I have a 10 month old female lab about 60 pounds. She has had some significant issues with loose stools in the past. I tried a few dry kibbles and she kept having loose stools until I added Prebiotics and Probiotics to each meal. Right now, she is on Flint River Ranch – Lamb Meal, Millet, and Rice. If I don’t add a capsule of MicroFlora Plus (Prebiotics, Probiotics, Enzymes, and Herbs) to each meal, she’ll start having loose stools within a few days. I’ve been considering improving the quality of her food so I wanted to get some input on what type of food i should look into. I’m looking for the right balance of cost, convenience, and quality.
I’m afraid a homemade raw diet would be too time consuming, unless it was something easy such as Volhard Dog Nutrition – Natural Diet Food 2 (NDF2) which appears to be very easy and quick (just add protein to the premixed nutrients). The concern with NDF2 is that it would be too costly. It’s $75 for 10 pounds (good for about a month of meals from what I can tell) and I’m not sure how much the fresh protein I would need to purchase would cost.
There are also frozen premade raw diet options available. I assume this option would be very convenient, but I’m not sure how good they are or how much they would cost.
I’ve also heard of some people just adding some fresh raw proteins (ground beef for example) to their current dry kibble.
I’m also open to just a better quality dry kibble as well.
Out of the above options, which would you suggest for a good balance of quality, convenience, and cost? I’d like to stay under $75 a month, but could go up to $100 if necessary.
Thanks so much for any help!!!
- This topic was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by A K.
I have heard that NutriSource is good for dogs with tummy issues.
Regarding raw, I feed ground (meat/bone/organ & some have tripe) from Hare Today & Reel Raw. There is also Raw Feeding Miami & My Pet Carnivore. I just scoop it in a bowl, add the few supplements and feed. More expensive than feeding whole cuts of meat but cheaper than premades. You need a freezer for this.
Whatever you switch to, transition slowly.
Sorry about the issues you are having with your pup. I had the same issues with mine and it was stressful. First of all, have you had a few fecal tests done, specifically for both Giardia and Coccidia. They are both common parasites/worms that can cause intermittent loose stools in dogs, especially puppies. That was the issue for us to begin with. Here is a link that was helpful to me to get my puppies tummies healthy again after ridding of those pesky parasites: http://dogaware.com/health/digestive.html This site has a whole host of information on all kinds of dog issues!
My dogs do best on a lower fat with higher fiber food. I’ve had good luck with Victor, Whole Earth Farms and Taste of the Wild so far. I still occasionally add Perfect Form supplement made by The Honest Kitchen when I am transitioning to a different brand. I also add green tripe three days a week to their kibble. It is very stinky but contains natural enzymes and probiotics to their meals. Here is a link with some of the benefits: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-stink-on-tripe/ I buy K9 Natural either freeze dried or frozen green lamb tripe. Again, SO STINKY, but they love it and it’s good for them.
I do also add frozen raw medallions or nuggets to some of their meals as well. I use either Nature’s Variety, Primal or Northwest Naturals, whichever one is having the best deal! I have had no issue adding raw to kibble.
Also, maybe try cutting back on how much you are feeding her. Sometimes overfeeding can lead to loose stools. My dogs have improved a lot, but still sometimes have issues when they are over excited.
Hope some of this can help. Good luck to you!MPMember
I’m sorry to hear your pup is having so many issues.
I had similar issues with one of my dogs until I switched her to raw. She’s been doing great and has no issues. Green Tripe is a very good item, it’s gentle and full of probiotics.
There’s a new supplier with competitive prices that usually has free shipping. If they are not running an offer for shipping contact them prior to ordering and they will work with you. They carry all grades of meats, from USDA to organic.
Unlike most people think, raw feeding is not time consuming. Having a large plastic container to store 4-7 days worth of food takes away from every day defrosting and having to remember to defrost.
They are called K9 RawFeeding and their site is https://www.k9rf.com/
Hope this helps.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by MP.
Thanks for the suggestions. K9 Raw Feeding looks too expensive unless I’m using the calculator wrong. It looks like it will be about $150 per month for me and my 60 pound lab.
I think I’m going to stick with a dry kibble. The one that I’m considering is the Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost – Lamb and Salmon Meal Formula.
It has a 5 star rating on DogFoodAdvisor reviews.
Would this be a good high quality kibble to try, or would you recommend another brand, or something else entirely?
Thanks for the help!
Hi A K-
Nature’s Variety is a good food, my only concern is that when I look at the link you provided the calcium and phosphorus does not say if that is the MIN or MAX levels. That is something you need to email and find out about. If those are the MIN levels of calcium and phosphorus then that food is far too high in calcium for a growing large breed puppy- however if it’s the MAX it’s on the high side, but you could still feed it.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Pitlove.
