Hello, I have a 16 month old German Wirehaired Pointer. I am currently feeding him free-choice TOTW Wetlands formula. I started him on TOTW High Prairie Puppy at 7 weeks and switched to the adult Wetlands formula at around 9 months as we were struggling to keep weight on him. Currently on the Wetlands formula he will swing between a 3 and 5 on the 9 point scale, depending on how active we are that week. Overall I have been very happy with TOTW.
Lately (since about March-April) I have been hearing a lot about dogs getting sick on TOTW. Naturall,y this concerns me. Also, with summer upon us and the increased training and exercise that comes with it, it has been a little harder to keep weight on him. As summer progresses and we start conditioning for hunting season I suspect it will get even harder. This combines to have me again looking to change foods.
Initially when I was looking at switching I was looking at the Black Gold Salmon and White Potato because it was available locally and looked good on paper. We tried a bag this spring and he seemed to do okay on it, but we never fully transitioned as my local feed store stopped carrying it. I also considered Victor Nutra-Pro, but again there was no local supplier for it. When I mentioned this to the owner of the feed store he told me that if I wanted him to he would order either of them for me on their regular shipments, he just needed 1 week notice and would have it in for me.
I also looked at the Sportdog formulas this spring, but they didn’t ship directly to my area and the cost through Amazon was more than I was willing to pay. Now I see that Amazon has 50lb bags in the Large Breed and Active formulas, both of which are at a price that I find reasonable.
I understand that there are alot of quality foods out there, I am looking at these foods specifically due to quality, availability, and cost (under $1.50 a pound). Another reason I am looking to switch is I have another puppy coming this fall, and I feel TOTW has a higher calcium content than I would like to see for a large breed puppy. The 4 formulas I am looking at seem to be a better all around fit for me, with the exception of the large breed which the kibble may be a bit big for a puppy. The Victor may be higher protein than I want/need, and is not a grain free, but does advertise a higher percentage of protein from meat than Sportdog (90% vs 76%). The Sportdog Large Breed has a lower fat than content than the others (14% vs 18%) which leads me to believe it may not alleviate my weight maintenance struggle. 30/20 protein/fat seems to be the “standard” for active sporting dogs. I would prefer a grain free food, but obviously I am not dead set on it, otherwise I wouldn’t consider the Victor.
I am leaning heavily towards the Sportdog Active, assuming I can actually get it in 50lb bags. Which would you recommend and why?
it’s best to rotate & feed a few different brands with different proteins, this way your dogs will be getting a wider variety of protein types, the immune system is primed to a larger range of potential allergens which strengthen the immune system & may reduce the risk of allergies or symptoms developing. This is very important for young animals, added benefit with a rotational diet allows a better chance of providing a more complete & balanced diet…. Start introducing 1 of the new formula’s you’ve posted then over time introduce another new formula, I feed one a lamb formula for breakfast then I feed another formula, Venison for dinner, both different brands….
I’d be a bit careful feeding any fish formula’s, fish seems to have more toxins & contaminates then other meats. Turkey & Chicken are the cleanest meats apparently…..
I was feeding a few fish formula’s thru the Summer months, then feeding a Lamb formula & Turkey formula thru the winter months cause my boy has skin allergies & IBD but after seeing the tests done by “*********** Project” I saw 2 fish formula’s I was rotating & feeding my boy last Summer, they made the top 10 list of kibbles with the highest amount of toxins, my boy did become un well while eating the Holistic Select Salmon & the Earthborn Holistic White Fish….. http://www.*********************/product-ratings/pet-food/
People whinged how *********** Project didn’t release any test results but *** have released the test results to the pet food companies, I don’t need to see any percentages of how much arsenic, lead, mercury or cadmium was in the fish kibbles Patch ate, just seeing the brands I was feeding on the bad list was enough to know hey I’m not going to feed any more fish kibbles unless the fish comes from New Zealand clean waters……
also when you have any left over food from dinner add with their kibble, they have proven by just adding 2 spoons of fresh ingredients to a bowl of their kibble reduces their chances of getting cancer…..
Canidae make a brand called “Under The Sun” it’s a cheaper brand then Canidae, Canidae & Under the Sun made the good list in the *** testing…. *** tested the most popular pet foods & treats..
Hi M N-
I’ve read a lot of different opinions about what type of diet working breeds need. It seems that a lot of people who hunt their dogs or compete in dog sports will use a performance/sporting food during the season and then go back to a normal maintenance diet during the off season to prevent weight gain and keep them conditioned. You have to feed for the energy expenditure of the dog.
Typically performance foods are going to be a 30/20 formula, but still have a good amount of carbs for quick energy conversion. I believe Victor and SportDog both have performance formulas. I see you are interested in grain free, but I would highly consider a grain inclusive diet as many grains actually have better bioavailability.
As far as feeding for a large breed puppy, he is just shy of the 18 month mark at which he could go on to an adult food and at this point he should be able enough to control is calcium uptake enough that the main focus should be keeping him in condition to hunt him. While a 3 on BCS is not terrible, 4 would be better/ideal. GWP/GSP are lean by nature, but the standard is not that of a Greyhound, Poodle etc.
