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So I have been feeding my dog, Peanut, Kasiks dog food, and the bag is almost empty. I really want to feed him the best dog food possible, so I asked my vet what a good dog food was and he suggested Purina Pro plan dog food. I am definitely not a vet myself so I wouldn't know for sure, but I have read tons and tons of articles about how Purina has killed dogs, made them sick, and just that overall it isn't a good dog food to feed your dog. Are these things true, or should I go with my vets recommendation? I am really confused because if he is wrong how could he get something that is all over the Internet wrong. Please help.
 

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Purina is a respected brand and has been around a long time. They also have had very few recalls. Pro Plan is their high-end food, so it's a pretty "safe" choice for a vet to recommend. Also, Purina is a very large company and a large percentage of pet foods are made by Purina, so if a dog gets sick from it, it's a little harder for the owner to blame the vet, ya know?

But the best food is the food your individual dog does best on. There's no such thing as a dog food that's right for every single dog. Personally I feel that Pro Plan doesn't have enough meat to justify the price. But some dogs do very well on it and they think it's worth the price. So you just have to decide what you want in a dog food and then see how your dog does on it.
 

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We have fed Pro Plan for over 16 years, and have never had any problems, none of mine have ever gotten sick from their food. I wouldn't feed it if I didn't get good results from it.
 

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Many of the country's top show dogs are fed Pro Plan. As with Willowy, I used to feed it to my dogs and they did great with it. Unfortunately the company, as with almost all the other companies, upped the price per bag while at the same time decereased the size of the bags.
 

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ProPlan is not for me or my crew, however, the sire of my two litters is on it and he is one of the top GSDs in the country right now.

With the exception of some super bottom of the barrel foods (DAD's, Beneful, Retriever, Ol Roy), I say feed what works
 

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I'm not a big fan of Purina ProPlan. And here's why. These are the ingredients in the "Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula":

Chicken, brewers rice, poultry by-product meal (source of glucosamine), corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soybean meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, corn germ meal, dried egg product, animal digest, brewers dried yeast, glycerin, fish meal (source of glucosamine), fish oil, ...
The #1 ingredient is chicken. However, the chicken is weighed before it is cooked, and is over 90% water weight, which disappears after the cooking process. So the top ingredient in this food post-cooking production is brewer's rice.

The next top ingredient is poultry by-product meal. By-products are the parts of the bird that aren't suitable for human consumption (bones, organs, feet, heads, brains, undeveloped eggs). Not a big deal for dogs to eat - dogs who eat raw consume some of these things and do just fine. The problem with by-products is the way that they're handled after slaughter and the regulations about how they're stored, as well as what goes into them. DOA animals that are declared unfit for human consumption can still be used to produce by-products.

Corn is a cheap carbohydrate filler. There are myths that it's not digestible, but that's not true. If ground and refined beforehand, it digests just fine.

This is what I prefer an ingredient list to look like:

Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whitefish Meal, Dried Egg Product, Tomato Pomace, Peas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Carrots, Spinach...
Three named protein sources that don't lose water weight when cooked, no corn or grains. The tomato pomace is "meh".

So, your veterinarian is not "wrong". Kibble comes down to personal preference and what a dog does well on. I prefer to feed grain free kibble with a named meat meal as the top ingredient. Other people don't have that preference. And no one is wrong, except for people feeding grocery store brands (Kibbles 'N Bits, Ol' Roy) that are on the *very* low end of the market.

That being said, I did notice a huge difference in coat quality when I switched my dogs from Nature's Domain (a middle of the road food) to Earthborn, a higher end kibble. They started shedding less, their coats were sleek, they looked shinier far longer between baths. I do think higher end kibbles make a difference.
 

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Hiraeth beat me to it.

Will your dog keel over and die if you feed them Purina Pro Plan? No. Will your dog do poorly on the food? Who knows. Many dogs eat this food, like others have said, and do perfectly fine. Many dogs eat much worse foods and do fine.

Personally, I wouldn't feed it, and my dogs likely wouldn't touch it. A lot of people are touchy about food choices, so while we can give you suggestions it's a topic best navigated through your own research to avoid people's own biases. Dogfoodadvisor is a good place to start your research. People can argue vehemently when both ways when it comes to gran inclusive/versus grain free. While I don't feed grain inclusive foods, I do feel that the difference people see when switching from a lower quality to a higher quality food is more so quality of ingredients over all than whether or not there is grain in the food.

When I look for a food, I look for grain free with the highest meat content I can find from a company with a good reputation.
 

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Honestly, it's just going to depend.

