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carzan Dork
5/28/20 1:56 p.m.

My dogs have recently been not so keen on the food I have been feeding them.  They will eventually eat what is fed to them.  But, their enthusiasm seems to be fading.  What does the hive recommend for dogs that seem to be getting increasingly finicky, but won't break the bank?  TIA


mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/28/20 1:59 p.m.

We use Kirkland, if you happen to be a Costco member. Had to try 3 different varieties before we found one Milo enjoyed. 


Of the 5 veterinarians in my family, I asked 3 about giving the dogs Kirkland. 2 said "go for it" and 1 said "Well, that is what I give my dog so go for it". 

YMMV. Waiting on Floating Doc's reply.

Snowdoggie Reader
5/28/20 2:29 p.m.

Kirkland is a good brand for the cheapest of the expensive dog food. 

You might also check out Diamond. They usually sell it in feed stores. It is a little cheaper than the stuff they sell at the big box pet stores and still a good food. 


The0retical (Forum Supporter)
The0retical (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/28/20 2:35 p.m.

Purina ProPlan when it's on sale. There's a bunch of different meat flavors to try.

Lately it's been Purina healthy weight since the big box store sells it.

My vets have basically just said to look at the ingredient list and pick one with meat as the first and second ingredient.



Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/28/20 2:35 p.m.

Having lived with a Veterinarian for 14 years (well, she was only a Vet for 8 of those years), she equates cheap dog food with McDonalds.  If you ate every meal at McDonalds, your health would likely suck.

I feed Nutro as a bare minimum.  Blue Buffalo is better.

My top few (in dry kibble) are Buffalo Blue, Nutro, Wellness, and Instinct.  Always meat as the first ingredient, and if it has grain, try to make it rice.

I used to feed raw when I had the money, and I had some stoopidly healthy dogs.  Like a Frenchy that lived to 18, a Chihuahua that is currently 20 and showing no signs of slowing down, and a previous chihuahua that made it to 18 before she fell off the bed and broke her back.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
5/28/20 2:45 p.m.

Kirkland here. We were Purina for many years until I started hearing about how much filler they put in their food. Kirkland isn't "premium", per se, but it has a good repuation. Plus, generally anything that Costco puts the "Kirkland" brand name on is pretty good stuff.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/28/20 3:07 p.m.

My vet recommends Purina ProPlan, Science Diet, and Royal Canin.  But yeah, I think there's a pretty strong link between poor health and cancers in dogs and the crap the dog food industry sells as dog food.

On the extreme end of the cost spectrum, there's Doctor Marty!


Snowdoggie Reader
5/28/20 8:50 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

Who is Dr. Marty? I see his ads all over the internet.

Ranger50 UltimaDork
5/28/20 10:10 p.m.

4Health from tractor supply.

Patientzero HalfDork
5/28/20 10:14 p.m.

I would add Taste of the Wild to the list Curtis73 already posted.


Just look at the ingredient list.  If the first ingredient is some kind of grain, pass.  You want meat as the #1 ingredient.  Dogs are wolves, wolves eat meat.

oldopelguy (Forum Supporter)
oldopelguy (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/28/20 10:15 p.m.

Science diet for all our dogs except for the 18+ year old mutt that won't die and will only eat cheap Walmart Old Roy soft dry food.  I figure if he wants to eat cheap food at his age I'll let him, though I do slip him some better food when I can. 

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/28/20 10:23 p.m.

My mom's dogs get Blue Buffalo. Spoiled little ankle biters that they are

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/29/20 7:01 a.m.

I used to feed my dog Taste of The Wild until it made him super sick and it was recalled.


I know feed him sone hamburger and rice along with a multi vitamin and sone veggies at times. He seems waaaayyyyy happier with that and it's not much different in price to expensive dog food

carzan Dork
5/29/20 8:11 a.m.

Thanks, everybody!  I had been feeding them pro plan and they seemed to be good with that for the longest time. 

