Dog Food Recommendations

Dog Food Recommendations

Research article by Emery-n-Denise

 

We have spent quite a bit of time researching helpful dog care information and articles because we want to save you some time and give you the fruit of our labors. After all, we want to see everyone providing the best possible care for their dog that they can, and we believe the first step in that direction is equipping you to make a well-informed decision. We think one of the most important areas of dog care is the food you feed your dog each day. Therefore, we have scoured the internet for web sites that provide reviews, ratings, and consumer feedback on dog food products. Take a look at the list of Helpful Articles on the right. Below is Emery-n-Denise’s first installment to help dog owners learn about dog food and equipping you to be able to make wise choices when buying food for your dog.

Our second installment of research articles is entitled, “Caring for Your New Puppy – Important Things to Remember so That You and Your New Puppy are Happy.” In this new article, we try to answer just about every question a new owner might have when they first buy a puppy. You can read the article by clicking here.

Our third research article provides information on proper storage of dog food, selecting a dog bowl for food and water, and proper methods of cleaning your dog bowls. You can read the article by clicking here.

Our next article is a guide for crate training your new Golden Retriever puppy. It helps you to decide if this method is right for your family to use, and helps you select the right crate for your new Golden puppy. You can read the article by clicking here.

Choosing a High Quality Dog Food

Here are some of our thoughts on dog food; see if this makes sense to you and maybe you’ll agree…

The old cliché, “You are what you eat,” not only bears a lot of wisdom for us as humans, but also rightly applies to your dog. Many regard their dog as an equally important family member. Some have even adopted a philosophy that their dog should be allowed to eat the same foods as the rest of the family, and regularly feed it table scraps and leftovers from the family meal. You’ve heard this statement before, and maybe you would agree with it:

“If the food at our table is good enough for our family,

it’s certainly good enough for our dog! “

One would think so, right? Well if one understood some of the vital differences between a human’s digestive track and that of a dog, one would probably have a different view about what is healthy for their dog’s diet. Please bear with me for just a minute and allow me to get just a little technical, not too much, but enough to make a point: Probably the single strongest argument for determining the best content in a dog’s diet is the fact that a dog is a carnivore. In contrast, humans are omnivores. This means that the main ingredients in dog food needs to consist primarily and largely of meat products. Humans on the other hand, require a balanced diet of meats, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables. There are huge differences between human and canine stomach acids and digestive enzymes. These determine how well the digestive track is able to properly break down various food types so that their bodies can efficiently absorb the nutrients. A human’s digestive break down starts right in the mouth because of the enzymes in human saliva. These enzymes are missing in dog saliva. A dog’s digestive track is designed to efficiently digest and absorb nutrients from meat products. The stomach acid in dogs is far more acidic than humans so that it can break down raw meat faster and kill more bacteria. In addition, the average length of a human’s intestines is about 26 to 28 feet long, whereas a 50 to 75 pound dog has intestines of only about 4 to 5 feet in length. The digestive juices and shorter length of the dog’s intestines prevent it from being able to fully break down many human foods so that they can be absorbed for proper nutrition. This includes many if not most grains, starches, and complex carbohydrates. It has been shown that a dog’s diet can consist entirely of animal proteins and fats. OK, enough technical already.

So now you’re thinking that table food may not be as good for your dog as you thought, right? And, your thinking you might run down to the supermarket and buy some Alpo, or Kibbles and Bits, or Ol’ Roy, right? Or maybe you’ve decided to spend a little extra for your canine family member and you are going to get some Pedigree, Purina, Eukanuba, Iams, Science Diet, or Beneful, right? After all, these are the so-called premium brands, right? Right? Hello?

