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Overwhelmed By Dog Food Options


Guest EleanorsHuman
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Guest EleanorsHuman

I'm having a hard time figuring out a good food for my Eleanor and figured I'd crowd source. I originally switched her to high protein about a year or so ago because she was having a habit of throwing up at about 5AM. My vet said that her food wasn't sticking with her and she was getting hungry which was why she was throwing up (I guess the acid bothers her stomach?). I switched to Blue Buffalo, BIG mistake. Gas was unbelievable. I then switched her to Merrick Lamb and had really good luck with it. She's recently though had a bad run of loose stools that she's having a hard time shaking and the vet says the high protein may be upsetting her stomach. Except I had originally switched to high protein to help her upset stomach.

 

So what I'm looking for is a dog food that is high enough in protein to stick to her ribs well, but not so high that it gives her diarrhea. I've been browsing dogfoodadvisor.com but am totally overwhelmed.

 

Also, Eleanor is about 7.5 years old now, should I be looking at "senior" foods? I hardly consider her to be senior, but apparently that's considered "senior" age!

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You'll get a lot of responses. What works for this dog won't work for that. The green bag referred to above is Iams Proactive dog food. It's in a mostly green color bag. It has done wonders for many of us in that the output is usually a good poo that is pick-up-able.

 

For what it's worth, I am not a proponent of high-end dog foods *just* because they are considered high end. My girl does lousy on them, hence I use 2/3 Iams and 1/3 Limited Ingredients Natural Balance (weird but it sets well with her). I'm one of the older folk on the forum so no doubt my thinking is influenced by how dogs thrived 30+ years ago without special food, and I believe that people tend to buy into the hype about low grain food, but it does work well for many many dogs, and that's what counts.

 

One other thing, have you tested her feces for worms? That's the first thing I'd do.

Edited by Feisty49
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I used to be a rep for Blue Buffalo and got free product that none of my dogs could eat. I tried every high end food known to man about a decade ago with my Rex. I finally got so mad I tossed that green bag of Iams in the cart. Poof. No more runs, no more flagyl. Since Rex passed I had good luck with Purina One and Nutrisca - which is a "grocery store food" that scores very well on Dog Food Advisor. Oddly enough Wal-Mart makes a grain free food called Pure Balance which has pretty impressive ingredients.

I don't trust Garth Merrick as far as I could throw him. He built his Panhandle Texas empire in Hereford selling a food called Beef N' More by the trainloads to Wal Mart. THEN the company decided to re-invent itself as high scale. Oddest thing is for a while Wal Mart sold cans of Beef N' More for .55 while the boutique pet store sold almost the exact same thing (one veggie was different and one had tripe) for $2.19. Same plant - which happens to have a rendering plant on site which is a good thing as they own several dead livestock pickup services.
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Edited by Hubcitypam
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Dog Food Advisor is useless as far as I'm concerned.

Don't be guilted into getting the high price dog foods. I've seen dogs get sicker on those but the owners continued using them because they bought them at a fancy schmancy dog boutique.

If your dog continues to throw up in the early morning hours, give a few cookies at bedtime. And maybe a regular Pepcid.

 

Try Iams Proactive Health or Purina One.

 

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Cookies before bed were a must here - if we didn't, then we'd wake up to yellow bile and a face that said "Don't look at me - you forgot the snack." Our first ate ProPlan (or Purina One - I always get the two confused...we used one in a maroon bag). Our second at Nutro Sensitive Stomach because she'd throw everything else up. Eli started on Nutro, made his poos awful, so I switched to Iams Green Bag and that helped. Spice, my weekend guest, ate the above-mentioned Walmart Pure Balance Sensitive food and it was great for him. Of the four, I'd recommend Iams or Pure Balance - easy on the wallet and good ingredients!

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Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

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Guest Johberry

I second the Nutrisca recommendation by Hubcitypam. Before switching to raw, our hound did well on the Salmon and Lamb formulas.

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Dog Food Advisor is often a wealth of mis-information. If you went by them we would all be paying 20 bucks a pound for dog food.

 

Without going into too much detail we had the same issue for several years - a new food would work for a while, then would end in uncontrollable stomach issues and diarrhea. We tried many of the "high end" foods and some of the lesser regarded ones, and we were often up at 4 AM due to tummy gurgles and cleaning bile off of the floor due to an empty stomach..

