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Very Confused About Dog Food !

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by mariella, Sep 13, 2013.


  1. mariella

    mariella PetForums Junior

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    :confused:

    So I have always had dogs and each time I seem to have changed foods for various dogs due to allergies and sensitive tummies. I feed my current lot on Royal Canin Adult and cooked chicken, sometimes beef. I would love to be able to raw feed but my husband is not comfortable with the idea and I'm not so sure either so I want to ideally use dry food with some other meat, possibly tripe.

    Could anybody help me decide the best food for my dogs - they all do agility and obedience and one does flyball so I would like to keep them on the best food money can buy so that they are fit and healthy and I keep hearing negative reviews about Royal Canin?

    Help much appreciated :)
     
  2. soulful dog

    soulful dog PetForums Senior

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    I think the main reason Royal Canin gets slated is because it is very expensive for what is at best, an average quality food. You can pay a lot less and get better quality food.

    Everyone had different opinions, but the basics are that dogs are meat eaters, so it makes sense their diet is based mainly on meat. Therefore you want a dog food with a reasonable meat content. Also, a named meat product like turkey, or chicken is better than poultry or the awful sounding 'animal derivatives', because you don't really know what meat (or other bits of animal) are in there. The named meat product can also help with allergies & sensitive stomachs, you might find your dog does better on duck or fish rather than chicken, you can't work that out and help sort out sensitive stomachs if the actual meat product is vague on the label.

    Everything else is just filler. The filler does provide some value though, both nutritionally and for making your dog feel full. But like the meat content, it can vary widely in quality. Some people will argue that grains are not a natural food source for dogs, so they feed grain-free foods. Others don't mind feeding some grain, but things like brown rice & oats are considered better quality grains than maize & wheat for example. Wheat in particular is an issue as its the most common allergy issue, so you will find most dog foods try to avoid it. Its a cheap grain, which is why many cheap dog foods contain it.

    Potato is another common filler, possibly better than even the good quality grains in some peoples view, mainly I think because it's not something that dogs will have sensitivity/allergy issues with, whereas some dogs have issues with any grain, even whole rice. The top quality dog foods only use sweet potato and vegetable as their fillers along with a very high meat content. You tend to feed less of that type of food as it's far more nutritional, though the high protein levels don't agree with all dogs either.

    There is also the argument that all dried food is processed food, so if you want to give your dog the best nutrition, you feed raw. Some people feed a mixture of dried food and raw or dried food and cooked leftovers or wet food. It's all about what you can afford, and convenience, and what your own opinion is on the ingredients that go into your dogs food.

    If you look at the ingredients of Royal Canin (Maxi):
    Dehydrated poultry protein, rice, animal fats, wheat, maize flour, wheat flour, vegetable protein isolate, hydrolysed animal proteins, maize gluten, maize, vegetable fibres, minerals, beet pulp, fish oil, yeasts, soya oil.

    Without going into great detail, the meat content is listed first so thats good, but it's just listed as poultry protein, so is a bit vague and it could contain bits of chicken, duck and/or turkey. Wheat, wheat flour and maize, maize flour, maize gluten are all low quality grains. And maize is another grain that divides opinion I think, some people like to avoid it completely since maize is just corn and dogs don't digest corn so why feed it.

    As a comparison, I feed my dog on a budget and am one of those who don't mind feeding some grain. I use Skinners Duck & Rice (ingredients are: Whole rice, duck meat meal, oats, peas, whole linseed, sunflower oil, sugar beet pulp, vitamins and minerals). It is quite grain heavy, but better quality grains (brown rice, oats) and no maize or wheat. It has more grain than meat, but 20% named meat product, and I supplement it with either meat or another dried kibble with higher meat content.

    You can buy a 15kg bag for less than £25. How much do you pay for a 15Kg bag or Royal Canin?