OK, I may have lost you, or perhaps you’re starting to move your mouse to click off this window as you detect a bit of sarcasm in the text here… my apologies, no intellectual insult intended. You’re probably saying, “Would you please just tell me what I should be feeding my dog?” Sure, I thought you’d never ask! I am going to give you my recommendation on several brands in a moment. However there are two good reasons why what works for my dogs may not work for your dogs: (1) different dogs even within the same breed have different taste pallets with different likes and dislikes in terms of how much they want the food, and their bodies may also have different cravings/needs; and (2) you may not have a store convenient to you which carries my recommendations. Therefore, I have prepared some guidelines listed below that will help you make a wise selection from the choices of what’s available in your area, and you will probably need to try more than one dog food if your dog doesn’t seem to be liking what I recommend or what you choose at the pet store. Therefore, you may want to buy a small bag of the product to begin with to see if it is welcomed by your dogs taste preferences. When you go to the dog food aisle, you need to be prepared to spend some time looking at the packaging and labeling:

You’ll need to look at the package labeling under two main headings which are required by law to be printed on all dog food products: first, the Guaranteed Analysis, and second, the Ingredients. We recommend dry dog food because it is better for your dog’s teeth and typically has higher levels of nutrients than canned dog food. Here is what you want to look for:

Things you DO want to see in the Guaranteed Analysis:

● Crude Protein content (preferably from animal sources) of 20% to 27% (min) in large breed puppy food, and 26% to 34% (min) in adult food and small to medium breed puppy food.

● Crude Fat content (preferably from animal sources) of 11% to 14% (min) in large breed puppy food, and 12% to 18% (min) in adult food and small to medium breed puppy food.

Things you DO NOT want to see in the Guaranteed Analysis:

● You don’t want the moisture content higher than 10% to 11% (max).

● You don’t want the crude fiber content higher than 3% to 5% (max)

● You don’t want the calcium (Ca) content greater than 1.5% (max) in puppy food, or greater than 2% (max) in adult food.

● You don’t want the phosphorus (P) content greater than 1.5% (max) in puppy food, or greater than 2% (max) in adult food.

Things you DO want to see in the list of Ingredients:

Keep in mind that the items are ordered according to their amounts or percentage by weight of their content; items appearing first have the highest content, and items thereafter contain lesser and lesser amounts as you go down the list.

● Look for as many quality meat sources as possible in the first five items listed. This includes meats such as chicken, duck, beef, bison, lamb, salmon, etc. You want the specific source listed such as “chicken” or “salmon” as opposed to “poultry” or “fish”. Generally, meat meal such as chicken meal is better than “chicken” listed by itself because a meat in “meal” form has far less water content. For example, if chicken is listed as the first ingredient and brown rice second, after they remove the water content from the chicken (approx. 80%), the amount of actual chicken meat left would probably cause it to be much further down on the list of ingredients. So, you end up with a dog food whose primary ingredient is rice, not meat. “Deboned” meat means that the Mfr. took the bones out before they weighed its content, so you are getting a little bit higher concentration of meat when it is deboned, but the 80% water content is still there since it is not in “meal” form. “Meat products” or “meat by-products” could mean the Mfr. is using a poorer quality food source which is most likely the discarded portion of meats that humans will not buy for human consumption (internal organs, linings, etc.). Some discarded products can be very rich in nutrients for your dog’s needs, and some not. But since it is left up to the Mfr. to decide what they will use, I tend to be more cautious when the Mfr. uses “meat products” or “meat by-products” in the list of ingredients.

● In the first 10 ingredients (but preferably not the first 4), look for quality fat sources primarily from specifically named animals such as salmon, chicken, turkey, etc. Vegetable fats from canola, olive, and flax oils are preferred over ordinary vegetable oil. Fats from vegetable sources are OK, but harder for canines to digest into a bio-usable form. Fats from unidentified sources are not good (e.g., vague sources such as “animal fat” or fat from “vegetable oil” as opposed to specifically named sources such as, “chicken fat” and fat from “flaxseed oil”). Additives such as Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, DHA, chondroitin, and glucosamine are a plus if they are listed as separate additives rather than a benefit of some other ingredient. Some other ingredient may be a source of these, but the beneficial amounts are usually quite small. You’d be better off adding your own glucosamine or chondroitin if that’s what you want your dog to have.

