Features July 2005 Issue

How to Choose the Right Dog Food

You are uniquely well-qualified to select the best food for your dog.

by Nancy Kerns

No one is in a better position than you are to decide which food you should feed your dog. That may not be what you wanted to hear. You may have been hoping that someone would reveal to you the name of the world’s healthiest food, so you could just buy that and have it done with.

But dogs, just like people, are individuals. What works for this dog won’t work for that one. A Pointer who goes jogging with his marathon-running owner every day needs a lot more calories than the Golden Retriever who watches TV all day. The diet that contains enough fat to keep that sled dog warm through an Alaskan winter would kill that Miniature Poodle who suffers from pancreatitis. The commercial kibble that stopped my Border Collie’s itching and scratching in its tracks may cause your Bedlington Terrier to develop copper storage disease.

Should you set up blind taste tests for your dog? Ask your vet what to feed your dog? Go with what your dog-walker suggests? Choose whichever product WDJ says to feed? The answer to every one of these questions is NO!

Every food on the market contains different ingredients, and each one has the potential to cause symptoms of allergy or intolerance in some dogs. Every food contains a different ratio of macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates – and you have to learn by trial and error which ratio works best for your dog. Each product contains varying amounts of vitamins and minerals, and though most fall within the ranges considered acceptable by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), some may be in excess of, or deficient to your dog’s needs.

So how do you choose?

The starting place
Well, you have to start somewhere, and you undoubtedly have. Your dog is eating something already. We hope it’s a food that meets WDJ’s selection criteria, which is outlined annually in the February issue. We highlight a number of foods on our “approved” list, but consider any food that meets our selection criteria to be as good as the ones on our list. Our goal is to help you identify the foods with the best-quality ingredients – whole meats, vegetables, fruits, and grains, and high-quality sources of dietary fat – to get you into the right “ballpark” in terms of quality. Then you have to start individualized feeding trials on your dog.

Start by assessing your dog’s health. Take a sheet of paper and make a list with two columns: one for health problems, and one for health assets. Any conditions for which she receives veterinary care or medications go in the “problems” column. Other conditions that should be listed here include bad breath; teeth that are prone to tartar buildup; chronically goopy eyes; infection-prone or stinky ears; a smelly, greasy, flaky, or thinning coat; itchy paws; excessive gas; recurrent diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence; repeated infestations of worms or fleas; low or excessive energy; and a sudden onset of antisocial or aggressive behavior.

In the health assets column, list all the health characteristics that your dog has in her favor, such as fresh breath, clean teeth, bright eyes, clean ears, a lack of itching, a glossy coat, problem-free elimination, a normal appetite and energy level, and a good attitude.

If there are a lot more assets on your list than problems, and the problems are very minor, you may have already found a diet that works well for your dog. But if your list reveals a lot more problems than assets, your dog is a good candidate for a change of diet – in addition to an examination and some guidance from a good holistic veterinarian!

Now take a look at the food you are currently feeding your dog. Note the food’s ingredients, as well as its protein and fat levels, and its caloric content. Write all of this down, so you can make logical adjustments if need be.

Nutritional management of disease
Just two decades ago, it was considered fairly radical to propose that canine diseases could be treated, at least in part, by manipulating the patients’ diets. Today, the increasing availability of “prescription” diets is the big story in the pet food industry. As stated by the editors in the preface of the fourth edition (2000) of Small Animal Clinical Nutrition (the nutrition bible for most veterinarians):

“This is truly an exciting time for those involved in the discipline of clinical nutrition because of the veterinary profession’s increased understanding of the role of nutrition in health and disease management, pet owners’ continued interest in receiving the best nutritional information for their pets and the recent proliferation of commercially available therapeutic foods. Our ability to improve the quality of life for pets and their owners is great.”

If your dog has any sort of disease or an inherited propensity for disease, ask your veterinarian about the benefits of nutritional therapy to help treat or prevent the disease. Don’t settle for the suggestion of a commercial “prescription” diet; most of them are formulated with lower-quality ingredients. Instead, ask what specifically in the diet has been manipulated so as to be beneficial for your dog. Then, see if you can find a product that offers the same benefits and better-quality ingredients. The best example is a “kidney” diet for dogs with kidney failure. The goal is to feed these patients a diet with a moderate level of very high-quality protein and low amounts of phosphorus (see “When to Say No to Low-Protein,” WDJ May 2005). An intelligently formulated home-prepared diet can do a far better job of accomplishing these goals than the commercial diets on the market.