I used to feed stuff like Wellness Core and other grain free, expensive, 'five star' foods, or raw. Recently my food is Sportsmix Wholesomes and Proplan Sport (or whatever it is). Bottom line? Dogs are doing roughly 500% better. Their coats are better, their poops are better, energy level is better, dogs who needed to gain a little weight did, dogs who were a little tubby lost some. They just obviously do better.

I originally made the change because of a temporary financial issue, but the lesson was profound for me.

Feed what works and 'more expensive' is sometimes better - and sometimes it's a marketing gimmick or something that makes the OWNERS feel better (ie: I feel the best of the best, I know because it's the most expensive: I am a good pet owner).
 

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I was trying all kinds of super-great kibbles for my cats (I try for a mostly-canned diet but for convenience need some kibble). They frequently had the usual cat stuff like hairballs and random barfing, kind of janky coats. Ran out once and had to get Purina ONE at the grocery store. And they do sooo much better on it---fewer hairballs and barfing, better coats, etc. I hate that----why? Cats are obligate carnivores and should not do well on a food with not a lot of meat. But whatever. Darn Purina ;).
 

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have fed numerous "holistic" "ultra super premium" kibbles to several dogs over 14 years (Orijen, Merrick, Holistic Select, Wellness, Wysong, Natural Balance, Taste of the Wild, etc.) In fact I used to rotate brands with every bag. All I got for my trouble (and a lot of expense) was diarrhea more often than not.

I started reading on sporting dog sites how people who had hunted multiple dogs for years swore by Pro Plan Sport. On specialty message boards devoted to golden retrievers or labs breeders also testified to the consistently good results they'd gotten from Pro Plan over many years and many litters.

So last year I tried Pro Plan Sport Performance for my new terrier puppy and I haven't looked back. Instead of rotating through brands I feed PP exclusively and Emma devours it twice a day. She also gets some canned, some human food, or some commercial raw with her evening meal.

When I took her into my vet for the first time, he said, "whatever you're doing, keep doing it."

PP also costs me $10 for 6lbs while Orijen is over $20 for 5lbs. Her stools on PP are tiny and tight consistently, while they were consistently looser and larger on Orijen.

All that said, the Kasik's you're feeding looks like a good food and if your dog is doing well on it then I'd stay with it. I should think it costs significantly more than PP, being grainless and "free run" and all that. One thing I would note: Kasik's chicken formula is exceptionally high in calories at 505 kcals per cup. It would be easy for a dog to gain weight on such a dense food. So if you continue to feed it I would weigh your dog regularly and measure out its portions.

PS - Purina's Pro Plan line has never experienced a recall (the Purina recalls, which are few and far between, were for jerky treats and cat food not in the PP line). Also, if you Google the notorious class action law suit against Beneful (again a completely different food from PP) you will find that the plaintiffs have dropped their claims of injury to their dogs. There are some outstanding claims of misleading advertising still to be adjudicated. A similar lawsuit in Canada was dropped by the plaintiff because her attorneys admitted they could not prove that Beneful harmed her dog.
 

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Fun fact; I just looked into it here because I was curious. PPP is just about on par for what I pay for Acana for the large bags. Depending on the formula of Acana it's maybe $5-10 less at the max, and the same cost as several formulas.
 

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Fun fact; I just looked into it here because I was curious. PPP is just about on par for what I pay for Acana for the large bags. Depending on the formula of Acana it's maybe $5-10 less at the max, and the same cost as several formulas.
I see that you are in Canada. It makes sense that Acana would be less expensive in the country where it is manufactured. My price comparison was based on US prices. Amazon and Chewy significantly discount Pro Plan, Orijen/Acana not so much. The OP also seems to be in Canada since Kasik is a Canadian brand, so like Acana, it might be a good value in its country of origin. Another reason perhaps not to switch foods if her dog is doing well.
 

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Yeah, I tried the whole 'maybe I can switch to a less expensive brand and the dogs will do okay, it's all in my head' thing, too. Didn't work for my dogs. I switched from a rotation of foods like Acana, Orijen, Merrick, to Sportsmix, Diamond Naturals, Whole Earth Farms. My dogs very noticeably began to shed more (one more so than the others), less energy, and I was going through a significantly higher amount of food feeding 4 dogs than with the higher end foods. I've heard this a lot, that people feed high end foods and then find out their dogs do great on lower end, but it's definitely not for every dog.

I see that you are in Canada. It makes sense that Acana would be less expensive in the country where it is manufactured. My price comparison was based on US prices. Amazon and Chewy significantly discount Pro Plan, Orijen/Acana not so much. The OP also seems to be in Canada since Kasik is a Canadian brand, so like Acana, it might be a good value in its country of origin. Another reason perhaps not to switch foods if her dog is doing well.
Champion has opened manufacturing plants in the US. I did a quick search, the PPP is only a bit cheaper ($10-15ish) than what I can get Acana for.
 

