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I'm sure a lot of people have already brought this up. Every food I look into, I get paranoid by someone's comments that it caused death for one of their dogs. And it seems a lot of the premium foods are so rich that it causes some sort of organ failure sooner or later for some dogs. Whereas the only complaints I see for the cheaper dog foods are allergies. I know I am missing information since I've done research only on the premium foods, but it's just surprising to me.

I am so in limbo right now on what to give my dogs. I was so happy with Wellness the other day until I had some tomato-rich spaghetti and remember what bad acid reflux it gives. And then someone responded to my post about Wellness giving my dogs diarrhea and that tomatoes can be really bad for them. My dogs have been going at the grass a lot more lately after switching to Wellness. And they go after any dog's

Then I did research on Innova and then there are posts about too much Vitamin D, which also causes some kind of organ failure.

So what do you guys think about all of these reactions to premium foods versus reactions to the cheaper brands (SD, Iams, Pedigree, etc.)? And What's your advice on researching dog foods - what to take into consideration when reading people's comments and reading professional analyses?
 

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I would just rotate the premium foods.. Not only will it keep your dog from getting bored, but it will ensure they get well rounded nutrients.. and not too much of the bad stuff if any of the foods you choose have them. As for Iams/Purina and other grocery brands, I think you'll find that they have been recalled quite often as well.. And Iams had some big thing about abusing the animals they test their foods on and such.. I would feel much safer choosing a company that chooses good ingredients for their food in the first place, than one that loads it up with by-products and fillers.
 

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Look hard enough and you can find fault with any commercial food, it's one of the big draws to raw and homecooked feeding. Those aren't always practical options for everyone though so you do the best you can and educate yourself so you can make the best choice.

I choose to feed premium kibble over grocery brands for the same reason I choose my own foods, I feel better about the ingredients. Check out dogfoodproject.com/ for info on how to read labels.
 

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My dogs were always sick on the premium foods. Now that I have them on Purina they are doing great! Solid stools, great coats, lots of energy. :)
 

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mine have always done the best on Purina (i feed Purina One now and they are in top shape).....and, as for recalls, the only recall that Purina has ever had is on the Alpo Prime Cuts canned....not one of their dry foods has ever been recalled nor any other canned....not saying this makes them better or anything, just an observation....
 

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I recently saw my "substitute" Vet and my regular Vets office and specifically asked her about nutrition. She told me she fed Pedigree and Beneful! I was a little suprised, actually. She also said that she was working with a Vet Nutritionist who was equally suprised by her food choices and asked her if he could do full blood panels on all her dogs. She said sure! The Nutritionist was amazed that all levels were perfectly normal! The dogs were not suffering "internally" or externally in anyway.

She also told me that all during Vet school SD, Iams and Eukanuba give all the students their dog food. They have a thick text book and a course on nutrition. After the course she never wanted to pick up the book again! She told me this and I'm thinking while she's saying this that I wonder if I could borrow the book?? ;)

She didn't know what the main Vet (my real Vet) feeds her 10 dogs, so I am going to ask her next time I see her.

BTW, I was there because my dog was eating large amounts of rough grass, throwing up bile and wretching/ coughing periodically. I switched foods and tired to limit her intake of large weeds (sheesh) and she's much better. ;)
 

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I find with my dogs that the higher I go in protien and fats the more issues I have with them?? We have seen a higher grass eating with the higer "quality foods" so now I have them on foods with good ingredients but just not those high amounts of the protien's and fats.

Hershey all the vet's I have talked to have there dogs on Puriena Iams SD ect..While those foods may work for some people.I will not risk my dogs by using them, I have had 4 severe reactions with 2 different breeds of dogs over the years.All 4 times my dogs had to have steriod meds and special diets,bloodwork ect.So I won't go that route.If I had too I would just Homecook My dogs do so well on homecooked food I just don't have the time for it now (but would do it if I had too).
 

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Over the years, I've feed many premium foods: Eagle Pack holistic, Innova, Evo, Orijen, The Honest Kitchen, Canidae, California Natural, Wellness Core and more I'm forgetting. I have one dog who had ear infection issues so i'm careful about what he has and i have NEVER had my dogs do poorly on a premium food. On the contrary, they've all done very well! Innova was too rich for two of my dogs but that is MY dogs, I know people who's dogs do great on it. Lamb makes one of my dogs have loose stool so we simply avoid lamb. I suppose they could do well on a non premium food but I feel better knowing I feed them the best I can afford to feed them. These are dogs, they cannot tell us how they feel, so I have to go by what I see: skin, coat, eyes, ears, etc. I'd feel guilty feeding them a purina food so they will stay on the premium food they are on. I also think some people get all worked up, looking for every little thing to be "wrong" so they can switch. I don't worry so much about it, if there's an issue, believe me, I'll know. JMHO
 

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I find with my dogs that the higher I go in protien and fats the more issues I have with them?? We have seen a higher grass eating with the higer "quality foods" so now I have them on foods with good ingredients but just not those high amounts of the protien's and fats.

