We are preparing to switch our year old puppy to adult food. Though this site has been helpful, I’m still confused. Our goal, like most people, is to get the best food we can for our dog on our small budget. I researched the 5 to 4 rated foods on both the editor’s choice list and the budget list. I don’t understand the criteria. At first I thought it was meat content that separated the 5s from the 4s, but then found some grain based rated high. Please help me make more sense of this.
We’d like to stay around a $1 per pound or less.
Hi Debbie- When I first started researching nutrition for my dog, I felt the same way as you did. I thought grains were bad and all dogs were automatically prone to reacting to them, I had to feed a 5 star food or my dog would be unhealthy etc. After taking a deep breath, I realized that while this site is a good jumping off point, you have to find a food that works for you, your budget, and your dog and his/her needs. That may or may not include a 5 star food. I have fed a lot of 5 star foods starting with Blue Wilderness and ending with Orijen. My dog did ok on these 5 star grain free foods, but still had skin issues that I couldn’t seem to resolve. Now, my boy is eating a food that this site gives only 3.5 stars to, but for us its a 10 star food. His hair has grown back, his poop is the best its been and best of all he loves the food (hes picky as can be). It’s grain based and doesn’t have the meat content that some of the 5 star foods have, but it’s working great for us and I couldn’t be happier with the food.
The brand I use is Fromm and they make a great budget friendly Adult food in their Fromm Family Classics line.
Hi Debbie H,
Here’s a link to an older thread on this forum listing several budget friendly foods. They might be a bit more than $1/lb, but you feed less of the better food and will have a generally healthier dog.
since it’s an older list, I’m not sure if Pure Balance, Victor or Pro Pac Ultimates is on it. These are budget friendly too.
Here’s the link:InkedMarieMember
$1.00 a pound is going to be hard to work with in looking for a high quality food. Budget friendly foods I know of are Dr Tim’s, Voctor, Eagle…zuponicafeMember
I have a 10 m/o medium/large mixed breed and after my initial puppy paranoia I decided to feed him a variation of different brands wet & dry.
I find great deals on some really decent food and it has helped to keep things w/in reason on food costs. Luckily he doesn’t have allergies so I’ve not had to worry there and his tolerance to switching has been fantastic.
I might add there are a lot of different pet food suppliers nearby, so I can kinda shop around which is great for finding deals.Joseph RMember
I just signed up for Editor’s Choice, having only found this website an hour ago! My 9 month old cocker spaniel, Charlie, is in the hospital for the 8th time in 6 months. He’s had more procedures and tests than you want to know, and even an endoscopy.
He’s been eating Purina Pro Plan chicken and rice, and while it seems it’s the only thing he likes, he is suffering with unbelievable explosive diarrhea. I was looking for an Editor’s Choice with limited ingredients, but there doesn’t appear to be that option on this site.
Does anyone have a suggestion?
Hi Joseph- I had a similar experience with that Pro Plan formula when I gave my dog a sample of it. Not sure why he reacted to that one, but not the ProPlan Sensitive Skin and Stomach.
Zignature has some good LID formulas you could look into. So does Natural Balance, Canine Caviar, Merrick and a few others that I can’t think of off the top of my head.Joseph RMember
Thanks Pitlove, I will look into them immediately. A friend suggested Natural Balance, but this is a good list.
No problem. Here what chewy.com has for their selection of LID foods. This might give you some ideasdan gMember
Hi & welcome. Its quite a difficult balance at times, trying to do the right thing for my best friend & feeling good about what i have done. Best to study & know what might be best for your dog. This is only one man’s opinion/experience.
With the insurgence of grain free (more protein) foods also comes an increase of kidney failure at vets. So far, they still debate the cause as high protein or phospherus. Our Vito is now on a low protien diet with regular blood tests to monitor. Prescription Hills Science Diet is far from cheap. This also led to the most studied yet still least understood phenomena in the canine world of him eating his own poop. He seems to be pretty picky but……jeeze. Speculation is that he is craving protein & doesnt know where else to get it.
Our Ginger has occassional bouts of bacterial imbalance in her colon. Gives a whole new meaning to “blow it out your ………” Worse when i was making her food so we have comitted to commercial brands. I use this site regularly & stick to 4+.
For dry we use Chicken Soup as she seems to like it & of course makes us feel good. They just came out with a smaller kibble we all like. We mix half a can with dry X2 daily for main feedings. Usually canned is Merrick Classic (which is getting way too pricey lately), Nutro products, Chicken Soup & some in between. Currently shopping for & trying different brands. Remember to slowly introduce new foods to avoid digestive issues with negative or unpleasant outcomes, pun intended. Mix the last of previous dry with some of the new.
Roughly once a week we give Vito & Ginger a can of grain free with a little dry & it seems to satisfy protein cravings somewhat.
Remember what goes in comes out & must be monitored. Crappy job but someones gotta do it. Good luck & wishing longevity to your baby.
Dan g & Laura.
Hi dan g,
You said “With the insurgence of grain free (more protein) foods also comes an increase of kidney failure at vets. So far, they still debate the cause as high protein or phospherus.” Could you please link where you got this information from.
