After reading a heated discussion on the merits of the Merrick brand (one we currently use and do not have a problem with) as with any pet parent you wonder if what you are feeding your dog is enough. Here is the run down.
Over a year ago we were feeding our 7 year old Pom/Australian Shephard mix (not even sure how that happens) Blue Buffalo when that company had some issues so we switched to Grandma Lucys freeze dried grain free chicken. Did well on that but pooped like a German Shepard. Recently started feeding Merrick grain free Texas beef with no ill effects. Pooped less and not as loose but stinks to high heaven.
We shop at a local natural pet food store and there are so many to choose from its overwhelming. Do you stick with what you know? How do you decide what is best for your pet? I notice a lot of people switch around between 2 or 3 different foods.
After getting teeth cleaned we had him on Merrick canned chicken senior food until his gums healed up and still not a lot of waste which I hope means he is actually absorbing more of the good stuff.
Long winded I know. Thoughts?
I strongly believe that no dog food is perfect. All of them have minerals that are not balances, highs that are too high, lows that are too low, too much of one amino acid, too little of another, etc. Because of this, I believe that the best you can do is to rotate foods and feed a variety of different types of foods. Can you think of any single meal that it would be OK for you to eat day in and day out for years? I can’t.
I don’t have any problem with my dogs when I feed Merrick, but they get it for about a week and then we move on to something else.
I feed dry, dehydrated, freeze dried, canned, fresh, and raw. My dogs never have stomach issues either, because they are used to eating variety.
I feed different brands and types of food and also various levels of protein and fat including Merrick canned. I do stick with some brands consistently but also offer the different ones. The dogs’ stools are all different on the various foods.
It sounds like you feed pretty much the way I would like to feed. Could you go into more detail of how often you feed each food form? What supplements you add? Are the supplements also rotated or only given when feeding certain meals, etc? I currently rotate a couple of different lower carb kibbles from each Orijen, Nature’s Variety, Merrick, EVO, and Dogswell. I tried raw full time and it became too much for me timewise. I can’t afford premade raw full time so I’m looking at how to incorporate more fresh foods or other food forms into my kibble rotation and trying to find a method that keeps it on the simple side.
I have 3 dogs, one JRT and two Border Collies. I buy small bags of the highest protein kibbles that meet my standards and rotate after every bag. My dogs get half kibble and half other. One day a week, it’s raw sardines or herrings for omega 3s. One day a week, it’s green tripe for probiotics. One day a week, they get a whole carcass grind from Hare Today. It may be rabbit, quail, guinea pig, or whatever they have. This gives them the micronutrients found in brain and eye, as well as many other things never found in any other form of dog food. The other days, they may be getting a quality canned food, leftovers from my dinner, or another raw like pork, beef, turkey, lamb, goat. The beef, lamb, and goat are from my own farm. I make dehydrated treats and buy freeze dried to use as treats. I also prepare a veggie blend and a fruit blend and freeze into ice cubes so I just drop one or the other in their food bowl each day. I occasionally use another probiotic or give kefir. I give a green superfood supplement. And if my husband drops his fish oil pill I give it to the dogs. I add water and apple cider vinegar(raw with the mother) to every meal and I give coconut oil on the days that I feed a low fat protein.
Wow. Sounds pretty complex. Do you give two meals per day? If so, is one kibble and the other your raw, sardines, canned, etc.?
I have a dog that won’t eat 2 meals a day, so I only feed one. When I started feeding raw, it was because I had gotten a special needs puppy and one of his needs was to lower the amount of carbs he was getting immediately. Since I didn’t want to fast an 8 week old puppy the way that raw feeders were recommending and my pup had a history of hemorrhagic diarrhea, I didn’t want to switch suddenly, so I did a slow transition to half raw and there has never been even a second of issue with mixing the two for any of my dogs. I’ve never experienced any problems with mixing my food either, and since humans also digest different foods at different rates, I assume that thing about not mixing them is an old wive’s tale. There are quite a number of regulars here that mix and don’t have any issues. I actually think mixing helps my one dog to digest his kibble portion better.
