Picking the "Perfect" Dog Food – Help! Also Calories v/s Fat

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Picking the "Perfect" Dog Food – Help! Also Calories v/s Fat

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  • #79587 Report Abuse

    I have a 9 year old shih tzu that is a little overweight and would like to find a good high quality food. She doesn’t need to lose too much but just trim down. I have been looking for food with a lower fat content but then noticed that sometimes the fat content is higher but the calories per cup number is lower. What number is more important?
    She is currently on Grandma Lucy’s Artisan Venison but has a hard time getting it out of the bowl so I am putting Fromm White Fish and Potato kibble in with it.

    The other problem I am struggling with is I just lost a dog this week. She had allergies and was put on prednisone and then developed small bladder stones. Then the doctor put her on Royal Canin SO (with me protesting but caved in). One week later she was in intensive care and in tons of pain with pancreatitis. She lasted a week (and over $4000 dollars later) she died. She was only 6 and I know that food caused it since she was healthy before and I didn’t feed treats or anything else during that week. Now I am looking for a food that won’t cause stones or pancreatic, is grain free and lower calorie, no Chinese ingredients and preferably organic. Well that is about impossible to find! I have read that sweet potatoes are bad to promote stones. Most grain free food contains sweet potatoes and then also low glycemic index food without grains seems to be hard to find. I know I am trying to find the “perfect” food but the pain my family and dog just went through was just horrible. I really want to do all I can not to ever repeat that again. Any suggestions would be appreciated! I am trying to take a step back and just go with a good food but then I get caught up in the details again. Right now I am looking at Natures Logic (but it is higher fat, acceptable calories), Acana Light and Fit (not grain free), Pinnalce, Stella and Chewy Duck (seems expensive), Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance (higher fat), and Fromm (grain free are higher fat). Help Please!

    #79590 Report Abuse

    Check out Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea (dry and canned). Wysong Senior is good, IMO.
    The best thing you can do to prevent bladder stones (all types) is to add water to meals and soak the kibble overnight in water, frequent bathroom breaks, keep the bladder flushed. Three or four small meals a day, do not free feed.
    There is often a genetic component, some dogs/certain breeds are more vulnerable.
    If you use the search engine here, you may find some helpful tips, just type in allergies, bladder stones.
    Consider consulting a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist if the regular vet isn’t helpful.
    PS: Check out Chewy . com

    #79591 Report Abuse

    Hi Ptcbass-

    First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. No wonder you are terrified for your remaining dog. I’m not sure what type of stones your pup has, but like anonymously stated, moisture is one of the most import things you can add to your dog’s diet to help avoid any type of crystals or stones. Feeding fresh or canned food would be the best way to go.

    Attached is a link from Dr. Becker with a holistic approach regarding struvite crystals and stones:

    Here is another link with a more traditional approach:

    Please take care and keep us posted!

    #79592 Report Abuse

    Thank you for the suggestions. I will look into them. I think I am going to have to let go of the sweet potato thing because it is in so many foods. I am also looking into the Honest Kitchen Zeal. We usually feed twice a day but we are going to start splitting it to 3 meals. I have always put lots of water on their food (without trying to make it soup). I think the prednisone was the downfall and then the food finished my baby off. I just want to give the one I have now the best life/health possible. The local internal medicine vet was the one my girl I lost was with for a week in their intensive care. I will give them a call too if I need. Thanks!

    Thank you for the links too! I am trying to learn all I can.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Ptcbass.
    #79594 Report Abuse

    PS: Stones develop very slowly, so I would hesitate to blame the prescription food or the specialist that treated her toward the end of her life.
    I am sorry for your loss.
    Be careful, people are most vulnerable to quackery when they are grieving. I was going to the homeopathic sites, but then I found The SkeptVet, he makes the most sense, to me.

    #79595 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hi Ptcbass:
    Sorry for your loss.

    My dog is prone to gaining a little weight during hot weather. During these periods I find feeding low fat foods along with exercising him in the morning and evenings help keep him trim; he doesn’t like hot weather. I feed about half kibble and to get more moisture in his diet I add either canned, commercial frozen/freeze dried raw, or fresh/homemade foods. I try to choose kibble, commercial raw, or canned that are equal in protein and fat calories or a little more calories from protein than fat.

    I feed Fromm Gold Weight management in my rotation and you may want to take a look at Annamaet Lean or Wellness Core Weight Management. I feed both the kibble and canned of the Core Weight Management.

    #79596 Report Abuse

    I think the Nutrisca Salmon and Chickpea works best for my dog with allergies because it contains no grains, no potato. I like Fromm, but it wouldn’t work for her. Different foods work for different dogs.

    #79597 Report Abuse

    I spent last Friday night through Tuesday morning at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Associations conference in Augusta, Georgia and there were A LOT, A LOT, A LOT, A LOT of vets and vet techs drinking the holistic and all natural kool-aid.

    Red likes to call them quacks but thing is, they all went to the same vet schools that Skeptvet and other allopathic vets went to. They simply found another option that is OBVIOUSLY (based on the number of vets at the conference) working.

