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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been feeling really lost lately on dog food in general.
I have 4 dogs. 1 requires grain free dog food if not he gets extremely itchy and constantly scratches. That was about 3 years ago I switched him on grain free.
About 2 years ago I switched the other 3 on grain free since it was easier.
So now their all still on grain free (with the exception with one who the vet put on puppy food )
Question: If the dog doesn't need grain free dog food should he still be eating grain free food?
I'm thinking on switching the dogs food. I wish I could put 3 of them on Wellness but it's 30 pounds for $52 which I'm not sure if I can afford long term. Most likely they'll be put on Authority regular, simply nourish but I think they have higher protein or maybe even Purina Pro Plan.

My grain free dog has an ear infection (yes went to the vet, put on ear wash and drops) He has always been on chicken grain free. I'm wondering if he would benefit from Lamb or salmon proteins only. Almost like a LID. Do you think it's worth a shot? Around the summer months he becomes very itchy but at the moment he's not itchy so I don't know if it's really worth to try since it's only his ears.
I'm wondering if it be worth to put him on Wellness LID lamb or salmon? Or some other brand that's a LID.
I know all dogs are different but I'd like to know others thoughts/advice.
 

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This is a really good book, and it helped me when I was frantically searching for the "perfect" food. http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DN332

If they are doing well on a grain free food, then fine and dandy, no need to switch.

If you have a Tractor Supply Co. store nearby, take a look at their 4Health brand. It's a good food for the price, and comes in a variety of formulas, with and without grain.

I know of a lot of people who like ProPlan, and I've fed it myself.

If the one dog is itchier at certain times of the year, then it's more likely environmental allergies than anything in his food.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My mom wants them off grain free as they don't need. I'm trying to get her to understand that it just means it contains no grains.
Now that Buddy Bear is on Wellness gaining weight she thinks its the food. But I'm like how can you compare him eating 2/3 a day to eating a cup to a cup and a third.
Also my girl dog started vomiting, took her to the vet on Thursday and they only gave us anti nausea pills. She's doing better now but my mom just has a thing now against grain free. And to be honest it be cheaper to get them off of grain free.

As for Jr he has both. He also has environmental allergies as well as having an intolerance to grains.
But I also doubt he's allergic to chicken as he'd be itchy all year round. But his ears are bothering him and I wonder if switching his food would help any.
 

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Nothing wrong with feeding grain free if A) the dog does well on it and B) its affordable. The flip side of that is, nothing wrong with feeding grain inclusive if the dog does well it that. Some dogs need grains, some dogs cannot handle grains. Many grain-free foods are higher in calories and protein than common grain-inclusive foods which can make it seem like the lack of grains is fixing a problem (when switching foods) when really it is the higher protein or higher fat. Remember that grain-free does not mean carbohydrate free, its just swapping things like rice and barley for potatos or tapioca.

I have been VERY happy feeding Victor formulas for about a year or year and a half now because I can get a grain-inclusive food which is still super high in protein. I don't need LID or grain free but the brand also has those.

Pro Pac Ultimates has a grain-free line that is fairly well priced, from a reputable manufacturer (same source as Earthborn Holistics). If you want to bump up calories, one way is to feed a puppy food.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Exactly why the vet put him on puppy.
But I can't feed it to him for the rest of his life, right? (He's 7)

I'll read what you said to my mom about the grain free. Thanks.
I've decided to try regular Authority chicken and try to get his calories to as close as possible like the puppy.

For my other dog I'm debating if I should do Simply Nourish grain free (4.5star) or Simply Nourish LID (4star)
 

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"Puppy" food is actually "Growth and reproduction" under the AAFCO guidelines. Meaning it is suitable for nursing mother dogs, i.e. adults who have higher calorie needs. So its fine to feed an adult dog but there are plenty of "All life stages" (foods that met the guidelines for both growth/reproduction AND adult maintenance) or adult foods that have high calories (often called performance foods, look for 30% protein, 20% fat as a generally baseline)

Personally, I wasn't impressed with feeding Authority for the price and ingredients.

What stores are available to you? What size bag(s) do you buy?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm going off of dog food advisor.
Only PetSmart.
I tend to buy like 30 pound bags with authority and 11 pounds with simply nourish.
I was looking at Purina Pro Plan and their rated at like 2.5
 

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Dogfoodadvisor is a good starting place, but remember that it is run by a dentist not a dog nutritionist and also that it goes only by label ingredients without taking into consideration quality of the manufacturer nor price point.

Unfortunately, PetSmart is one of the pricier places to buy dog food. Online is great if that is an option, some hardware stores and farm supply stores are surprisingly good (Tractor Supply Company is the biggie with their own house brand, but others are possible), Costco's Kirkland brand has a good reputation for house brand food.

Purina Pro Plan is IMO a decent mid-range food that is a bit over priced for what you get. I do like the Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon formula though for being easy on the gut.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Didn't know that
Thoughts on Nutrisca? I believe Frys sells it here.
Or Crave? The only thing is that it's a higher protein % Jr is not use that %
Dog is allergic to eggs. Is "dried egg product" the same? Every time he eats scrambled eggs he pukes.
My 3 dogs really aren't "sensitive" but I wonder if my mom would want to put them on that. I like the kcal per cup.
 

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Eggs and egg product are the same if a dog is truly allergic to eggs. Not the same if the dog is reacting to the fat content or the oils in scrambling eggs or such.

I suggest getting a sample or small bag of a food that seems likely and trying it out. Some brands have a coupon on the smallest bags for an equal $ off a large bag so if the dog likes it, the small bag is basically free and if the dog doesn't like it, then you have only spent $3-6. Earthborn I know for sure has that coupon on their smallest bag but is not at PetSmart as far as I know. In general, the higher end brands will guarantee their food so you can return it if it just doesn't work. You can't really buy a 30 lb bag and return 5 lbs saying it doesn't work of course, but a 5 or 10 lb bag that is returned with 2-3 lbs used up would be normal for a trial feeding.

I can't help much with PetSmart brands because I have only fed Purina some, Authority a bit and Wellness a bit. I would not feed Blue and I wouldn't feed the lower-end Purina like Puppy Chow or Beneful. ProPlan or Beyond would be OK IMO.

Oddly, from Wal Mart, I think the Pure Balance dog food is surprisingly good. There is a salmon and pea grain free recipe for around $33 for 24 lbs. I can't vouch for the manufacturer but there are no eggs in it. I have fed it before and dogs did fine. Its one of my "oh no, snow storm, grab some extra food" type foods.
 

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Yes, the Walmart Pure Balance food is pretty good.

A couple more brands to look at are Nulo and Nature's Recipe, since you've got a PetsMart.
 

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Compare the calories per cup of Wellness vs other foods too - it might not be that much more expensive overall if you have to feed less (which is often the case if there are no grains). Look for local pet stores in your area that might offer a free bag every 10 bag purchase too (we feed wellness CORE and they offer it).

I used to always get the food on sale online but that particular website closed down, which totally bummed me, so it's my best option now.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think I've tried Pure Balance before and Jr did just fine.
I actually was comparing the calories Buddy Bear needs about 440/430 calories a day. The food I was looking at were actually lower than that. The puppy food right now he's on is at 450 per cup.
Jr's tummy did not agree with Nutro but I will take a look for the others. I've fed them Nature's Recipe before I haven't thought about them.
I will try to look for a medium bag. Buddy Bear and Jojo can eat pretty much any kibble. They usually would eat Jr's kibble when it didn't agree with his stomach.
 
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