 

The only food that we have been able to use consistently for more than a year is Precise Foundation Chicken Meal and Rice. We have used it for several years now, and when Rocket turned 7, I switched him to the lower calorie Precise Senior food, which is essentially the same as Foundation but less fat and calories. He has done wonderful on it. I have it shipped from Wag.com since it is not a food that has lots of shelf placement in our area. Depending where you are located, it may or may not be on the shelf in a local pet or feed store, The food is highly digestible, and it is rare now that Rocket has the early morning tummy gurgles. It still happens once in a while, but not like it used to, and not as severe.

 

In the interim until you find a food that works for you, you might consider giving your hound a snack or reserve half of the dinner and feed it before bedtime to get through until morning.

 

The bottom line is that the best food is the one that works for your hound, and that takes some trial and error to find. Don't be bullied into feeding high end foods by what you read online. They may or may not work, just like any other food you try.

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Camp Broodie. The current home of Mark Kay Mark Jack, and Diva Astar Dashindiva.   Always missing my boy Rocket Hi Noon Rocket,  Allie  Phoenix Dynamite, Kate Miss Kate, Starz Under Da Starz, and Petunia MW Neptunia.

 

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We have to feed a nighttime snack or we get upset tummies here. I keep back a little of their supper kibble. They get the kibble and some yogurt for their snack.

We feed Nutrisource Heartland Select. It is bison and chicken, Dood doesn,t do well on only chicken. We went grain free years ago when my bridge girl Gypsy had tummy troubles that were made worse by grains and just stuck with it because it works for my pups.

Sue ,Sky and Dood, Bridge angels Clark, Gypsy, Dreamy and Sneakers, Oshkosh,WI Heartbound Greyhound Adoptionsept2013sigcopy_zps8ad6ed09.jpg<p>

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Sammy has to have a heavy snack at bedtime or he wakes me up. He had some acid issues, so I added generic Pepcid and things are going very well. I feed him Sammy Snacks Ancestry salmon.

 

If you are battling loose stools, you might consider adding Olewo carrots. It has been heaven-sent for Sammy.

 

Also, one negative fecal does not mean you aren't battling worms. False negatives are very common.

 

Every dog is different, what works well for one, makes another sick.

 

Good luck getting things straightened out!

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Beverly. Missing my happy toy-flinging boy Sammy (Where's Mandrill), (8/12/2009-9/30-2021) Desperately missing my angel Mandy (BB's Luv) [7/1/2000 - 9/18/2012]. Always missing Meg the Dalmatian and Ralph Malph the Pekeapoo.

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I do the cookie before bed here too. What was interesting though when we first got Ryder is the bile at 3am was becoming habitual and we actually had to put him on a bit of a sedative to just break the cycle in his braino. Again as mentioned above, somethings will work awesome for your dog, and others don't. They are so very different from one another.

 

Before switching to raw, the last kibble we were on that worked well for Kasey (keeping in mind we had to be on a limited ingredient diet for his allergies) was Salmon and Sweet Potato by Natural Balance. Prior to that the good ol' Iams Green Bag.

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The greyhound "Empty Stomach" syndrome happens quite frequently to retired racing greyhounds. For whatever reason, many have a hard time getting through the night from dinnertime to breakfast without their stomach getting overly empty causing an build up of acid-y bile, which then makes an appearance, usually though an early morning episode of vomiting.

 

As suggested above, a small snack right before bed, preceded by a dose of Pepcid (or generic equivalent), will usually fix the problem. Adding yogurt, buttermilk or another probiotic option to his food will also help.

 

You need three negative fecals, spaced apart over several weeks to truly rule out a worm infestation.

 

Barring any food related health issues - intolerances to a carb or protein source, allergies, etc - pick a food that seems well balanced and that you can afford and see if they eat it. Most pet dogs don't really need a high protein food unless they are particularly active or engaged in a physically active sport like competitive agility or coursing. Somewhere between 20-25% protein is plenty. Higher amounts of protein in commercial foods can cause issues like excessive gas.

 

Many of the greyhounds here on GT use the Iams Proactive Green Bag or the Costco/Kirkland brands. Recently, many have also been using Purina Proplan with good results.

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Guest EleanorsHuman

Thanks guys, this was all super helpful information, and I hope it will help Eleanor's tummy! It's nice to know I don't always have to spend loads of money in order to be a good dog mom. I will keep checking this thread in case any one else has some good tips!

