Please Help – Choosing New Dog Food(s) to Try

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Please Help – Choosing New Dog Food(s) to Try

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  • #143703 Report Abuse
    pat c

    Hello. We have a 4 year old medium sized mixed breed who’s not particularly active and probably about 2-4 pounds overweight, but otherwise in good health. We’ve been feeding “Merrick Classic Real Chicken + Green Peas Recipe with Ancient Grains Adult Dry Dog Food” for the past couple of years and she’s doing very well on it. Normal/solid poops, coat looks good, very little eye discharge etc. But with the recent FDA reports and seeing that it’s high in peas, it seems like it’s a good idea to either rotate or try something else. It’s still listed as 5 stars though which confuses me.

    I’d sincerely appreciate any advice on where to go among the following:

    * Annamaet Ultra – The description says this is for performance dogs (which ours clearly isn’t), however the other Annamet products aren’t 5 stars like this one. How should that be evaluated?

    * Farmina N&D Ancestral Grain Chicken & Pomegranate Medium & Maxi Adult Dry Dog Food

    * Dr. Tim’s All Life Stages Kinesis Formula Dry Dog Food -Only 4 stars though

    * Eagle Pack Original Chicken Meal & Pork Meal Formula Dry Dog Food – Only 4 stars

    Was also looking at CANIDAE All Life Stages Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food and Wellness Complete Health. I’m open to other ideas as well.

    1. Based on the description above, which of these (or others) make the most sense?
    2. How should the Annamet Ultra be evaluated if it’s more highly rated but she’s not a performance dog?
    3. Should the Merrick remain in the rotation or be removed due to the peas? It’s still listed as 5 stars.

    Thank you so much for any guidance. This is all very overwhelming! 🙂

    PS – No foods including fish please. She seems to vomit everytime we give her anything that includes salmon or whitefish.

    #143709 Report Abuse

    The fda article states there is no need to change food as there is nothing to be concerned since it’s such a small issue that Is clearly multifaceted and goes beyond diet.
    All of merrick foods are pretty quality. For a grain in its pretty good that’s why it’s still 5 stars.

    #143716 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Here are direct quotes from the most recent FDA reports. I find more accurate info directly from the FDA, universities involved in the research, the Facebook group “Taurine-Deficient (Nutritional) Dilated Cardiomyopathy” which leading researchers in NM DCM are members, and Vet’s who are informed and up to date on the current research rather than uninformed Vet’s, pet store employees, or sites that have no one with credentials in companion animal nutrition associated with them.

    “To date, the FDA has not established why certain diets may be associated with the development of DCM in some dogs. In the meantime, and before making diet changes, pet owners should work directly with their veterinarians, who may consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to determine the most appropriate diet for their pet’s specific needs.”

    “At this time, we are not advising dietary changes based solely on the information we have gathered so far. If you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or its diet, we suggest that you consult your veterinarian, who may consult a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, for individualized advice that considers your dog’s specific needs and medical history.”

    As I once read, “It’s rare but it’s all fine and dandy until it’s you and your dog.”

    #143718 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    I think the Merrick is fine it doesn’t have high levels of peas and it doesn’t contain pea protein. But if your dog can handle rotating than that is good. All of them sound good. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. But don’t be concerned about what you are feeding b/c it is not grain free.
    And Bobby dog I know what the FDA said but remember when dogs were dying from the chicken jerky’s? You know I was just thinking about how the FDA doesn’t say you have to change diets just yet. But what about that time when the chicken jerky’s were killing dogs and the FDA got involved, but could not recall it b/c they could not find out why is was killing dogs. So they stated buy at your own risk. They warned people about it but they could not say “don’t buy it” I never feed my dog those jerky’s, but I will not buy it at all knowing what it could do. So even if the FDA can’t recall something that doesn’t mean it is okay for sure. So when something is uncertain than I would not feed it until it is certain and if they can not pin point it, well I still would be leery about using it. I believe that those jerky’s from china killed a lot of dogs and the FDA thinks so too, but without finding what is was they can’t recall it. That was a couple of years ago. I still to this day will not buy jerky’s.

    #143736 Report Abuse

    BDog has been on this site for a long time and I’m sure she will agree with you and does not or will not feed jerky treats or any of the suspect brands implicated with causing DCM either. Her and I both decided to feed WSAVA compliant brands last summer when the first DCM alerts came out.