You should also do some research on your own to determine what dietary changes might help your dog. A good starting place is Donald R. Strombeck’s Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: The Healthful Alternative (available by order in bookstores, and from www.Amazon.com and www.DogWise.com). Dr. Strombeck details strategies for changing the dog’s diet to treat and/or prevent gastrointestinal, skin, skeletal and joint, renal, urinary, endocrine, heart, pancreatic, and hepatic disease.

Other diseases that can be improved with dietary management include:

Allergy or intolerance. There are a number of breeds that are particularly susceptible to food allergies, including Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, English Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Miniature Schnauzers, and more. Again, it’s important to keep a record of what foods you feed your dog, what they contain, and how your dog looks and feels. If your records indicate that one or more ingredients trigger bad reactions in your dog, seek out foods that do not contain those ingredients in any amount. (See “Walking the Allergy Maze,” August 2004 and “Diet Makes the Difference,” May 2001.)

Cancer. High-fat, low-carbohydrate (or carb-free) diets are ideal for cancer patients. Cancer cells use carbs for energy, and don’t easily utilize fat, so you can effectively “starve” the cancer cells while providing extra energy to your dog with a diet rich in a high-quality fat sources. (See “Feed the Dog, Starve the Cancer,” November 2003.)

Inherited metabolism disorders. Some breeds are prone to diseases with a strong dietary influence. For example, the West Highland White Terrier and the Cocker Spaniel have an inherited tendency to suffer from copper buildup in the liver; these dogs should eat a diet that is formulated with low levels of copper. Malamutes and Siberian Huskies can inherit a zinc metabolism disorder, and require a high-zinc diet (or zinc supplements).

Ask your veterinarian (and reliable breeders) about your dog’s breed-related nutritional requirements. And contact the manufacturer of your dog’s food for the expanded version of the food’s nutrient levels. Pet food makers are not required to print the levels of every nutrient on their labels, but should make this information available to you upon request.

Caloric considerations
Another thing you have to consider is the caloric content of the food you choose. If the food you select for your dog is energy-dense, and your dog is a couch potato, you may have to cut her daily ration considerably to prevent her from getting fat. Some dogs respond to forced dieting with begging, counter-surfing, and garbage-raiding. If your dog is one of these, you may have to seek out a high-fiber, low-calorie food – one that may not necessarily contain the highest-quality protein or fat sources on the market – to keep your dog feeling contentedly full without getting fat.

Dogs exhibit a wide range of energy requirements. You may have to seek out a higher- or lower-calorie food based on the following attributes that can affect your dog’s energy needs:

Activity level. The more a dog exercises the more energy he needs to consume to maintain his condition; it’s that simple.

Growth. Growing puppies have higher energy requirements than adult dogs. A food with a higher protein level, but a moderate (not high) fat level is ideal. Obese puppies are far more prone to degenerative joint disease – especially in large and giant breeds – than puppies with a normal or slim physique.

Age. The age at which a dog becomes a senior citizen varies from breed to breed, with larger dogs considered geriatric at earlier ages. Older dogs typically require fewer calories to maintain their body weight and condition, partly because they tend to be less active than younger dogs.

Environmental conditions. Dogs who live or spend much of their time outside in severe cold temperatures need from 10 percent to as much as 90 percent more energy than dogs who enjoy a temperate climate. The thickness and quality of the dog’s coat, the amount of body fat he has, and the quality of his shelter have direct effects on the dog’s energy needs.

Illness. Sick dogs have increased energy needs; it takes energy to mount an immune response or repair tissues. However, dogs who do not feel well also tend to be inactive, which lowers their energy needs.

Reproduction. A pregnant female’s energy requirement does not increase significantly until the final third of her pregnancy, when it may increase by a factor of three.

Lactation. A nursing female may require as much as eight times as much energy as a female of the same age and condition who is not nursing.