Hershey all the vet's I have talked to have there dogs on Puriena Iams SD ect..While those foods may work for some people.I will not risk my dogs by using them, I have had 4 severe reactions with 2 different breeds of dogs over the years.All 4 times my dogs had to have steriod meds and special diets,bloodwork ect.So I won't go that route.If I had too I would just Homecook My dogs do so well on homecooked food I just don't have the time for it now (but would do it if I had too).

Oh, I didn't mean I switched to one of the foods my Vet fed, I actually switched her OFF of the SD and onto Timberwolf. It was on the SD that she was throwing up.
 

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I'm in between Innova and Wellness. I just read a lot more bad opinions on Wellness than I did Innova. Then someone had mentioned tomatoes are bad for dogs and Wellness has Tomato Pomace (which a search pulled up that it is a tomato by-product) and tomatoes. I know that the leaves and stem of tomatoes are toxic to dogs, and seeing that tomato pomace is a by-product, how do I know that the plant itself isn't going into it at all, with the reputation of by-products?

And I especially love how Natura posts so much information regarding their manufacturing on their website. I mean, with everything going on from pet food recalls to human food recalls, that is essential.

I just don't want to end up with something that is a "silent killer." It seems, by the comments of many, that a lot of dogs on premium foods tend to have some kind of reaction to the protein levels and it's always something with the kidneys or liver. If not, by the time the figure out somethng is wrong, it is too late. And yes, I understand that there are TONS other factors that can contribute to this, but I guess I'm a bit paranoid.

I want to get a consultation from a pet nutritionist who is experienced in holistic foods and NOT biased. But I can't seem to find any. Does anyone know of one? I live in the Houston area and if possible, I would prefer going to their office rather than speaking to them over the phone.
 

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we've been feeding Orijen for a bit less than 1.5 years and everything is perfect.

Added flavours (natural and artificial), colours and preservatives often found in lesser quality kibble are silent killers to me.

About the high protein levels, it does not cause kidney failure, it's a myth that has been debunk a long time ago. Low quality protein causes kidney failure because it makes the kidney work extra hard.
 

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we've been feeding Orijen for a bit less than 1.5 years and everything is perfect.

Added flavours (natural and artificial), colours and preservatives often found in lesser quality kibble are silent killers to me.

About the high protein levels, it does not cause kidney failure, it's a myth that has been debunk a long time ago. Low quality protein causes kidney failure because it makes the kidney work extra hard.
Dehydration also contributes to kidney disease.. That's one reason why a lot of people wet down dry kibble before feeding it to their dogs.
 

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This was actually one of the things that frustrated me when I was in the 'research' phase of my adoption: there's an awful lot of anecdotes and lore out there, but very little hard data.

The premium brands do indeed carry advantages, but I was unable to find any quantifiable studies on exactly what the net effect is. For a few bucks a month, though, I found think it's worth worth it:

1. Transparency - there is nothing inherently wrong with animal byproducts. Organ meat is actually the most nutritious part of the animal, and scavengers (like dogs) usually eat in the order of heart, liver, lungs, kidneys. The problem is that when it comes to large-scale food processing, it's nearly impossible to guarantee the quality of byproducts.

2. Meat content - one of the few things I was able to confirm is the importance of meat protein in canine diet, though, again, I had a lot of trouble finding specific quantity guidelines. In general, though, meats and fats should be the primary nutrient source, and the premium brands do tend to have the densest in terms of meat content. Carbohydrates are not inherently harmful, but neither do they add much nutritional value, and corn and wheat gluten do indeed slow the intake of digestible meat proteins even when there are no specific allergies.

3. Quality control - the higher-end brands often control all or most of the supply chain. By itself, it does not necessarily result in better quality, but I tend to view it as a signalling mechanism.

The main downside to the higher protein content is, to borrow a term from my industry, 'operator error'. A lot of owners don't read the recommended serving sizes and wind up over (or under) feed their dogs due to different energy densities between brands. Moreover, lots of digestible proteins requires lots of water to hydrolize the molecules. Dehydration can be a problem if you're not careful - it's a bit counterintuitive to feed your dog less while upping the water.

I've always been a bit skeptical of the health & environmental benefits of organic foods, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; probiotic cultures do in fact help with digestion, but they're no longer unique to the higher end brands.
 

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This was actually one of the things that frustrated me when I was in the 'research' phase of my adoption: there's an awful lot of anecdotes and lore out there, but very little hard data.

The premium brands do indeed carry advantages, but I was unable to find any quantifiable studies on exactly what the net effect is. For a few bucks a month, though, I found think it's worth worth it:

1. Transparency - there is nothing inherently wrong with animal byproducts. Organ meat is actually the most nutritious part of the animal, and scavengers (like dogs) usually eat in the order of heart, liver, lungs, kidneys. The problem is that when it comes to large-scale food processing, it's nearly impossible to guarantee the quality of byproducts.

2. Meat content - one of the few things I was able to confirm is the importance of meat protein in canine diet, though, again, I had a lot of trouble finding specific quantity guidelines. In general, though, meats and fats should be the primary nutrient source, and the premium brands do tend to have the densest in terms of meat content. Carbohydrates are not inherently harmful, but neither do they add much nutritional value, and corn and wheat gluten do indeed slow the intake of digestible meat proteins even when there are no specific allergies.

