What's the best dry food? What's probiotics?

Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

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Head of squirrel- patrol
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 8:32am PST 
Hi there,
....dogster newbie here...

I have 2 dogs. My vet has recommended Science Diet Light for both. I found that kinda odd since Augie is 1 1/2 yrs; Zuzu just over 1 y/o. I thought 'light' meant less calories and protein. Do growing dogs need more protein & calories? I thought so, but maybe I am wrong??

Augie's breeder recommended Nutro, but that food always gave him the squirts. He does not have that problem with Science Diet, so I continue to give that to both him & Zuzu. Is there something better we should try?

Also, I've been reading the post on Dogster about probiotics. Isn't that some part of yogurt? Do my dogs need this for healthy digestion?

My greatest desire is to have happy & healthy dogs; I want to ensure I'm feeding them the right thing. Your wisdom and opinions are greatly welcomed!

*Retrieva Diva!*
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 8:47am PST 
Hey Augie & Zuzu!! Welcome to dogster! wave

First of all, a lot of vets recommend Science Diet because they get benefits or commisions from pushing that product. That dosn't necessarily mean that it is going to be best for your dog, unfortunately. If you read the list of ingredients off, the first ingredient should ALWAYS be meat. Most "big box" stores carry cheap brands that use cheap fillers such as corn as their first ingredient. A good rule of thumb when looking for a nutritional food is "grain-free". I am currently feeding Nallah Wellness Core Original. It is completely grain free and all natural, she loves it, and I love feeding something wholesome to her. Here are some brands that you might look into: Wellness, Natures Variety, Innova, or Evangers. These are all grain-free and very highly reputable names.

Puppies do require certian requirements for feeding guidelines. When looking for puppy food, most of these brands carry a line based on puppy requirements. They consider puppies any dog under one year old. Do some research and see what you come up with, I'm sure you'll find something that works well for your dogs. Another tip: when trying new food, gradually mix in new food to old, a sudden change is hard on their digestive system, which could be why he got the runs from the Nutro. Good Luck, hopefully this helped you! way to go
Mister- Jagger

YIP YAP I love- Rock and Roll!
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 9:10am PST 
We feed Orijen to our dogs, but it is a bit pricey. We might try another grain free food for Zeppelin once he finishes this bag as he seems to have diarrhea a lot! shh

I'm sure you will get great tips here. The best suggestion I can give is to buy trial size bags (only a few dollars each) or small 5 pound bags to start on a new food. That way, if your doggies don't like it, or get diarrhea really bad (after they've been eating it for a least 1 week, during the first week it's normal), you don't waste a bag of food!!
You can try checking out these sites:
www.dogfoodproject.com and www.dogfoodanalysis.com
One of them isn't too too up-to-date, but I can't remember which one... someone else might be able to help with that!
Good luck and welcome to Dogster!! snoopy


Walk, sniff,- pee, repeat...
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 9:11am PST 
You're right about probiotics, they are found in yogurt amongst other things. Probiotics are basically good bacteria that help to maintain the healthy, natural bacteria living in the gut. They can help to reduce gas and loose poops, boost the immune system and some say they can even help with allergies. Its also great to eat foods with probiotics when you're prescribed antibiotics since they can really take their toll on the good bacteria in your digestive system.

Apart from yogurt (plain unsweetened is best for dogs, but I occasionally give my dog spoonfuls of my fruity stuff as treats) there are supplements at the drug store and better pet stores that you can try. Green tripe which is basically cow tummy, grass and all, also contains probiotics. There are some canned varieties like Solid Gold and Tripett you could try. Many dogs love this and since they're carnivores it is the most natural way to feed them probiotics and enzymes.

I'm sure you'll get more info about kibbles from the more kibble-savvy dogster members!

ETA I use a supplement from the pet store called Prozyme which is a blend of digestive enzymes that help the dog to digest and assimilate their food better, I know there are others that also include probiotics too.