Neutering. It is generally accepted that neutered (and spayed) dogs have reduced energy needs. However, there are actually no studies that conclusively prove that neutered dogs require fewer calories simply as a result of lower hormone levels. It has been suggested that these dogs gain weight due to increased appetites and/or decreased activity levels.

Other individual factors. Other factors that can affect a dog’s energy requirement include its temperament (nervous or placid?) and skin, fat, and coat quality (how well he is insulated against weather conditions).

Human factors
Finally, there are the human factors that may influence your dog-food purchasing decision, such as cost and local availability. Understand that there is a connection between the quality of an animal’s food and his health, and do the best you can do.

It’s also worth considering the reliability, responsiveness, and availability of the manufacturer’s customer service people. It can be frustrating and costly if a company makes terrific food, but you can never reach them, your direct-ship order is regularly late, or the customer service people are either rude or unhelpful. Today, there are too many companies doing a good job and making good food to put up with this.

 

Also With This Article
"What You Can Do"
"Keep a Health Journal for Your Dog"
"What’s the 'Best' Food? I Can’t Tell You That!"
"A Condensed Dog Food Buying Guide"

Comments (43)

Lots of good posts here!! My experience...in 2008 there was a dog food scare; that's when I started making my own beneful!!! I got tired of ingredient shopping too...pulling and pushing those 40# bag of dry food...looking at the ingredient list. Corn is a no no..just a filler; no worthy nutritonal Value..just big poop, lol! So o thought, "why can't I make my own beneful"? Just meat and frozen mixed veggies and add some fat ( real bitter or coconut oil, vegetable oil ext. Its been 6 yrs and Tazz is very healthy!! She is a 12 yrs old and does not look it! She is not over weight, her eyes are clear, her ears smell great, beautiful coat!!! Whenever someone sees here, they comments on how beautiful she is and can believe she is 12yrs old!! I've always been a 'cook from scratch' person, so making an extra chicken breast or hamburger patty is not a problem for an animal I love! I also will buy chicken or beef liver..cook it, so its alMost done, cool it and put it back in the container. The portions are 1/3 protein to 2/3 veggies...sometimes if I've made rice, I will add a little rice in there too. I put a little more than a handful of frozen veggies on a plate, micro them for 1 min, take out and cut then green beans smaller, add a little salt and the fat, cut the meat up in smaller pieces. Then put back in the microwave for another min to min and a half. Put it on another plate (cuz the microwave plate can get hot) Tazz loves warm food; of course I do too, lol! For snacks I give her treats, dog cookies.,( different varieties of dog cookies like sweet potatoes, carrot, apple etc..she love honey roasted peanuts, ( I only give her a few of them, lol), she loves cashews too! Sometimes I will add some broccoli or cauliflower to her mixed veggies. I do have dry food in a dish for her, in case she's still hungry ( cuz I only make about 1 1/2 -2 cups of food, once a day...she's 57lbs Husky mix. But being the food o give here is REAL...she rarely touches the dry food.,sometimes I'll just grab some to offer it as a snack for her, lol! When I first told my vet what I feed her, he mentioned that too much protein may effect her liver...but this hasn't happened. As with any liver; detox is important, especially when one is on medication, drinking city water etc...use milk thistle. I just want to say my two cents and what I feed my canine family member..it works for her and me; and it doesn't cost a lot of money! I spend less money on feeding her real homemade food than dry food, and its healthy and REAL! Hope someone finds this helpful.😁

Posted by: Lorie K | September 24, 2014 12:41 PM    Report this comment

Am I missing it somehow! Do you have any type of review of frozen Raw diet's?

Posted by: KIRA BMD | March 24, 2014 9:21 PM    Report this comment

My 13 yr. old mini poodle is rejecting all kibble and any canned dog food that I give her. She only eats chicken, turkey, beef or lamb. Any suggestions?

Posted by: dsraikes@gmail.com | March 12, 2014 6:20 PM    Report this comment

I have 8 year old jack Russell who was just at the vet and I was told she has liver disease. Well the vet said maybe from to much protein don't know for s ure but I am trying to find a food for her. What do you think? She has always ate purnia baneful but she quit eating that, I tried this and that but now I am not so su re what to give her! Any thoughts?

