I want to give another try to grain free for my lab mix, Wilson. Our first try was with one of the Earthborn Holistic foods (bison I think) and it didn’t go all that well. We mixed in slowly and still hadn’t transitioned completely after 3 weeks with still unpredictable poo. So he’s been back on his Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato for now.
I know that Orijen and Acana are some of the most touted grain free foods out there…but the price per pound is up there too. They are still on my list of possibles though.
In the meantime, I had the following on my short list (number in parens is the approx dry matter protein):
Victor – Grain Free Yukon River Salmon (36%)
Taste of the Wild – Wetlands or High Prairie formula (36%)
Wellness Core Original (38%)
I’ve heard mostly good things about these and ToTW is very easy to find as is Wellness Core.
However…a feed store relatively near me…25 minutes away…carries the Victor products. And from a price/pound perspective, Victor is right there with ToTW for value. And since it is also a 5 star food I decided to pick up a 5lb bag of the Yukon Salmon formula to try.
The attributes I was looking for includes: grain free, protein between 30-40% (his Fromm’s is 27% so I wanted to go up but not jump over 40% like the Victor GF Ultra Pro), approx. cost less than $600/yr (Wilson is a 65+ lb lab mix…I have a whole spreadsheet to calculate approx. cost for Wilson per year for around 50 different formulas…yes, I’ve gone a little overboard) AND preferably no recalls…at very least no recent recalls (though iirc, ToTW was part of the Diamond recall last year?).
Anyone, if Victor works well for us then great!
If not, what are some other options I should put on my list?theBCnutMember
Yes, ITA with Patty about Nature’s Logic! I’ve been using both the canned and kibble and have had great results with both. The protein is right where you want it; you can check here on their site: http://www.natureslogic.com/products/dp.html. I think it’s surprisingly affordable for a product of its quality. Nature’s Logic has earned my respect ~ they’re a very ethical company.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they had good results with Victor. I had a question about the product and was exchanging emails with someone there. They didn’t answer my question and when I emailed back specifically asking them to identify a particular ingredient, I never heard from them again. I was asking about the specific type of yeast extract that they use ~ thinking it could be MSG. I was disappointed, but crossed it off my list. I probably still would’ve been OK with the ingredients if it was MSG (I feed quite a few different foods so one questionable ingredient for a bags worth of food wasn’t a big issue), but it was the fact that the guy totally blew me off after I asked that got me wondering about them as a company.
Another product that’s budget friendly and that my crew loves is Dr. Tim’s Grain Free Kinesis. Dr. Tim Hunt makes himself very available to answer questions to as well.
I’m fine with Wellness. I’ve used it, but my dogs haven’t loved any of the varieties I’ve tried. I wouldn’t use TOTW, since it’s made by Diamond.
I love Orijen, but the new formula isn’t working for one of my dogs (both really). One gets a lot of gas and abundance of stool and the other gets a bit constipated. I think it’s the chickpeas and lentils that have cause some gastro issues. I was happy to get my hands on a couple bags of the “old” formula, but won’t be able to use the new formulas any longer. My two never cared for Acana and after several weeks developed loose stools (from both Grasslands and Ranchlands). So, I don’t use Acana in my rotation either.
Nutrisca is a great budget friendly food, that I actually have in my dog food stash, but after the Orijen chickpea fiasco, I’m afraid to use it.
Of course I think Nutri Source is great and the Super Performance would meet your criteria although it’s not grain free. Earthborn is great too, Primitive Natural would be your best bet there.
And then there’s Shep…, naw, just kidding.
Thanks! I’ll check out Nature’s Logic and Dr. Tim’s.
Sorry you did not hear back from the guy at Victor’s. That would probably turn me off too…but we’ll see how Wilson does with the 5lb bag I picked up.
I did wonder about the lentils and such in the Orijen/Acana. My other pet store, not my feed store, had little 12oz bags of Orijen & Acana so I picked up a bag of Acana Pacifica and Acana Grasslands. I figure if nothing else, I can use the kibble as treats since we are doing clicker training!
