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Okay. My story is a little confusing, and this is likely to be a little long. I've been trying to write this thread for a while now, but I keep getting distracted by all the information posted here. Anyway, I have two Teddy Roosevelt males (Rat Terriers, Type-B)

Snickers is 5, and last weighed at 20 lbs. A little heavier than I'd like him to be.
Peppermint is 1, and last weighed at 13 lbs. He's in good shape.

I have no idea what Snickers was fed before he came to me, when he was first rescued as a stray he stayed with my mom and she fed him a local store brands dog food in her area. When he came to me, she gave me a few bags of it to feed him since she had to change food (her lab has allergies). Anyway, I am out of the food now and can't for the life of me figure out what it's called, but I know it advertised as holistic on the bag. I remember reading through the ingredients and meat was the first ingredient. It wasn't bad, but I knew it wasn't anywhere near one of the best either. I also noticed that his stools weren't the most pleasant.

Peppermint was fostered before I adopted him from a rescue shelter, he was fed some Costco brand before he came to me. I weaned him off of that pretty fast and let them finish off the brand I had for Snickers already. I wanted to be able to save a bit to wean them again since I want to change foods, but I just made a big move and it drained my funds for the month. Getting back on my feet now.

Moving on a little more in the story and backtracking: after I noticed the problems Snickers seemed to be having with his stomach (i'm sure my mom didn't monitor his stools, but he was always gassy with her), he appeared to be constipated but gassy. I wanted to finish off the dry food I did have but bring in another option for him. So I started feeding him a few meats/fish with just a little bit of kibble in it. Wasn't working out so well (probably because I cooked it - mistake, huh?) That's when I started my research. I don't claim to be an expert, I spent several months researching foods and decide to add in Merrick wet food as a topper just until I could switch to a better kibble. This probably makes me sound like a selfish person, but my mom had told me he always did well on this dog food from what she can tell, and I thought maybe he was just having an adjustment period from moving in with me.

Well, the Merrick as a topper worked wonders, and eventually I just started feeding the cans only. Another mistake, I learned from that really fast and started figuring out the right portions, reading the cans and bags and figuring out what I should do. I now have both dogs at 25% Merrick wet food as a topper, with 75% of the dry kibble. Now, I am psyched to change to a new kibble in hopes that I can get my boys both really healthy. Snickers seems to have a few intolerances, but I can't tell from what. I do know his bowels are significantly different than Peppermint's at times. Pepper's are always healthy and he doesn't seem real gassy, Snickers is not near as gassy since the Merrick and on some cans he would throw up or have ugly poops. I've taken him off those specific cans from what I've noticed.

Now, coming on this forum, I'm aware that the good stuff is: Feed RAW, but if you can't or won't, then feed Grain Free with HIGH protein. Correct? We want low carbs, low fat, high protein and high fiber, with no grains?

Okay, now their schedule: Snickers won't eat anything in the morning, but we have a "tricky ball" that dispenses kibble when you nudge it with your muzzle/paw, and he eats some snacks out of it sporadically during the day. He has dinner time with his 25%, 75% dry food, doesn't eat it down too fast and finishes his serving. Peppermint likes a little bit of dry kibble in the morning, but also snacks slightly during the day with the tricky ball. He eats the same for dinner, but doesn't usually finish his all the way. He saves the rest for late at night before we go to bed.

Both dogs are pretty active. They do their rat runs around the house and in the back yard, and play all throughout the day .. wrestling, running around, tugowar, fetch. As of right now they are not getting walks, but that will change. I'd really like to get a few pounds off Snickers, like I said. He's much more active after bringing Peppermint into our home (we just got him a few months ago).

Now, I'm trying to figure out which food to feed with the Merrick cans. I like having the topper, so I hope that's not unhealthy for them. I know that Merrick is a good brand even though the protein could be a higher %, but when I see people here recommending it - are [you] recommending the BG line and not the entrees? I feed the entree's, and planned on feeding the Grammy's Pot Pie dry kibble, because I don't believe I have ever seen the BG at the feed store I go to, but I haven't looked for it either. I can't find Merrick anywhere else near me, so I just may not have that option available for me.

I know Orijen/Acana is amazing, but neither are in my area either. I know to stay away from things like Diamond, etc. However, if there's a better option than the Merrick, I would love to hear it so I can search and see if it's in my area. I know I can't transition properly and that I've made my mistakes, i'm trying to stop making my mistakes and learn what I need to learn. I have an interest in pet nutrition, it's just a lot to take in and a lot of research (which i love to do), but this is another way that I obtain information so I hope everybody/anybody here can help me figure out what to feed my boys! I'll appreciate any help I can get. :)
 

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Now, coming on this forum, I'm aware that the good stuff is: Feed RAW, but if you can't or won't, then feed Grain Free with HIGH protein. Correct? We want low carbs, low fat, high protein and high fiber, with no grains?
Since I am a raw feeder, I can't help you a whole lot with brand names but I do know canine nutrition and will let you know that you don't need to watch the amount of fat so much. Yes you want low carbs and high protein and pretty high fat also. Dogs utilize fat the same way humans utilize carbs so you need the fat to replace the carbs.

