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Discussion Starter #1
My dog had struvite crystals and was on the S/O rx diet that has horrible nutritional value (and is quite expensive; I am disabled and just can't afford it or another expensive food). Fromm's looks quite good: low ash content and it appears that dogs universally like it. In fact, I've seen only one review that says that a pet didn't like it. My cat certainly does.

So I transitioned him from the S/O diet gradually over the past week: 1 1/4 c. S/O to 1/4 Fromm's, for two days, 1 c. S/O to 1/2 c. Fromm's, etc. They both have the same chicken base. Now we're down to all Fromm's, and he eats it very reluctantly. He loved that S/O, but no way I'm going to continue feeding him that.

I have recs for different low-budget foods, including Diamond and Sportmix, and those are alternatives, but I found a great pet store that carries the Fromm's for $1/lb. And given that Fromm's has an exceptionally low ash content and he is prone to UTIs, I really want to feed it to him.

Bottom line: is there any way to get a dog to adjust to a food that he isn't really into? Can I mix chicken broth or water in for the time being, or is there something else? I've run out of the S/O and really, really don't want to shell out for more. No money this month.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated--thanks.
 

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I would start with trying plain warm water over the kibble. You can try feeding by hand also and making it more "exciting"
Homemade no-sodium, no herbs chicken broth is usually very enticing. Just boil some chicken scraps, nothing added.
Another thing that gets most dogs really interested is mushing up sardines in water and pouring a bit of that over the food. Canned in water, no salt added sardines. One can should make enough mush for several meals and just store it in a jar in the fridge for up to maybe 3 days.

But, if he eventually eats the food and just doesn't gobble it down, I'd probably just wait him out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yeah that sounds like a good plan. He is eating it, just not enthusiastically. I just did a taste test from samples, Diamond Naturals Small Breed Lamb, Chicken and Rice, a Trader Joe's holistic brand (which he used to scarf up), Sportsmix Energy Plus and Wholesomes Chicken & Rice. He's not into ANY of them. Loves that crappy S/O food, though. Time to call the vet, I guess.

UPDATE: he seems to like the Trader Joes the best, then the lamb and rice formulas. I hate to buy Trader Joe's food because you have no idea where it comes from, but maybe that's the way to go. There's one right across the street, too.
 

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If he's having urinary issues I would keep adding water to his kibble anyway. The more moisture he has in his diet will help. Also another very low ash food is Dr Tims Kinesis. I don't know if Sportmix or those other ones are low ash so I would be careful. I'd keep trying with the Fromms....
 

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If he's eating it, I'd give it some time. I wouldn't really see it as a vet issue unless he stops eating (or shows other signs of illness or distress of course).

It could just be the different kibble size and/or texture that's throwing him off a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all. Sigh. I think the kibble size is one of the main problems. I really like it because of the ash content, the quality of the ingredients, and the fact that they manufacture it on site, have great customer service, and the quality is so good for the price point.

Does anyone know of a calculator that will determine the ash content? I'd like to know the Trader Joe's content, but it isn't in the guaranteed analysis. I know the phosphorus level is 0.9%. I've seen calculators, but nothing for determining the ash content.

Thanks.
 

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Ash is all the minerals basically- calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, etc. If they don't list total ash content, its unlikely they list each mineral but adding them up would work if they do.

Generally, red meat kibbles are higher ash than fish or poultry based kibbles due to higher bone content. So if there is a brand for example where there is a chicken and rice and a lamb and rice food and neither lists ash, then its a good bet that the chicken is lower that the lamb (and lamb tends to be higher than beef)

Did the vet say that ash content was important? Some crystals are the result of a UTI and once the UTI is gone, then any "Average" mineral content is okay'd.
 

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Zoey can be prone to UTIs, I think something may be going on with her now. In the past she had high Ph urine.

Dr Tims is low ash so is Annamaet and Farmina. Higher meat protein may make urine more acidic and I have given and just started giving her probiotics and Berry Balance to help her system along. I also float her food in water to get more urine out ... flushing her system. Her Vet didn't think probiotics and Berry Balance would work and I don't know if it helped in the past but she has (maybe it is had) been clear for about 2 years. The Vet did say by increasing her water intake she should pee more and help her along in flushing everything out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dog person: The vet wanted him to continue on the S/O for life! I was like "uh-uh" (trapped in Banfield wellness contract, they push everything HARD). I have him on l-mannose, vit c, and got PH strips to check his urine every month. I just wanted to find something low-ash if possible. Thanks for the explanation. I'll check out the Trader Joe's and see what the ash content is.

This was his first UTI that I know of (was a rescue), and so I'm hoping it won't reoccur. I just really like the Fromm's in every respect and being low-ash was a great bonus. But if he won't eat it, we'll have to find something else affordable.