● Grains are not essential to the canine diet but are often used to help bind the kibble (a kibble is the molded dry dog food piece, usually a square or round shape). A high quality dog food will have meat and fat sources listed before grains. The better grains for dogs include brown rice, barley, and oats. And remember, you want the primary ingredients to be meat sources, not grains or starches. There is a trick that manufacturer’s play since they have become aware that people are reading the ingredient labels: It’s called, “food source splitting”. For example, let’s say the main ingredients of a dog food percentage wise by weight are “corn” and “rice” products; and then let’s say “chicken” is the third most ingredient, again by weight. However, if the manufacturer splits up the corn and rice ingredients into components such as whole grain corn, ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten, corn by-product, rice hulls, rice meal, and rice gluten, then the percentages of each of those separately would be lower than the percentage of chicken; especially if the chicken is not “chicken meal”. “Chicken” that is not in meal form is about 80% water, making it heavier. But since the raw products are weighed before processing, the water in the chicken parts gets included when weighed, but is lost in the final dry kibble product. Using this technique, the manufacturer can list chicken as the #1 ingredient by weight, and will proudly display it in big, bold print on the front of the product bag, “CHICKEN IS THE #1 INGREDIENT”. Not true. This is nothing more than deception on the manufacturer’s part.

● Preservatives – Look for natural food preservatives such as tocopherols (Vitamin E) and Ascorbates and Palmitates (Vitamin C). The only drawback to foods preserved with natural preservatives is they have a shorter shelf life. So, you should check the manufacturing date of the product or the expiration date. Don’t buy anything manufactured more than 8 or 9 months from the date you are buying it, and you should not buy more than your dog can consume in 1 to 2 months (after the bag is opened). So don’t forget to check the expiration date on the bag before you buy it.

Things you DO NOT want to see in the list of Ingredients:

● Avoid any kind of corn products, wheat products, soy products, peanut products, brewer’s rice, by-products of any kind, beet pulp (there are mixed opinions out there on beet pulp but I would rather error on the side of safety when it comes to what I am feeding my dogs, so for now I avoid dog foods where it is listed anywhere in the first ten ingredients. If listed thereafter, I look at the quality of other ingredients listed before it and base my decision primarily on those), and definitely no artificial food preservatives such as BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin. Manufacturer’s who use these chemical preservatives do not have your dog’s best health interest in mind, but are more concerned with having to throw out warehoused food before it is purchased by the retailer. Likewise, the retailer doesn’t want the foods on their shelves to expire before the dog owner purchases it. You should avoid dog foods with BHA, BHT, or Ethoxyquin (ethoxyquin is used to preserve fish products but is thought by many professionals to be carcenogenic, so you want to make sure that the Mfr. has made a written statement that their products containing fish do not use ethoxyquin).

One last bit of advice before we go on to our recommended dog food choices… The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalls pet food products that have been found to be in violation of certain quality standards, food contaminations, or containing banned ingredients which may cause adverse health effects to your pet or even cause death. You will be surprised to see the list of numerous products and the manufacturers who have had products recalled between 2007 and 2010. Some of the other web sites that rate dog food products are still giving high ratings to products that have been recalled. Sometimes the manufacturer initiates the recall, and sometimes the FDA issues a recall after a manufacturing plant inspection or a reporting incident is filed and investigated. We have included a link to the Pet Food Recall Products List website for your convenience. The list of violators is mainly comprised of violations that occurred in 2007 (which some refer to as the massive Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007), but there were quite a few more recalls added to the list in 2010. Please check the FDA list regularly so that you don’t end up buying your dog something that could have serious health affects.

Here is our recommend list of dog food products. We don’t necessarily recommend the 5 and 6 star products on other web sites, but we think our recommendations are healthy, likeable to your pet, and price competitive. If you need to watch your budget, take a closer look at the “Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul” products listed below. This is the best choice economically based on the guaranteed analysis, the ingredients, and our own experience with the Chicken Soup products. You won’t find a better nutritional choice that comes close to this product’s price range. So if you need to stay in the $1 per pound price range for your dog food, we think it’s the best choice. Otherwise, expect to pay between $1.50 and $2.00 per pound for the other premium brands listed, which are extremely good dog foods if you want the best. Also keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. There are other dog foods out there which are just as good, and perhaps some even better. But these are the ones we’ve done our homework on:

Precise – Holistic Complete Large and Giant Breed Puppy Formula

In the past, we have used this to feed our puppies starting at about 4 weeks old, ground up and moistened with goat’s milk, and they did quite well on this.  All seem to like the taste very much. Weight gain was gradual and consistent.  The price is slightly above average for super premium dog foods; the analysis and ingredients are very good.  Great re-sealable bag with the slider zip lock.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Ascorbyl Palmitate), Rice Bran, Citrus Fiber, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Lecithin, Fat Product (natural source of omega-3 DHA from algae), Menhaden Fish Oil, Chicken Cartilage (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Dried Kelp, Peas, Dried Apples, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Blueberries, Chamomile, Dandelion, Peppermint, Rosemary, Turmeric, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086, Chicory Root (a source of Inulin), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Biotin, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, DL-Methionine, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Folic Acid, Selenium Yeast, Calcium Iodate.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 23.00% (min); Crude Fat – 12.00% (min); Crude Fiber – 3.50% (max); Moisture – 10.00% (max); Calcium (Ca) – 1.30% (min); Phosphorus (P) – 0.95% (min); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.60% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.60% (min); DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) – 0.05% (min); Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) – 25 mg/lb (min); Glucosamine – 400 mg/kg; Chondroitin Sulfate – 275 mg/kg; 400 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Precise Pet Products
www.precisepet.com
(888) 477-3247 or (800) 446-7148

Victor – Healthy Weight Super Premium Dog Food

We have started using this in our rotation of puppy foods. The kibbles are very small and work very well for small to medium breed puppies too. The fat content, calcium, and calories are optimal for large breed puppies. Victor has Grain-Free formulas too, which we think is a healthy choice for dog food. UPDATE: We have recently decided to feed this food to our puppies in ground-up form moistened with goat’s milk starting at about 4 weeks of age. As the pups grow, we’ll continue using this product in our puppy food rotation until about 18 months old. All things considered, this is the best puppy food we can find for large breed puppies and we’ve compared it to products costing twice as much. The product quality is consistent and we couldn’t be more pleased with the Victor Healthy Weight formula dog food for our baby pups! When you buy one of our pups, we will be including a supply of this puppy food which you can continue to use, or use it to transition your puppy to another product of your choosing.)

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Beef Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Sardine Meal (source of DHA), Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pork Meal, Peas, Oat Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Flax Seed (source of Omega 3), Potasium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Yeast Culture, Montmorillonite, Tomatoe Pomace (source of Lycopene), Whole Carrots, Dried Celery Pomace, Dried Beet Pomace, Dried Parsley Pomace, Dried Lettuce Pomace, Dried Watercress Pomace, Dried Spinach Pomace, L-Lysine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Choline Chloride, Hydrolized Yeast, Taurine, Dicalcium Phosaphate, Dried Chicory Root, L-Carnitine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondrotin Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferros Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Selenium Yeat, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Copper Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Manganeses Amino Acid Chelate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyrodoxin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Lecithi, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Oil of Rosemary, Dried Enterococcus Faedum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermatation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtills Fermantation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 27.00% (min); Crude Fat – 11.5% (min); Crude Fiber – 4.5% (max); Moisture – 9.0% (max); Calcium (Ca) – 1.3% (min); Phosphorus (P) – 0.9% (min); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.6% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.4% (min); DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) – 0.10% (min); Zinc – 150 mg/kg (min); Selenium 0.40 mg/kg (min); Vitamin E 225 IU/kg (min); L-Carnitine – 200 mg/kg (min); Glucosamine – 1100 mg/kg; Chondroitin Sulfate – 300 mg/kg; 370 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Mid America Pet Food
www.victordogfood.com
(888) 428-7544

Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lover’s Soul – Large Breed Puppy Formula