    I think Red even once made a statement something like food is not medicine yet it truly is. In fact, allopathic medicine refers to healing with nutrients “oral tolerization”.
    “Nutrition and Immunology: Principles and Practice” — https://books.google.com/books?id=hf8ICAAAQBAJ&pg=PA323&lpg=PA323&dq=oral+tolerization+rheumatoid+arthritis&source=bl&ots=pWQwm4hUV5&sig=FOgLHepW8hxoJh-gjlmYj3N5ycU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CGUQ6AEwCGoVChMIh9-CvPvTyAIVzuKACh3f_guE#v=onepage&q=oral%20tolerization%20rheumatoid%20arthritis&f=false

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Shawna.
    #79599 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hi anonymously:
    I am on the fence with Nutrisca due to their recall history at this time. It’s sold in my grocery store, very convenient, but I still hesitate. You often recommend Wysong and Nutrisca, do you know who manufactures Nutrisca dry and canned and if Wysong still uses Evanger’s to can their foods?

    I agree, different foods work for different dogs; very important to keep in mind IMO! 😉

    #79600 Report Abuse

    Hi Ptcbass- Very sorry for your loss. I can’t say whether or not the rX food caused the loss of your pet. My cat was on Royal Canin SO for a UTI, but he died 2 years after I put him on it.

    Zignature is an excellent dry kibble to look at. It’s certified low glycemic and grain and potato free. Primal Freeze Dried is an organic freeze dried raw food that might also meet your needs and for a small dog, wouldn’t be too expensive to feed.



    edit: as an aside, if she needs to drop a couple pounds, just feed for her ideal (target) weight and current activity level. She needs to burn more calories than she takes in to get back to a healthy weight.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Pitlove.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Pitlove.
    #79603 Report Abuse

    I felt the same way, regarding the recall, but it was only the chicken products. All chicken dog food is at risk for salmonella. And I know the company had an issue with jerky treats (made in China). What else is new?
    All I can say, is that I am happy with with the items I have mentioned.
    BTW: My neighbor’s dog does very well on Fromm. I was going to try it, but it contains potato…not an issue for most dogs, but if you are trying to rule out food sensitivities, potato may be something you would want to avoid.

    #79604 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Do you happen to know who manufacturers Nutrisca canned/kibble or Wysong canned?

    #79606 Report Abuse

    No, I suppose a simple Google search would reveal this information.
    I just know that my dog’s specialist approves of both brands and my dogs do well on them. I recently tried Newman’s Dry Adult food, in-between Chewy deliveries….I noted the difference in quality right away. Although, I would still use it as a back-up.

    #79607 Report Abuse

    Hi Bobby Dog,

    The one big thing I think Nutrisca has going for it is that it’s made by Tuffy’s / KLN, manufacturer of NutriSource.

    #79608 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    I feed a few Newman’s canned. They sell them at my grocery store too, very convenient. A back-up food is always good to have IMO. I have quite a back-up list going. I haven’t fed any of Newman’s kibble because they wouldn’t provide manufacturing info. I’ll check out Wysong cans next time I visit the pet store to see if it’s an Evanger style expiration date. I wouldn’t mind trying out their canned if they are using another cannery.

    #79610 Report Abuse

    Wow, I went to lunch and come back to lots of great info. Yes Shawna I also believe food is medicine. I went 2 years without healthcare and have successfully treated health issues with health food and supplements (Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and ginseng).

    Anonymously – The prednisone come weeks before and then tiny stones were present (small enough to pass). Then she was on the prescription food for one week and developed acute pancreatitis. That is what killed her. The prednisone I am sure didn’t help her immune system and have read it can cause stones and isn’t good for the pancreas. Just a horrible situation all the way around and especially knowing that if I didn’t take her to the vet at all and just kept treating her myself with “healthy” stuff then she would more than likely still be with me today.

    My other dog is a little over weight and gains easily. She is 9 years old, has a history of crystals and UTI’s and has a short nose and has trouble breathing sometimes so I can’t exercise her like I would like to. She is still otherwise healthy and still likes to play (what time she isn’t eating or sleeping LOL!).

    I am looking into
    Horizon Amicus Small & Mini Breed Senior & Weight Management Grain-Free Dry Dog Food and Annamaet Grain-Free Lean Low Fat Formula Dry Dog Food.

    I like the Natures Logic but it isn’t grain free and has higher fat content (except for the fish). The calories are still ok thought which I really don’t get but have moved on.

    Thanks again! This has been super hard and have never had to experience anything like this with any of my dogs in the past. Also, in the same week my mother in law had a stroke. Now I just want to help get her healthy and do what I can for my other furbaby.
    Thanks for the support here!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Ptcbass.
    #79611 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hi DF:
    Thanks for the info! I am not ruling Nutrisca out just evaluating things. I feel a few of their recipes would fit my needs. Having Tuffy’s as their manufacturer is a good thing IMO too. I am very happy with all of the products they manufacture.

    #79613 Report Abuse

    I like Newman’s canned, use it as a back-up also. However, judging by my senior’s bowel movements, I think it has a high water content…just something you may want to keep in mind. I think it works best as a topper or mixed with kibble.

