods and a nice option for those on a budget. I'm starting to give more slack to Diamond in lieu of their recent commitment to ommitting Ethoxyquin as a preservative and the associated guarantee.
 

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"Pro pac has corn.. which I would avoid.. because of coat issues and allergies"

This is what I am talking about. This person has absolutely nothing to support this. Every Vet school in country has looked into this and the answer is Rice & Corn have same incidence of allergies.

Please refer me to the scientific journal that say corn causes coat issues & allergies???

Please send me the link.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118793301/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
Evaluation of the clinical and allergen specific serum immunoglobulin E responses to oral challenge with cornstarch, corn, soy and a soy hydrolysate diet in dogs with spontaneous food allergy
H. A. Jackson* , M. W. Jackson*, L. Coblentz‡ and B. Hammerberg†
*Department of Clinical Sciences, †Farm Animal Health and Resource Management, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA ‡Evesham Veterinary Clinic, 800 Route 73 South, Marlton, New Jersey, USA
Correspondence to H. A. Jackson, Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA. E-mail: [email protected]
Copyright © 2003 European Society of Veterinary Dermatology
KEYWORDS
dog • food allergy • hydrolysed protein • IgE • intradermal test
Abstract
AbstractINTRODUCTIONMATERIALS AND METHODSRESULTSDISCUSSION

Abstract Fourteen dogs with known clinical hypersensitivity to soy and corn were maintained on a limited antigen duck and rice diet until cutaneous manifestations of pruritus were minimal (78 days). Sequential oral challenges with cornstarch, corn and soy were then performed. Subsequently, the dogs were fed a diet containing hydrolysed soy protein and cornstarch. Throughout the study period the dogs were examined for cutaneous manifestations of pruritus and, additionally, serum was collected for measurement of allergen-specific and total immunoglobulin (Ig)E concentrations. Intradermal testing with food antigens was performed prior to entry into the study and after 83 days. A statistically significant clinical improvement was measured between days 0 and 83. Significant pruritus was induced after oral challenge with cornstarch, corn and soy (P = 0.04, 0.002, 0.01, respectively) but not with the hydrolysed diet (P = 0.5). The positive predictive value of the skin test for soy and corn allergy was reduced after feeding a soy and corn free diet. Although increases in soy and corn-specific serum IgE concentrations were measured in individual dogs post challenge they were not statistically significant and could not be used to predict clinical hypersensitivity.
 
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"Pro pac has corn.. which I would avoid.. because of coat issues and allergies"

This is what I am talking about. This person has absolutely nothing to support this. Every Vet school in country has looked into this and the answer is Rice & Corn have same incidence of allergies.

Please refer me to the scientific journal that say corn causes coat issues & allergies???

Please send me the link.
Dog Food Allergies This was from a published book:
Dog food allergies are linked to skin diseases in dogs (1). The gold standard for dog food allergies is the elimination diet. By removing suspected food allergens from your pet’s diet you may see a decrease in your best friend’s food allergy related symptoms.

Dog food may contain many highly allergenic foods such as wheat, corn, dairy, and soy (2). Based on a September, 2002 study published in Advances in Small Animal Medicine and Surgeryhese are the foods that may be the most allergenic for dogs:

* Beef – 34%
* Dairy – 20%
* Chicken – 20%
* Wheat – 16%
* Egg – 7%
* Lamb – 5%
* Soy – 5%
* Corn – 3%
* Pork – 2%
* Rice – 2%
* Fish – 1%

It looks like the foods dogs eat the most might be, or maybe “beef”, the cuplrits. After eating these foods your pet may experience an allergic reaction or it may not. There are common types of food allergies: IgE and IgG.

The IgE type reaction usually causes an immediate reaction and can cause swelling of the throat and other tissues that come in contact with the allergen.

The other type of dog food allergy is called an IgG type reaction or delayed hypersensitivity. The effects of this food allergy, if your dog experiences them, may take days to manifest. Thus, this type of food allergy is often hidden from the pet owners and more difficult to diagnose.

As I said at the beginning of this article, the gold standard for food allergy testing is the elimination diet. Many doctors prefer skin testing for IgE food allergies because elimination diets can be difficult to do because the diet can be very restrictive. A skin test involves injecting a small amount of the food allergen under the skin of the dog and waiting to see if a redness develops around the site. The bigger the red area or inflammation the more likely a food allergy has been detected.

There are other blood tests that seek to determine IgE food allergies. These involve drawing a sample of blood from the dog and testing it to see how many antibodies for different foods there are present in the dog’s blood stream. The accuracy of these tests is often disputed and some food allergies may be missed. Thus, if you suspect your dog has a food allergy and the test says its negative you do not have enough evidence to give your dog that food. It may be dangerous to base your dog’s diet on a blood test!

Currently, there is no test that I know of specifically to determine IgG dog food allergies. These are the “hidden food allergies” I discusses above. The benefit of testing for these types of food allergies is that you then have a guide to do a rotation diet. Rotation diets involve removing the suspected food for several days to see how symptoms change and then reintroducing the food to see if the symptoms reappear.

