Dog Food Advisor › Forums › Canine Nutrition › Suggestions on a grain free dry food
April 23, 2015 at 11:52 am #71146 Report Abuse
Hi all! I’m feeding my 42 lb lab/pit mix Taste of the Wild dry. She’s been eating it for probably 4 out of her 8 years (possibly more). She’s never been an excited eater (unless it’s human food or wet stuff) but it’s getting worse as time goes by. She recently has recovered from surgery for a torn CCL and meniscus and during that time because we had to feed her pills she got a small daily dose of wet food with her dry and became spoiled. I would really prefer to just feed her the dry (more so because the hubs and I hate fiddling with the can, mixing the food, etc, yes, you can call us lazy). Right now I have lowered myself to sprinkling about a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of bacon bits into her food and she eats it right up. I’ve tried crumbling up a treat and mixing it in and that worked for a couple weeks.
I’m thinking she’s just tired of the TOTW or there’s something in that that doesn’t thrill her. I’ve tried different varieties to no avail. Most recent was the wild boar and she loved it at first but now not so much.
Wondered if any of you out there have a suggestion of a grain free dry that has similar protein content (think it’s about 31%) that maybe is more flavorful? She’s had no issues with the TOTW so would like to stay right in the same range, I don’t want to up the protein too much because I’m afraid of loose stools, etc. If anything I don’t mind lowering it if it’s just a little. Also, really need to keep in the same price range if not lower. We’re paying about 50 bucks for a 28lb bag right now.
Any ideas?April 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm #71149 Report Abuse
Just to add to my post, I’ve thought of buying a 5 lb bag of cheaper food to mix in the the 28 lb bag in hopes the variety might get her to eat, has anyone ever tried that.April 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm #71154 Report AbuseBobby dogMember
People do mix different recipes/brands of food together. I am not a fan of it because if your dog does not like the food or doesn’t do well eating it you really don’t know which food is causing issues. I also do not feed or recommend any Diamond or Diamond manufactured product due to their recall history. Their last recall was within the past few years for cat food which is not noted on DFA; you can find their recall history here:
IMO you should reconsider your view of adding canned to her diet. The added moisture is so healthy for your dog. I don’t blame her for not wanting to eat just dry kibble! I feed kibble for most meals with a topper of canned, fresh foods, or commercial raw. Here’s some info on the benefits of adding wet food:
Healthy leftovers would also be a good addition to her diet. Here’s a download that includes a menu of adding fresh foods such as eggs, lean meats, sardines, fresh vegetables & fruits to any quality of kibble according to the size of your dog. You can feed fresh foods as a meal or use them as toppers over a few days:
Consider feeding a rotational diet. My dog does really well eating a variety:
Some brands my dog does well on are Wellness, Nutrisource, Precise, Fromm, Annamaet, EVO, Nature’s Variety Instinct, and Grandma Mae’s. Some others often recommended on DFA are Eagle Pack, Pro Pac, California Natural, Dr. Tim’s, Hi Tek, Victor’s, Merrick, Whole Earth Farms, and Holistic Select.April 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm #71155 Report Abuse
Thank you for your lengthy answer! I greatly appreciate it. I’ll check out the links. I’ll also think more about serving wet with her dry. I just hate it, it’s messy and if you want to feed a good brand it’s expensive. We do offer her quite a lot of healthy human food…she’s a lover of salad (as long as the lettuce is crunchy and not wilted, lol) and loves all types of fruits. I add them quite often to her food and of course it seems to be the only way to get her to eat some of the kibble. I have never had a problem with TOTW (aside from her not being excited about it) healthwise and her coat is beautiful. She’s healthy except for the CCL tear, we’ve been quite lucky with her. I’ve read so many reviews my head is spinning. Some are reviewed well but then when I read actual comments from users many of them make me think twice. I was going to get some merrick grain free tomorrow to mix in her TOTW (of course just bought a new 28 lb bag) and see if she likes it. If she seems more interested I’ll probably try transitioning her over to the Merrick. That seems to have a better review from actual users. I just worry that the protein content is quite a bit higher than the TOTW, I don’t want my dog to start getting digestive problems…she does have problems with some dairy, poor girl can’t eat ice cream but yogurt she LOVES! I guess it’s a lot of trial and error! Being she’s 8, I want her to enjoy her next (hopefully) 8 years! Thanks again!April 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm #71156 Report Abuse
Hope your dog is recovering well from her surgery. I agree with everything that BDog recommended above. One of the foods she noted was Victor. I’d like to also second the recommendation for Victor. I feed my two large dogs the grain free joint health recipe just about every other bag. I think it is very similar to TOTW that you are currently feeding. The price for it varies greatly depending on where you live. Their website has a store locator button. I believe it is a little higher in calories than TOTW so you may need to feed a little less to avoid weight gain.
