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Discussion Starter #1
Is there actually such a thing anymore?

I'm feeding seven dogs on a very limited budget. Pedigree has been working very well for them, especially for three older ones with health issues. The problem is, the oldest dog seems to have developed a severe allergy to it. At the moment I'm doing a home-cooked elimination diet for him, and also cooking for a 4 yr old female who is shedding so much she cannot maintain her coat, and *I* am becoming allergic to her.

With five out of seven dogs thriving on it, I haven't decided whether I'm going to switch all of them or just the Shedder and the one with allergies. Either way, I need to find another brand, and am literally astonished at the current prices of dog food. After an hour searching on Chewy, I'm getting very depressed here. Even the traditionally low cost brands are rising by several dollars a bag in my local stores, and its becoming a very big problem when we go through about 15lbs a week.

So far, the only two brands I've been able to come up with that are reasonably priced are Sportmix Wholesomes & Nature's Recipe. It will all have to depend on what's available in my area (can't do mail order food 100% of the time), and what the allergic dog is allergic to. In the meantime, does anyone have suggestions for foods that are $1 lb or under? Thanks :)
 

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The thing you are forgetting is that with a quality food, the dogs will need to eat less of it. I would suggest Pure Balance. It is about 1.50 to 2.00 per pound (Wal Mart Brand Premium dog food) but, it's readily available and, with my four large dogs, they eat half as much of it as they do of something like Ol' Roy, Pedigree or, Sportmix so, it ends up costing a bit less than most or, about the same as Ol' Roy per month.
 

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Agree with cheeper food you feed more. I feed expensive food. Feeding guide is 2 1/4 cup. My son decided he need to cut the cost on dog food and switched to a less expense (completely understand) food but still considered a 5 star food on food advisory. He needs to feed 5 cups according to the feeding guide on bag. We did some calculations and he was paying less for the bag but not getting nearly the saving he thought he was. Just something to take into consideration when switching.
 

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My go-to lower price foods which tend to be around $0.90 to $1.25/lb depending on brand and where purchased:

Sportmix Wholesome Chicken and rice
Pro Pac Ultimates (same manufacturer as sportmix)
4Health at Tractor Supply Company (the grain inclusive is about $1/lb, grab a higher calorie option while the grain free is not made by Diamond which some people perfer to avoid) as its widely available in stores
Victor brand has many quality options around $1/lb on Chewy but may be harder to find in stores
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The thing you are forgetting is that with a quality food, the dogs will need to eat less of it. I would suggest Pure Balance. It is about 1.50 to 2.00 per pound (Wal Mart Brand Premium dog food) but, it's readily available and, with my four large dogs, they eat half as much of it as they do of something like Ol' Roy, Pedigree or, Sportmix so, it ends up costing a bit less than most or, about the same as Ol' Roy per month.

I've always heard that as one of the "pros" of feeding a more expensive dry food, but honestly, my dogs eat about the same amount on everything. For instance, the one with allergies is about 33lbs and eats under 3/4 cup 2x daily, and could probably do with slightly less than that. In the past I used a plethora of different brands, from Canidae, Wellness, Merrick, Nutro, Evolve, Whole Earth Farms, Timberwolf, Innova to Science Diet, Eukanuba/Iams, Dog Chow & Purina ONE. I never noticed much of a disparity in amount fed. (ETA: I also never pay much heed to the suggested feeding amounts on dog food bags. In my personal experience, they are always wrong.)

Besides that, there comes a point when feeding less can become feeding too little. Regardless of the kcals and weight kept on because the food is so dense, you are still starving the dog. I actually knew someone once who was a bit mentally slow, who fed a 40ish lb dog one 6 oz can of food daily because she "couldn't afford" to feed two or more cans daily. Of course, she didn't understand dry food was the cheaper option because the purchase price of cans were in cents and bags in dollars, so we had a hard time talking sense into her. Anyway, you'd expect this dog to be a toothpick, but it was fat as a cow due to thyroid issues from chronic starvation :(
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My go-to lower price foods which tend to be around $0.90 to $1.25/lb depending on brand and where purchased:

Sportmix Wholesome Chicken and rice
Pro Pac Ultimates (same manufacturer as sportmix)
4Health at Tractor Supply Company (the grain inclusive is about $1/lb, grab a higher calorie option while the grain free is not made by Diamond which some people perfer to avoid) as its widely available in stores
Victor brand has many quality options around $1/lb on Chewy but may be harder to find in stores

Thanks for the suggestions!