Thank you for all the great info!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Zoey can be prone to UTIs, I think something may be going on with her now. In the past she had high Ph urine.

Dr Tims is low ash so is Annamaet and Farmina. Higher meat protein may make urine more acidic and I have given and just started giving her probiotics and Berry Balance to help her system along. I also float her food in water to get more urine out ... flushing her system. Her Vet didn't think probiotics and Berry Balance would work and I don't know if it helped in the past but she has (maybe it is had) been clear for about 2 years. The Vet did say by increasing her water intake she should pee more and help her along in flushing everything out.
Yeah, I really need something even more affordable. Like I said, he is a companion animal (I'm on disability), and I just can't afford anything high priced. I'm doing my own version of "berry balance" and testing his PH periodically. He's not a big drinker, but giving him ice cubes and he loves munching on them.

Hopefully he'll grow out of the UTI. Thanks
 

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Yeah, I really need something even more affordable. Like I said, he is a companion animal (I'm on disability), and I just can't afford anything high priced. I'm doing my own version of "berry balance" and testing his PH periodically. He's not a big drinker, but giving him ice cubes and he loves munching on them.

Hopefully he'll grow out of the UTI. Thanks
I looked at Fromm classic and the chicken is 23% protein with 404 calories. I did the math and Fromm at Chewy is $1.08 a pound which is cheaper than Annamaet (40 lbs at $1.62/lb) and Farmina (26.5 lbs at $181/ lb). It does have more calories then Farmina but less calories then Annamaet and both have more protein.

If your dog eats it there's not much more I can say. I don't know how much you feed your dog and I certainly understand being concered about cost but it may cost about the same if your dog eats less them vs From.

Zoey is 33 lbs and eats a cup a day of both Annamaet and Farmina ... my last dog was 40 lbs and ate 2 cups of Nutro Natural Choice and it cost more per lb then these two. I guess I could have fed her 1 1/2 cups of either ( pure speculation here) and she would have been ok. Of course I don't have any proof. Hopefully your dog will start eating with gusto.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I looked at Fromm classic and the chicken is 23% protein with 404 calories. I did the math and Fromm at Chewy is $1.08 a pound which is cheaper than Annamaet (40 lbs at $1.62/lb) and Farmina (26.5 lbs at $181/ lb). It does have more calories then Farmina but less calories then Annamaet and both have more protein.

If your dog eats it there's not much more I can say. I don't know how much you feed your dog and I certainly understand being concered about cost but it may cost about the same if your dog eats less them vs From.

Zoey is 33 lbs and eats a cup a day of both Annamaet and Farmina ... my last dog was 40 lbs and ate 2 cups of Nutro Natural Choice and it cost more per lb then these two. I guess I could have fed her 1 1/2 cups of either ( pure speculation here) and she would have been ok. Of course I don't have any proof. Hopefully your dog will start eating with gusto.
I really appreciate you looking that up! I'll keep those brands in mind. I know more protein is said to increase the chances of UTIs, but I think that is a controversial stance. At any rate, my local Mud Bay sells the Fromm's Classic for 20# at $14.99, which is significantly cheaper than anywhere I could find online. Plus I love that store and would like to give it my business.

But if I can't convert him into a fan of the Fromm's, I'll check those out next. Got them written down. Thank you.
 

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You're getting good food at a great price, I wouldn't give that up.

I didn't hear about higher proteins giving UTIs. I've read that higher proteins make the urine more acidic and can stop certain crystals (forget which one ... the one associated with high PH).

Do you have a website for me to see that?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You're getting good food at a great price, I wouldn't give that up.

I didn't hear about higher proteins giving UTIs. I've read that higher proteins make the urine more acidic and can stop certain crystals (forget which one ... the one associated with high PH).

Do you have a website for me to see that?
Sure:
http://www.dogaware.com/articles/wdjstruvites.html#protein (says low protein not needed on long-term basis but helps with dissolving crystals--same as S/O idea)
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/struvite-crystals/
http://www.dogster.com/forums/Food_and_nutrition/thread/824556

etc.

You're right: it looks like my vet and other vets seem to think that low-protein is optimal for dogs prone to UTIs, but consensus is that it is best to dissolve the crystals, and then a regular protein diet is ok. My vet told me to put him on something low-protein--but of course she tried to sell me on S/O for life after one incidence. I think the thing would be to stay away from the "super active" dog formulations that have a ton of protein, and supplement with l-mannose and vit c, and test PH--which I'm doing. Hopefully we'll be ok :)
 

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They probably say "higher protein" because in actuality it's higher protein foods with higher ash usually...... Unless your talkin foods like fromms or dr Tims who always have low ash.... I have a cats brain on this stance because I have two of them but the real issue here is pure lack of moisture in the diet.... The more water the less likely they are to get urinary/kidney issues... This is why I always feed Jace a half wet diet. You wouldn't think by feeding wet would add that much but it really does. Like 3 years ago when my cats were still on an all kibble diet they drank water constantly.... After they got switched to all canned/raw I never ever catch them drinking water anymore and you can just tell they are ten times more healthy than they were. If Jace wasn't going to be 140 pounds he would be getting all canned/freeze dried and or raw too but I can't swallow that bill so I do half. Not bashing on kibble feeders because I feed Dr Tims and we all do the best that we can do but you have to admit kibble was created for OUR convenience not necessarily for the health of our animals you know? Whether it's raw canned or freeze dried with water added it's HIGHLY beneficial.... More than people realize.
 