As far as any studies I’ve read there is no link between high protein and kidney failure. Putting a healthy dog on a low protein diet to avoid kidney failure is very old,
Phosphorus, not protein needs to be bound and/or only when kidneys are failing, and not necessarily in the beginning stages. Grain free does not necessarily equate to high protein. BTW, Merrick canned classics are all grain free, they have been for a while now. I’ve fed them for years. I also have had a CRF dog, so I had to learn a lot about it.dan gMember
Just passed on info from Vito’s vet & googled the rest.
Hi dan g,
I don’t know what you googled, but here are a variety of links that are backed by research studies.
Here’s a link that’s fairly easy to read. This was a study that was in a Purina nutrition forum that found that even dogs with renal failure actually had a higher mortality rate on the low protein diet:
A lot of people like Purina’s research:
Eating dehydrated food their whole life, leaving them in a constant state of slight dehydration and dental disease are more likely causes of kidney failure.Rebecca PMember
I am new too and a little overwhelmed too. I have a lab mix that I have had for 11 years, and she had a tumor a few years ago that woke me up. I started giving her a grain free diet and have loved it. We adopted a 5 year old lab mix about 7 months ago and he is now on the grain free as well. I have given them Exclusive for the last two years. (older one longest). But I have only found it at PBS Animal Heath store and it’s about 30 minutes from me. My husbands job keeps us moving frequently so gearing up for another move I am looking for a good and healthy food for them that I can get at a name brand pet store that will likely be wherever we move. I just bought a bag of the Castor’s Grain free duck to start introducing to them and see how it goes. It has a 5 star rating on here.
Just look for what will work for you, your budget, and your Pups. 🙂 Good luck!Toni MMember
Wow! I am new and overwhelmed as well!! I am a new BC Mom to a 1 1/2 year old rescue.
He was on TOTW as a puppy. After reading recalls and reviews etc. I was terrified so I switched him to Simply Nourish (for the last 6 months.) He recently started biting his paws and they smelled a little yeasty, so I start looking for a new food. Back to TOTW but he seems reluctant to eat it. Read more reviews = more anxiety.
TOTALLY CONFUSED. Grain-free or not * Potatoes or not * Chicken or not * Peas?No Peas?? * High Protein, low protein * 5 star foods with history of recalls????? Just trying to be a good BC Mom (without breaking the bank as we have 4 sons in college.) Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.Susan HMember
Toni M., I have 7 border collies and a mini-dachshund. Our border collie sport is herding, so they are pretty active. I’ve been feeding our young bc’s 4Health Performance. It is (I believe) a 5-star rated food and my dogs are thriving on it.Laura MMember
In answer to the original question posted – I don’t think you will get a quality food for under $1 a pound in my humble opinion. I agree the food does not necessarily have to be on the 4 or 5 star listing either. I started with a new puppy (6 months old as of this writing) and I switched him from Diamond to Nutrisource large breed puppy. I think Nutrisource is a fabulous, easy on the system and quality made food, which is reasonably priced. The company is family owned and I believe I read somewhere that they have never had a recall. Because I want a higher protein I will eventually get my puppy onto Acana because I am really impressed with that brand and feed it to my other dogs, but Nutrisource is affordable and very agreeable with my dog and many other people I have talked with about this subject. Good luck in finding something that suits all your needs – as someone earlier said, we need to take many things into consideration when picking a food for our pets.Debbie HMember
Thank you for all of the advice. We bought 4Health dry, 5lb to start. She loved it and it appeared to love her. However, now she’s back to not eating, vomit a couple times a week, and loads of feces. The feces are good consistency, but she’s pooping out a lot. She is fed 2/3 cup twice a day which matches the calculator. She only eats 2/3 of a cup, though and most often has to be encouraged to do that. I’m starting to wonder if she is sensitive to foods. She’s had yeasty issues w/her ears since we got her as a pup. Vet said she had ear mites and gave us an ointment. It would clear some, but always come back. I can’t believe it’s mites after a year. She has no other animal contact. A friend suggested she might be having an issue w/chicken because it’s a common, though not primary, ingredient in both food choices. Back to the search.Susan HMember
It sure sounds like she has food allergies. I, personally, would try feeding plain old chicken and rice for a while, then consult the list and start on a raw product or any limited ingredient (https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/?s=limited+ingredient+dog+foods) food. I like the raw because of the lack of additives.
My old (16, 13 and 11 yrs) dogs are getting a combo of Orijen freeze dried, Natures Variety raw and green tripe. We had some skin and coat problems and this seems to be clearing it up. It'[s not an inexpensive way to go, but neither were all the vet bills.Barbara K MMember
My 11 y/o Pembroke Welsh Corgi has had terrible skin allergies for the last 6-7 years, especially in the hot summer months. I believe these types of allergies have to be related to diet, so I did lots of research and decided to try him on Fromm’s Gold. He’s been on it for about 6 months. Wow, what a difference! No more itchy spots, sores from scratching and excessive shedding! His skin is healthy, less shedding, shiney, healthy hair! He has more energy, and he’s just more lively and playful! I highly recommend Fromm’s Gold! I had it auto-delivered every month from Chewy.com. Wonderful company! And no shipping charges. I also have 3 cats who have benefitted from switching to Fromm’s cat food. Hope this helps!
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