    There are lots of better quality foods than the Skinners available (Millies Wolfheart, Acana, Applaws, Eden, Simpsons Premium, Fishmongers etc). Take a look at the Dry Dog Food Index thread which is pinned to the top of the forum, or take a look at a website like whichdogfood.co.uk.
     
    #2 soulful dog, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  3. mariella

    mariella PetForums Junior

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    I pay around £50 for a bag but it lasts quite a while as I feed about a handful each meal as I feed mostly meat with it.

    Thank you for your help on the labels - they make them so complicated.

    I do sometimes worry about it being processed but its so convenient and my dogs "leavings" are always healthy and firm. I like to give them meat but I prefer to cook it which is probably not the best idea but it works for our family.

    The more I hear of Royal Canin the less I seem to like it. Its like you have to be a trained nutritionist to understand all the stuff they put in my dogs' food so thank you for explaining it really clearly.

    Thats a much better price than Royal Canin and already sounds much better.

    I had a look at the dry food index and this confused me even more haha :confused: I will have a look at that website and look at switching. Thanks again.
     
  4. ellenlouisepascoe

    ellenlouisepascoe PetForums VIP

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    We've also used

    Markus Mühle NaturNah Dog Food | Free P&P on orders £25+ at zooplus!

    I think it's a really good price compared to royal canin etc and I hear a lot of people say good things about skinners.

    Problem with food is everyone has an opinion and whats right for one dog is not right for another. I switched my two to raw as my husky has the most sensitive stomach I've ever come across and that way I can 100% control what he eats
     
  5. mariella

    mariella PetForums Junior

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    Thanks I'll look into that.

    That is the thing with raw feeding that you actually know what you are giving them but it just seems quite a gross idea and with my OCD husband I just don't think we could.
     
  6. Lauren5159

    Lauren5159 Lover of Terriers, loser of the plot.

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    I fed my two on Orijen for ages... I believe that it is one of the best dry foods you can feed but it does have a very high protein percentage... My boys did well on it before I switched to raw. Orijen is quite expensive but a 13kg bag used to last me ages! Easily three months :)

    Skip has a very sensitive stomach though and it couldn't figure out what protein source or other source was causing it. He also used to scratch all the time.

    Like above, raw was the only way I could completely control what I was feeding them and since switching, Skip doesn't itch nearly as much and his stomach issues have disappeared :)

    Raw isn't for everyone though and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with feeding a good quality kibble.

    Good luck :)
     
    #6 Lauren5159, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  7. sbonnett76

    sbonnett76 PetForums Senior

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    We feed ours Forthglade and buy it in bulk from Berriewood. It's got an extremely high meat content and no cereal or any other nasties, which there is no need for dogs to eat. We also mix it with a good quality biscuit.

    Luther, our second rescue arrived 5 weeks ago incredibly over weight so he's been on a diet, but his coat and overall appearance has improved dramatically since we've been feeding him and Roxy, our other rescue, was very skinny when she arrived and now looks amazing. Her coat is so shiny and she's just in really good condition. Obviously a lot of that is down to excercise, but the good quality food definitely plays a key part.
     
  8. BenBoy

    BenBoy Banned

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    You can feed a good raw diet without having to let things get messy. Honeys real dog food has been recommended to me a lot and so has natures menu chunks and nutriment.
     
  9. dogkrazy

    dogkrazy PetForums Senior

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    This is a good website:

    Which Dog Food.co.uk :)

    It has reviews of the different brands of dog food, daily costings depending on dogs size and ingredients lists, so it's very handy when trying to decide what food to chose for your dog.

    There are lots of brands that are better quality than Royal Canin but still with a similar price.

    Personally I Raw Feed, you can get it all prepared if you don't want the hassle, such as brands like Nutriment. :)
     
  10. JessIncaFCR

    JessIncaFCR PetForums VIP

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    Dog food choices really do seem so complicated with the amount of choice and different ingredients - been there and done that! :)

    Mine have been on Burns Fish and Brown Rice for their whole lives, and Jessie, who has a very sensitive tum has done fairly well on it.