“Nature’s Variety is a good food, my only concern is that when I look at the link you provided the calcium and phosphorus does not say if that is the MIN or MAX levels.”
At the bottom of the page it tells you exactly what the Calcium and Phosphorous numbers refer to;
“^Vitamin and Mineral information represent the typical values.” 😉
Hi A K-
Like others have said, Nature’s Variety is a very good brand. I have tried a few different varieties and flavors and my dogs have not done well on any. So, it’s hard to say how your dog will do until you give it a try. As long as it does not contain any of the ingredients that are causing your pup trouble, then it may be fine.
I prefer to use a more budget friendly, simple kibble and add fresher less processed ingredients to it such as eggs, sardines, canned, lean leftovers, and/or commercial raw.
Also, at only 10 months old, I’d still be concerned about the calcium levels in the food since she is a large breed pup and need to be aware of potential joint issues.
I hope you find a good fit for her!
Thank you all!!!
The reason I was leaning towards Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost was that it contains freeze dried raw food. My assumption (without knowing much) is that this kibble would be slightly better than typical kibble as it has some raw benefits. Would that be correct, or is it just a marketing gimmick?
If Nature’s Variety Raw Boost is a good option, is there another flavor of this brand that would be better for a 10 month old growing female lab than the lamb and Salmon one I was looking at?
Thank you all so much for the help!!!!!
I can understand that. But, in my experience with a kibble that contained freeze dried raw pieces was that they were very unevenly distributed throughout the bag. One cup may have five or six and another have only one. It really can’t be helped due to the pieces being a different texture and weight than the kibble. Maybe the NVI kibble would be different? Again, it may be trial and error for you until you find what works for you and your pup!
How is she doing now?
She’s doing fine right now. No issues with loose stools. The problem is the manufacturer I’m using now is having some significant issues and I’m not sure I can consistently get the food from them and not sure if these issues will effect the quality of the food.
That’s what got me looking into other quality options. My current food is only rated a 3.5 on DogFoodAdvisor so I’m thinking it’s time to switch to a better food even if there weren’t issues with the manufacturer.
I wanted to switch to a food with a 5.0 rating and Natures Variety Instinct Raw Boost is one of these highly rated foods.
If the Lamb and Salmon isn’t the best Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost option for a growing 10 month old female lab, would you guys suggest another flavor? if so, which would you suggest I try?
Thanks so much for all the help!
Star rating is not important at this juncture, but proper growth is. I’d highly recommend looking into NutriSource Large Breed Puppy. It is a great food for dogs with digestive problems.
Edit: I completely agree with Crazy4Cats. I’ve used NV Rawboost and was always dissapointed about the inconsistancy of how many raw pieces I got. Better to supplement your own with meal mixers like Stella & Chewy’s or add fresh foods like C4C said. Always being careful not to tip the calcium scale too far off.
Thank you all once again for the help! After hearing your concerns with NV Raw Boost and the amount of raw pieces, I think I’m going in another brand altogether. I’ve heard great things about Acana and Orijen on the forums so I’m looking into one of these at this point.
My dog is now on Flint River Ranch – Lamb, Millet and Rice so I’ll probably stick with Lamb as the main protein source.
Dogfood Advisor’s gives these with Lamb as the protein source all 5.0 stars:
Acana Grasslands – Lamb & Duck
Acana Ranchlands – Lamb, Beef, Bison)
Orijen – Regional Red – Lamb, Beef, Bison
Would one of these be a good option to try for my growing 10 month old female lab?
Thanks for all the help everyone!!!!Frank KMember
The Wellness Core Puppy formula is well-rated, as is the Adult version. I particularly appreciate the consistency of their product, the ease of use, and the overall health of my pups. To the best of my knowledge, there have never been any issues with the company or the food either. I spend $114 buying 2 26 pounds every 6 weeks for my 2 American Pit Bull pups who are now 11 months old and weigh 118 and 85 pounds (1 male, 1 female). When I initially received my dogs, they did experience 3-4 days of soft stool when starting the Wellness Core Puppy, but I am not entirely certain whether it was related to the food or the stress associated with moving. I do not routinely supplement with anything else, although they do occasionally receive some tasty meat and vegetable leftovers! While I am certain there are many excellent brands available, consistency IS a huge consideration. You must also objectively assess just how much time and effort you can regularly offer in purchasing and preparing the food. For dogs with digestive sensitivity, even minute alterations in diet can provoke distressful symptoms, which makes consistency ever MORE vital. For this reason, I would probably NOT use raw foods with your dog. Commercially available meat can vary enormously in quality for a multitude of reasons–FDA inspected and all. If you raise your own meat and absolutely know that it has been correctly handled start to finish, it may be a different story! We actually DO raise and butcher our own meats but I still stick with the dry food because I know that I cannot always spend the time prepping for the dogs–no matter now good my intentions may be! Be wary, also, of advice you receive on the internet from self-professed experts. (Mine included!) In the majority of cases, the individuals giving it are not sufficiently educated on the most current scientific research available and are basing their comments on anecdotal experiences and personal bias. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with experience, it is usually specific to that individual situation and may or may not have relevance to you. In the end, you want a cost effective, efficient, consistent, healthy, and uncomplicated diet for your dog without the hassle and expense of experimenting with a million different magic formulas. Finding a veterinarian who specializes in gastroenterology/nutrition through any of the veterinary colleges may actually save you money in the long run and would guarantee your dog the benefit of the most up to date information, as well as a individualized treatment approach. I wish you all the best in finding whatever works for your pet and many joyful years together!