Research is being done at Meridian Valley Lab on dog food allergy testing

1. Griffin, CE. Skin immune system and allergic diseases. In: Scott, DW; Miller, WH; Griffin, CE (eds). Muller and Kirk’s Small Animal Dermatology. WB Saunders,Philadelphia PA, 2001.
2. Which Ingredients are Most Likely to Cause Food Allergies in Dogs and Cats?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Large breed food?

Thank you all for your input, I appreciate it. (Although the posts slamming each other are awkward...)

For those of you with adult large breed dogs- do you feed a large breed formula or just regular adult food? Large breed formulas seem to be lower in protein, fat, and calories, but is a special feed necessary if you monitor their weight to keep them fit and provide exercise?
 

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Large breed formulas seem to be lower in protein, fat, and calories, but is a special feed necessary if you monitor their weight to keep them fit and provide exercise?
Absolutely not!!! These large breed formulas as well as puppy, senior, etc are all marketing gimmics designed to convince you that this particular food was formulated with your dog in mind. The differences in them are so small as to make no practical difference.
 

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Thank you all for your input, I appreciate it. (Although the posts slamming each other are awkward...)

For those of you with adult large breed dogs- do you feed a large breed formula or just regular adult food? Large breed formulas seem to be lower in protein, fat, and calories, but is a special feed necessary if you monitor their weight to keep them fit and provide exercise?
When I was feeding Shellie kibble (I feed raw now) I didn't feed a Large breed formula as my research showed they are just a marketing ploy to sell more dog food. I fed her Wellness Core, TOTW Pacific Stream & Blue Wilderness when she was eating kibble.
 

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Thank you all for your input, I appreciate it. (Although the posts slamming each other are awkward...)

For those of you with adult large breed dogs- do you feed a large breed formula or just regular adult food? Large breed formulas seem to be lower in protein, fat, and calories, but is a special feed necessary if you monitor their weight to keep them fit and provide exercise?
as a large breed owner, the only thing i stay away from are higher Calcium contents, and only while they are doing most of their growing (mainly in many of the grainless foods, except orijen and a couple of the acana formulas)....once they are done growing i dont worry about Ca levels.

there are adult foods that are fine for a large breed puppy, but IMO most of the grainless foods are not. heck, even Wellness themselves warns against feeding their most expensive product (Wellness Core) to large breed pups due to Cores Ca level. (dont you think they would love to sell more Core to puppy owners??)

puppy or adult, i am completely unconcerned about higher protein levels if they are at least coming mostly from animal products. i also dont worry much about fat levels or calorie counts. most of the more meat filled kibbles are going to have 450+ calories per cup.

more importantly than calories or fat are monitoring how much you feed and keeping yopur dog lean and strong.
 

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TOTW Sierra Mountain formula looks good for large breed puppies. The calcium level is 1.6% and the phosphorus level is 1.0%. For large breed adults, all formulas are good. Just make sure you keep them lean, puppy or adult.
 

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as a large breed owner, the only thing i stay away from are higher Calcium contents, and only while they are doing most of their growing .
I've heard that before...However, how to you figure out the calcium content of a feed if the percentage isn't listed? Both 4Health and Diamond Naturals list "calcium pantothenate" on the label, but don't give a specific percentage. Or, should I not really be concerned anymore since she's 13 months now and seems to be done growing (at least height wise)?
 

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If the company doesn't list it, you need to call them up. Diamond large breed formula lists calcium and phosphourous levels. They don't list maximum calcium levels. I was looking this up for a friend last week, so I called them up. I think it was 1.4%(can't remember :biggrin:) They don't list it for the rest of the formulas. Ideal is 1.5% or lower for calcium and 1% and lower for phosphourous. If your pup is done growing, than you dont have to worry about it. My dog and my sisters dog are on TOTW and are doing great:smile: If you could afford it, I would pick that over diamond naturals. Otherwise diamond naturals, 4health and Kirkland signature will be fine. My friends dogs are on diamond natural and they look good.
 

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I've heard that before...However, how to you figure out the calcium content of a feed if the percentage isn't listed? Both 4Health and Diamond Naturals list "calcium pantothenate" on the label, but don't give a specific percentage. Or, should I not really be concerned anymore since she's 13 months now and seems to be done growing (at least height wise)?
at 13 months, i would not worry about it at all. your dog will add some muscle mass, but the skeleton has done most of its growth, if not all.
 

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TOTW Sierra Mountain formula looks good for large breed puppies. The calcium level is 1.6% and the phosphorus level is 1.0%. For large breed adults, all formulas are good. Just make sure you keep them lean, puppy or adult.
i never cared for foods like that for my growing GSD because i want to have more meat content, and at only 25% protein and only 337 calories, i know there isnt much meat in there. i dont understand why TOTW watered down the Sierra and Pacific Stream formulas.
 

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Yeah, I wish it had higher protein and fat levels like the other 2 formulas. They did this to keep the pacific and sierra formulas, the same price as the wetlands and praire. Otherwise they would have had to jack the price up, wich is what they should have done. I still use them, as I rotate all 4 formulas

Also when comparing calorie content, I use kcal/kg. kcal/cup is not a measurement of weight, its how much kibble can fit in an 8oz. cup. kcal/kg is better to compare different kibbles. Even though the calorie content is not much lower, it doesnt make up for the lower protein percentages :frown:
 
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