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What I do now for Peggy since her stomach problems last summer made her more sensitive is to mix some of the Iam's green Bag into her normal sensitive food which is Duck and brown rice kibble. About 1 cup Iams with 5 of the other food seems to firm up the poops perfectly.

Why not switch to Iams completely? She goes off it and the gas can be room-clearing.

 

Also I'm fussy about the 'anti-freeze-style' preservative Propylene Glycol in many other dog foods.

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Another green-bag believer here! I second Ducky's statement that DogFoodAdvisor is useless. I wrote a rant on here about it awhile ago with some info you might find interesting. The creator, Mike Sagman, is a DENTIST, and does not have any expertise in veterinary science or canine nutrition.

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Batman has a sensitive tummy, and I'm really wary of changing food just to avoid loose stools, unless it's changing from raw feeding to kibble and back, I just don't think brand will make a big difference.

 

Batman's stool is seasonal so we add fiber via canned pumpkin in the winter and just deal with it. If it's particularly watery and frequent, we will fast him for 24 hours and then start him on chicken and rice while slowly reintroducing kibble.

 

If it's particularly stubborn and it's not parasites, it may be a food allergy. It could also be that she's being over-fed if she's getting older and her metabolism is slowing down.

 

A cookie before bed and trying a later night mealtime cured his night-time acid.

 

We feed Nature's Recipe "Easy to Digest" (not grain free) with chicken because it's a good balance of price and ingredients when it's on sale

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Batman (racing name CTW Battle Plan) adopted May 2011, passed away July 2017

Buffy (racing name CTW Bathsheba) adopted Oct 2012

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Also, on the topic of websites, I like The Dog Food Project. It is completely brand-neutral and does not do dog food "reviews." It just provides information about how to read dog food labels, what ingredient names mean, etc. There's also a forum that lists ingredients and nutritional information for various foods. I like the article: Choosing the Right Food. Contrary to my prior advice, the author recommends "Don’t be afraid to experiment feeding different brands though, so you can find out what works for your dog, but give it time – unless there are immediate signs of intolerance, 3-4 months is a good time frame to see short-term as well as long-term effects."

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Batman (racing name CTW Battle Plan) adopted May 2011, passed away July 2017

Buffy (racing name CTW Bathsheba) adopted Oct 2012

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I've fed many different foods over the years...

 

ProPlan Chicken and Rice

ProPlan Salmon and Rice

Avoderm

Blue Buffalo

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream

American Natural Premium Salmon

American Natural Premium Buffalo

Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural

 

I have had 7 greyhounds of my own and never not once have I had one that could tolerate lamb. Diarrhea within 10 minutes, guaranteed. Apparently just odd luck of the draw as I know many that tolerate lamb well. All of the above foods worked great for us until one day they didn't. We were feeding Taste of the Wild for YEARS with fantastic results. Then suddenly everyone in my home was throwing up and having diarrhea. Turns out they changed the probiotics they were putting in the food. Apparently that change did not agree with the stomachs of my 4 current dogs. We did the American Natural Premium for a while until suddenly again the greyhounds were having trouble. The Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural is what they're on now and they're doing FABULOUS on it. It is really high protein though, so maybe not for everyone, but, my young greyhound Clarice needs a performance diet as she burns SO many calories.

 

My folks have two greyhounds and they've eaten the Taste of the Wild, and the American Natural Premium. One of the boys constantly has less-than-ideal poop, while the other one seems to be able to eat anything and do fine. My mom started mixing in IAMS green bag for the one with the poo issues and it has helped him. Not all dogs do well on grain-free foods, and that's okay. I prefer them personally because I also eat grain-free, but, if my dogs weren't doing well on grain-free, I'd have to look into other options. It's all about what works best for your dog; however, the journey to find exactly WHAT works best can sometimes be maddening.

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As others have said, feed a snack or if possible feed 3x/day with one time being right before bed. One of the vets in Kansas who owns multiple greyhounds has suggested to me in the past that one of mine has an upset stomach (forget what she called it) as I wasn't feeding my pack at a regular time.

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If you can't do a snack before bed (we don't because we feed raw and have allergies. Just too complicated....), we've found that feeding cooked sweet potato at night seems to work well. A bit of fibre which is filling and seems to digest slower has meant a huge reduction in stomach upsets.

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