I’ve had Brewer for 2 years; rescue Lab. who spent most of his young life at the shelter. He came with numerous stomach, stool and skin problems (even thought the neighbors had poisoned him because he was so sick)…after several vet. visits who suggested corn based food I went to Dog Food Advisor and tried Dogswell-Nutrisca…he’s certainly doing better but I want the best for him so I tried raw but realized I was too uncertain how to get it balanced and he’s a “gulper” so meaty bones and whole chicken pieces are a hazard. Now I’m looking at Orijen…seems the next best thing to raw for this special boy. Any advice???
Have you thought of either ground raw (Hare Today, My Pet Carnivore and Reel Raw) are the places I know of to order from or pre made raw (Darwin’s & Primal are two I like)?
If I had to rank commercial foods in order of preference, I would say raw first, then dehydrated/freeze-dried, then kibble. Primal and Stella & Chewy’s make complete and balance raw formulas. Darwin’s is also complete and balanced plus they ship right to your door (you can’t buy it in a store). For dehydrated food, I like The Honest Kitchen. Grandma Lucy’s is similar but freeze-dried instead of dehydrated. If you want kibble, then I agree that Orijen is one of the best kibbles you could feed.
I feed my Great Dane (also a rescue) a 50/50 mix of The Honest Kitchen and commercial raw. I try to rotate as many different brands and proteins of raw as I can. I use Primal, Stella & Chewy’s, Tucker’s, Vital Essentials, and Genesis Raw (local to FL). I do keep a small bag of Orijen Adult on hand for when I forget to thaw out raw or I’m in a hurry.
If I were you, I would try to locate a small, independent pet store or pet boutique. They tend to carry the quality kibbles and also raw/dehydrated foods. They will usually special order things for you as well.
I hope this helps and good luck!
Thanks for your great tips! I’ve checked into Darwin’s and a afew others but as much as I like Brewer, I don’t know if his monthly food bill should exceed the monthly payment on a new Lexus. That being said, I’d still like the best for him and feel I could do raw from my kitchen and fill in with Nutrisca or Orijen( for vitamins, minerals and probiotics) but in some of the “expert research” I’ve found they say feeding both is not beneficial. Something about time in digestion being different. Sometimes all of this information is overwhelming..I grew up with farm dogs and fed them whatever; they lived long and don’t remember them ever being sick. Are all of these health issues, with our canine friends, recent? Both of my last 2 dogs have had very sensitive digestive systems and allergies.
Orijen is probably the best kibble out there. Merrick Grain Free is all good and a little less expensive.
Grandma Lucy’s Pureformane line is a great freeze dried line.
My girl inhales her food too. When I give her commercial frozen raw, I only give her 1/3 of her meal at a time spread out as thin as I can get it on a small plate so she has to work for it a little. For kibble, I use a portion pacer ball in her bowl. Basically a big ball in her food so she can’t gulp it down too fast. Dog Games has an interactive feeder bowl shaped like a 3D flower with a bunch of nooks and crannies so she has to eat her food a lot slower. Sometimes I will put 1/2 her meal at a time in her Kong Wobbler toy. She loves it and makes her eat slower.
You can do homemade raw by using the Premixes like Grandma Lucy’s, The Honest Kitchen, Dr Harvey’s, Urban Wolf, See Spot Live Longer. You add your own meat and oil. If you’re worried about mixing raw and kibble, then you can feed one meal raw and one meal of kibble. Some dogs might have a problem with mixing foods, but not all. You can also get a grinder at least 3/4 horsepower. That should be able to grind chicken bones so you can buy bulk chicken at a lower cost. Find out if you have any restaurant supply stores near you that you can purchase from. You can buy items by the case. But to answer the question of what’s the next best thing to raw, I would say freeze dried raw, air-dried raw, dehydrated raw, cooked freeze dried or cooked dehydrated and canned food, then kibble.
I always thought canned was better than dehydrated oy freeze dried. I thought I read that from HDM or patty. Right or wrong?
I like freeze dried better as far as the harm done to nutrients.
Didn’t even realize there were premixes. Thanks so much for the info. The veternarians Brewer has seen don’t know as much about canine nutrition as you guys do; best $19.99 I’ve ever spent. Why is it most vets. recommend/prescribe corn based food, typically Purina? I walked out of one office with a 6 pound bag ($26.99) and the first 3 ingredients
were rice, corn gluten and whole grain corn. Another vet wouldn’t even discuss a raw diet; thought Brewer would choke on the raw bones and get Ecoli or something.