    I then decided to take a look at grain-free and picked Millies Wolfheart Salmon and Vegetables, which has a very high meat content and no grain at a far more affordable price than Orijen.

    Dogs are all different though. Inca is almost completely on MWH and is doing fine on it so far, and I am looking forward to having her on a grain-free diet. Jessie couldn't tolerate even a tiny amount of it and ended up with VERY runny stools, and so has had to stay on Burns. Every dog is different and while foods with high meat content and no grains are the best on paper, they don't suit every dog. That kind of food (as RAW isn't possible for me) is what I would aim to feed, but it didn't suit Jessie as it's so rich and she's so sensitive.

    Here is the link to Millies Wolfheart

    Home - Millies Wolfheart gluten free dog food

    It works out at around £45 a bag if you buy two at the same time and their customer service is amazing! You don't feed very much of it either which makes it quite economical :)
     
  11. pogo

    pogo PetForums VIP

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    I feed raw and would always recommend it, but it's doesn't need to be gross.

    You can feed chunks, of meat and bones which don't resemble the animal, if thats the issue
     
  12. IncaThePup

    IncaThePup PetForums VIP

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    I use JWB cereal free fish & veg which was only one cleared up my pups runny eyes and squits.

    He also has Forthglade grain free when I give him wet (as kong filler for a change).

    I use F4D small bite weight control as training treats for their puzzles as my eldest dog is on a diet and this was only kibble she would eat dry in treat toys! I just get a small 2kg bag of this for under a tenner, to use for treats and it lasts ages. My eldest has JWB softened with water for her main meal as she finds the kibble size too large to eat dry.

    She also prefer Burns Penlan wet chicken or lamb with rice & veg (she doesn't need to be completely grain free).

    Naturediet is another good for kong stuffing most others (wet food) I found especially grain free tends to be sloppy.
     
  13. mariella

    mariella PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for all the advice you guys have been giving, its very useful. I am swinging toward the raw feeding and I have been looking at this Nutriment and have a few questions:

    So is this frozen/ chilled raw stuff all ready to go in the bowl? Also my husband has OCD with germs and such and I would worry about the bacteria from the raw food my dog just ate getting on our children. Is there a risk of illness to humans if the dog licks a baby's face say?

    Thanks again - sorry for being so dippy about this stuff. I just want to give my dogs the best but don't feel too comfortable with giving them a raw dripping chicken wing to gnaw on :eek:
     
  14. pogo

    pogo PetForums VIP

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    I personally won't feed pre made raw, defeats the point to me, and the major benefit of the dental and mental work out they get from chewing on a carcass or bone.

    Heres some links for you:

    How to get started feeding a Prey Model Raw Diet - Raw Chat - PMR Articles - articles - Prey Model Raw
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-health-nutrition/111437-raw-feeding-everything-you-need-know.html
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-health-nutrition/197702-raw-food-supplier-list.html
     
  15. spannels

    spannels PetForums Member

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    There's nothing wrong with feeding the frozen raw chunks (thawed first of course). I weigh out the amount I want into my dogs' bowls and let it defrost overnight, then just put the bowls down for them. They do the rest.

    Bones are much easier than you'd think - if you use a crate, pop your dog in there with the bone (I remove cushions and put in a folded old bath mat to lie on). The dog will have a happy time, children can be kept safely away, and you can get on with anything you want. Alternatively, you can put dog and bone into the garden and keep the children in the house. You don't need to feed bones everyday.

    It can get quite complicated when you start reading about raw feeding, and if you're not used to it it can seem gross. As a starter, you can get frozen nuggets of complete raw food, which contain all the components you need for raw feeding, you just have to weigh out the amount you want. You do tend to lose the benefit (to the dog's teeth) of chewing lumps of meat, and some of the control over what's actually in it, but it's a good starting place.

