Sadly, Natural Balance going over to the Dark Side of the Force with Del Monte has completely buggered my trust in the brand after my boys were doing so well on their Ultra and/or Synergy formulas. Ever since I learned of the merger, I have been hypervigilant about any signs of food sensitive issues with both dogs (some kind of shepherd with long hair mix-mutt and our runt-y most likely pitbull/staffordshire we think).
As of the last bag of food, the Natural Balance Ultra, I noticed that our Pit has had more than one issue of vomiting and notable signs of apparent nausea (lots of lip licking, less than energetic), and the Shepherd mutt has had some issues with stool that starts okay and then becomes runny, but not quite full blown diarrhea. If it had been just once, I would have just assumed it was them eating something out of the trash or garden that they oughtn’t have, but twice or more, and it starts to become a THING. Add that to the fact that they seem notably less interested in the food (they are free feeding dry kibble, and they don’t eat with enthusiasm but more like obligation) and that the mutt has been acting like HE has a tummy ache when its usually the Pit with the sensitive stomach, and now I have enough reason to switch from the NB line, because I don’t trust Del Monte to maintain the standards with it.
What dry kibble can I get that will approximate the ingredients that were in the Synergy? I think that was best since it really seemed to cut down on the number and size of the poops, which were always firm and never gooey like the second half of them are now. and the Pit didn’t spend all day itching and licking paws and shaking his head the way he does whenever he eats cheap food. He has had an increase in ear itchiness lately, and lots of butt licking and even the mutt seems to be chewing on himself more nowadays, but the last two bags have been Ultra, not Synergy, so that may have something to do with it.
Still I would prefer to stay away from anything that is mass produced by a corp that spent millions to oppose GMO labeling along with Monsanto, and now the Natural Balance is on that list, so Synergy is out too. Looking for a replacement kibble from a brand that is at least popular enough to be carried in Petco or a feed supply chain that isn’t going to have boutique hours only, and one that is sold in LARGE bags of at least more than 25 pounds, preferably more. I figure similar makeup will have similar results with the boys and I’d like to have similar effects as the Synergy, which did nice things for their coat and their apparent digestive tract tolerance, resulting in smaller neater and fewer stools, and gave them lots of energy and they didn’t have to eat a ton of it. I don’t mind if it has rice, as that seems to suit them well enough without issue.
Anyone got a good replacement suggestion that doesn’t cost 85 bucks a bag? I am exhausted from the researching and have no idea where to begin now. It doesn’t need to be ultra premium, but should be at least a 3 star choice. It would be easier to pick something to replace it with if I understood what was good about the Synergy in the first place beyond the effects, but I just have no idea why it worked, it just did.
Curse them for selling out!
(After reading more articles on that acquisition, I am even more nervous about the direction that the NB brand may be headed. There was one article that had some scary wording in it concerning the awareness that people would pay more for foods that APPEARED TO BE better for their animals. It almost seemed to be a deliberate avoidance of what it actually WAS as opposed to how it LOOKED to be. The emphasis was all on how they wanted to capture a bigger share of the market and were interested in the premium lines because of what consumers would be willing to spend, with no focus at all on providing quality that would sustain that. I think it was a money grab, and that means that they will maximise it by cutting costs wherever possible too. And I’ve noticed in the reviews on their foods over the last two months, there are a lot of dogs with similar vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy that had been feeding NB for years without that happening. I can’t risk it.)
Horizon Complete, Victor, Nutrisource, Nature’s Select (Hi-Pro formula), Holistic Select have grain inclusive foods similar to Synergy. Merrick does also but it’s notably higher in protein than the others including Synergy. And there’s also Infinia Chicken and Brown Rice.
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