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Hi everyone. Little background here before I get into my question. A few months ago, I took in my girlfriend's 3 year old chihuahua. She wasn't a horrible owner, but he hadn't been to the vet in a while, and she was feeding him a bag of Nutro (I think) that she was given for free at a pet store. She also told me that he liked Science Diet more than the Nutro, so I've been feeding him that for the last couple months.

The dog's really healthy and full of life and everything, but I've just started doing some research, and... yeah. Not to thrilled about what I've been reading. Pretty much everything I've read is about how horrible Science Diet, and the rest of the big name brands are. I've been trying to decide on which brand I should buy, but I'm feeling really overwhelmed. Honestly, I know pretty much nothing about nutrition for myself, let alone my dog. But I'd rather him not eat trash everyday like I do.

So I've come to you guys for some help. I've been reading some posts, and everyone here seems knowledgeable. I know this is a pretty open question, but I'm really just looking for something to help me decide which food I should start feeding him. Cost doesn't matter. So yeah, which food would be best for my dog? Here's some info on him: He's a 3 year old (4 in Feb) chihuahua. About 4.5 pounds. He's not too active, but he doesn't sleep around the house all day (not everyday at least).

I was going to just try one of the higher rated foods, but then I read some posts that going to no-grain foods wouldn't be the best for every dog. And then some high protein diets might not be the best for smaller, less active dogs. So again, pretty confused.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Blue Buffalo is a really good food which you can find at Petsmart and
I think Petco now.
They use only human grade ingredients, no by-products, no wheat, no corn,
no soy. Deboned meat is always the first ingredient, WHOLE grain,
fresh fruits and veggies.
My dogs been eating them for a little over a year now and I have
no complaints.
They are happy, full of energy, satisfied, shiny and SOFT coat,
and they LOVE the taste.
What makes BB unique and stand out from the other brands is their
lifesource bits that is mixed in with their kibbles. Even cat formula.
These little lifesource bits are cooked in a much lower temperature,
so they are highly potent loaded with antioxidants and vitamins,
which helps to boost your dogs and cats immune system to help
save on vet bills down the road.
My dogs love it so much and do the happy dance each time
before I feed them.
I can go on and on about how happy I am with BB.

They also have a no grain formula called "Wilderness".

I am feeding their Wilderness grainfree food mixed in with
either their Fish/Sweet Potato, Lamb/Brown Rice or Chicken/Brown Rice
formula.

I hope you will give it a try!!
 

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What makes BB unique and stand out from the other brands is their
lifesource bits that is mixed in with their kibbles. Even cat formula.
These little lifesource bits are cooked in a much lower temperature,
so they are highly potent loaded with antioxidants and vitamins,
which helps to boost your dogs and cats immune system to help
save on vet bills down the road.
The LifeSource Bits are actually cold-formed so they nutrients in them are supposed to retain all of their potency Blue Buffalo - LifeSource Bits Dog and Cat Food with Antioxidants, Essential Vitamins, and Vital Nutrients.

You can also do a dog food comparison and they'll send you a free sample and $5 off coupon.

I agree that Blue Buffalo is the best food at PetsMart and one of the better ones at PetCo too. PetCo also has Wellness, which is also really good. Both brands have a small breed formula.

If you have a doggy boutique type store in your area your selection is much broader:
Innova Evo
Ziwi Peak
Orijen
Canidae
TimberWolf
Taste of the Wild
Artemis
Merrick

Most of these stores will also have free samples for you to see which one your Chihuahua likes best. Also, variety is good so if he likes many of them you can put him on a food rotation so he can get different nutrients, different protein sources, etc. If you go with a grain-free food, make sure you feed him less of it because it's so much higher fat and protein so he doesnt need as much to get what he needs out of it.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
 

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i've hard good things about blue buffalo. wellness is a really good food. you can always start out with the small breed formula and then rotate to the grain-free core version later. a friend of mine has two small min pins that aren't terribly active and she swears by innova (not the evo) small bites.

someone else i know has small maltese and shih tzus that LOVE merrick before grain the buffalo flavor and haven't had any issues with the protein level. you can pick up a trial sized bag for $2.99 and then it comes with a coupon for furture purchase of a larger bag.

let us know how your search goes :biggrin:
 

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As others have mentioned, if you need to buy from a large chain store, PetCo carries Wellness, Natural Balance, and Solid Gold all of which are good foods, PetSmart carries Blue Buffalo which is a good food as well. There is also California Natural and Innova which are both great foods too.