Sportmix looked good to me and several people have recommended it, so I have my eye on that brand. Pro Pac is sold in the area, too, so I'll have to look into that one as well. No Tractor Supplies here... I'm in the city, which is why my options for affordable food are so narrow, ugh.

Right now, though, it looks like Toby is allergic to rice, of all things. I really hope not, but it would figure if he was. lol
 

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Thanks for the suggestions!

Sportmix looked good to me and several people have recommended it, so I have my eye on that brand. Pro Pac is sold in the area, too, so I'll have to look into that one as well. No Tractor Supplies here... I'm in the city, which is why my options for affordable food are so narrow, ugh.

Right now, though, it looks like Toby is allergic to rice, of all things. I really hope not, but it would figure if he was. lol
If you are thinking allergies to anything specific, te best thing to do is a food trial on a very limited ingredient diet for 6-8 weeks and then if no reaction, slowly add back one ingredient at a time.

The problem with just trying new foods is there are many overlapping minor ingredients that might be an issue or it could be that a problem ingredient is lessoned by some other ingredient (like, itching from rice is somewhat masked at first by higher fat content making skin less dry). Don't forget about treats, medicines, and any human food scraps or grabbed bits a dog might get.

More costly to feed a limited ingredient food for a trial but you can feed a good but cheap food like Sportmix to the rest of the crew to balance the books.

For shedding, many times it is too low fat in the diet. Add a TINY bit of meat fat or vegetable oil to that dog's meals for an few days and see. TINY at first, like pea sized bit of cooked fat or 1/4 teaspoon liquid fats , maybe a little more for dogs over 40-50 lbs or so.

Some grain inclusive foods do not use rice but instead barley, maybe oats. So careful label reading might get you options without the jump in price of most grain free foods.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, it seems we had a misdiagnosis.

I took Toby to the Vet again yesterday after a night of severe coughing/sneezing/nose running. Went to a different clinic this time, and good thing I did, because this other Vet did the most thorough physical examination I've seen a Vet do in many years. He actually found a large chunk of tartar on the front canine that was *definitely* not there two weeks ago and very out of place with his other teeth being so clean. Closer inspection found a large quantity of subgingival hair behind the canine. He removed about 80% of it, flushed it out, scraped off some tartar. There is a small hole in the gums that is pretty badly infected, and that infection has spread to the sinus cavity. The first Vet did run a blood panel, but I was told there was only a slightly elevated white blood cell count and given a low dose of amoxi w/ a diagnosis of food allergy causing inflammatory reaction to upper respiratory system.

That's about all we can do if we opt not to put him under anesthesia. I've been cleaning the area with a chlorhexidine spray and it looks a great deal better already. The gums are healing up a bit, even though the Vet suspected the might be permanently damaged. So we'll see how he gets on in the next week or so before deciding on doing more extensive dental work. He got the hair embedded, btw, after killing and trying to eat an opossum a few weeks ago.

I still might change foods for the dog with the bad shedding, because she actually does seem to be having a reaction to it. All the advice and suggestions were very much appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Ouch, that sounds painful for the poor guy. I am guessing he has a course of good strong antibiotics?

Many dogs benefit from a teeth cleaning around 6-8 years of age. Genetics and diet both seem to matter with some dogs having great gums and teeth at 10 years and some having problems at 3 years old, the small dogs seem to have more problematic teeth probably just due to crowding. A cleaning while awake cannot get under the gums fully but the good thing is that typically, the anesthetics for a dental cleaning are lighter than for a surgery and easier for the dog to pop back from without grogginess or stomach upset. Prices seem to vary widely so if you decide on a dental cleaning, call around and be sure to get detailed quotes if things like bloodwork are included. My vet was half the price of a friend's vet on the opposite side of town, she had got a quote and held off for her two dogs but when I told her what it had cost me, she booked in two dogs for cleanings and bloodwork at my vet for just under the price of one dog at her vet and got a better scheduled appointment to boot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ouch, that sounds painful for the poor guy. I am guessing he has a course of good strong antibiotics?
He's on 250 mg of amoxi 2x daily for 14 days, and 250mg of metronidazole for 7 days. He also has an antibacterial rinse to flush out the hole in his gums... But there's been a good deal of improvement in just a day, so hopefully this will heal up on its own. If he needs dental surgery, I'm definitely going to have to shop around to find a reasonably priced Vet. In my area (NY), I'm looking at at least $800-$1000 for a cleaning. His teeth actually do look excellent for his age; we're just waiting to see if the affected tooth and the gums around it heal. The Vet thinks it could go either way at this point. The gums may heal, or the damage might be permanent. In that case, he'll need a stitch in the gum at the very least, maybe an extraction if the infection already spread to the root.
 