I also mix in either canned, fresh or Raw into my dogs’ kibble. If you don’t want to mess with cans, you could always try Fresh Pet Select. It comes in a roll and has to be refrigerated. It just needs to be sliced. It can be found in multiple grocery and pet food stores. I haven’t fed it for a while due to its cost, but my dogs do love it when i buy it. That would probably entice her to eat a little better. Plus it’s very healthy to add less processed food to the meals in my opinion. Let us know what works for you!April 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm #71157 Report Abuse
THANKS!April 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm #71159 Report AbuseBobby dogMember
You’re welcome Andrea! Sounds like she’s getting some good human foods. It can get expensive buying canned foods. A few that I buy are a dollar/can and are DFA rated 4-5 stars. Just remember to reduce the kibble if you decide (I hope you do!) to add wet foods to her diet. As C4C suggested Freshpet is a good choice too. If she is doing well on TOTW try to keep the total daily calories about the same with whatever food(s) you try.
You will always see good and bad comments under each review because each dog is different. I think the only way you can know for sure about a food is to try it. I have fed many different brands of food and I have never had any of the bad experiences other people have had thank goodness. The worst thing that’s happened is Bobby wouldn’t eat the food. Take your time transitioning to a new food; as long as she needs. I understand your concerns about the increase in protein. Plain canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is helpful if she develops loose stools. You can freeze small portions to keep on hand. Add a tablespoon to her meal or feed separately if that works better.
Here’s a dried pumpkin supplement for digestive upsets:
Many on DFA also recommend this one too:
http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/perfect-formApril 24, 2015 at 7:42 am #71165 Report AbuseInkedMarieMember
I just want to say stop the bacon bits.April 24, 2015 at 7:46 am #71167 Report Abuse
I hear ya Marie! I know it’s bad. Desperation. Last night she got lettuce and it got her thru the kibble. This morning she got a little of the deli turkey I was putting in my sandwich. I think it’s just pure boredom with the food.
Piper loves pumpkin, I used it for constipation (love how it works for both!) when she first started taking her pain pills for the surgery. Worked like a charm! 😉
I plan on checking out Victor too, had never heard much about it so will research it a bit.April 24, 2015 at 9:46 am #71169 Report AbuseEllen DMember
I have a SUPER picky puppy, and he will eat anything if I pour a couple tablespoons of this stuff on it: Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom
I did search around for a brand of food he would eat without it since he goes to doggy day care a couple days a week, and they won’t add anything to his food. But he really likes the Pro Bloom, it’s good for him, and it’s helping me use up the leftover kibble from the bags he didn’t really like.
April 24, 2015 at 9:49 am #71171 Report Abuse
- This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by Ellen D.
Interesting! 🙂April 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm #71178 Report AbuseLabsRawesomeMember
Hi Andrea, everyone has given you really good advice. 😀 I would just like to add that my dogs do great on Victor kibble as well. If you can buy it locally, it’s a really good price. http://www.victordogfood.com click on their find a dealer button, for stores in your area. I add canned foods to their meals too. With 3 dogs, I go through 2 cans per day. One is a Dachshund and only gets like 2 spoonfuls. The other 2 get 1/2 can per meal. I use 4 and 5 star canned foods. Nature’s Domain (Costco) $20 for a case of 24 cans. Pure Balance Stews $1.19/can (Walmart) And Tractor Supply has 4health @ $1 per can.April 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm #71179 Report Abuse
Unfortunately I’d have to drive about 50 miles to get it, I prefer to order online, I see amazon has it, I may try it. I bought a small bag of the new merrick backcountry today to mix into her food, going to see if that works. I’m still on the fence about canned food, hate to spend the extra but love my dog to pieces and know she would go insane if I started doing that, lol. We’ll see. I got her a can for her upcoming birthday on May 1st, wouldn’t be surprised if she did a cartwheel! 🙂April 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm #71180 Report AbuseEllen DMember
I spent a bunch of money on nice canned food for my pup (I ordered 4 cases), and he won’t eat it. So if you do go that route, I’d say buy one or two cans first! My puppy ate it fine for about a week and then decided he had better things to do and now won’t touch any canned food – unless it is the cat’s food, and then he tries to break down the gate to get to it.April 24, 2015 at 2:24 pm #71181 Report AbuseLabsRawesomeMember
Andrea, I agree 50 miles is wayy too far! My dogs do great on Merrick foods as well. Make sure you get a video of her doing that cartwheel! LOL 😀April 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm #71182 Report Abuse
Yes, pictures, please! Mine do well on Merrick grain free as well. Just so, so on their classic w/grain recipes. You know you could make a can last three or four meals if you need to. Just a tablespoon mixed in might make a difference.April 24, 2015 at 5:46 pm #71183 Report Abuse
She liked the Backcountry dry, I mixed probably about 1/8 cup in with her regular and of course she picked that out first but ate the rest as an after thought. Silly dog. So, for now I’ll mix the small bag I got in with the big bag and we’ll go from there. If I do go with canned added it will only be a couple tablespoons at a time, I’m frugal, lol! I’m thinking what she really enjoyed in the backcountry food is it has soft bits in it (that must be the “raw” they are talking about). Wish it wasn’t so expensive…we’ll see! 🙂 And yes, I’ll share pics of the cartwheel if it happens! 🙂April 25, 2015 at 9:41 am #71194 Report AbuseC4DMember
Everyone has given you great tips. Just a couple of foods that get good ratings and are reasonably priced are Earthborn and Whole Earth Farms. I also agree that adding some fresh or canned food is really one of the best things you can do for your dog. Dogs aren’t being picky when they want fresh food. You would never eat or feed your family completely dehydrated food (kibble). I always add canned when feeding kibble and there are some very good canned foods at very reasonable prices.