Hi A K- Regional Red is too high in calcium so that would be off the table. You’d need to send an email to Champion and ask for the MAX calcium and phosphorus levels for us to figure out if the other 2 are ok. My suggestion would be Orijen Large Puppy.
Here is an article that is found on the review side of this website. It explains how it is best to keep calcium under a certain percentage to help prevent joint problems such as, hip and elbow dysplasia: https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/best-large-breed-puppy-food/
There is a calculator on the link helping you decipher whether a food is appropriate or not. Also states, that while not as precise, you can generally look for a food that has .9% to 1.35% calcium. I would be more concerned about that percentage than how many stars a food has at this stage of the puppies life. At least for a few more months until she is fully grown.
Pitlove and Frank have given you a few good options. Good luck with your choice. I know it is confusing, but you are on the right track!
Doesn’t seem like any of the foods I’ve been looking at are as low as .9%-1.35% Calcium. Should I keep looking until I find one with a low calcium level?
What would be a high quality brand I should look at with low calcium levels?
Thanks again for ALL the help!!!!!
While it probably isn’t crucial at this point to keep the calcium percentage that low due to the fact that your pup is 10 months old and has done a lot of her growing already, but it sure wouldn’t hurt just to be safe.
The Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Formula that you originally wanted to use should be appropriate if you want to give it a go. Also, Fromm Gold Lg Br Puppy, Orijen Lg Br Puppy, Wellness Core, Horizon Complete Lg Br Pup and Nutrisource Lg Br Pup are also some ideas to check out.
My large breed pups are now 4 1/2 years old. LOL! I feed them mostly 4 star foods and add canned or fresh meal mixers to their meals and they are doing great! Just remember, you don’t have to stick with one food forever. It doesn’t have to be a life long decision. If it doesn’t work, try something else! Best of luck.
A K- Since you were wanting to feed Orijen, use the Large Puppy formula. They reformulated it a few years back to have lower calcium.
Thanks again pitlover and crazy4cats (and everyone).
She is a little over 10 months old. How long should I be concered about the level of Calcium and Phosphorous in her food?
If I went with a large breed puppy formula like Orijen, when would you suggest switching her to a adult food?
Would you guys/gals suggest going with Orijen Large Breed Puppy formula for a few months, then switching her food again to something like Orijen Regional Red?
Or would you suggest finding a food that will work more long term without the need to switch again after a few months?
Thanks so much for all the help!
Hi A K-
You at least need to worry about it until a year old. Some choose to air on the side of caution and feed a large breed puppy formula until 18 months of age. For giant breeds you would feed them as a puppy longer.
You could feed Orijen Large Puppy until a year (or longer if you’d like) and then move to any of the other formulas in Orijen since they are all life stages (including the Adult Dog formula). It should be fairly easy switching within the same brand of food.
Just to be safe, you may want to be careful with the calcium percentage until she is a year or even a year and a half. She is already getting past the very crucial part of growing. So, I wouldn’t worry about it a whole bunch. It is up to you to what you want to do in the future. I have found that you may just have to play it by ear. Sometimes the best plans just don’t work out for a number of different reasons. You have to do whatever fits you and your dog the best. Best wishes!
I finally made decision to go with Orijen Large Breed Puppy. I got my first bag and started to make the transition.
Thanks everyone for all the advice!!!
Woo hoo!, A K, best of luck to you!
Thanks for the help crazy4catsJaxons MomMember
Hi A K,
I know you have already made a decision but I just wanted to share a quick post with you. I got a lab mix puppy who had lots of tummy issues and switching to raw completely eliminated them, instantly! Also I have also researched many dry food before I chose raw, and I would have to agree that Orijen is definitely a top dry dog food.
Are you by any chance in Canada or are you in the United States? I ask because I know of a great company I’d like to share with you…
I’m in the US.
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