Posted by: Unknown | February 18, 2014 7:09 PM    Report this comment

I have a 6 month old great dane..she is limping on her right front paw no swelling or cuts are there. she still is very active and does not seem to be in pain.I was feedling her rachel rays nutrish protein level was 26% i was advised by several breeders and dane owners to change her diet to lower protein i now have her on a holistic acrium for large breed 22 % i am in transition 1/2 nutrish and 1/2 holistic till she adjusts to the new diet.I am hoping this will slow down her growth(growing pains) will diminish.What advise do you have ? I have switched her reward treats to bananas for the high potasium which is good for her joints and added 500 mg of vitamin c to her diet..she seems to be showing an improvement in just 3 days. Thanks Lynne

Posted by: Unknown | February 7, 2014 6:35 PM    Report this comment

If you are interested, make your own food but the only way to do that so it is balanced is to make sure you find recipes written by a nutritionist who knows what they are doing and being as how my dog is having kidney issues and the prescription diets sold in the vet offices are crap, I went for the only other alternative. I bought the supplement sold by Hilary's Blend who also sells the recipes (but I got mine from the specialists office who is overseeing my dogs renal care). Hilary has her PhD in Animal Nutrition so she does know what she is doing so just google Hilary' Blend and she has the supplements that you add to homemade food good enough to eat yourself, believe it, and you need the supplement to make it balanced for the dog, and whatever the issue your dog/cat has or not,she has recipes for those situations. Yes you have to put a bit of cash up, but if you go thru a vets office it is cheaper i believe, but you end up with quality food, and likely less visits to the vet in the end. I dont believe any of the commercial pet food is good and you dont and cant know what is in it, ever for sure... The other option is to get a recipe from a book called "The Truth About Manufactured Pet Food", There are several recipes in there also written by a vet with a Phd in animal nutrition, Dr. Smart doesnt require a supplement, however it is a little high in protein and I have had two vets look at it, and you can safely eliminate the liver requirement completely...as well as you can substitute chicken for turkey and viceversa. If you dont want to make your own food read the book anyways, it is a real eyeopener...you may not want to feed commercial pet food ever again...

Posted by: Unknown | January 29, 2014 4:13 AM    Report this comment

We regret that we cannot answer questions about any individual dog's health problem. All veterinary inquiries should be directed to your holistic veterinarian, including inquiries about which food would be best to feed your dog. If you do not have a holistic veterinarian, please see the website of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at ahvma.org to find a practitioner near you.

Posted by: WDJ Admin | January 27, 2014 4:22 PM    Report this comment

My dog has been on Canidae all stages for almost 7 years. I supplement this with broccoli, sardines, brown rice, lentils and bits of apple. She loves these foods and is thriving. she has an hourglass figure.

Posted by: Arnold C | June 22, 2013 12:10 PM    Report this comment

I have a cockapoo who was a rescue dog. When I brought him home they were feeding him Beneful. I immediately decided to change his food and found something that he liked. It was a little while later that I was told he was epileptic. He was also having horrible ear infections constantly. I was told that the ear infections were because the breed was more prone to it and so they gave me prescription drops for his ears and medication for the seizures. Their explanation just didn't make sense to me so I started doing my own research. At that point in time I was probably spending $150 a month in vet bills and medication. What I eventually figured out is that a lot of problems can be caused by food allergies. The first thing that I did was put my dog on a grain free diet, and he has not had an ear infection since. That was almost 7 years ago. I kept doing my research and decided to try getting rid of the chicken in my dog's diet because I kept reading that chicken was a common allergy. He now is on a food with no grains and no chicken (you have to be careful looking for not chicken in the ingredients because they often use chicken fat as a preservative). He has not had a seizure or an ear infection since I changed his food. I now only have to pay for his vaccines and his yearly check-up. The food that I currently feed him is Nature's Variety Instinct Lamb Meal Limited Ingredient Diet. He also loves their Limited Ingredient wet food. I agree with the article that you have to find what works for your dog, but it also helps to find a good dog food store. The store that I use is geared toward holistic animal care and the people in the store are very knowledgeable. They even called me when the food that I used to buy was bought by another company, and they were no longer sure that the ingredients were going to be the same or if the quality would remain the same. They helped me look at several other foods and gave me the chance to try a few so that I could choose. I also believe in having several different foods that you know your dog likes and works well for them. I am a firm believer that you should either mix the different foods together or change them often. I know that I wouldn't want to eat the same thing all the time and it would probably make me deficient in some things that my body needs. It is difficult to have everything perfect even in a manufactured dog food. Give your dog variety and don't allow his body to become deficient in different nutrients just because you want to use the same food all the time. Now having said that, always do what is best for your dog and never just what someone else says that you should do. I no longer worry about the price of my dog's food because as I discovered it is a lot cheaper to pay for an expensive food then to constantly have to pay for expensive vet bills and prescriptions. Your dog also will be a lot happier. Good Luck to everyone at finding the best food for their dog.

