Hi! I’ve been reading this forum all day today, but am overwhelmed by all the choices. I’d really love to hear people’s actual experiences and thoughts– what is on paper does not always match what makes the dogs happy and healthy.
I have two lab mix dogs– both rescues.
Diesel is a 1 year old Lab/Shephard mix who has allergies. 65# dog
Dudley is a 1 1/2 year old lab/Greyhound mix who has gas issues when he eats ANYTHING other than the current food… (even treats) 83# dog
They were both given horrible diets before they came to me.
I have them on Science Diet Lamb and Rice Large Breed formula.
At the time, it’s the ONLY thing that I found that helped Diesel’s allergy symptoms (they are completely gone on this food but when I try anything else it comes back) and Dudley’s gas is now a very rare thing on this food.
However, reading it seems that people don’t like this one and that there may be better out there… And the fact that when I went to buy it today I found it went up in price AGAIN. uugh. Maybe now is a good time to switch…
I want what is best for them, with budget kinda on the mind at the same time.
Right now, it takes us 11 days to go through a 33 pound bag of Science Diet Lamb and Rice large breed formula dry food and used to cost us around $45 a bag but did just go up to about $50.
I’d really love to get them something better. Maybe something that also makes their poop a little smaller too? (I know–wishful thinking? LOL)
Any suggestions based on the gas/allergies?
I priced raw diet– which I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do, but it’s way out of our price range from what I am reading.
I CAN and will supplement a little bit of our cooked food on top (If I can avoid the gas and allergy issues– that will take a little experimenting)….
I have a feed store 1 mile from my house that sells some food but he’s kinda expensive on some items. I also live near Petco, Petsmart and have Amazon prime… I live in Texas, suburb of Dallas if that helps.
Any thoughts or tips would be greatly appreciated!
Hey, Dana, and welcome to DFA.
First off, I really think that getting your dogs off of the Science Diet is a wonderful decision! I also know what shopping on a budget is like, so what I can recommend is emailing/facebooking companies to ask for coupons (Nulo would send you some, it is a brand sold at Petsmart and online too), and sign up for coupons from Merrick/Castor and Pollux/Wellness. They will send you coupons as well. And if you order online, websites such as chewy.com , petflow.com , wag.com are great places to look for deals on.
Also, feeding a rotational diet will help with scooping out deals and sales – basically you will be able to rotate to different foods that are at a good price at the time of purchase.
Now, I can recommend you several brands that are mostly affordable (without coupons), and are available online. Earthborn Holistic, Dr. Tim’s, Annamaet, probably NutriSource (not affordable in my area though), Victor (available at sportdogfood.com), and if you don’t mind Diamond as a manufacturing company (lots of recalls, not handled well), Taste of the Wild and Canidae Grain Free Pure would be good options.
Most of these foods are pretty calorie-dense so you would also feed less and possibly have smaller stool. And I can actually give you an almost-personal example – my roommate used to feed the same Science Diet formula as you, and he fed it for almost 5 years to his dog (except he did feed her the puppy version when she was a pup). Then he switched to Nulo Lamb and Lentils (a grain-free, high-animal-protein food) and his dog lost weight, actually enjoyed eating her food, and her coat looks a lot better. I am not sure about stool size though. And now she eats Blue Buffalo Wilderness Red Meat. She seems to be doing well although many report issues with Blue so I wouldn’t really recommend it. Plus, it is pricy as heck.
Now, I can’t really help with the gas issues. Maybe someone else can give you direction with that and you can see what food matches others’ recommendations from the brands I suggested, and other brands others may suggest. Good luck!
I also have two lab mix dogs. Both about 80lbs. They are brothers. My favorite budget friendly kibble for them so far is Victor grain free joint health formula. I cannot get it quite as cheap as some. But I found a store that I can order a 50lb bag for $75. However, it’s two main protein sources are beef and chicken. They do have a lamb and rice formula as well, but I have not tried it. I then rotate with something I can find on sale. Right now it is California Natural Pork and Sweet Potato. It was 30% off on PetFlow a few weeks ago.
Like Naturella said, if you start registering on websites, you will get many promotional deals! Most of my emails anymore are from somebody wanting me to buy pet food. Lol! I also have 4 cats.
I always mix in (top) something canned, fresh, dehydrated or freeze dried in their kibble every meal as I don’t think kibble is all that great on its own regardless of the brand or quality.
Neither one of my dogs have allergy symptoms, but have had some digestive issues. So if you need to keep feeding what you already are, maybe you could add some toppers to their meals to bump up the nutritional value such as eggs, sardines, and beef heart.
The feed store by my house has the victor– I got the joint formula for $45 for a 40 pound bag and introduced it to the dogs today.
I read to mix the new food with the old food to introduce it to them without upsetting their tummies and slowly phasse them into the new food, but the dogs are somehow picking through the food and eating all the Victor and ignoring the regular/old food. Like dogfood ninjas. LOL
They both have a bit of gas, but I know that is from switching food. I’ll keep them on this for a while and see how it goes.
Once their tummies are settled, I’ll see about adding toppers, and maybe eventually alternating food like ya’ll suggested.
I’m so jealous that you can get such a good price on the food! That’s awesome! Another thing that you can do to help with the transition is to include probiotics and/or digestive enzymes in their diets. A favorite supplement on this site is, Perfect Form made by The Honest Kitchen. Sometimes it is hard to find so I usually order it online from Amazon. It could help with the gas issue. I hope it works out!
Man, i’d love to get Victor locally too!
C4C and Naturella have given you plenty of great advice, but I have an off topic question sorta
@Naturella What is the kibble size on the Nulo Lamb and Lentil? I’d like to try it for Dani since there are so few lamb formulas out there that are high in protein
@aquariangt, it is a tiny bit larger than Blue Buffalo Wilderness… idk if you have ever fed or seen it. They are about the size of Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch and Primitive Natural. If you tell me what you’ve fed I can tell you how the size compares maybe. They are triangular-shaped. Small enough for my 15-pounder.
I use both those earthborns and they’re good, so yay!
It’s really the reason I don’t use Acana, the kibble is so darn big
Ok, yes, they are smaller than Acana Pacifica. That is one we are almost done with a trial size of. Bruno seems to handle it just fine, but it is surely bigger than his usual kibble. What size were your dogs again? Also, Nulo may be about 15% bigger than EH, but definitely in that range. It is small enough, I would say.
18 and 20 lbs, so just a bit bigger than Bruno
Oh, ok. For some reason I thought they were a bit bigger.
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