I’d consider the Earthborn Primitive but since we had problems with the bison one (Great Plains?) we probably won’t try it.InkedMarieMember
I second dr Tim’s. When I called there, I left a message and dr Tim himself called me back. Great food, gret company. Great price, too.KarenCParticipant
I’ve recently turned to Victor Grain Free Joint Health and am LOVING the results. I feed nearly half of their previous food (Diamond Naturals-rotating the version between beef, chicken, lamb) and all of the dogs are holding their weight nicely 3 weeks in. My pudgy 6 year old female has leaned out a bit too. I’ve never been excited for poo scooping but every single pile is perfect! My sweet 100lb senior lab (with “arf”-ritis in his back knees) is a pup again and I’m so happy for him. I’m new to rotating between brands, mostly because some of the better stuff is hard to get here (1 pet boutique allll the way across town…with limited operating hours and premium prices) so I have to depend on a feed store near by, but after a few bags of Victor I’m going to try some Fromm Grain Free to really do “rotating” right. I top with home cooked or canned and switch that up every meal. I’m feeding 9 large dogs so I have to be very budget careful and Victor has turned out to be a winner in that regard as well.MelissaandcrewMember
I have used the Victor AlS grain free and the Ultra Pro, as well as one of the grain inclusives. By far, I prefer the Ultra pro.I feed it to my high energy/drive Dobermans and its one of the best foods I have found to keep weight on them, as well as the lower fiber content has stopped my one dobergals IBS/Colitis.
The rest of my crew eats a lot of the Champion products, both Orijen and Acana and never a problem for them. Nutrisource is another fav of mine to use in the rotation, as well as Fromm from time to time and several others.
Thanks ladies. I’m starting to mix in the Victor’s Salmon to his normal Fromm’s Duck & Sweet Potato. The Acana/Orijen foods are still on my list to try as is Nature’s Logic at the moment. Also since we’ve done well on the Fromm’s I will likely try one of their grain free’s too.
As for toppers, Wilson pretty regularly gets some yogurt or pumpkin or cottage cheese. Only recently did I buy a small can of tripe and he loved that so I’ll probably pick up some more ;>FreeholdHoundMember
I’ve been feeding Victor High Pro Plus to my Greyhound. He does better on that than the grain free. Good luckFreeholdHoundMember
PS). I just ordered a bag of the Nature’s Logic Beef formula kibble. After some research I found this and 1 or 2 of their other formulas) to be the only kibble I’ve found that contain NONE of the ingredients that he tested sensitive to : Chicken, turkey, venison, salmon, white fish, soy, corn, milk, oatmeal, and sweet potato – oomph. Chicken, turkey, salmon & sweet potato are the big no no’s in kibble (but okay raw). I like the Victor but I am curious to see what happens with the Natures Logic. I’m aiming for a part kibble part raw diet, so even though the price on the NL is a bit steep compared to the Victor , it may balance out.DogFoodieMember
Wow! What a great find for you! I hope you have great success with the Nature’s Logic. : )Linda HMember
My pet store recommended Victor as they had researched it. They discontinued Merrick as it had been bought out by purina I believe and replaced it with Victor. So I am using that now with no adverse effects. I am mixing it with Vitapure. Also have used Orijen and taste of the Wild combo.
Victors is one of the only foods (other than raw) that my dogs have done really well on. Perfect bowel movements. I am not so sure about the company though which sucks. Every time I try a different food I end up back on Victors.Linda HMember
Summer—your dogs like Victor foods, but you do not like the company. What is it about the company that we need to be aware of? Thanks
I am only unsure about the company. I want to like the company. I really do!
There are a lot of positive things but they seem to simply ignore questions they dont want to answer. Customer service is not great. Because they ignore some of my detailed questions I wonder what they are not putting out on the table.
I have fed a lot of Victor kibble to my two large dogs. They both do really well on it. I have not heard anything negative about the company. I have had mixed results when contacting them with questions, however. Very recently, I emailed them with a few questions about their new canned food and they got back to me very quickly. That has not always been the case. I haven’t ever thought they are hiding anything though. But…if you are not comfortable with them, there are a lot of other good brands to feed. Check out the budget friendly Editor’s Choice List for some ideas. Best of luck to you!