I think the pre-mixes are a good idea; one meal raw, one kibble. What do you know about Nutrisca/Dogswell?I was surprised it wasn’t listed in Editor’s Choice.
Dogswell has been caught up in the chicken jerky controversy. Actually several companies were. And for a long time, the FDA could not find the source of what is making dogs sick and no recalls were issued. Their jerky is made in China although I’ve read (I think in the Nutrisca review) that their Nutrisca chicken is sourced from the USA.
I rescued my boy just over 1 year ago & he too has bowel, tummy & skin problems..For some reason corn must bind them more, Patch is on vet prescrition Eukanuba Intestinal since last August when vets said he has IBD, it has corn also, I found the Eukanuba heaps better then Hills & Royal Canin … His skin stopped being itchy, no more diarrhea, the Hills & Royal Canin never helped him…This Janurary I’ve been slowing adding different foods & different kibbles but so slowly but Ive been cooking the chicken breast boiling it cause of the fat.. also I found that the Nutro natural choice & Holistic Select have been good kibbles with his diarrhea…he also gulps, so Im too scared to give any bones, I dont want to push my luck as he’s pretty stable at the moment, I also have read that raw & kibble is no good but if you give at different times it should be OK, I give cooked for breakfast then do kibble for lunch & dinner, that way he’s getting all his vitamins from his kibbles .. Last year my vet said NO to raw especially when I was giving chicken necks, he said to me, they’re are just bones & fat would you eat bones & fat, I said no….so now I cook chicken breast, pumkin & freeze cause 2 months ago I found out that Patch has Pancreatitis poor thing, last year vets were trying this kibble trying that kibble & all along he needed a low fat kibble we thought it was the fiber being to high but it was the fat % that was too high…
I think for some reason they seem more special when they have been rescued, they have had it tough & are survivors…You’ll work it all out but it does become confusing…. just stay away from the carbohydrates with his skin problems, no potatos or sweet potatos in kibbles..
IMHO, many vets do not endorse a raw diet because they dont sell it. Canine nutrition is not a major portion of veterinary training.
any opinion on Honest Kitchens dehydrated or fresh pet select? Which is better? I would like to feed raw but its so expensive and I really don’t have time to make my own.
I love The Honest Kitchen. I’ve been using it for almost 6 years. I think it would be a great alternative for raw for you. I’ve never used Fresh Pet so I don’t have an opinion on that.
I feed my dog homemade raw, but occasionally I buy Freshpet Vital. Bailey loves it and it’s rated very highly on here.
Course you wouldn’t eat bones and fat sue66b…you’re not a dog; what a silly thing for a vet to say. I’m truly astounded how little vets. know about canine nutrition. I’ve never seen Brewer jump from the car and run into a corn field for a snack but he does get dangerously close to my daughter’s chicken coop. I’m using chicken hearts for treats and he loves chicken livers; when I can find them fresh. I did some research on See Spot Live Longer and I think it’s reasonably priced and contains all the special xtras Brew needs to balance out his diet. I can do the rest from my kitchen, I think. He’s doing okay on Nutrisca but honestly, he “poops” 4 times a day and he’s back to scratching!!!
Oh, and I agree “CSollers,” I think dog food companies pay/bonus the vets. to push their food. Thanks for all the info.
Hi Wanda, Ive been looking at the chicken hearts & chicken livers at the supermaket butchers but Patch has Pancreatitis & IBD so I need to watch the fat in meats, when I introduce a new food I do it so slowly. With the livers & hearts do you lightly boil so the fat comes out of them…. do u just give 1 heart or 1 liver a day….I know when Patch has had liver treats he gets diarrhea, so I wonder would he get diarrhea from the freshly cooked liver…
sue, even cooked liver is very rich food and causes diarrhea in some dogs. Hearts are low fat.
Sue, I use the chicken liver very sparingly since it’s organ meat but the chicken hearts are considered muscle meat; I still use them only as treats and not as a meal. I don’t cook them at all. Brewer travels with me as a therapy dog so I’ll put a half dozen frozen hearts in a baggy then by the time he starts meeting with our folks they’re thawed and ready to munch.