We have used this product to feed our puppies from 4 months of age and the newborn puppies starting at about 4 weeks old. At 4 weeks, we grind it up and make a porridge of sorts by adding a little warm goat’s milk and water. We like this product because the caloric count is low compared to many other premium dog foods, and the guaranteed analysis and ingredients are exceptional. For large breed puppies, you do not want them to put on weight too rapidly so that their joints and frame can mature and can handle adult sized weight. Our pups are doing very well on this choice. UPDATE: We have recently decided to feed this food to the July 2011 puppies in ground-up form moistened with goat’s milk starting at about 4 weeks of age. All things considered, this is the best puppy food we can find for large breed puppies and we’ve compared it to products costing twice as much. The product quality is consistent and we couldn’t be more pleased with Chicken Soup dog food for our baby pups! When you buy one of our pups, we will be including a supply of this puppy food which you can continue to use, or use it to transition your puppy to another product of your choosing.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, white rice, oatmeal, millet, potatoes, egg product, tomato pomace, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), duck, salmon, flaxseed, ocean fish meal, natural chicken flavor, salmon oil (source of DHA), potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-carnitine, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E Supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 27.00% (min); Crude Fat – 13.00% (min); Crude Fiber – 3.00% (max); Moisture – 10.00% (max); Calcium (Ca) – 1.20% (min); Phosphorus (P) – 1.00% (min); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.50% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.40% (min); DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) – 0.05% (min); Zinc – 180 mg/kg (min); Selenium 0.40 mg/kg (min); Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (min); L-Carnitine – 30 mg/kg (min); 337 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Diamond Pet Foods
www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com
(800) 658-0624

Fromm Gold Nutritionals – Large Breed Puppy Gold

We have also used this product with our pups and it is excellent. They gained weight gradually and consistently. All seem to like the taste very much. The price is below average for super premium dog foods, but the analysis and ingredients are very good.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Oatmeal, Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Menhaden Fish Meal, Lamb, Potato, Tomato Pomace, Whole Egg, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Cheese, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Carrots, Lettuce, Celery, Lecithin, Chicken Cartilage, Calcium Sulfate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcous Faecium, Vitamin A, D3, E, B12 Supplements, Choline Chloride, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Oxide, Cobalt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sorbic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 26.00% (min); Crude Fat – 14.00% (min); Crude Fiber – 3.50% (max); Moisture – 10.00% (max); Ash (K) – 6.50% (max); Calcium (Ca) – 1.30% (min); Phosphorus (P) – 1.00% (min); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.30% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.40% (min); Lactobacillus Acidophilus – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Bifidobacterium Longum – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Lactobacillus Plantarum – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Zinc – 135 mg/kg (min); Enterococcous Faecium – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Selenium 0.47 mg/kg (min); Vitamin E 190 IU/kg (min); Glucosamine – 400 ppm; Chondroitin – 40 ppm; 400 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Fromm Family Foods
www.frommfamily.com
(262) 242-2200

Wellness – Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy Health Recipe

We have fed this to our puppies between 8 and 16 weeks of age. They gained weight gradually and consistently. All seem to like the taste very much. The price is below average for super premium dog foods, but the analysis and ingredients are very good.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Ground Peas, Ground Barley, Ground Brown Rice, Salmon Meal (a source of DHA – Docosahexaenoic Acid), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Tomatoes, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil (a source of DHA – Docosahexaenoic Acid), Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Blueberries, Salt, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement], Choline Chloride, Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation products.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 26.0% (min); Crude Fat – 12.0% – 13.50%; Crude Fiber – 4.50% (max); Moisture – 11.0% (max); Calcium – 1.0% – 1.40%; Phosphorus – 0.90% – 1.20%; Vitamin E – 150 IU/kg (min); Omega 6 Fatty Acids – 2.50% (min); Omega 3 Fatty Acids – 0.50% (min); DHA – 0.13% (min); Beta Carotene – 5 mg/kg (min); Lycopene – 0.25 mg/kg (min); Taurine – 0.09% (min); Total Micro-organisms – 20,000,000 CFU/lb (min); 366 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by WellPet LLC
www.wellnesspetfood.com
(800) 225-0904

Solid Gold – Just A Wee Bit Bison
(may not be suitable for large breed puppies)

The manufacturer recommends this product for small (20 pounds or less) high energy adult dogs and puppies, but we have fed this to our larger breed adult dogs which did very well while on it; it may be slightly high in protein for large breed puppies (50+ pounds when full grown); some sources say that you don’t want the protein level to be more than approximately 26%, for large breed puppies because it can cause their bone structure to develop prematurely or abnormally and possibly lead to hip dysplasia. However, there are mixed opinions on whether this is true.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Millet, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Rice Bran, Canola Oil, Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil (source of DHA), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Parsley Flakes, Pumpkin Meal, Almond Oil, Sesame Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Thyme, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Broccoli, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Panthothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin), Riboflavin, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein 28% (min); Crude Fat 18% (min); Crude Fiber 4% (max); Moisture 10% (max); 380 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. Solid Gold Health Products for Pets, Inc.
www.solidgoldhealth.com
(800) 364-4863

Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul – Adult Dog Formula (15 to 50 lbs.)