Yeah I haven’t heard anything bad about them I just don’t like their customer service. They act like they are hiding something all the time. But I am pretty anal about dog food companies ;). Just a couple days ago got Annamaet 32/20. So far only after a couple days there has been a little bit of loose stool but I will give it some time. We will see how the annamaet plays out.. I LOVE the company but if their stools don’t firm up like I like back to victor we will probably go!
My dogs eat about 50% raw so the kibble doesn’t take up their entire nutrition.
Thanks for the reply!
I often use The Honest Kitchen’s Perfect Form when I’m rotating to a new kibble. It works very well, IMO, to help thru the transition and firm up the stools. Also FortiFlora is a probiotic that works great as well. Perfect Form should just be used short term, but you can use the FortiFlora long term if needed.
I’ve had very good luck with Whole Earth Farms, NutriSource and Taste of the Wild kibble too.
Okay so I bought the Perfect form stuff… How do you give it? It says you can make it into a gel…. Can i just put it on top of the food and get the same effect?
Yeah, I just mix it in my dogs food. But, I always add a little water and usually some canned or other type of topper that makes it easier to mix in their food. Start with about half of the recommended amount or less. It has a pretty strong smell that your pup might not like at first. I have two lab mixes and they will eat pretty much anything! I could see making it into a gel if you only feed dry food in order for it to mix in and stick to the kibble better.
Best of luck. I really hope it works for you.
Thanks so much. I went and got it last night and gave them the full amount. I am going to cut it back just a little as it seems like a lot. I cant even imagine giving it on just dry kibble. Eww LOL. Thanks so much for the recommendation.
You’re welcome. Did she eat it ok with the full amount added? Have you seen any improvement at all? Don’t be afraid to try FortiFlora as well. PF is more of a digestive enzyme supplement with ingredients that help soothe the digestive tract and does not contain probiotics. FortiFlora contains a probiotic that works well for both cats and dogs.
I know FortiFlora is made by Purina and it contains digest which most people turn their nose up at. Which, honestly, I did as well. But digest is not contents of the digestive tract like one would think. Here is the definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_digest
Anyway, when I finally used it, I was very surprised on how well it works also. In fact I am giving it to my 18 year old cat that has developed some bad digestive issues. Possibly IBD and/or liver disease. She eats it right up when sprinkled on her food and she has improved greatly. Her output has firmed up some and I’ve seen very little blood in her stool. Thank goodness! Best wishes.
Yes they did eat the whole serving without much problem. My dogs eat very quickly and aren’t real picky. I have not seen a difference at all. If anything maybe it’s worse.
They have only been on this new food for a few days but I really want it to work. I am willing to try the purina FortiFlora. I wouldn’t want to give it to her long term but if it’s something that would help during the transition that would be great!!!!
Yeah, i think when there are two, they eat faster! Agreed, you shouldn’t have to use any supplement long term to make a food “work”. We have to find foods that agree with them, not the one we think is best or has the most stars. Unless, of course, they have a medical condition like my cat that warrants it. Or….during a transition.
Give Perfect Form a go for a week or so, but then you can always go back to Victor and switch up toppers for variety if need be.
Right, completely agree. We will see if this works and if it doesn’t I will go back to victors because I have never had an issue with them. The only issue is me myself and I. I have tried many kibbles and end up back on Victors although I tend to give up pretty early. How long do you normally give a dog after they are transitioned before you would consider the food to not be working?
Are you taking at least a week to completely transition to the new food? Only replacing the old food with new a little at a time?
Well….. I must admit I did that for a couple meals and than ran out of their old food so I went ahead and just started giving them the new food 100%. I really cant blame them for have a little bit of loose stool. Its not bad its just a little softer than I would like. I could go and buy a small bag of their old food to mix in but at the same time their poop isn’t that bad and I could just wait it out…
I did add some canned pumpkin this evening.
Buying a small bag of the old food might not be a bad idea if it doesn’t get better. Pumpkin has never worked well for my dogs, but many recommend it. Fingers crossed!