    As long as you wash hands after feeding, keep normal kitchen hygiene - worktop cleaning etc. - and keep your dog's bowl clean, using a brush or cloth which you keep just for the dog's stuff (or put it in the dishwasher if you have one), you should be fine. I would say don't let any dog lick your child's face - just make sure you get that a cloth to any tempting goo first :D .

    If you do want to feed raw, my advice would be to read up about it, start simple, and when you've built up your confidence and are happy to go further you can experiment with a wider range of options. HTH
     
  16. wee man

    wee man PetForums VIP

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    mariella,
    Have you considered using one of the Complete raw diet options. Of course it all depends on your pocket and what you can afford but you would not see the product as "raw meat" just a ready meal!
    Have a look on the "WolfTucker" site, there are some lovely choices and the meat used is of human grade, excellent quality!
    If you need to contact someone ask for Mandy, she's very helpfull !
     
  17. ellenlouisepascoe

    ellenlouisepascoe PetForums VIP

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    I am pretty OCD with my raw feeding I have to portion it up frozen so it doesn't get everywhere, I wear 2 pairs of rubber gloves to do it and even when I am putting it in the dogs bowls. I also put everything on the counters into the dining room out of the way ( knife blocks / coffee canisters )

    Every time I have handled it IE putting food out , cleaning bowls I Dettol the work surfaces / floor / kitchen cupboards. The dogs are not allowed out of the kitchen with their food.

    I would say the only think I'm lax with is the licking :lol: and I quite often have 4 children in my house ( My sisters 13yo / 10yo / 9yo and a 2yo ) without any problems so far.

    I believe even kibble fed dogs excrete salmonella ( someone may correct me) but I think it is present to some extent in kibble.

    I'm in the first few weeks and I won't lie it was a nightmare at first, I'm still trying to source a few bits and pieces living nowhere near a good old fashioned butchers but I wouldn't turn back now. We've had no tummy problems since switching, our Cavalier King Charles has stopped chewing himself to bits / scratching and our pup is looking healthy and happy instead of pooey and bloated. But now I'm getting into my routine I feel very comfortable with it.

    It isn't for everyone, as much as raw feeders will generally try and push you in that direction :) There are some really good kibbles out there, take a look at the dry food index further up the forum :)
     
  18. mariella

    mariella PetForums Junior

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    ellenlouisepascoe, you would get on well with my husband with all your cleaning. It seems quite a hassle but I suppose you just build it into a routine. I think I might start on the pre-prepared raw food and then gradually switch to proper bones and such when I know more about it. Thanks again for all the advice - everyone. Been a huge help. I'll gets started when this bag of Royal Canin gets finished :)
     
  19. Mum2Heidi

    Mum2Heidi PetForums VIP

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    You could always consider a good quality wet food. Not so far away from their natural diet as kibble, already balanced and prepared for you.

    Take a look at Naturediet - steam sterilised raw. Lots of info on their website.
    I think most food sold in trays is prepared similarly. Wainwrights, Forthglade (as already mentioned)Natures Harvest. Asda sell Naturalise, Sainsbury's - Delicious and Waitrose - Webbox Natural - all v similar.

    Arden Grange Partners cans, Butchers Tripe cans are v good.
    Zooplus online also sell a few good brands at reasonable prices as well.:)

    Not that I'm very pro wet food of course ;):D:D:D

    Hope you find something that suits you all:thumbup1:

    (You could always feed a good kibble and mix wet with it )
     
  20. Goblin

    Goblin PetForums VIP

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    White vinegar can be used as a "friendly" disinfectant by the way. I've seen reports that it kills kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of viruses. Cannot guarantee the accuracy of that as I've seen no scientific study to justify it.

    White vinegar is a safe all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant | greenopedia

    It's what we use frequently to clean up after the dogs have had their meal.

    Kibble isn't germ free. Make sure you treat it as a possible source of contamination, wash hands etc after handling.
     
    #20 Goblin, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
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