Posted by: rustic | May 8, 2013 12:33 PM    Report this comment

I have an 8 year old shih-tzu who had struvite crystal about a year and a half ago and was operated. Since then he has been on Royal Canine dry food s/o diet for small dogs. I'm not convinced he's on the best diet. Any advice or help would be appreciated. Should i just give him home cooked food, if so what shall i feed him on to give best nutrition. Thanks

Posted by: Luckymax | February 27, 2013 12:38 PM    Report this comment

i have a dog that has been diagnosed with diebetes,and i would like to find a diet high in protein and vitamins. could you let me know the right food that is good to use ?

Posted by: Unknown | January 15, 2013 4:44 PM    Report this comment

I have a bishon frise that has bad tear staining and is always scratching. I have tried feeding him several kinds of all natural, organic feeds like Blue Buffalo but not helping. I was told to try Solid Gold Wee Bits. I don't mind buying a good quality food, I am just trying to find one that works. Please help!!!! Thank you.

Posted by: Unknown | December 9, 2012 7:20 AM    Report this comment

I also have Airedale Terriers and have wonderful success with Go ! or Now! Puppy food with the little guy (3 1/2 months) and Acana with his "sister" (1 yr). Both dogs are healthy and have no skin issues.. they also get raw meaty bones (beef and pork neckbones) as well as some cooked meat and veggies and fruit in season.

They also get lowfat cottage cheese for the lactobacillus.... Rita

Posted by: Rita A | June 19, 2012 3:57 PM    Report this comment

I also have Airedale Terriers and have wonderful success with Go ! or Now! Puppy food with the little guy (3 1/2 months) and Acana with his "sister" (1 yr). Both dogs are healthy and have no skin issues.. they also get raw meaty bones (beef and pork neckbones) as well as some cooked meat and veggies and fruit in season.

They also get lowfat cottage cheese for the lactobacillus.... Rita

Posted by: Rita A | June 19, 2012 3:57 PM    Report this comment

Hi,I have my 4 year old Akita on taste of the wild dry with natural green tripe mixed in & she loves the tripe more than the dry,what i have decided to do since the recall of TOTW is put her on orijen its the best dry & please remember that you must do this over time when changing your pets food ie,say you give her 3 cups of dry take out 1 cup & put in a cup of her new dry,your dog will have a lot of diarrhea if you don't take your time changing your dogs food & when this happens stop all foods for awhile & feed her what we call the barf diet,white rice with boiled chicken make sure you wash the chicken well & cook well,when it is done tear of pieces of the chicken thigh mix it in with the rice it stops diarrhea fast.Thank-God ! i went through alot with my Akita when i changed foods i did it to fast but i learned from it the poor thing.Good luck Dog Lovers.I hope this helps.Akita lover from Cape Breton N.S.Canada

Posted by: Unknown | May 23, 2012 11:56 PM    Report this comment

Our vet suggested Hills Prescription Canine c/d dry food medium size for our Pug to prevent recurrence of bladder stones. Research online indicates this may be poor quality food for prevention. I don't know how to find the names of the best quality commercial food to prevent stones. Help!

Posted by: musclemom777 | May 5, 2012 5:40 PM    Report this comment

Ensure that meat meal protein sources are high in the ingredient list. The meal is basically the per-cooked meat, which ensures that it won't reduce down anymore during the cooking process.