    I’m not sure how you can say that Merrick is fine because it isn’t heavy in peas when it hasn’t been proven that peas are the issue. Plus, it’s tough to know how much are in it by the ingredient label. I certainly hope and don’t that the WSAVA compliant foods are the only safe brands. But, I believe that the other companies need to start doing feeding trials to prove that their recipes are safe also.

    #143748 Report Abuse
    malinda r

    i have been looking at pinto valley, their food does contain barley, alfalfa, etc, but not the usual peas/pea proteins:
    Fresh deboned chicken, Chicken meal, Ground brown rice, Oatmeal, Ground dehulled barley, Ground whole flaxseed, Dehydrated alfalfa meal, Chicken fat (naturally preserved with Mixed tocopherols and Citric acid), Calcium carbonate, Natural flavor, Sea salt, Potassium chloride, Zinc proteinate, Iron proteinate, Dried Bacillus coagulans fermentation product, Vitamin E supplement, Beta-carotene, Inulin, Copper proteinate, Monosodium phosphate, Spinach, Manganese proteinate, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cranberries, Dried kelp, Sweet potatoes, Niacin supplement, d-Calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A acetate, Riboflavin supplement, Calcium iodate, Vitamin B12 supplement, Thiamine mononitrate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 supplement, Sodium selenite, Folic acid, Rosemary extract.

    i currently feed stella & chewys freeze dried topper/patties…this adds a good amount of protein that does not contain legumes. i mix with a kibble, and like fromms, carna4. i have been using health extension canned at night. their small serving cans do not contain BPA, and low legume products in this as well.

    #143749 Report Abuse
    Nadia K

    I agree that it is so confusing. Every time I think I might have found a good choice of kibble, someone will point out that it has an ingredient in it that is questionable. I have had my puppy on Farmina Ancestral grain lamb. She seems to like it but now people are saying to be careful because it has alfalfa in it which is a legume. It is not in the top five ingredients but it is still there. I subscribe to Whole Dog Journal. They recently sent an email with some updates to the whole DCM issue. This is the paragraph that I am paying the most attention to when choosing a food:

    “For now, we would strongly recommend avoiding foods that use peas – including constituent parts of peas, such as pea starch, pea protein, and pea fiber, and especially multiple iterations of peas (such as green peas, yellow peas, pea protein, etc.) as major ingredients. If any one of these appears higher than the 6th or 7th ingredient on an ingredient list, for now, we’d switch to foods that do not display this trait.

    Same goes for chickpeas (may be referred to as garbanzo beans), any other type of bean, and lentils.

    We’d switch away from any foods containing more than one of these ingredients (peas, beans, or lentils).”

    #143752 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    That’s good Nadia maybe these companies will cool it with the grain free fad. The more people don’t buy it the better.

    #143753 Report Abuse

    Pat C,

    Merrick — Not a fan of this company, independent of the current concern with DCM and legumes (and to lesser extent potatoes)/GF. I think that they repeatedly have not maintained good quality control (and standards) in a number of areas, from sourcing to manufacturing to labeling, creating undue risks of harm.

    Dr. Tim’s line is not for me, not what I want or need to feed. But my impression/research is that it’s a very solid, trustworthy brand, thoughtfully formulated and maintained, with many longtime members here who’ve had a good experience with it and the founder/owner and customer service.

    Farmina — newer on the market scene in US & I am less familiar with them. Could be a good choice; could be a risk. I’d want to personally research the company before feeding. At a glance, the formula looked fine.

    EaglePak — part of Wellpet (Berwind) &, in my opinion, is one of the more longstanding, trustworthy companies I’d at least consider. The specific formula likely received a 4 vs 5 due to lower protein % and meat content, as this site’s rankings skew in favor of more meat/animal protein and higher protein period; I am actually surprise to hear that it ranked a 4 (vs 3 or 3.5).

    Canidae — I don’t like the company’s relationship with Diamond (manufacturing), esp. if you are east coast (SC facility).

    Annamaet — good company; (just stay away from their GF for now)

    Re performance/athlete — disregard, won’t hurt your dog & may be beneficial. They’re just noting dogs that might especially NEED the formula (vs their other ones). Basically a 30/20 formula, which also breeders & show dogs often have used for coats & condition.