I feed my 6 year old yorkie all canned now. He was on kibble and I’ve tried all the honest kitchen and he will not eat them. Is freeze dried similar to dehydrated because if it is and I order it I’m afraid it will also end up at the shelter. I thought about going back to kibble with the canned. Do u think it’s better for him to do all canned or add kibble with it. I wish I could do raw but I just can’t. I just feel like he would benefit from something besides canned even though I rotate and I do add sardines, eggs, cottage cheese, and fruits to it occasionally.I only have 1 dog now so I have so much to learn.Thinking about getting a yorkie puppy if I can talk my hubby into it.So what do u think should I start adding kibble?
Canned food is better than kibble. Why add kibble to your dog food if he’s already eating canned.
This page has a ranking of the types of food, from best to worst.
Thanks GizmoMom I will continue with rotating canned and maybe try some freeze dried.
Just because your dog doesn’t like Honest Kitchen doesn’t mean he won’t like freeze-dried. HK has a lot of veggies and some dogs just don’t like it. I would try a freeze-dried food that is mostly meat. Orijen, Primal, and Stella & Chewy’s all make freeze-dried foods (in either patties or nuggets). You reconstitute them in warm water.
I agree with GizmoMom. If your dog is doing well on canned only then I wouldn’t add kibble back.
I thought or was always told that kibble is better for their teeth?
Kibble is the worst food to feed a dog, its just easy for us the humans, no cooking, no mess, instant….best is raw, then cooked, then freeze dry….. My boy has Pancreatitis & vet said try not to feed kibble if I can & I notice after Patch has his kibble he seems uncomfortable & burps more & Ive got him on a low residue kibble that breaks up real easy & I add water to soften as well….some kibbles are real real hard, especially the kibbles with potatos, sweet potato & grounded rice.. I add hot water to a couple of the kibbles if they dont soften within 1 min, I dont use them….
The See Spot Live Longer site has a booklet called the ABC diet. One day a week is all fresh/raw food, the other days are the usual diet, dry, canned whatever you’ve been feeding. He also mentions that instead of one whole day you can spread the fresh menu items over the course of a week, just adjusting the kibble amounts. So apparently he doesn’t see a problem with mixing kibble and raw.
I mix kibble with raw for my dog. He has no problems with it.
Yes..just after I ordered Orijen on-line someone on here recommended See Spot Live Longer. I checked it out and will absolutely find a way to incorporate that into his diet either with the Orijen or without. I’ve read that Orijen is so high in protein, it can cause disgestive problems and even liver problems all though that seems doubtful. Sooo, I’m mixing current kibble (Nutrisca) and raw in hopes of getting him used to a higher level of protein. He kind of ignors the Nutrisca and waits for raw..that should be a hint. Anybody need a bag of Orijen?
I believe that Orijen is the best dog food, next to raw. I have never seen a list of more impressive dog food ingredients. My schnauzers love it. I appreciate the tips I’ve read on this thread about slowing down a dogs eating. I will be trying them. My dogs love Orijen so much that they gulp it down.
Other air (freeze) dried types: ziwi peak (on the EChoice list, expensive) and Only Natural Pet’s Max Meat (5 stars on regular site, not sure why not on EC list, about half the price). They have more of a jerky texture than the others and don’t have to be re-hydrated, which makes them just as convenient as kibble, but with the smaller poop benefit of raw.
When we received our first bag of Orijen, last Friday, you could tell it was an amazing kibble before even opening the bag. It is very dense, you can smell the freshness and Brewer LOVES it. I mixed Orijen with Nutrisca for a couple days and he found a way to eat around the Nutrisca. Because of the high protein content I’ve been integrating it rather slowly, (a couple cups a day) but he still developed loose stool after 2 days and I am still giving him a reasonable meal with raw ingredients, not mixing. So why the loose stools??? Who knows.
And…he’s still scratching and licking!…I don’t believe this is a food allergy; I think it’s a skin allergy. When I picked up his flea and tick meds. at the vet. she told me to try Benadryl. Any comments on that? I truly hate giving my dog more medication. Are there any natural products that actually work? I’ve tried herbal flea control, he hated it and it didn’t work very well. Thanks for all your helpful comments.
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