Posted by: printingray | April 25, 2012 6:52 PM    Report this comment

A couple of months ago I started my 4 year old Mini Schnauzer on a rotation diet rotating 4 grain free dry foods & 4 grain free canned foods. These foods were chosen by using web sites that have analyzed dog foods & have them rated from 3 to 5 stars. One of the sites is thedogfoodadvisor.com. After going through the lists & reading what was written about each food's high & low points I made my selections. Dry foods that I use (all grain free), are Taste of the Wild, Nature's Variety Instinct, Canine Caviar & Blue Buffalo. Canned foods,also grain free consist of Nature's Variety Instinct, Castor& Pollux, Dr. Foster & Smith(5 different flavors) & Blue Buffalo. There are many more to choose from. Plus I started adding 2 supplements from Springtime Inc. to his food, Bug Off Garlic &Longevity . If you go to their web site or google Springtime Inc. you can read the comments on these products & other whole foods from other companies.

Posted by: Dennis M | April 24, 2012 2:24 PM    Report this comment

I switched my 4-year-old golden retriever from Taste of the Wild to First Mate grain-free and his chronic skin problems went away.

Posted by: KEN N | April 22, 2012 7:07 PM    Report this comment

My 5 mos., 65lbs., Newfoundland loves ORIJEN; read the ingredients. It's for CARNIVORES, i.e. dogs. It's not full of grains and carbs that don't digest. There is no garbage in it and her stools are very small (food digested!). However, it is very expensive. I figure it will save me in the long run in vet bills and you feed a lot less of it because it's such great well balanced food. She gets some RAW MEAT also organic liver, raw eggs, long beef bones with marrow, etc. on occasion. Give it a try. I really believe ORIJEN is the next best food to raw. Evo is second best. Back to Basics is third.

Posted by: Linda T | April 10, 2012 6:39 PM    Report this comment

FDA has cited Evangers multiple times; check the net. My own dog got Botulism from one of their cans & spent 5 days in ICU. I'd never use their products, period.

Posted by: Beverley C | March 26, 2012 5:42 PM    Report this comment

I have tried many of the allergy dog foods on my poodle and the best one hands down was sweet potato & venison by Natural Balance. Less than a week, her problems went away - it was amazing. Been feeding this now for a year and great results in skin, eyes, tear stains, stool, etc.

Posted by: JuWi50 | March 23, 2012 1:22 PM    Report this comment

to the person who felt he/she was mislead about paying $20 for having the privilege of reading this site, please understand, no advertising is taken to publish the hard copy or manage this website. This allows for unbiased opinions to be published with no agendas attached. The $20 is well worth the cost for the information and education we receive. I have been subscribing since 2001, and there has never been an issue published where i did not learn something.

Posted by: Unknown | January 24, 2012 8:09 PM    Report this comment

Honest Kitchen and raw meat and bones. My Honey was always wired and reactive and or fearful. In just 1 month of Honest Kitchen she has calmed, focused and had more energy, happy playful energy for agility and hiking, swimming, fetch and play with our other dog. I make all treats such as chicken or beef cooked and cut up, salmon fudge, store bought cheese. She does get 2 doggie cookies that have oatmeal in them a day after she brings in the paper. I am now having titers done instead of vaccinations. I just want her to have the best and most healthy life I can give her, Thank you WDJ !!!

Posted by: Gamer | January 17, 2012 11:30 PM    Report this comment

MY WHITE DOGS, MALTESE AND POODLES TAKE "TEARLAX" WITH THEIR DOG FOOD "AVODERM". I MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT GET TREATS WITH WHEAT , I GIVE THEM "NATURAL BALANCE" TREATS. THEIR EYES STAY WHITE WITH NO RED TEAR STAINS. BE CAREFUL ABOUT EYE STAIN SUPPLEMENTS, SOME HAVE ANTI-BIOTICS ,WHICH CAN MAKE YOUR DOGS SICK, "TEARLAX" IS THE BEST,SAFE AND TOTALLY EFFECTIVE IF USED CORRECTLY.GOOD LUCK.