    #79614 Report Abuse

    “Just a horrible situation all the way around and especially knowing that if I didn’t take her to the vet at all and just kept treating her myself with “healthy” stuff then she would more than likely still be with me today”.

    These thoughts are part of the grieving process. She may have suffered even more if you didn’t take her to the vet when you did. Sometimes there is no explanation why these awful things happen. We all do the best we can when faced with these situations.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by anonymously.
    #79638 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Never had any problems with water content in any canned food having an affect on their bm regardless if it’s used as a topper or full meal. I add water to every meal no matter what I feed. When the fat % is close to the protein % I have noticed a difference. One reason I don’t feed Newman’s 95%, most other 95% recipes, and if fat %’s are close to, match, or exceed protein %’s in any canned food.

    #79639 Report Abuse

    I ended up picking Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance Fish (she likes fish) and also got Fromm Gold weight formula to mix with it. I will add as much water as possible without it being too soupy.

    Thanks everyone! It has been a tough week but each day gets a little easier.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 3 months ago by Ptcbass.
    #79643 Report Abuse

    Hi Ptcbass,

    So sorry for the loss of your other pup. In regard to your remaining one, the others have given you some good information. I do use some of the Grandma Lucy’s Purformance formulas in my rotation, but mostly the premixes to which I add fresh cooked meat. I also make a batch that will last 2-3 meals. If your pup gets UTI’s and crystals, you might consider giving all fresh or rehydrated food as the increased water will help flush the crystals out. Do you know which type of crystals form? There are sturvite and oxylate and different diet requirements for each type. If you know which ones they are, it would help you to adjust her diet for that particular crystal.

    Here’s a link to Whole Dog Journal regarding bladder and kidney stones. It might be of some help:


    Good Luck! 🙂

    #79654 Report Abuse

    She has gotten the sturvite crystals a few times in her life. We have kept it under control pretty well but just want to safeguard against them coming back.

    My other dog had sturvite and calcium oxide ones but they were very tiny. We were hoping she would pass them. I think the prednisone she was periodically on due to allergies was the cause of them.

    I plan on rotating foods and watching her fat intake. A lot of the raw and freeze dried foods are higher in fat so it might be a struggle to find very many to put into the rotation. Since we live in the hot south I really want to stay away from frozen.

    #103996 Report Abuse
    Marie Y

    After much research and trial and I have found that one of the worst things you can feed your dog is hills science diet or the Royal Canaan foods for urinary issues they have absolutely all of the wrong ingredients in them! Research has been done that has shown protein is not a bad thing carbohydrates are. I am feeding my dog a homemade cooked diet that’s low in fat has just need protein vegetables and supplements in it and here’s the magical ingredient that I found for the bladder stones. It’s called Lysimaccia 3! It’s amazing! My dog had crystals in his urine every single time I took in the sample in as soon as I started using the lysimachia he has none at all!

    #103997 Report Abuse
    Nadine H

    If I’m not mistaken fish is high in purine which is not a good thing if you have a dog who is prone to UTI.s or stones. Both of my danes have had a UTI with struvite stones so I stay away from any fish based food. Beef is also high in purine.

    #107937 Report Abuse
    Rose C

    Marie, everything I’ve read from various vet websites, especially holistic vets, mention Lysimachia 3. My order comes this week. I also added probiotics and canned pumpkin to my dog’s diet. The most difficult thing is finding canned food with no sweet potatoes, carrots or spinach in them. I may just buy Core 95% chicken and broccoli and supplement with some frozen peas and other food items from the oxalate free foods list I have.

    How did you figure out how much to Lysimachia to give your dog?

    #107940 Report Abuse
    Marie Y

    here’s the dosing I got online that seems to be working great for me:

    Until stones are dissolved (if he has stones)-2 times daily, 1-700mg tablet for every 25 # of body weight. my dog is 15 # so I only used 1 700mg tablet per dose
    After stones are dissolved-for 1 month 2 times a day 1 tablet
    After 1 month-same dose but every other day for 2 weeks
    After 2 weeks-same dose 3 times a week and alternate the weeks (give it one week then not the next then give it again)
    Then daily for one week,
    Then nothing for 3-5 weeks ( went 4, right in the middle)
    Then do it for one week every 5 weeks, which is where I’m at right now. So every fifth week he gets a tablet split into two daily meals for one week.
    I know it’s confusing but just reread it as needed! lol.

    I also make his food at home and it’s much cheaper than buying canned and I know pretty much what’s going into it.I add digestive enzymes, and calcuim citrate as it binds oxalates. I use just a short 1/8th tsp per meal of that. Sometimes I add a sm amt of magnesuim but I’m not always good at getting it in and also glucosamine.
    My problem is getting him to drink so I add at least 1/2 cup of water to every meal. I try to make it 3/4 if I can. Tried to do an entire cup but he refused to eat! Good luck! If there’s anything I can do to help please let me know. I’m not a professional just someone who’s done some research and finally found something that’s working.

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