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Yesterday I picked up a pair of 9-10 month old English Setter mixes that I will be fostering. They now have shots, worming, HW negative test, and a flea bath. I'll be doing Frontline on Monday.

They are very sweet dogs and doing fine. Mostly housebroken and mostly getting along with my other pets. Very smart, already sitting for treats and going in the kennels for food and overnight (after much whining and howling last night they slept through and the kennel was dry this morning).

My primary concern right now is that they are seriously underweight. The larger dog weighs 38 lbs and the vet says he should be at 45 minimum. The slightly smaller dog is only 32 lbs (bigger dog has been guarding the food according to observers at the vet's office). They are being fed separately in dog kennels (the extra large plastic ones) to eliminate that problem.

My Dachshunds get Wellness adult food, but at 3-4 cups of food a day each, I can't afford to do Wellness puppy food for these guys. I have looked at the food recommendations at 3 different sites that are posted on this list, but it is just too much information to evaluate. Clearly the Purina puppy chow that the local rescue gave me as a starter isn't going to make the grade (that would be an F according to the food evaluations everywhere). Does anyone have any suggestions for a high quality puppy food that won't put me in the poorhouse? I have access to Sams Club and occasionally Costco if that makes a difference.
 

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From Sam's Club, the Purina ONE Smartblend Chicken and Rice isn't too bad.
If you have a Tractor Supply Company, their 4Health lineup is good for the price and if you want to avoid Diamond made products, the grain-free 4health is not produced by Diamond.
Another Diamond product, Premium Edge, has a puppy food that is solid. They don't actually need to be on puppy food at their ages, but some formulas of puppy food are higher in fat then the adult formulas of the same kind.
From Wal-Mart, the Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken is decent and one advantage is that it is going to be available nearly everywhere at an affordable price (meaning, the adopters could easily continue using it if the dogs do well on it)

If you want to shop online, there are of course tons more options, but in major stores, these are a few at least.

Adding some inexpensive real meat can add healthy calories. Chicken hearts and gizzards are about $1/lb in the regular grocery store and you can add a small handful to their food each day. Chicken or beef liver, about $1/lb, adds good vitamins but only give a small piece (about nickel sized at first, then quarter sized later) each day.
A whole egg a few times per week is good and you can drizzle a SMALL amount of fish oil or olive oil on their kibble. Just a tiny tiny amount at first to prevent digestive upset. I like to give sardines (packed in water, no salt) once a week and just split a tin between two dogs.
 

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I wouldn't feed anything reccomended above as it's all junk. I know Sam's club or Costco has the Kirkland brand that is fairly cheap and high quality. Do you have access to Victor Dog Food? It's cheap and very high quality helped put weight on my pit mix. What is your price range?

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That's a really good question. I guess I don't have a handle on what I can get at what price. I know the $60 Wellness is too expensive even though the recommended amount is a bit lower. I know I don't want any Purina products. I'll take a look at the Kirkland brands when we get to Costco. I know that is what my daughter feeds to her Dutch Shepherd rescue, and she looks great. I am reading labels and looking for meat (as opposed to corn) and barley and oats. I'm so used to feeding the really good stuff that I'm a bit at sea on this. I'm just a little overwhelmed at the sheer amount of food they are going to need over the next few weeks to get back in shape. As of right now, I'm stuck with our local farm store and Walmart. Next weekend we will get to a city and I'll have some other choices.

I wouldn't feed anything reccomended above as it's all junk. I know Sam's club or Costco has the Kirkland brand that is fairly cheap and high quality. Do you have access to Victor Dog Food? It's cheap and very high quality helped put weight on my pit mix. What is your price range?

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I wouldn't feed anything reccomended above as it's all junk. I know Sam's club or Costco has the Kirkland brand that is fairly cheap and high quality. Do you have access to Victor Dog Food? It's cheap and very high quality helped put weight on my pit mix. What is your price range?
They aren't the "best" brands by any means, but given the cost to feed two dogs that need that much food AND that they are fosters AND being stuck with farm stores/WalMart options, they are all decent foods. Add in some real meat and that ups the nutrition well. 4health grain-free is probably the best of the farm store options.

One thing I consider in the foster dogs food is affordability and availability to potential adopters. I mostly feed Fromm Classic to the fosters but sometimes Premium Edge or Professional or similar. If the adopter is able to get a decent food at a cheap price, they're less likely to just grab any bag of Ol' Roy or such at the supermarket. And if the dog can stay on the same food in a new home, it makes the transition easier because they're less likely to have digestive problems or potty accidents (since stress of changing homes upsets tummies sometimes, changing food at the same time can be hard)
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check TSC when we are in the city. I checked the grain free one, and it looks good.

From Sam's Club, the Purina ONE Smartblend Chicken and Rice isn't too bad.
If you have a Tractor Supply Company, their 4Health lineup is good for the price and if you want to avoid Diamond made products, the grain-free 4health is not produced by Diamond.
Another Diamond product, Premium Edge, has a puppy food that is solid. They don't actually need to be on puppy food at their ages, but some formulas of puppy food are higher in fat then the adult formulas of the same kind.
From Wal-Mart, the Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken is decent and one advantage is that it is going to be available nearly everywhere at an affordable price (meaning, the adopters could easily continue using it if the dogs do well on it)

If you want to shop online, there are of course tons more options, but in major stores, these are a few at least.

Adding some inexpensive real meat can add healthy calories. Chicken hearts and gizzards are about $1/lb in the regular grocery store and you can add a small handful to their food each day. Chicken or beef liver, about $1/lb, adds good vitamins but only give a small piece (about nickel sized at first, then quarter sized later) each day.
A whole egg a few times per week is good and you can drizzle a SMALL amount of fish oil or olive oil on their kibble. Just a tiny tiny amount at first to prevent digestive upset. I like to give sardines (packed in water, no salt) once a week and just split a tin between two dogs.
 

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That is one of my concerns. I'm investing a lot of time and energy in these boys, and I really don't want them fed junk when they are adopted. It needs to be locally available and not to break the bank. My husband is checking out Bluestem to see what they have, and I told him not to go over $40 for 30 lbs. That is still pricy for a lot of people, but a good quality food usually doesn't require the same amount to be fed as the junk, and I can make a case for quality and less quantity.

*** snip ***

One thing I consider in the foster dogs food is affordability and availability to potential adopters. I mostly feed Fromm Classic to the fosters but sometimes Premium Edge or Professional or similar. If the adopter is able to get a decent food at a cheap price, they're less likely to just grab any bag of Ol' Roy or such at the supermarket. And if the dog can stay on the same food in a new home, it makes the transition easier because they're less likely to have digestive problems or potty accidents (since stress of changing homes upsets tummies sometimes, changing food at the same time can be hard)
 

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The Sam's Club brand food (Exceed, not the regular stuff which is junk) isn't super great in terms of ingredients, but it is OK (chicken as first ingredient, no coloring or sugar) and the chicken formula is a performance food that definitely will help put weight on. I think it's around $30 for 44 pounds. I think it's at least as good as Purina ONE and is cheaper. Kirkland Premium from CostCo seems pretty good too (we just got a Costco so I haven't had much experience with it yet) but it's not quite as fattening.
 
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