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I never thought I would say this.. but I have been feeding RAW. I am in a coop and food must stay at under $2 a pound. It is a mix and the dogs are doing better than I ever thought they would.

I also do things like look at supermarket sales. Around Memorial day I scored whole split chicken breasts at $0.89 pound. You feed them raw.. bone and all Sometimes I have scored Whole Chicken for $0.69 a pound. That is more work.. I take out the leg bones because I am afraid they might get swallowed whole and hack it into 4 parts. . I have large dogs. Currently I am feeding a high fat content mix. When I score something cheap (like those chicken breasts) I reduce the mix (runs me around $1.70 a pound). I have one dog that attacks his food with a ton of "gusto." I actually score the tube of food and use a chisel and hammer and knock off a pound of solid frozen raw in a chunk and give it to him like that. Keeps him busy!!

Coats, teeth and everything have been better.

For teeth before I fed raw I gave a raw bone every 10 days or so (rib or neck bones). I also add a few raw carrot pieces and a few blue berries from time to time. Smelts.. are good too.
 

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I never thought I would say this.. but I have been feeding RAW. I am in a coop and food must stay at under $2 a pound. It is a mix and the dogs are doing better than I ever thought they would.

I fed raw for several years and could write a book about the problems we had with the supposed "prey model" diet. Only dog that ever did well on it possibly had some wolf hybridization somewhere in his ancestry. Even getting chicken quarters for .69lb and pork meat for .99, the diet cost me a small fortune and cost the dogs too many health issues to list...
 

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I fed raw for several years and could write a book about the problems we had with the supposed "prey model" diet. Only dog that ever did well on it possibly had some wolf hybridization somewhere in his ancestry. Even getting chicken quarters for .69lb and pork meat for .99, the diet cost me a small fortune and cost the dogs too many health issues to list...
Well, here goes.. I don't know about prey model. Nope. I buy a premix and then add other stuff here and there. I know what is in the premix. I know the dry matter basis. I limit what I will pay for raw to under $2 a pound. I also feed one meal as kibble... right now Nutri Source Rice/Trout (since all the grain free diets seem to be be going to peas and chick peas as a base.. cheap protein that dogs cannot digest well).

I am very cognizant of the expenses surrounding dog ownership and trialing dogs (which is ridiculously expensive). As a result I know I cannot have a pack of dogs. I have 3. I need to be down to 2. Thought I was down to 2.. but I am still at 3.. *sigh* anyway I am working on that.....

I hope you find what you need and that your boy gets well soon!!
 

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Well, here goes.. I don't know about prey model. Nope. I buy a premix and then add other stuff here and there. I know what is in the premix. I know the dry matter basis. I limit what I will pay for raw to under $2 a pound. I also feed one meal as kibble... right now Nutri Source Rice/Trout (since all the grain free diets seem to be be going to peas and chick peas as a base.. cheap protein that dogs cannot digest well).

I am very cognizant of the expenses surrounding dog ownership and trialing dogs (which is ridiculously expensive). As a result I know I cannot have a pack of dogs. I have 3. I need to be down to 2. Thought I was down to 2.. but I am still at 3.. *sigh* anyway I am working on that.....

I hope you find what you need and that your boy gets well soon!!
Prey model is a good base but it forgets that a wild canine, eating whole animals would eat the contents of the digestive track as well as the flesh and organs of the animal. I like prey model with the addition of fruit and vegetable treats and, a small amount of commercial kibble. I feed pumpkin, pear, apple, apricot, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and, blackberries as treats/supplements to the prey model diet when I cannot feed whole animals. I also raise rabbits and chickens for dog food and, I do hunt and fish. I have relatives and neighbors that will bring fresh road kill for my pack when it's available. So they do get whole animals when possible but, outside of hunting season, they need red meat and, that has to be frozen and, supplemented. Yes, they get whole rabbits and chickens year around but, rabbit and chicken alone isn't enough for a balanced diet. Same as chicken and pork alone would not be enough. They need some red meat, preferably from ruminants like deer and cattle and, for the best coat and heart health, some fish too, salmon and trout being the best but, bass, catfish and, other fish are good too.
 

