So I’ve been reading Dog Food Advisor for awhile now and reading peoples’ comments and suggestions, but there are just too many options for me. I have two dogs: a 2 year old 60 pound pitbull and a 7 month old 4 pound chihuahua.
I’ve been feeding them Victor Dog Food. It’s sold right by my house and it’s a great price for the quality. I have SOO many questions I’d love to ask. But I’ll try to keep it to a minimum lol.
For my two dogs, which Victor foods specifically would be best for each of them? I do not show, breed, or exercise either of them intensely. The chihuahua obviously has more energy than the pitbull, but the pitbull has amazing stamina.
Could someone who knows a lot about each compare and contrast each of them or the best ones? I’m confused about “atwater figures” so is one better than the other in terms of protein/fat/carb ratios? I’m not even sure how much of each a dog is supposed to have?
Also, after comparing and choosing the best ones, should I rotate some of them? Is water added to dry kibble? Is there any best way to feed dry kibble? Should it be mixed with canned food? If so, how much? AHHhh please just tell me as much as you can haha. Thank you!
Welcome to DFA! It can be overwhelming, yes, but sometimes the best way to learn is just by trying some of the different ideas people post that appeal to you, see how it works with your dogs, and tweak the thing or choose something else.
I just posted the below info for someone else, lol, but it is altered to fit your questions. I am not a professional or anything, I can just tell you what I think and do:
I think that no single dog food is perfect, and different foods have varying amounts of protein, carbs, and fat, but Victor is a high-quality food and all the flavors within it seem pretty good to me. If you want, you can also rotate both within a brand (basically switch up the Victor flavors), or rotate the Victor brand with other good foods, like Dr. Tim’s, Earthborn Holistic, and Annamaet, among others – this will offer your dogs a variety in the formulas, tastes, vitamins, etc. The kibble sizes in most of these foods are pretty viable for a Chihuahua to handle, but I am not sure about Dr. Tim’s – the kibbles may be a bit big for a 4-lb dog.
If you choose to rotate brands, give it at least 10-14 days, adding a little bit of new food to the old at a time, and watching the stool – if stool is good for 2 days or so, add more new food, take more old food out, and so on. If stool is not good, back down the amount of new food, up the old food. When they get used to rotating, you can switch brands with every big bag (what I do, but with small bags, lol). For now, you can switch to a brand, then exhaust most of the flavors within the brand just so they don’t have too many changes at once, then go to another brand. Also, you can add canned plain pumpkin to aid their digestion in the process, or a supplement called Perfect Form by The Honest Kitchen (THK). I swear up and down by it – anytime my Bruno has an upset tummy, it tightens him back up in a snap! But don’t overuse the Perfect Form – use it only as needed, and the amounts to feed are on the package, as well as on THK’s website. Which leads me to…
… if feeding Perfect Form with kibble, you will need to add some water to it. It will look like a greenish soup of kibble, lol. But, with that said, extra moisture added to dry kibble is always good for the dog. You can add plain lukewarm water, yoghurt/kefir, coconut oil and water, or canned food (and water). Any mix of kibble and canned is fine as long as the dog’s tummy is ok with it and as long as you adjust the amount you add and remove the appropriate amount of kibble so that the caloric intake stays about the same. So introduce the canned slowly, and not while transitioning between brands. You can also add dehydrated/freeze-dried/air-dried foods and water to kibble as toppers too, canned sardines (no salt added, in water only), fresh vegetables and meats, some fruits, and the above suggestions. Make sure you add NO onions or any grape products (grapes, raisins), some mushrooms.
For my 15-lb terrier mix I feed 1/4 cup of dry kibble twice/day, each time with some different topper from the ones mentioned above. I use coconut oil (twice/week), raw egg (once/week), The Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods (4 recipes, each one once/week), Big Dog Natural air-dried food (once/week), yoghurt/kefir (twice/week), 1/2 of a 3.5-oz can of sardines (once/week), 1/2 of a small can of dog food (right now either Weruva or Wellness, twice/week, no kibble at said meal), and a raw meaty bone once/week. All toppers minus the egg, sardines, can of dog food and the RMB I give a teaspoon of. And I add warm water to the mix in all meals. The dehydrated/air-dried foods kind of require it, lol. Bruno loves his “soups” (that’s what kibble and water and toppers look like) and he is slim, but muscular – his body condition is great, his coat is great, and he loves meal time.
So you can implement some, all, or none of the suggestions, or tweak them to fit your dogs’ needs. Good luck, keep us posted, and let us know if you have any more questions. 🙂
Thank you Naturella!! Very informative 🙂
Lovx3, I am with Steve’s Real Food, a raw pet food company. The Atwater figures are not particularly helpful, and you will always want to compare dog foods using a dry matter comparison. The reason for this is that as different products contain different moisture levels, it can skew the results. Usually pet food companies will use the at water comparison because they want their numbers to look better, so you need to ask them for the dry matter comparison. It sounds like Naturella is doing a great job, and I can give a second opinion in favor of much of what she/he said. I would also recommend that you consider going to a raw diet, as it is much more in line with how your dog is genetically designed to process food. Adding water and mixing with canned is a great start, and definitely better on your dog’s intestines and ability to digest kibble than just giving straight dry, but raw is best!
There are so many options! Like Naturella said, you just have to experiment. I regularly feed Victor grain free joint health to my dogs. I have two big guys. It is basically the same as the grain free ALS Victor with extra glucosamine added. Right now, I’m feeding California Natural grain free Pork kibble and the dogs are doing great with it. I also add a topper and water to every meal. I started out just adding canned. Then after coming to this site, I learned about adding eggs and sardines. Now I even add dehydrated, freeze dried and raw to their meals. It all happened fairly gradually. And unfortunately got,more expensive! I tend to stick to more basic budget friendly kibble so I can afford the extras to boost up the nutritional value. I just don’t think that over processed kibble can be all that healthy by itself. I feed both with and without grain kibble. I also buy kibble that is a little lower in fat as most of the toppers are a little higher in fat. Good luck!
In one of Dr Becker’s videos she discusses dry pet foods. If I understood her correctly, dried food dehydrates an animal as the animal has to re-hydrate the food. This is why, according to her in the video, the army stopped putting dehydrated fruits into troop’s snacks. The body uses a lot of water to rehydrate the food and an animal (pet) generally doesn’t drink that much water in a day. She said the dry foods put pets in a chronic (long-term) state of dehydration. Given her advice, it seems that when feeding kibble one might consider adding the appropriate water (or other re-hydrating liquid) to prevent the animal from having to use stores of its bodily water to rehydrate the food. I am also new to DFA, and only recently learned this by watch some of Dr Becker’s videos on you tube.
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