Posted by: malteseMAMA | December 19, 2011 10:37 PM    Report this comment

I HAVE FED ALL OF MY DOGS "AVODERM DOG FOOD" SINCE BIRTH THEY LOVE IT AND IT MAKES THEIR HAIR SHINE AND GROWS THICK AND BEAUTIFUL. NEVER HAD AN ALLERGY PROBLEM. I HAVE SCOTTISH TERRIERS, POODLES AND A MALTESE. THEY HAVE THE BEST HAIR OF ANY DOGS I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY 50+ YEARS. I GIVE THEM "NATURAL BALANCE TREATS". MY DOGS ARE VERY HEALTHY. NEVER HAD BETTER LUCK WITH ANY OF THE OTHER DOG FOODS IN THE PAST.

Posted by: malteseMAMA | December 19, 2011 10:25 PM    Report this comment

Blue Buffalo was recommended as the best dog food in pet store. My dog has bad gas and dierria. Planned to transtion gradually over 8 day period but gave up at day 5 as his stool's got worse. Any comments on our transition? We want our dog to have the best.

Posted by: Patricia S | November 28, 2011 10:55 PM    Report this comment

I have a German Wirehaired Pointer just over a year old and he is very very active. I have tried several types of dog foods but cannot seem to find one that he likes. He seems to like it at first and then wont eat hardly any after two weeks. Also, is Beneful a good wet food? What is the best dry dog food for my Pointer? Thanks

Posted by: Unknown | October 20, 2011 3:51 PM    Report this comment

I have been buying Stella and Chewy's freeze dried dog foods. For my senior kitty, mix them with canned. Started slows it was totally different type of food, as well as being dog food technically, but in wild I do not think a wild cat would refuse a rabbit for being a dogs rabbit ;).

Missy has had past issues with IBD but with S&C she regained weight after crisis, had issue with a UTI recovered from and again regained weight. Her coat looks great, she's as active as ever, breath is sweet and her ears which smelled a bit off but checked ok, now have no malodor. We tested each flavor by generous samples, in baggies that she tried to pull whole biscuits from e baggie. No finickiness from her!

Posted by: Cheryl A. | September 20, 2011 5:36 PM    Report this comment

My 15 month old Golden had frequent diareha and would not eat dry food alone. I had to mix it with a can. I tried all kinds of organic and helathy grain free foods. I finally found one he loves!!!!! Rachel Ray's JUST 6 food, not the treats. He gobbles it down like he's starving. and his poop is perfect at last!!!!

Posted by: Unknown | September 14, 2011 1:07 PM    Report this comment

Dog foods is better a mix between the usual chungky dog food with raw meat. Especially if your dog is a large breed. They need to build their muscle more compare to the small one.

Posted by: doggienuts | August 9, 2011 3:36 AM    Report this comment

I like to change dog food brands periodically so that my dogs have nutrional variety. The 4 brands I like to use are listed on WDJ best dry foods. These 4 brands are made by the same co-packer. QUESTION:If the co-packer should have a recall, would it affect all the brands they manufacture? Should I use brands from different co-packers?

Posted by: JOYCE C | July 19, 2011 3:36 PM    Report this comment

Costco's dry dog food has high ratings, is anyone feeding their dogs this brand? I am tempted to try them.

Posted by: Ojai Roy | June 6, 2011 10:47 AM    Report this comment

I am looking for a dry dog food for my mixed beagle.His eyes are always goopy,he get ear infections and always licks his paws for 20 mins at a time.I have tried Blue Buffalo,Castor and Pollux,Wellness,and now Taste of the Wild. No improvements,any suggestions?

Posted by: Patty S | April 17, 2011 7:14 PM    Report this comment

I have pit bulls, and they have a lot of allergies. I switch foods monthly, feed high quality and grain free, plus fresh veggies and fruits. I've recently started using Sojos (sojourners.com -- they ship). What a wonderful product! All the dogs -- even finicky ones -- go crazy for it. (They figured how to get into the fridge to get it.)

No diarrhea, in fact very compact poop because the product has no fillers. If your dog is finicky or suffering from allergies or diarrhea, try this product. Don't let the price fool you -- a small bag gives you at least 10 lb of food because you add water and whatever else you want.