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Prey model is a good base but it forgets that a wild canine, eating whole animals would eat the contents of the digestive track as well as the flesh and organs of the animal. I like prey model with the addition of fruit and vegetable treats and, a small amount of commercial kibble. I feed pumpkin, pear, apple, apricot, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and, blackberries as treats/supplements to the prey model diet when I cannot feed whole animals. I also raise rabbits and chickens for dog food and, I do hunt and fish. I have relatives and neighbors that will bring fresh road kill for my pack when it's available. So they do get whole animals when possible but, outside of hunting season, they need red meat and, that has to be frozen and, supplemented. Yes, they get whole rabbits and chickens year around but, rabbit and chicken alone isn't enough for a balanced diet. Same as chicken and pork alone would not be enough. They need some red meat, preferably from ruminants like deer and cattle and, for the best coat and heart health, some fish too, salmon and trout being the best but, bass, catfish and, other fish are good too.
Sort of the same here. I add the fruit and veggies. One dog does not like blueberries.. another eats those first. The pre-mix has red meat (RawEnergy) and you can swap that up. I also add green tripe (that makes up for a LOT). The Pre-mix has ground bone, vegetables and the one I am currently using is high fat (lamb, turkey and beef). Got a deal on salmon last month. $1 a pound. Smelts are good too.

That said I also get the store stuff on sale and mix that in (it extends the PreMix with no ill effects in the year). The net result has been happier and healthier dogs.

Deer Season is coming. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Victor & Dr Tim’s are both available on Chewy and some of their formulas come in 40lb or larger bags.

Thanks! Appreciate the suggestions, but I checked them out and both those foods are leagues over my budget. Think one of them was $73 a bag.

The pack is still on Pedigree for now. The dog with the subgingival hair needs to get his gum stitched because its not healing on its own, but the coughing has stopped altogether and sneezing is almost gone. So we're sure the first Vet was wrong and the problem was infection, not food allergy. Still, the one dog does have the shedding issue that seems to be food related. I'm keeping my eyes open for something else...
 

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Thanks! Appreciate the suggestions, but I checked them out and both those foods are leagues over my budget. Think one of them was $73 a bag.

The pack is still on Pedigree for now. .
If you’re looking for something in the price of Pedigree, you’re right, hard to find. It’s a pretty crappy food. I don’t intend to be offfensive but it is. Sometimes, you have to cut out other things from your budget to buy better dog food, IF you want to. Keep in mind you feed far less of a higher food.

Took a look at Chewy; Victor’s 40lb bags run from $44.74 to $61.05.
 

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I understand the budget problem. I'm with you on that, much over 1.00 per pound is too much to spend on dog food but, I want the best for my dogs. I can hunt, fish and raise animals for food so, for me raw is very affordable but, if that weren't an option for me, I'd go with Sportmix Wholesome or, Pure Balance, around $30-40 for a 30 or 40 lb bag and, with a higher quality food, those bags will last as long or longer than 50 lbs of Pedigree.
 

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If you’re looking for something in the price of Pedigree, you’re right, hard to find. It’s a pretty crappy food. I don’t intend to be offfensive but it is. Sometimes, you have to cut out other things from your budget to buy better dog food, IF you want to. Keep in mind you feed far less of a higher food.

Took a look at Chewy; Victor’s 40lb bags run from $44.74 to $61.05.


Considering my biggest problem with it is excessive shedding in one older dog that has irregular heat cycles so likely has underlying hormonal issues contributing to the problem, I don't see how Pedigree is crappy. It just doesn't work for that dog. Preferably, I'd like to get everyone on one food, which is why I'm considering a diet change.

Now, I don't mean any personal disrespect, but please don't assume I have anything besides my own food to be cut from my budget in order to spend more on a bag of dry kibble. And I don't exactly eat filet mignon and organic sweet potatoes, either. I eat semi vegetarian just to be able to eat at least two meals a day. My dogs go through an average of 60lbs per month, and dog food was a great deal cheaper, and my financial situation much different just 5-10 years ago. So no, I refuse to spend $50+ on dog food. It's all the leftovers of the human food industry, no matter what advertising leads you to believe.

I'd also like to point out one more time that yes, I have fed high kcal "holistic" foods in the past and no, there was absolutely no difference in the amount fed with those brands. My dogs are an average of 35lbs and eat an average of 1.5 cups no matter what, so spending more money per bag does not save me a cent in the long run.
 
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