I’ve been through ACL/CCL surgery and rehab with 2 dogs. The most important thing you can do after surgery is some rehab and you will have to supplement for the rest of her life. We did not do it as rigorously with our first dog and he ended up with joint stiffness. We have done it with our current dog and she is doing very well 5 years later. We did rehab & supplements and she is very active in spite of arthritis in both knees. The arthritis is unavoidable regardless of surgery, so the more proactive you are, the better and more successful the recovery. Good Luck with her!April 25, 2015 at 10:45 am #71195 Report Abuse
My previous dog had both his ACLs replaced probably 10 or 12 years ago. I think the repair was done differently back then. My human son has had his UCL replaced in his elbow last year. I’m not familiar with a CCL. Was is that or is it just a typo? Neither ever fully recovered back to normal. 😒 I sure hope I can avoid that with my two current large pups who are almost 4 now.
I’m fairly “frugal” too. That is why I tend to feed more budget friendly kibble so I can still add some good healthy stuff to it. I try to think of it as feeding them healthier, not spoiling them as so many accuse me of. Lol!April 25, 2015 at 11:34 am #71196 Report Abuse
If you google, CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) is the proper name of the ligament for dogs, ACL is for humans. She’s about 6 months out and doing well. She still lifts it when she over does it but for the most part she’s ok. She’s not crazy active like she used to be and that hurts my heart a little, I used to love to see her race around the yard. Oh well, part of getting older I guess. She gets a cosequin everyday to keep the arthritis at bay. She didn’t do any rehab except strict orders at home and then daily walks to strengthen after 12 weeks. She’s now walking with me almost everyday and most days does ok. I can tell when she’s having a bad day. She’s still a happy dog though and that’s all that matters. I’ve often thought I’d be a lot better off if I could eat kibble like a dog, lol, much easier to control portions and diet! But, don’t think I’ll ever go that route! 😉April 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm #71198 Report Abuse
Aaah, good to know. Great to hear she is doing well. I also have thought about the fact that it would be good if someone measured out my daily portions for me as well and not have any access to any other temptations throughout the day!April 25, 2015 at 12:44 pm #71201 Report Abuse
🙂April 26, 2015 at 2:22 am #71217 Report AbusezcRileyMember
On Chewy.com, you can test a small 4 lb. bag of “Zignature Zssential Multi-Protein Formula Dry Dog Food” for $11.99. Only 3 proteins and grain-free, gluten-free, no potato, chicken or eggs, no guar gum or carrageenan. Quality without all the “certain” ingredients that can be controversial. I sometimes mix in a little limited ingredient food (bland but super crunchy) and use our meaty leftovers (but rinse off the oils/sauces/spices 1st then finely chop). It’s less expensive, than say, crumbling a freeze dried as a topper. And the pups love the variety. Good luck!June 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm #73552 Report AbuseKelly SMember
Performatrin Ultra Grain Free is an option. It is very high protein.June 6, 2015 at 8:17 pm #73869 Report Abusecindy qParticipant
Holistic Blends grain free it has a 5 star rating and is made in Canada. I pour coconut oil over this and my dogs love it. I also feed a dehydrated raw Big Dog Natural.June 8, 2015 at 10:11 pm #74038 Report AbusemerleGDgirlMember
Wellness all the way! (I feed Wellness Core but the entire brand is great) I’d stay away from blue buffalo period, their manufacturer Diamond Foods is awful and gets recalled more often than not.
Also Orijen / Acana are amazing but have to be ordered online because I think they are made in Canada. Merrick is good, EVO is good but overall Orijen/Acana and wellness are my top pick for nutritional value, ingredient sourcing and manufacturing.
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