Also, some dry foods include probiotics in their formulas, although since kibble isn't a refrigerated product I'm not sure how "viable" ie alive the good bacteria in kibble would be??

Edited by author Tue Jan 8, '08 9:18am PST

Mister- Jagger

YIP YAP I love- Rock and Roll!
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 9:14am PST 

He re's another thread with food suggestions. There are a lot that have been posted recently, just scroll down in the Food & Nutrition Forum! way to go

I solemnly swear- that I am up to- no good
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 10:16am PST 
There are ALOT of good foods out there! Way beyond the typical stuff at Petco/Petsmart!

But I do understand that not everyone has speciality stores in their area...

The best foods at Petco are as follows:
Natural Balance
Solid Gold

As for Petsmart, the best is
Blue Buffalo

Some Petcos are starting to carry Blue Buffalo as well.

Other brands that you won't find at the bix box stores are...
ANY Pet Food By Natura Pet Brand

Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 2:54pm PST 
I fed SD Lite for a very short time after Takiah has pancreatitis and was not impressed with either the ingredient list, or the results...espeically when you look at the price! A lot of the high end foods now come with probiotics in them. They are added after processing so they aren`t denatured by the heat (although I still don`t know about their effectiveness, but would assume it would be okay if the bag was sealed and is fresh). Canidae is a great food for the $$ you pay, and it has various probiotics and enzymes added. Some of the grain free formulas do as well. Read the ingredients...anything that has anything `illus` (eg. lactobacillus, acidophillus, etc) usually means a probiotic. big grin You can buy capsules of salmon oil at any store and squirt one of those on the food each day too if you like. Dogs usually love the smell and the Omega 3 is beneficial for all kinds of reasons.
Kodi Pie - CGC ESA

Why sit when you- could lie down?
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 7:35pm PST 
Is there a feed store where you live? In my experiance they are the best places to buy the higher quality foods like Canadae or Innova.

Fish oil is great for their coats too. Since I started giving Kodi 2400mg a day of fish oil (i use the human grade ones my mom bought me - i couldnt get them down big grin) he coat has become much softer and his skin isnt so dry.

I give Kodi a couple of tablespoons of yougurt every couple of days or when his gas is particularly bad... seems to help quite a bit. He eats a lot of grass too... I am thinking of putting a planter box "salad bar" in my kitchen for him to munch on. *grin*


For dry coat - a raw egg (shell and all if you like) a couple of times a week helps.

For the runs - a couple of tablespoons of canned pumpkin with his kibble will help. Oftimes, in just one or meals. I buy the big cans and put it in ice cube tray to freeze. One cube is a good size dose for med to large dog.

Im not fat! Its- fluff...
Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 7:43pm PST 
I had Ruby on Science Diet for several months and found that it gave her really smelly breath, she used to get lethargic after eating an average serving and got terrible tearstaining. While that isnt a huge problem for most non-white dogs, I'm concerned about how many additives there are in SD that cause that.

I now have Ruby on Blue Buffalo which she LOVES and we havent had a sign of tear staining since the day we started her on it - while her farties smell quite badly, we've also seen improvement in her coat, eyes and her energy is through the roof.

I would highly recommend Blue Buffalo if it was on your consideration list.

p.s - their canned food is phenominal too...so good I'm jealous.

Head of squirrel- patrol
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '08 4:13am PST 
Nallah, Jagger, Quinn, Gunner, Takiah, Kodi & Ruby....
Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us! My vet really pushed the SD when the dogs were pups. I trusted that advice, and it's dissappointing to realize they put their pocketbooks ahead of what's best for their patients. Not that SD is the worst food out there, but there are BETTER options.

Also thanks for the input on probiotics and fish oil. My dogs will eat anything (esp. Zuzu!) They get Frosty Paws now and then, -- yogert seems it would be a less expensive alternative.

Well... time to get the shopping list together. Thanks again for the warm welcome and kind advice!

Zuzu & Augie
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