I would look at Dog Food Analysis - Reviews of kibble you want to be feeding at least a 4 star food, some are easier to find than others and they range price wise.

Good luck!
 

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The only reason I didn't recommend CA Natural is because you all mention the troubles with its low fiber content and having to add supplements to it so your pets are "regular." Figured the poor guy was overwhelmed enough without having to worry about supplementing just yet.
 

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The only reason I didn't recommend CA Natural is because you all mention the troubles with its low fiber content and having to add supplements to it so your pets are "regular." Figured the poor guy was overwhelmed enough without having to worry about supplementing just yet.
Just depends on the dog personally for mine yes they can't eat it, however my friend has a Schnauzer/poodle mix that she's fed CA Natural to for over a year and he does GREAT on it without any problems no supplements no nothin' and I know others that have had good luck with it too. So it really just depends on the dog, same with people some need more fiber than others.
 

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I would just like to add that you should remember to keep your dog on one brand for at least 6 weeks to be sure that your dogs body can fully handle the formula. If you do want to experiment with the different brands (and I do recomend the blue buffalo brand) then buy the 20 pound bag (or six weeks worth) and feed the hole thing. Otherwise you will only be changing the food and not giving the dog a chance to adjust and the body to figure out what is going on.
Just something else to think about! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I went with Blue Buffalo, and he seems to like it a lot. He just won't eat the black life-source bits. But he's eating the regular stuff, so I can't complain.

Thanks everyone!
 

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That's good! The kibbles themselves are completely balance, so the lifesource bits are just like having an added multivitamin, not entirely necessary, just nice to have in there. I know a couple of people who say their dogs go for the lifesource bits first and eat the kibble after they're all gone. Maybe he'll accidentally eat one and realizes he likes them after all. Either way, good choice. You'll have to let us know how he does in it and keep us posted!
 

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A lot of dogs don't like or won't eat the black vitamin pellets. None of mine would touch them. I switched over to Merick and Merick BG and have done well with my chi's. My friends Dachshund did well on BLue Buffalo although he refused to eat the pellets. I personally couldn't see paying for something my dogs don't eat. Even if it is just little pieces, the Blue Buffalo rep said to moisten the pellets with water and to leave them out until the dogs eat them. Ummmm no.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ha, my dog would NEVER eat something accidentally. He's ridiculously anal and OCD when he eats. It's crazy. He'll sniff around the bowl, find a peice he wants, put it on the floor next to the bowl, go back and forth a few times, then finally eat it.

I actually thought he would like those more than the kibble since they're similar in size and texture to his old food. It actually took him some time to start eating the BB food because he wasn't used to the shape.

I guess I might consider trying something new after he's done with this, but he really likes it, and he's picky enough as it is. I was actually thinking about crushing the lifesource bits and sprinkling them into a bowl of wet food.

Either way, I think we're good with BB for now.
 

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The BB is a perfectly good food on it's own, and if you're picky dog likes it, you should probably stick with it. As far as what that rep told you, I don't think you're supposed to put just the bits in warm water (despite what she may have said), you're supposed to use warm water on all of the food to bring out the natural flavor of it and soften the bits.

Here's a statement about it from BB:

Sometimes this can happen because the bits do give off a slightly different taste and they are a bit harder. Different textures and tastes can sometime throw off the animal. However, when this happens, it is just a matter of time before they get used to it. You can try adding some moist food to the dry and mixing it in to mask the bits until they get used to them or you can try sprinkling warm water on the food. This will bring out the natural flavors and aromas and make it more appealing to them. Your dog will still be benefiting from the food. The life source bits are an important part of the food, giving them all the nutrients needed. By eating only the kibble, they will still be getting nutrients from what is left after the cooking process, except it will be like eating any other premium food. However, BLUE has high quality ingredients that you do not always find in other foods; regardless of the potency of the vitamins.
 
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