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, cracked pearled barley, whole grain brown rice, oatmeal, millet, white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potatoes, egg product, tomato pomace, duck, salmon, ocean fish meal, flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried chicory root, dried kelp, carrots, peas, apples, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, dried skim milk, cranberries, rosemary extract, parsley flake, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, dried fermentation products of Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum, dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 24.00% (min); Crude Fat – 14.00% (min); Crude Fiber – 3.00% (max); Moisture – 10.00% (max); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.20% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.40% (min); Zinc – 150 mg/kg (min); Selenium 0.40 mg/kg (min); Vitamin E 150 IU/kg (min); L-Carnitine – 30 mg/kg (min); 336 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Diamond Pet Foods
www.chickensoupforthepetloverssoul.com
(800) 658-0624

Fromm Gold Nutritionals – Adult Gold

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Duck, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Brown Rice, Pearled Barley, Oatmeal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Lamb, Potato, Tomato Pomace, Whole Egg, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Cheese, Flaxseed, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Carrots, Lettuce, Celery, Lecithin, Chicken Cartilage, Monocalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcous Faecium, Vitamin A, D3, E, B12 Supplements, Choline Chloride, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Oxide, Cobalt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sorbic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 24.00% (min); Crude Fat – 16.00% (min); Crude Fiber – 3.50% (max); Moisture – 10.00% (max); Ash (K) – 6.50% (max); Calcium (Ca) – 1.20% (min); Phosphorus (P) – 1.00% (min); Taurine – 0.12% (min); Omega-6 Fatty Acids – 2.60% (min); Omega-3 Fatty Acids – 0.40% (min); Lactobacillus Acidophilus – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Bifidobacterium Longum – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Lactobacillus Plantarum – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Zinc – 135 mg/kg (min); Enterococcous Faecium – 100,000,000 CFU/lb (min); Selenium 0.47 mg/kg (min); Vitamin E 180 IU/kg (min); Glucosamine – 400 ppm; Chondroitin – 40 ppm; 405 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Fromm Family Foods
www.frommfamily.com
(262) 242-2200

Wellness – CORE Protein Focused Nutrition – Original Recipe
(adult dogs any size)

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Dried Ground Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver, Natural Chicken Flavor, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Spinach, Parsley, Apples, Blueberries, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Biotin, Folic Acid], Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Taurine, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein – 34.0% (min); Crude Fat – 14.0%; Crude Fiber – 4.0% (max); Moisture – 10.0% (max); Calcium – 2.0% (max); Phosphorus – 1.40% (max); Vitamin E – 500 IU/kg (min); Omega 6 Fatty Acids – 3.25% (min); Omega 3 Fatty Acids – 0.70% (min); Glucosamine Hydorchloride – 250 mg/kg (min); Chondoitin Sulfate – 200 mg/kg (min); Beta Carotene – 5 mg/kg (min); Total Micro-organisms – 80,000,000 CFU/lb (min); 430 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by WellPet LLC
www.wellnesspetfood.com
(800) 225-0904

Innova EVO – Turkey & Chicken Fomula
(adult dogs any size)

During the nursing stage of some of our larger puppy litters, we wanted to keep the weight of the mom up because with all the pups constantly nursing, the mom was beginning to drop about 5%-10% of her normal body weight. So we searched for a high protein, high caloric super premium dog food and EVO is what we decided on. It provides over 530 calories per cup, contains 22% crude fat derived primarily from animal sources and is also grain free. She has loved the taste and it has not been hard on her system while making the transition (no diarrhea or other abnormalities while making a 5-day transition). Now the momma’s weight are much better maintained. This product retails at about $2.45 a pound, but can be bought for around $2.00 a pound at discounted pet stores. This product is NOT RECOMMENDED for large breed puppies under 18 months of age due to its high protein, fat, and calories which will cause large breed puppies to gain wait too rapidly for their immature bone structure to handle.