Okay, now their schedule: Snickers won't eat anything in the morning, but we have a "tricky ball" that dispenses kibble when you nudge it with your muzzle/paw, and he eats some snacks out of it sporadically during the day.

If you are having a weight problem, I would do away with the snacks all together. It sounds like they get exercise but more exercise will never hurt. As long as they are eating the snacks, you have no control on the exact amount they eat.

Now, I'm trying to figure out which food to feed with the Merrick cans. I like having the topper, so I hope that's not unhealthy for them.
I don't know what the ingredients are in the topper but if its mostly plant material, which I suspect it is, then it is not contributing to their health at all. It's just adding empty calories which you don't want if you have weight probelms.

I know that Merrick is a good brand even though the protein could be a higher %, but when I see people here recommending it - are [you] recommending the BG line and not the entrees?
Lower protein means higher carbs and you want higher protein and lower carbs. You will see most every brand recommended. People tend to recommend the brand they are feeding at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good to know about the fat! That helps, thank you.

So, they are fine with just one meal a day? I kept the tricky ball down because I was under the impression that they should be fed twice a day, so I thought the snacks would make up for it. It takes them a while to finish off the whole ball (the tricky ball just has kibble in it), I don't even replace it every day, and they both share it.

I'm a bit bummed about the wet food. Really? I really like serving the wet food, Snickers stares at a bowl of dry food and puts his nose up to it. I know dogs won't starve themselves and not to jump at every snort they give you, but I feel like Snickers takes it to a bit of an extreme. Maybe that's just because he's my dog and I care too much (lol). But, that's pretty much every wet food then? Hm.

Not trying to refuse advice, just taking it all in. I would just like some way to add "gravy", i'm open to suggestions, instead of just giving a bowl of dry food and leaving it there.
 

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Good to know about the fat! That helps, thank you.

So, they are fine with just one meal a day? I kept the tricky ball down because I was under the impression that they should be fed twice a day, so I thought the snacks would make up for it. It takes them a while to finish off the whole ball (the tricky ball just has kibble in it), I don't even replace it every day, and they both share it.

I'm a bit bummed about the wet food. Really? I really like serving the wet food, Snickers stares at a bowl of dry food and puts his nose up to it. I know dogs won't starve themselves and not to jump at every snort they give you, but I feel like Snickers takes it to a bit of an extreme. Maybe that's just because he's my dog and I care too much (lol). But, that's pretty much every wet food then? Hm.

Not trying to refuse advice, just taking it all in. I would just like some way to add "gravy", i'm open to suggestions, instead of just giving a bowl of dry food and leaving it there.
If you want to do a gravy, you'd be better off getting beech nut baby food which is just meat and water (Gerbers has additives in it) and diluting it with water and using it as a topper. Or boil up some chicken breasts and then run them through the blender. The toppers you buy are full of additives and preservatives and chemicals that are very unhealthy.
 

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So, they are fine with just one meal a day?
It's the total volume of food that counts. You can divide it up between two meals a day or just once a day.

I'm a bit bummed about the wet food. Really?
I don't know what the ingredients are in the toppers you use but if its plant marerial, you don't want to feed it. You can still use canned dog food that is mostly meat for a topper if you wish. Just remember you have a dog with a weight problem and you don't want to feed him too much.

I feel like Snickers takes it to a bit of an extreme. Maybe that's just because he's my dog and I care too much (lol).
Sounds to me like he just has you trained very well. :smile:

But, that's pretty much every wet food then? Hm.
I don't know ... look at the ingredients and the protein/fat content. You want a lot of protein/fat and very little carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He's not completely huge or anything, I'm not sure if he's overweight by standards but I know in the winter he gained a pound and i'd like to break it off. Making the portion sizes more even makes completely sense, thank you. I hope i'm not coming off as completely niave, i'm trying the best I can to learn what I need to do to fix my mistakes.

There are meat products in the topper, but there are plants, too. He handles chicken the best out of everything so I feed those more than the others.
 

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How about using canned meat like EVO that is labelled 95% meat, I think they have tins of 95% in different proteins. I think I'm pretty sure I use to use Evangers 100% beef, if you could find those I'm sure they would be an excellent topper to use. If you want the fish, maybe he would like a can of salmon (human)?
Just trying to help with some different options.
 

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I'll see if any local stores have Evo or Evangers, writing it down now. The salmon is a good idea, too. I'm going to look up Evo and Evangers now to see their can options. Thanks!

Now i'm just trying to find a good grain-free dry kibble that sells in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I found a place online that I think i'm willing to pay for Orijen .. it seems to be the best option right now.
 
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