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Sure:
http://www.dogaware.com/articles/wdjstruvites.html#protein (says low protein not needed on long-term basis but helps with dissolving crystals--same as S/O idea)
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/struvite-crystals/
http://www.dogster.com/forums/Food_and_nutrition/thread/824556

etc.

You're right: it looks like my vet and other vets seem to think that low-protein is optimal for dogs prone to UTIs, but consensus is that it is best to dissolve the crystals, and then a regular protein diet is ok. My vet told me to put him on something low-protein--but of course she tried to sell me on S/O for life after one incidence. I think the thing would be to stay away from the "super active" dog formulations that have a ton of protein, and supplement with l-mannose and vit c, and test PH--which I'm doing. Hopefully we'll be ok :)
I had asked my vet about continuing to feed the high protein foods that Chester does well on and she said that as long as his kidneys were fine, then it wasn't a problem. It was likely that the UTI caused his crystals anyways and once the antibiotics fixed the UTI then the crystals weren't a issue. I specifically asked about feeding a mix of high protein kibble and raw so I was talking about a protein level even higher than say, Orijen for example. So the vet ran a blood test to check his kidneys and gave me the thumbs up for a high protein diet (which doesn't have to translate to a high ash diet)

Its been about 3 years and he hasn't had a problem since and eats usually the performance foods at 30% protein/ 20-25% fat and supplemented with raw a few times a week.

If he does well on lower protein foods like the Fromm, then that's just fine but if he seems to need the higher protein foods, it isn't necessarily a no-go for him to have them

Of course, if you have recurring issues with him getting UTIs, then it might be best to stick with the lower protein but if its a one-time incidence, I would just feed what he seems to do best on and that you can afford; probably sticking to poultry or fish if the food doesn't list the ash content and avoiding lamb particularly.
 

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Sure:
http://www.dogaware.com/articles/wdjstruvites.html#protein (says low protein not needed on long-term basis but helps with dissolving crystals--same as S/O idea)
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/topic/struvite-crystals/
http://www.dogster.com/forums/Food_and_nutrition/thread/824556

etc.

You're right: it looks like my vet and other vets seem to think that low-protein is optimal for dogs prone to UTIs, but consensus is that it is best to dissolve the crystals, and then a regular protein diet is ok. My vet told me to put him on something low-protein--but of course she tried to sell me on S/O for life after one incidence. I think the thing would be to stay away from the "super active" dog formulations that have a ton of protein, and supplement with l-mannose and vit c, and test PH--which I'm doing. Hopefully we'll be ok :)
Thanks for the links!

I hadn't seen that before when Zoey was younger and going through her constant UTIs along with ear infections. I think Zilla and Shell are right that some foods with higher protein are higher in ash. I know both Annamaet and Farmina are under 7% ash in their chicken formulas I think Farmina is under 7% in their cod formula. I only found out about ash as I was feeding Victor and someone here mentioned that it may not be good feeding that to a dog with kidney problems - I wasn't sure how UTIs were related to kidney problems (I still don't but I guess ultimately it can be) and stumbled on the ash fact may be a contributing factor crystals forming. Zoey's Vet wanted her off of puppy food at 6 months old because of the higher protein, I was feeding her Orijen and she was really getting a lot more protein then the Vet was thinking of, LOL!

I know there's also a controversy on how much protein a dog actually needs, I've read an adult only needs 18% or so but the people here with active dogs are feeding higher protein and in some cases higher fat kibble. Zoey's a couch potatoe so 26% or 30% should be good as long as she is OK.

Funny thing is when she was going through her UTI problems when she was younger one of the signs was she couldn't hold it and she would go constantly ... right now she did wake me in the middle of the night 3x this past week to go out but holds it during the day and she is peeing every 10 feet or so. Since she was (is) prone to UTIs it hit me right away that she has an unusual thing going on right now but she isn't showing signs 100% of UTIs (constantly needing to go out when we are home and holding it during the day).

Anyway thanks again for the links!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update: he's good with Fromm's now, thank God! Not terribly excited, but not a big eater. If I mix with high value treat, he'll even use it as a treat for training. Thanks all!
 
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