They have been a lot better today!! YAY! Not perfect but absolutely improving which is wonderful! I have used pumpkin before in the past with client dogs and it has seemed to help but its mostly just a filler.
Yay! Did you use the Perfect Form too? Or, just pumpkin?
This morning was a perfect poop! Funny how excited I get about dog poop. I also used the perfect form. This morning was the 4th serving. Day 2. We will see what happens when I take them off of it in a week.
They adjusted pretty quick actually considering some of my dogs haven’t had grain their whole life. It is a higher protein and fat than the grain free diet I was feeding with more meat but still a totally different adjustment.
LOL! It is definitely a cause for celebration! Poop was a main topic of conversation at our house for months. We developed many different rating systems, such as gold, silver, or bronze poop. Haha! Thank goodness those days are over for the most part. Every now and then, I’ll use some Perfect Form or FortiFlora to get them back on track. But for the most part, they are doing pretty well. I’m very happy for your success!
Rating the dog poop! Thats hilarious! I love that.
Do you have a opinion on grain vs grain free? Lets say you have a grain free and grain exclusive food and both foods have exactly the same amount of meat content and carb content but one uses brown rice as a binder/carb source and one uses potato as a binder/carb source…. Brown rice has more nutrients than potato but it is a grain which so many people are afraid of.
I think it’s great to feed both as long as your dog isn’t sensitive to them. I have two homemade recipes that I feed my dogs now and then. One calls for rice and the other oatmeal. They love them and do great with both recipes. Blue ribbon poops!
Wondering how the transition to the Annamaet is going? Also curious about which Victor recipe/s you have fed your pup? I’ve only fed the grain free joint formula so far. I think it is called Hero now. Have you ever tried any of their recipes with grain? Hope all is well!
I actually about a week in a half ago switched back to the Victors because I was not getting the bowel movements I want. However.. Now they are having less than perfect (better than Annamet) on Victor but I get impatient and switch things around to quickly. Annamaet may have worked over a longer period of time. Perhaps I will try it again later.
I have tried all the grain free, Professional, and High Pro Plus.
I have in my never ending research discovered I am no longer going to give my dogs peas or at least until they are retired. I am a competitor and my dogs are in a breeding program. Peas (along with a million other factors) can cause infertility issues.
Since we talked last I have called Victor and talked to a guy who answered all my questions, was really knowledgable, and had great customer service so I am more comfortable with Victor than I ever have been.
I am currently feeding the High pro plus which is not grain free but pea free. I really do love their food. All the dogs are back to their dark stool even though its not perfectly firm YET.
When choosing a kibble I try and mimic their stool when they are fed raw since that is what they should be eating anyways. Raw poop is very small, firm, and dark. A lot of kibbles I have tried give them a light or even yellow colored bowel movement.
I am a raw feeder in the morning so my goal tends to be how close can I get their morning poop to look compared to their evening poop LOL 🙂
So far Victors Is the winner!
I have also looked at Nutrisource as they have a performance formula with 30/20 protein to fat ratio and is pea free.
Nutrisource also has the same 4 strains of fermented probiotic Victors has. Plus another one. Most foods really lack in this area. Annamaet has NONE.
dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract
Interesting about peas, hmmm? Sorry to hear Annamaet didn’t work out, but happy you got a better response from Victor this time around. I think it is hit and miss with their customer service.
Wow! You really do research the food, don’t you? I didn’t realize you are a breeder. I like NutriSource as well, but most of their foods are higher in calories than I like to feed. Especially during seasons where we don’t get out to get much exercise. But, their coats always look great when on NutriSource.
I wish Victor was more available in my area. Also, their prices keep going up since I started feeding it. Was thinking of trying a less expensive grain inclusive formula if I feed it again. Right not mostly feeding Whole Earth Farms. Thanks for your responses and best wishes for you and your dogs!
HA! Yeah im crazy about dog food….. maybe to a fault. I wish I could just pick a food and not have to research ever little thing about it.
I have a co op 1.5 miles from my house who carries it so thats half the reason its been a popular food for my house.
Other than poop coat quality is super important!
Yes I am a breeder however I am very aware of raising pups right and sending them to correct homes. I breed very rarely.
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