Posted by: cathryn b | March 31, 2011 3:07 PM    Report this comment

I have three Labradoodles, ages 6, 8 and 9 years. Three years ago the middle one began having diarrhea and/or mucous covered stools. The older one was beginning tomhave terriblemtummy noises after eating the little one was fine except for her bad breath. I have always fed high quality foods reviewed by the WDJ. We had the dogs allergy tested by our vet and found the two older ones were allergic to a host of things. We changed to foods that were "safe", but even though they improved, they would still have flare ups. I tried many, many foods. Finally, I tried the dehydrated raw foods from Honest Kitchen. It looks like green sawdust and when re-hydrated looks like green slop. Don't let the looks fool you! This stuff has been a godsend for my dogs! They like it, its easy to prepare, and ALL their digestive problems disappeared within a couple of days. Even the bad breath went away. I've never raved about a food before, because I never had great results before, but this is The Answer! I HIGHLY recommend this food!

Posted by: Connie M | February 14, 2011 8:00 AM    Report this comment

Due to severe allergie reactions, we had both our girls vet tested for allergies. The kibble, treats and canned food that we feed come from 2 different sources.ALL grain free. We feed kibble/treats from Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Limited Ingredient line (www.naturalbalance.net) Kibble = Potato & Duck / Sweet Potato & Venison - - Treats = Sweet Potato & Venison / Potato & Duck - - Canned = Potato & Duck / Bison & Sweet Potato.

Wwe also feed canned 95percent meat (Lamb/Beef) from Wellness (www.wellnesspetfood.com) All of the aforementioned are on WDJ's good list.

They are also given thawed out, frozen peas, blueberries, green beans and spinach. All of these have nothing in them except what I stated. NEVER feed canned veggies as they are too high in sodium.

Our girls also enjoy a dab of all natural, no sugar, applesauce, some bits of peeled banana or peeled apple. We also cook fresh sweet potato, peel it and feed this to help with variety. Our vet knows of our Natural feeding and says our dogs are VERY healthy.

In response to "muriel2pups" with regards to canine bladder stones, we feed all meals mixed with warm water and during the summer, we add Pedialyte (Unflavored) to their meals to make sure they stay hydrated.

If your vet does not approve of any of the above, (or using natural methods of any kind), then I STRONGLY suggest you find another vet. YOU are responsible for your animal's care (just as if it were your child) and if you do not agree with your vet, seek a 2nd opinion or go elsewhere.

Posted by: Unknown | February 8, 2011 7:23 AM    Report this comment

Help! My dog 6-year-old Sunshine almost died from a bladder stone stuck in her urethra. She had 10 stones, struvite type. The vet wants to put her on Hill's c/d or Royal Canin Urinary SO. The ingredients make me shudder. The main thing is that she needs to drink more water. I'd welcome any comments or suggestions.

Posted by: muriel33 | February 3, 2011 6:33 PM    Report this comment

I have a seven month rescue pup. It has been a real chore to get him to eat (more). He weighs 56 pounds and I don't think he has enjoyed eating anything but boiled chicken. I have tried every dry and can food but I have not found one he will eat (only a little). Course the vet says "He must be eating something". But after reading some articles, I guess chicken is not too bad but I only want him to like his food; I don't think he has ever been full. He is too energetic and hyper and I fell like if he liked his food he wouldn't be (I don't mean a little hyper--this dog never stops) Appreciate any suggestions. Sue

Posted by: Unknown | January 29, 2011 9:54 PM    Report this comment

HELP! I have a 7 month old airedale puppy and I have two problems - he is VERY picky about his food and he has diarreha. I have tried Wysong, Taste of the Wild and Now and he has diarreha on all three. He also does not want to eat the puppy food he wants to eat the dog food of our little foster dog (Royal Canin). Thanks

Posted by: Kerry Q | January 28, 2011 1:13 PM    Report this comment

Evangers was shown on the list I read earlier however I recently read a warning that their food contains high levels of copper. I switched to this food based on it being on this list. How and where can I look for honest and accurate info?

Posted by: LINDA C | November 9, 2010 12:46 PM    Report this comment

I feed both the canned Ziwi Peak and theair dried bags to my German Shepherd, Ngozi. He is "super-finicky" and he will eat this food without being "spoon-fed" (smile).His weight is good and his coat is beautiful. It is costly though for a 75lb dog.

Posted by: FearlessPhyl | July 24, 2010 12:05 PM    Report this comment

I do not find air dried foods such as Ziwi Peak? What do you think of that food?

Posted by: virginia s | July 20, 2010 2:02 PM    Report this comment

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