Dog Food Recommendations
Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Natural Source of Vitamin E), Natural Flavors, Eggs, Apples, Tomatoes, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Betaine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Folic Acid), Cottage Cheese, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Alfalfa Sprouts, Dried Chicory Root, Direct-Fed Microbials (Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product)

Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (Min) 42.0%; Crude Fat (Min) 22.0%; Crude Fiber (Max) 2.5%; Moisture (Max) 10.0%; Carbohydrates NFE* (Max) 12.0%; Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) (Min) 4.2%; Vitamin E (Min) 300 IU/kg; Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)* (Min) 500 mg/kg; Omega-3 Fatty Acids* (Min) 0.5%; DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)* plus; EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)* (Min) 0.1%; Total Microorganisms* (Min) 90,000,000 CFU/lb (min); 537 calories/cup (ME)
Mfd. by Natura Pet Products
www.evopet.com
(800) 532-7261

As time goes on, we’ll be adding to the list of recommended dog foods. We’re glad you have managed to read this far. I know it’s a lot of information to take in, but both you and your best friend will be all the better for putting forth the effort. And oh by the way, once you decide on a dog food that your best friend likes really well, should you just stick with that for years and years to come? My opinion is, “No.” One dog food product can only contain a limited number of nutrients and beneficial elements for your dog because it’s just not practical nor economically possible to make one product that contains every possible nutrient your dog needs over time. Over time, your dog may begin to develop a deficiency in certain nutrients or minerals if you keep it on the same food product year after year. Question: “If you don’t change the food choice periodically, will your dog become ill?” No, but you want to do everything you can to insure good health for the longevity of your dog. You want to do everything you can to minimize the possibility that your dog would spend the final years of its life suffering with physical ailments. Good nutrition and regular physical exercise are the best steps you can take to lower the chances of this happening. Therefore, we try to change our dog’s food product about every 3 to 4 months. For example, if we are using a chicken based product, we usually try something like beef, lamb, or fish at the next 3 to 4 month interval. Also, when making the change over, we make sure we have enough of the old product left in the bag so that we can make a gradual change to the new product by mixing the two together. We start mixing a little of the new food at first and slowly increase it until I’ve made the complete change over. This takes about 4 or 5 feedings if you are feeding your adult dog once a day, or about 8 to 12 feedings for puppies that are eating multiple times a day. If this is not done, it’s almost guaranteed your dog will end up with diarrhea for a few days which is no fun at all. The slow transition minimizes the possibility of this happening.

Update (August 7, 2011)

It seems this article keeps growing longer and longer but, we feel that we must fit this extremely vital paragraph in about feeding puppies between 6 weeks and 18 months of age. There are a lot of growing concerns by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and other leading organizations and veterinary sources, who believe that large breed puppy owners should not allow their puppy to gain weight too rapidly. The calcium content in large breed puppy food should also be between 1.2% (min) to 1.5% (max) to prevent irregular growth patterns in the skeletal frame and problematic bone development. The reason for concern in large breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers is that they grow in size and weight much more rapidly than small and medium breeds. However, the skeletal structure in the large breeds does not develop as rapidly as the overall body weight, compared to the small and medium breeds. This creates an increased potential for hip, elbow, and joint problems because the frame is too immature and underdeveloped to support the body weight due to the rapid growth of the puppy. To avoid this potential problem, sources say that the caloric intake should be lower for large breed puppies than it is for small and medium breed puppies, assuming puppies of equal weight within these different breeds. So if a person is going to follow the feeding guidelines listed on the bag of dog food according to dog weight and age, they should also keep in mind whether they have a large breed dog or not. It is also to advisable to compare the caloric analyses provided on the dog food bags. We have updated all the dog foods listed above with the number of calories contained in one cup of the dog food. This will allow you to consider dog foods that have lower calories for large breed puppies. For large breed puppies, again the Chicken Soup brand seems to be one of the lower calorie foods with above average nutrition levels.

Update (September 5, 2011)

The next dog care research topic that we’ve put together is titled, Caring for Your New Puppy – Important Things to Remember so that You and Your Puppy are Happy”.

Update (September 12, 2011)

We have recently come across some new information on the storage of dog food, dog food bowls, and cleaning your dog bowls that we think it’s important to pass along. Click Here to see our article on, “Dog Food Storage, Dog Bowl Selection, and Cleaning Your Dog Bowls.