I let my Costco membership lapse, so I guess I should take care of that .  I stopped at the local pet store and picked up some of the suggestions.  I'm starting to think there might be more going on here than meets the eye and a visit to the vet may be in order.  sad

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/29/20 8:17 a.m.

I'm a big fan of raw feeding, although with meat prices these days, it is not a budget option.  I used to buy whole briskets for 99 cents a pound.  Now brisket is a fad and it's hard to find it for less than $6/lb.

I would grind and freeze it in portions and just get out what I needed for the week.  If you want to try it, your pups will be a lot healthier, but it does involve some effort and a bit more money.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/29/20 8:38 a.m.
Snowdoggie said:

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

Who is Dr. Marty? I see his ads all over the internet.

Dr. Martin Goldstein, DVM, veterinarian to the stars.


He's a proponent of raw food for dogs.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/29/20 9:57 a.m.

hmmm.. real meat gives my mom's dogs a little issue with pooping, it comes out as a fast liquid

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/29/20 11:26 a.m.

I find that liquid poop happens any time you switch foods with some dogs.

I'm a big fan of it.  It did amazing things for my dogs.  I don't do it anymore (Nutro now that meat prices are so high and my income is so low) but 18 years of life from a Frenchy and 20 from a Chihuahua were enough to sell me.  And the chihuahua we put down because she broke her back, not because of old age.  Current chihuahua is 18 and has no health issues other than starting to get cataracts.  My Pit Bull is going to be 13 in a month and she runs and plays like a puppy.  Never had to take a dog to the vet for anything other than yearly shots.  Not trying to sell you on anything, I'm just sharing doggie love

Does this look like a 13 year old pup?


1988RedT2 MegaDork
5/29/20 11:41 a.m.

Yah, any change in diet needs to be gradual.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/29/20 11:50 a.m.

I'm at work, just saw this. I'll be back.

carzan Dork
5/30/20 8:32 a.m.

So far, very limited success.  Going to try Blue Buffalo and am looking at raw recipes.

wae (Forum Supporter)
wae (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/30/20 9:04 a.m.

When Dozer wasn't feeling so hot because of the parvo he was a little slow to eat.  Our vet friend suggested breaking a raw egg over his food.  He loved it, so we're still doing it.  We get 5 dozen eggs from Costco every couple weeks which makes it a pretty cheap solution.  Even now that the parvo is essentially gone, we still give each dog an egg on their breakfast every day and they love it.  It's hard to tell a difference with Dozer's coat, but Merlin is an English Shepard and his long coat is dramatically more shiny and silky since we started egging him every day.

carzan Dork
5/30/20 9:25 a.m.
wae (Forum Supporter) said:

When Dozer wasn't feeling so hot because of the parvo he was a little slow to eat.  Our vet friend suggested breaking a raw egg over his food.  He loved it, so we're still doing it.  We get 5 dozen eggs from Costco every couple weeks which makes it a pretty cheap solution.  Even now that the parvo is essentially gone, we still give each dog an egg on their breakfast every day and they love it.  It's hard to tell a difference with Dozer's coat, but Merlin is an English Shepard and his long coat is dramatically more shiny and silky since we started egging him every day.

Huh...hadn't even thought of that.  Gonna give it a try.

clutchsmoke UltraDork
5/30/20 10:27 a.m.

In reply to wae (Forum Supporter) :

That's a fairly good compromise between going raw and dry kibble. I'm with Curtis on raw being the best.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/30/20 10:46 p.m.

Okay, I'm back. This was something that I needed to do on a computer, not my phone.

I've been through the preceding posts. Here's my perspective, and I'll start with a disclaimer: I work for Banfield, which is owned by Mars. Mars also owns a lot of pet food companies.

You can choose what you want to do, who you want to listen to, and that's okay. I'm not here to debate. The reason I'm stating this is that my experience has been that occasionally I get reminded that discussing pet foods can be like asking people where they go to church, or who they're planning to vote for; it's a minefield. Fortunately, this is GRM, and none of us want to disrupt dear Marjorie's party.

