Needing help on how to feed, how to change feed?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Canine Nutrition Needing help on how to feed, how to change feed?

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  • #27896 Report Abuse

    Hi all. I have two pit/lab mixes father and daughter, and a stray black lab mix I adopted, aged 4, 2 and just a month shy of 1 year. All three dogs have black in their tongues and I’ve been told this means they are all mixed with something other than pit or lab, but what either dad and daughter or stray is mixed with, I dunno. (daughter’s mom was a pit/wimeriner)

    Anyway. So I have all three on a wellness plan and they’ve all seen the doctor for my over-worried mommy tendencies at least once a month for the last four months; I got the stray on a plan just yesterday and the docs are all impressed with her bloodwork/health/coat just like my other two.

    I never had pets until my late twenties and so right off, I just followed what my then-bf did with his dog (he’d had animals for years), as far as feeding goes, which was to free feed dry kibble. While he would get the cheapest kind not caring to read the label, when I was gainfully employed I fed mine Natural Balance grain-free lamb, then had to change and for the last six months or so, they’ve all been eating the Pure Balance Chicken & Brown Rice from Walmart, as I thought $30ish for a 30 lb bag of what is supposed to be natural ingredients sounds like a good deal to me.

    BUT!! I have been reading over on consumer affairs about all the dogs that’ve died eating Ol’ Roy products, sometimes the PB dry line included. My vet said try Purina One, but that has a lesser rating than Pure Balance according to this website last time I checked.

    I’m trying to become more healthy in way of eating less chemicals and want to bring my dogs along, so I thought I was doing good with the PB over the Purina being that there were less questionable ingredients. But then I hear about “Well, what does the fish on the boat on its way to the processing plant get treated with?” and “Anything from China is bad for your dogs to be eating, nothing good comes outta there.” and “Dog food companies? It could be one processing plant stateside today and a different one in Taiwan tomorrow, as far as manufacturers are concerned. Both foods are still going into a bag that looks and is priced the same, and thus makes the manufacturers their profit.”

    All that said… My FIRST goal, if it can be something I can afford money/time wise to do, is to simply transition my dogs from Pure Balance to homemade food. SECOND, if I cannot do that, is to find two or three trusted brands that will be healthy-as-possible without killing my pocket — I might be living off of just disability soon, but I need my dogs alive as part of my healing process should I ever hope to have “a real job” again soon.

    So…let the comment flying begin please! Do you have any cheaper-than-raw-steak-all-the-time recommendations for a basic homemade diet I can start with immediately until I can build from there? Or do you have anything other than Pure Balance that you can recommend based on price-point and natural ingredients, not to mention a GOOD reputation from the brand/manufacturer??

    I am very very lost, and have much to stress about already…what I’m feeding my dogs and it’s potential long-term-and-hidden side effects is not another thing I need. It seems that from what I can tell this community of dog people LOVE their pets and share advice, so please please, share!! And THANK YOU THANK YOU in advance.

    Jesika and her three…Toby, Rhi and Midnight.

    P.S. What about dehydrated foods? I just saw these at my local Sprouts Market and wonder — could this, though a little more pricey than what I buy now, be a happy medium between having to worry about manufacturer defect killing my dog and my having to cook them a meal every day, all while getting the nutrition they need? Hmmm…

    #27897 Report Abuse

    P.S. If you have any need to contact me privately, feel free to email at gmail: jesika91911. I.E. If you have a food comparison spreadsheet file, book list file, etc to send. I doubt the forum lets you upload files for sharing such information??

    #27910 Report Abuse

    I’m not going to suggest any foods, but I am going to suggest a rotational diet. Find a few different foods that your dogs do well on and switch between them. This is healthier for their gut than just sticking to one food.

    #27955 Report Abuse

    @Patty – Thanks for replying.
    While I know you won’t recommend food, I’ve seen your name over many many a thread and so being that you’ve got apparently MUCH more knowledge than I…can you tell me — Is it necessarily “better” to feed your dog homemade food versus store bought? And then of course from store bought, better to feed rotating dry only, or a mixture of dry and wet? And what about this dehydrated food? I had never seen/heard of that till last week and I was thinking if what I want to do (aside from being able to make them homemade food) is go up in food quality which means going up in price, do you know if buying dehydrated is typically “better” quality than if I just started buying a more ‘name brand’ higher-rated dry food?


