Hi, all! Greetings from Virginia. We are proud parents to a wonderful little Vizsla male, “Mountie,” who is a fantastic and sharp guy even in his infancy of 10.5 weeks old! This post marks our first official question, and we thank you in advance for your advice and opinions. Q: Which of the kibbles listed below would you recommend highest for our Vizsla puppy?
I tend to be a bit over-analytical (dear wife would call it “OCD”), and have researched in-depth (via manufacturer websites and here @ dogfoodadvisor) puppy-appropriate kibble, in hopes of transitioning Mountie ASAP from his initial staple of Purina Puppy Chow (which we consider to be a lower-quality feed) to a much-better kibble. Narrowed it down to these, and really value your advice:
1. Taste of the Wild High Prairie (Roasted Venison & Bison) Puppy Formula (by TOTW, contract-manufactured by Diamond; USA) (~$52 / 30lb = $1.72/lb). Pros: Good “bang for buck,” well-rounded GF kibble, tasty. Cons: Surprisingly-low DHA for puppy blend, manufactured by Diamond (which has had an inexcusable number of recalls).
2. As ACANA Puppy & Junior (by Champion Petfoods; Canada) is not avail. in the USA, consider alternatives from the “all stages” lineup: ACANA Wild Prairie Grain Free (~$67 / 28.6lb = $2.34/lb); ACANA Grasslands Grain Free or ACANA Pacifica Grain Free (~$80 / 28.6lb = $2.80/lb). Pros: Appears to offer great alternative to uber-rich Orijen (albeit, adult formulas only). Cons: Puppy formula not available in USA, uncertainty re: appropriate calcium levels of these “all stage” formulas, lacking in Yucca extract (which does wonders to curtail feces odor).
3. Orijen Puppy (by Champion Petfoods; Canada) (~$75 / 28.6lb = $2.62/lb). Pros: A+ quality kibble. Cons: Many testimonials of young puppies getting diarrhea from rich formula, lacking in Yucca extract (which does wonders to curtail feces odor).
4. As Earthborn Holistic Puppy Vantage (by Midwestern Pet Foods; USA) (~$47 / 28lb = $1.68/lb) isn’t GF, consider alternatives from the “all stages” lineup: Earthborn Holistic Select Grain Free Coastal Catch* / Great Plains Feast / Primitive Natural. Pros: Very, very good “bang for buck,” well-rounded GF kibble, made by Midwestern Pets (nearly as reputable as Champion). Cons: Uncertainty re: appropriate calcium levels of these “all stage” formulas, limited first-hand reviews available.
5. Maybe: GO! FIT + FREE Grain Free (Chicken, Turkey & Trout) Puppy (by Petcurean; Canada) (~$67 / 25lb = $2.68/lb). Pros: Excellent Canadian kibble (appears on par with Orijin and Acana) by Petcurean (nearly as reputable as Champion). Cons: Very pricey, given very limited first-hand reviews available.
6. Maybe: Annamaet Manitok or Aqualuk (by Annamaet Petfoods; USA) (~$84 / 30lb = $2.80/lb). Pros: Well-rounded GF kibble (and Mountie likes the taste). Cons: Uber-pricey, given limited first-hand reviews available, no puppy formulation, uncertainty re: appropriate calcium and DHA levels (unlisted) of these “all stage” formulas.
We would be indebted for as many opinions as possible re: which of the above you all would recommend transitioning Mountie to.
Thanks so much!!!
Corey & Michelle
I’m just going to add to your OCD, sorry. Hound Dog Mom has done a wonderful service for owners of large breed dogs and researched calcium levels on grain free foods. Your vizsla may or may not be considered a large breed because the breed is borderline with females usually smaller and males right at the weight to be considered large breed, so to be safe I would feed as if you know he is going to be large, which means watching calcium levels. Many foods that are labeled for large breeds still have calcium levels that are too high. Here is HDMs thread about large breed nutrition, in it is her list of foods with appropriate calcium levels:
You can buy Yucca and put it on the kibble or in his drinking water. Some products for “fresher breath” contain yucca and also products for joint mobility contain yucca. OR you can give a probiotic (preferrably one that contains multiple strains of organisms) supplement with his meals (capsule, powder, yogurt, kefir). Probiotics help maintain a healthy gut which usually results in less gas. Digestive enzymes will help also to help breakdown food particles since undigested or not completely digested food can cause gas and puppies usually consume more volume of food so more to digest. OR use some dried parsley. I have small dogs so no input on food and they rarely have gas. I’ve been giving them prob/enzymes for a while (not everyday) and they eat a variety of foods and different forms of food. I like your list above. I was OCD like that when I first learned that dog food was not all it was cracked up to be. I’ve probably used about 20 different foods.
Hound Dog MomParticipant
Hi Mountain Main –
Keep in mind – there’s no reason you have to decide on one food. Start with a bag of one food and then get a bag of a different food next time. Variety is good.
If you’re concerned about calcium levels, Patty gave you some good advice and posted a link to a list of foods with appropriate calcium levels. Some of the foods you listed above are on this list.
Thank you all! This advice is very helpful — also, the “large breed puppy” spreadsheet is fantastic.
Welcome to the forum. If you’re OCD, you’re in the right place! I’m not up on puppy food but just want to say that of those companies, I’d go with Annamaet and Earthborn.
Thank you all so much for your generous contributions. I think we will try out Earthborn Holistic Select Grain Free Coastal Catch (along with the non-potato, bison-meal Great Plains Feast for treats and/or in case Mountie refuses the Coastal Catch (highly doubtful!)). To several points above, I agree that nothing mandates wedding to any brand or formula, as every dog is unique — and if the kibble is disagreeable, then we now certainly have many good, advice-reinforced options from which to select an alternative!
As an OCD attorney, I love this site — and as founder of MountainDogChews.com, a brand of premium elk antler chews, I certainly appreciate everyone’s focus on quality of product. I’m likely preaching to the choir; however, the general public generally hasn’t a clue re: the harmful (or at least, subprime) ingredients in, or chain-of-supply of, most well-marketed pet brands. Ergo, quite thankful for the folks on this site! -Corey
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