I have always rotated kibble. I’ve tried feeding home prepared raw exclusively and it was just too much work to be honest. I went back to kibble and then decided to do home prepared raw about 4 days per week. Again, I decided it was too much work so my next plan is to go a rotation of high protein lowest carb kibbles I can find and then add in 25% fresh foods and feed raw one day per week. That’s where I am now. Seem to be having some difficulties with tolerance of kibble full time. I stopped everything else. I don’t know if the tolerance issues are bc they’re eating more kibble or bc I’ve deliberately chosen low carb high protein kibbles. I keep thinking when they’re tolerating kibble better I’ll start adding other things back in but… I’m wondering if I need to reevaluate my plan. Tolerance of Nature’s Variety Rabbit was awful and ever since we’ve been off track. I end up feeding each kibble for 1 1/2 – 2 weeks then switch off.
I’ve just read on another thread about peas and legumes being hard for many dogs to tolerate. All the kibbles that I’ve been using lately have chickpeas or other peas. That may be our issue. I tried cutting out all potatoes. I may need to go back to some of the kibbles that contain sweet potatoes.
My dogs do not do well with Nature’s Variety or chick peas either. I’m actually having good luck with kibble where potato is the binder. Weird? They do great on Whole Earth Farms and are doing well on 4Health beef and potato right now. I feed mostly 4 star foods and add fresh or canned foods to all their meals to make a little healthier. Victor might also be a kibble for you to try. It does contain peas, but I think it mostly uses sweet potatoes as it’s binder.
Here is a link to a download that a few of us here on DFA have used as a guideline. It gives good ideas for one kibble free day or toppers to add to kibble everyday:
Thank you both, TheBCNut and Crazy4Cats, for your replies.
My motivation for getting rid of potatoes was that they have an inflammatory impact. I wanted to decrease the overall carb content to foods with less than 30% due to a yeast issue and lower carbs seems better all around – hopefully, for dental health as well. I’m really not opposed to grains if the overall carb content is low. It looks like the foods that are causing the issues have both peas and tapioca so will have to experiment to see which is the culprit. I try to find foods that I can feed to everybody but not sure if that will work out.
Hi Dog Pack Mom-
Regarding the yeast…have your dogs been diagnosed with yeast by a vet? If so what kind? If it is Malassezia yeast, reducing carbohydrate intake will have no effect as it does not feed off of carbs. My dog with severe yeast problems has finally found relief and is eating a kibble with over 40% carbs.
No one has currently been diagnosed with yeast by a vet. I have a standard poodle that gets yeasty ears but is currently doing ok. I have a new rescue, Maltese mix, that has severely itchy paws, dis dos discolored nails, and black spots on tummy that look to be yeast from past experience. I am also using chlorhexidine shampoo and spray. I have senior dogs that I believe could benefit from less inflammation that carbs can contribute to. It seems pretty well accepted that dogs don’t really need carbs so it makes sense to me that less is more in regards to carbs.
If you want an easy way to add raw to the diet, go to Hare Today. Their grinds already have the correct bone/muscle meat/organ ratio, so all you have to do is thaw and add the right amount. I choose the amount of raw that works for me and adjust kibble accordingly.
Yeasty ears are usually a sign of a food intolerance.
Thanks to you both for your input. I have ordered from Hare Today in the past when I was raw feeding. I just can’t seem to stick with a large portion of the diet being raw due to either costs or time investment required. I won’t completely rule out raw if it became necessary. Right now, I’m just trying to find several lower carb kibbles to rotate as the main base of our diet. In trying to decrease the carbs and potatoes, I increased the peas and tapioca. It appears one of those ingredients may be the culprit in the tolerance issue Delilah and Rooster are currently experiencing.
I can understand about the cost of grinds from Hare Today but there is no time investment with their grinds, that theBCNut mentioned. You just scoop it in the dog bowls.
I have a dog who had recurrent yeast ear infections & excessive paw licking. I tried many dry foods but the only thing that worked was raw. My holistic vet thinks it’s the produce in some of them (I also tried a pre made with produce which did not work).
Hi Inked Marie,
You are correct the Hare Today grinds are just scoop and feed. I was referring to the other option for feeding raw less expensively which would be to prepare the raw meals myself. That is the time investment to which I was referring.
I am not currently interested in feeding a full home prepared diet. I am truly interested in finding several kibbles that are well tolerated by my pack to rotate. I would like the kibbles to be low carbohydrate as far as kibble goes. If I choose to feed raw it won’t be more than one day per week at this time. I’m familiar with Steve Brown’s book that instruct how to best do that or the option of feeding a Hare Today or Reel Raw balanced grind.
ok, I understand now.
Thank you for your suggestion, Inked Marie. I hope I didn’t come across too abruptly.
Not at all! (I’m usually the abrupt one).
Hope you find something that works. Raw was the only thing that works, still working, for Boone.
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