    #27969 Report Abuse

    I don’t want to imply that I won’t suggest foods, but my dogs are doing best on foods that are in no way budget friendly, so I don’t have a lot of budget friendly foods that I am good with.

    That being said, yes, feeding different kinds of food is better than feeding one kind. The more different variety, the better. Raw is best, but your dogs can get some of the benefits of raw by getting a little raw in their diets, a turkey, duck, or chicken neck each week or a can of sardines. Dehydrated foods are great but very expensive. I use them and freeze dried foods as treats. Homemade is great too, but you have to do it right or your dog will end up sick from not getting certain nutrients. Kibbles are actually the most processed dog food, but there are some great kibbles at a good price. I don’t think they are as inexpensive as Pure Balance, but they are better quality. I like NutriSource and Earthborn.

    I hope someone else will post some more ideas for you. What I usually tell people is to print up the list of 4 and 5 star foods and take it with them to all the different place around that have dog food. Take notes about where you find what and for how much. When you are on a budget, but want better for your dog, you can try adding some of a better quality food to whatever your base kibble is, or adding fresh foods like eggs, yogurt, lean meats, etc.

    #28176 Report Abuse

    I’ll suggest some more budget friendly foods, better than what you’ve mentioned: dr Tim’s (some of his, if you order online) come in larger bags, Fromm, NutriSource.

    #28334 Report Abuse

    Oh yes, I totally put it into the title, but forgot to mention in my overwhelming post…a

    “How to feed”

    For at least the last two years I’ve done free feeding, as this is how my ex did it (although I don’t dump the whole bag in a tub and let them go to town, I at least give them a dish…lol), but I am thinking if I’m going to be making their food, it doesn’t need to sit out all day…same with them eating a more expensive kibble, I don’t want them eating more than they need.

    Truth be told, I have the measurements for what my dogs (combined) *should* be eating, and currently they undereat, so it’s not so much that I think they will eat too much… It is just that in my effort to be an ever better dog momma, I think they should have a little more structure.

    So rather than just, from one day to the next, start letting them know “eat now”…any suggestions on going from a free feed schedule to a “every morning, time to eat” or what have you schedule?


    And @Patty – each time you talk you elude a bit more as to why you don’t recommend kibbles, and that is great, but by chance do you have a link where I can educate myself on how to *make* their food, as if I can make sure to give them the proper nutrition they need, then I am all about making i.e. the unflavored rice for them and then simply seasoning my portion that I’ll be eating. And lol, I didn’t even know that yougurt was good, although I’ve heard that egg whites (raw) do absolutely nothing for them?? So lol, being that you’ve got a lot of good logic, please feel free to point me in a TRUSTED direction to learn about what, other than straight up raw meat, to feed them. Thanks!

    #28350 Report Abuse

    Don’t get me wrong. I do use and recommend some kibbles. I just have a dog that has issues that severely limit what kibbles he can have, and there are literally thousands of kibbles. My brain space is limited and it is already overfull, so I try to let the people who have ideas about what will work for you have their say, instead of trying to cram more into my brain. I can’t even remember the name of my favorite website with recipes right now, but if you google making homemade dog food, it is one of the top ones that comes up. My favorite books are Dr Karen Becker’s “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” and Steve Brown’s “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet.” Oh yeah, the website is Dogaware dot com.

    Oh and I feed whole raw eggs twice a week and lightly cooked eggs twice a week. There are good things in both, but too much raw egg white can be a problem.

    You are right, if you are going to add anything to the kibble or make homemade foods, you need a little more structure at feeding time. The first thing I would do is to take a guess at how much each dog should be eating, then decide if you want to feed one or two meals a day. I would at least start at twice a day since they are used to eating multiple times a day. Get a few cans of dog food and put 1/2 of the dog’s daily ration in a bowl with a couple spoonfuls of canned mixed in and give each dog their food bowl for 15 minutes. If they finish sooner great, tell them how good they are. If they don’t finish, pick up the food and put it in the fridge for the next meal. You may want to add warm water the next meal. Once they are in the habit of eating when you give them food, you are ready to move on.

    Sorry I’m not more help. I’m having to deal with my Aunt who has Alzheimer’s and some other issues and it is driving me to distraction. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I don’t know what I’ve read where. Frankly, I think my brain is turning to mush too.

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