Also, I don't make money for steering people to certain brands, nor have I had my entire student loan debt paid off by Science Diet (all things that people have said to my face).

Finally, I am a "show me the study" guy. I'm not making decisions based on anecdotal evidence. I'll add some links.

So, let's start with the whole "grain free" marketing E36 M3. Even with the built-in editing here on GRM, I don't usually swear, but I feel strongly about this.

That's what it is, marketing, and it's sold a lot of dog food. Dogs aren't wolves, and in fact domestic dogs have from four to thirty additional genes associated with carbohydrate digestion, compared to two in the wolf genome.

So what's the harm if you want to feed grain free food? How about heart failure?  I've seen one confirmed case, worked up by a cardiology specialist at the University, and multiple others that haven't been confirmed because the owners couldn't budget for the referral.

Every dog is different. Some may not develop the problem, while I've seen others come in with a whopping murmur, exercise intolerance, and fluid accumulation in the lungs and abdomen after only a few months.

I hate giving people bad news, and it's a lot worse when it's something that could have been avoided. Seeing the owners blaming themselves breaks my heart, so I work hard to (hopefully) convince them that it's not their fault (and it isn't). Unfortunately, I'm getting more practice at that conversation. Bad stuff.

The latest two meeting proceedings that I've read on this topic have expanded the concerns from just grain free to encompass what the cardiologists are calling BEG foods. That stands for Boutique, Exotic Ingredient, Grain Free. Their recommendation is to avoid foods that fit any of those three categories. Exotic ingredients are not kangaroo or alligator meat, but rather the grain substitutes, particularly lentils or peas.

I've also had a case where the dogs were supplemented by the owner with peas, and despite eating an acceptable dog food, two of her three large breed dogs developed heart murmurs in middle age. While I see murmurs somewhat frequently in small dogs, it's rather uncommon in larger dogs at this age. I had asked her about her food choice, but I didn't initially think to ask what she was adding to the food. She was feeding the dogs peas, along with their dog food.

So the current evidence is that it's not just the lack of grains, but rather that the peas/lentils, etc. are possibly binding the amino acid taurine that appears to be a factor in this.

Examples are Blue Buffalo (which I've never liked), Rachael Rae, Taste of the Wild... There's lots of them.

Okay, so what food to feed. The recommendation I'm following, and sharing with my clients at the moment is to only feed foods made by manufacturers that do food trials. These are:

  • All of the Purina Brands.
  • Hill's brands (Science Diet, Prescription Diet, others).
  • Any of the Mars brands. Yes, the candy company is a big player in veterinary medicine. (Royal Canin, which I feed at my house, Waltham, Nutro, and a bunch of others).

There's a ton of bad advice on the internet, so I recommend you read this to help with your search.

My go-to website for handouts, and the site I recommend for my clients is veterinarypartner.com.

It's not a Banfield site; it's a companion site supported by the Veterinary Information Network. I've been a VIN member since 2003, and my dues this year are $780. In part, that's so you can use veterinarypartner.com for free. You're welcome. 

Now, let's talk about feeding home cooked diets. I've taken multiple animal nutrition courses, both as an Animal Science major, and in veterinary school. I've learned enough to know that even with that education, there's no way I could compound a balanced diet by myself. There's lots of recipes, but this study done at UC Davis in 2013 showed only 10 balanced diets from the 200 recipes tested. I couldn't find a link to a more recent study that showed that none of the recipes tested were balanced.

Finally, raw foods. I eat raw fruits and vegetables. Raw meat and eggs, no thanks.

Here's the American Veterinary Medical Association position paper on feeding raw food. If your dog gets salmonella, you're also at risk. Some of the sickest dogs I've ever seen have been fed raw food, and some of those have died. Food poisoning is bad.

Hope this helps. I've been at this for a couple of hours, so I'm going to pack it in.


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