I know a bunch of people with sporting dogs who feed some of Dr Tim’s formulas, Annamaet and Victor.
Look at Chewy dotcom; great place to order.
Oh yes Dr.Tims. Great suggestion Marie! His foods are designed around mushing dogs.
Thanks for the input.
A couple things…
I have heard several times about rotating foods, and I am certainly open to that. For those of you who do rotate, do you switch cold turkey between brands? I don’t want to have 2 or more open bags of food at once… I have switched flavors within brands cold turkey with no issues.
The biggest reason I am looking at the calcium and phosphorus levels of the “new” foods is because I do have another pup coming this fall. I would like to feed them both the same food as I really don’t want to have 2 open bags of food if I can avoid it.
I don’t think I will be switching to a maintenance formula as we don’t really have an “off season.” We do field and water training April-August, Hunting season runs September – December. He runs free for 20-30 minutes 5-7 times a day (we live in the country). In the summer we also do weekly hikes where I will cover 3-8 miles, and since he is “free” while doing this he will cover probably 3x that. We will start using a roading harness and dragging weight for at least a portion of these hikes in the next month or so. We don’t hike during hunting season, instead we hunt both upland and waterfowl several days a week. In the winter we snowshoe (again he is free to run while I follow the trails). The only time he has held a “5” on the condition scale for longer than a week was January through April when we were only running 3-4 times a month and he was eating a 32/18 . This is also why all the foods I am looking at are all 3600+ kcal/kg.
I didn’t even think about the amount of heavy metals that could be in the fish formulas. I suppose it makes sense though. Humans are cautioned on consuming too much fish for the same reason. I was not familiar with the ***, unfortunately none of the brands I was looking at are listed.
I am not dead set on grain free, but I do want to limit the amount of grain I feed. I would be interested in hearing more about which grains have a high bio-availability for dogs.
I appreciate the additional brand suggestions as well. I have heard nothing but good things about Dr Tim’s and there are several formulas that I think would work for me, however it is not available locally and at $70 for a 40lb bag from Chewy it is cost prohibitive. I have looked at a lot of “premium” brands including Nutro, Canidae, Acana, Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Royal Canin, Orijen, and Merrick… Most were eliminated from serious consideration due to lack of local availability, cost, or simply not having a blend with the nutritional requirements I am looking for. It seems there are not many premium “performance” formulas out there.
Anyone see any issues with the brands/formulas I am looking at? Any other recommendations of similar foods?
I’m not sure what formula of Dr Tim’s is $70/40lb but thats only $1.75 a pound which, to me anyway, decent. Dr Tim’s has quite a few formulas, some come in 44/45 lb bags. Have you looked at Victor?
“The Sportdog Large Breed has a lower fat than content than the others (14% vs 18%) which leads me to believe it may not alleviate my weight maintenance struggle. 30/20 protein/fat seems to be the “standard” for active sporting dogs. I would prefer a grain free food, but obviously I am not dead set on it, otherwise I wouldn’t consider the Victor.
I am leaning heavily towards the Sportdog Active, assuming I can actually get it in 50lb bags. Which would you recommend and why?”
Full disclosure: I never tried any of those feeds. That being said, I do have a few friends who use the Sport Dog maintenance formula and are very pleased. Their dogs seem to be in excellent condition, with unusually thick coats for this time of year. I have also heard beaglers rave about Black Gold, though I’ve no personal experience with it myself. You might also want to consider Eukanuba Premium Performance 30/20. I mainly used it for bitches in whelp, but when I had a large pack running, that was my mainstay. I have tried several performance feeds over the years, and that exceeded them all in terms of alertness of my hounds, weight maintenance, heat cycle regularity, tolerance of bad weather conditions, coats, stool output, etc. It cost me somewhere around $35 for 30lbs, but that was several years ago.
BTW, I run rabbit dogs and my experience has been to be VERY wary of grain free feeds, because the carbohydrate sources they contain are often high glycemic index, simple, rather than complex, carbs. Hypoglycemia is your worst enemy in the field. Foods that spike the blood sugar, as well as *those that do not raise it high enough* need to be the stuff of your nightmares if you’re planning on seriously hunting with this dog. That means, be wary of low carb AND high glycemic index diets. Potatoes are an iffy ingredient. They should be all right if not the main source of carbs, but I prefer a feed without them after experiencing a hypoglycemic fit in two dogs from Wellness CORE about 10 years ago 🙁
On low carb diets, I saw concentration issues, however, you definitely need to be concerned about excess protein. In summer or warmer months, a dog in training runs the risk of overheating. During hunting season, you also risk overloading the kidneys and liver, hence the importance of moderation and a maintenance diet in the summer. For that, stay somewhere around 21% or under.
Another thing; fat and protein content have surprisingly little to do with weight maintenance – in my experience, the bioavailability, overall digestibility and kcal content contribute more to weight gain and muscle mass than does overloading with protein. I have a young hound in training who just returned from a friend’s rabbit pen and gets exercised every day, built like a truck on a 19% protein feed. He was on Sportmix 27/12 and has already shed fat and gained muscle after three days back on a 19/8 feed.
So don’t worry overmuch about fat/protein not being enough. And good luck in finding a feed!
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