3. Quality control - the higher-end brands often control all or most of the supply chain. By itself, it does not necessarily result in better quality, but I tend to view it as a signalling mechanism.

The main downside to the higher protein content is, to borrow a term from my industry, 'operator error'. A lot of owners don't read the recommended serving sizes and wind up over (or under) feed their dogs due to different energy densities between brands. Moreover, lots of digestible proteins requires lots of water to hydrolize the molecules. Dehydration can be a problem if you're not careful - it's a bit counterintuitive to feed your dog less while upping the water.

I've always been a bit skeptical of the health & environmental benefits of organic foods, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; probiotic cultures do in fact help with digestion, but they're no longer unique to the higher end brands.
Do you mind if I ask you what brand you feed your dogs? Your post helped me a lot. Thanks.
 

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My dogs have always done poorly on 99% of the holistic/super premium feeds. I am not sure why. Some of my theories are overnutrition, especially regarding the mineral levels. If some is good, more is better seems to be the mantra of many holistic food companies. Holistic kibble :rolleyes: It's ALL a processed product with different packaging, advertising & ingredients. Holistic foods may use, for example, turkey meal as the first ingredient whereas one of the mid range feeds might use straight chicken or beef and bone meal. The turkey meal is actually more processed than a food which has a meat listed as #1. I have always noticed, going back several years, my dogs did better on a food that contained a meat as opposed to a meat meal. When you add in the meals, you get a product that was outsourced and the manufacturer has zero responsibility to include any preservatives or additives used by their supplier. In fact, they usually just don't know what the supplier is adding to the meat.

I also have a problem with foods that use too many herbal supplements & vegetables. First, herbals should not be given without caution. Natural does not equate risk free. It can also be dangerous to mix different herbals together, as there may be interaction even if only added in minimal amounts. I only have one dog who does well with the "herby" foods, and that would be my epileptic. The others don't need them or do well with them. Another problem comes in with adding in vegetables, which are all urine alkalizers. I have a breed that is naturally prone to alkaline urine and kidney ailments, so this is something I pay close attention to. I literally watch for urine acidity a food produces just as I would grade it on what type of coat or energy levels it produced. There will be incontinance/urine dribbling on most holistic foods, and tht tells me something about the research that *wasn't* done. Mine will show this symptom straight away, but what about another breed that may take months or years for this problem to develop? And by the time you notice symptoms with kidney issues, it's usually too late.

I have used many foods and can't say that Purina has done any damage, but I can say we had hundreds in Vet bills on Timberwolf, Canidae, Merrick, Wellness CORE.

If anyone notices, even raw does not provide the overabundance of minerals that something like Innova or CORE would. If anything, there are LESS nutrients in raw, just more bioavailable to the dog. This is why raw can be helpful for pups who grow too quickly, and avoid growth related orthopedic problems. So overnutrition is not something that should be easily discounted. I think it may just show up earlier in active dogs or breeds that are already predisposed to certain conditions. JMHO.
 

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My dogs have always done poorly on 99% of the holistic/super premium feeds. I am not sure why.I have used many foods and can't say that Purina has done any damage, but I can say we had hundreds in Vet bills on Timberwolf, Canidae, Merrick, Wellness CORE.

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I wish I knew why you have such bad luck with foods. You know all the foods my dogs have been on and I have no issues. You also know me well enough to know if there are issues, I'd be seeing them. Katie has done so well on Core, I'm afraid to change her. Boone was on lots of foods, til we found the Cal Nat herring, for his ear infections. Katie's weight is still on the decrease, which is good, all three of their coats look good, breath stinks on two of them but it's gotta be a sheltie thing as Tuck just had a dental in February.
 

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I can't really argue with the nutrition level of most brand-name dog foods. I know plenty of dogs who eat them and are doing well. And that's the main concern. I do think grocery store/dollar store generic pet foods are inadequate and harmful. The animals I know who are eating those foods are all unhealthy and look terrible.

The main problem I have with a lot of the "cheaper" (some are more expensive than the brands I feed!) foods is the high level of unnecessary stuff like artificial colors. Beneful especially----it looks like neon aquarium gravel (which serious aquarists call "clown barf", LOL) or extra-color-saturated Froot Loops. That can't be good for anyone, even dogs. Especially because many dogs eat the same food every day for their entire lives---at least humans only eat Froot Loops for breakfast. Dog Chow has some coloring, but not to the level that Beneful takes it. Friskies cat food is the same as Beneful. I really can't stand that. Plus, the stains it leaves on your carpet if someone barfs! Ugh.

I also try to avoid BHA and BHT in pet foods. Most of the brand-name foods don't have it listed. I think they aren't allowed to use ethoxyquin except in fish meal, but I try to avoid it, too.

To address the original question, no, I don't think dogs have more bad reactinos to premium foods than to the other brands. Some dogs just can't eat a certain kind of food, and so their owners have to find what works for them. "Premium" or not, as long as the dog does well on it.
 
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