    I wouldn’t get so caught up in or obsess over the 5 star vs 4 star, vs seeing it a a starting point for research/consideration. There are many 5 star foods here I would not feed for reasons not captured by the scoring criteria.

    If you are saying Annamaet’s GF line didn’t rank 5 here, I would disagree that they are inferior (although I would avoid brands’ GF legume heavy formulas for now); if you mean the other ones, it’s likely because other grain inclusive ones are too low in protein & meat.

    #143756 Report Abuse
    pat c


    Thank you so much for the item by item response and the information. That’s SUPER helpful.

    With Annamet, the Ultra ranked 5 stars whereas Extra, Option were 4 stars and Adult was 3.5 stars. If the “performance” aspect isn’t a negative, would you say that Ultra makes the most sense or do you think I should consider one of those other ones (

    Also, are there any others you think I should consider?

    Thanks again for all the feedback.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by pat c.
    #143758 Report Abuse

    Pat C,

    Fromm — Since your dog can have chicken, have you looked into any of Fromm’s grain inclusive formulas? They make a lot of quality foods that are tried and true and it’s a good, longstanding company. Check out the Gold line & look for things like “Puppy,” etc if you’d like a bit higher protein than other lower formulas.

    KLN/Tuffy’s — Have you looked through the grain inclusive offerings? (Brands include Nutrisource, Natural Planet, etc.)

    Petguard — Don’t overlook this company, as it has been around a long time, very low key yet solid quality control & standards.Check out their All Life Stages Chicken & Vegetables (grain inclusive, no legumes or potatoes). (Curious side note: despite making a Pea centric canned food w/potatoes (though grain inclusive), a Vegan one, Petguard never appears once on the FDA DCM-BEG incidents report.)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by GSDsForever.
    #143759 Report Abuse

    Pat C,

    If your dog can have chicken, I’d go with the Ultra as there is no health negative with this level protein and ultimately the fat level is good for most healthy dogs. I think the only concern here for you is that you noted your dog needs to lose a few pounds; so you might wish to either up your exercise or factor that in to how you feed in the short term, having lower fat, to reach ideal weight. Then just check your dog’s weight periodically and adjust the amount of food and exercise.

    I think if your dog is going to remain on the inactive side long term and shows weight gain on the food, then you would consider a different formula with lower fat or simply feed a little less/adjust treats to low calorie/fat healthy fresh food “bites.”

    Ideally, I personally would prefer a bit higher protein minimum and for healthy ideal weight dogs a bit higher fat than the Option (24/13). At 26/16, Extra’s levels appear very slightly better.

    But I’ve never had an issue with higher fat in a food causing weight gain in my own dogs — and mine usually have needed the higher fat (weight maintenance, good coat & skin)!

    One thing to consider that you haven’t mentioned:

    Be careful re planned daily long term feeding of rice, particularly brown rice, depending upon sourcing in the US. It’s shown very, very high levels of arsenic when sourced from Arkansas, Lousiana, Texas (former cotton growing South) from the land (residue); humans have been advised to avoid consuming very frequently and/or choose less contaminated sources (California, India, Thailand, outside US). It would be another reason to choose more than one formula/carb base & company.

    #143761 Report Abuse
    #143762 Report Abuse
    Bobby dog

    Hi joanne l:
    I totally agree, better safe than sorry. No jerky here either. There was also the huge recall that IMO didn’t happen soon enough in 2007. I will err on the side of caution in regards to the NM DCM alert.

    I changed my dog’s food criteria last summer at the onset of this alert. I used to only concentrate on half of the WSAVA recs when finding a pet food. Now, it’s all or nothing. As more info is learned my current criteria could change again. For now, I’ll keep up to date on the current research and go from there.

    #143765 Report Abuse
    joanne l

    That is what I am going to do to.

    #150684 Report Abuse

    Pat C,

    How is your dog doing?

    You were considering several excellent brands. What foods did you end up trying? How did it go?

    #151543 Report Abuse
    Alvin J

    Finding the right food for your dog requires knowing how to understand the labels of the compositions but also giving the right things at the right time, in the right quantity. The choice of dog food is made according to the preferences of his dog and according to the possibilities of humans, whether it is organization, practicality or budget. it is essential to give a diet adapted to the needs of your dog, to his state of health, and to his habits. so think About your Dog and than Choose His Food Wisely . I Bought Dengo Dental Stick once and than i found that really very good … it is good for my dog .. hope you get your ans. (

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