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Yeah, I tried the whole 'maybe I can switch to a less expensive brand and the dogs will do okay, it's all in my head' thing, too. Didn't work for my dogs. I switched from a rotation of foods like Acana, Orijen, Merrick, to Sportsmix, Diamond Naturals, Whole Earth Farms. My dogs very noticeably began to shed more (one more so than the others), less energy, and I was going through a significantly higher amount of food feeding 4 dogs than with the higher end foods. I've heard this a lot, that people feed high end foods and then find out their dogs do great on lower end, but it's definitely not for every dog.
Same here. In college I was having trouble feeding two giant dogs so I tried to switch to Science Diet to save some money. Did not work for either, and oddly, I noticed the same things you did - massive shedding (especially Atlas), less energy (which I didn't so much mind, because Loki was crazy), disinterest in the food and I had to feed more in order to get the same nutritional content that I was from feeding my higher end kibble.

If it works for people, great. They get to save money and their dogs do well and are healthy!

I don't like the stigma that people feed expensive kibbles because they want to appear "mightier than thou" or elitist. I feed a higher end kibble because it's the best thing I've found for my dogs. And if I ever had the opportunity to find out that a less expensive kibble worked just as well, I'd absolutely switch. Believe me, I'm not a huge fan of spending over $340 a month on dog food. I'd much rather put that money into toys, treats, new collars, leashes, etc. But I'm not going to transition to a different kibble just to see if it works when my dogs are doing well on what they're currently eating and I can (grudgingly) afford it.
 

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Same here. In college I was having trouble feeding two giant dogs so I tried to switch to Science Diet to save some money. Did not work for either, and oddly, I noticed the same things you did - massive shedding (especially Atlas), less energy (which I didn't so much mind, because Loki was crazy), disinterest in the food and I had to feed more in order to get the same nutritional content that I was from feeding my higher end kibble.

If it works for people, great. They get to save money and their dogs do well and are healthy!

I don't like the stigma that people feed expensive kibbles because they want to appear "mightier than thou" or elitist. I feed a higher end kibble because it's the best thing I've found for my dogs. And if I ever had the opportunity to find out that a less expensive kibble worked just as well, I'd absolutely switch. Believe me, I'm not a huge fan of spending over $340 a month on dog food. I'd much rather put that money into toys, treats, new collars, leashes, etc. But I'm not going to transition to a different kibble just to see if it works when my dogs are doing well on what they're currently eating and I can (grudgingly) afford it.
Anecdotal yes, BUT--- have you tried a "cheap" kibble that isn't Science Diet? Chester did horribly on that with major shedding, huge poops etc. And yet, he has zero issues with grains including corn, and other so-called bad ingredients. I think it was the protein/fat balance that just wasn't enough.

I ask because I have had a similar observation as CptJack in that both my dogs (and several previous fosters, so maybe 7 dogs total as a "test panel") have done quite well on what I call the lower-mid range foods. I have fed raw, grain free, grain inclusive, etc. In the end, I found if the food had a good amount of meat protein and kept protein above 25% and fat above 15% with 30/20 being very good, then the dogs were cool with it. They even did well on a bag of Pure Balance, made by Ol' Roy.

So my rotation is something like Pro Pac Ultimates (grain inclusive), Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken and Rice, Dr. Tims, Fromm, and back when I could find it, the US version of Inukshuk (with corn and wheat even)

Just my opinion but I see nothing wrong with trying a different food to see if the dogs do well on it and then the money can be spent on other useful items. Since you say that you'd switch if you found a less expensive kibble that works, which requires some trial and error. I'm not talking about feeding Beneful or anything, just branching out a bit.

TO the OP--
Purina Pro Plan is a long standing food that has a large number of dogs doing well on it. I would not have a problem feeding it except that I feel it costs more money than other foods that my dogs do well on and from companies with good track records. I do sometimes use the PPP canned food as a treat or for upset tummies (the salmon formula is really mild)
 

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kept protein above 25% and fat above 15% with 30/20 being very good
This is EXACTLY what I'm finding so vital to my dogs - grain or not doesn't matter to most of them, but helps Jack keep some weight on, or seems to, but as long as meat protein and fat are there, there's simply no difference.

And I think the primary reason I noticed coat difference was from fat. And it was not a subtle difference, but a really, really remarkable one, particularly in Kylie. Just lots more shine and thickness.
 

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Anecdotal yes, BUT--- have you tried a "cheap" kibble that isn't Science Diet? Chester did horribly on that with major shedding, huge poops etc. And yet, he has zero issues with grains including corn, and other so-called bad ingredients. I think it was the protein/fat balance that just wasn't enough.

I ask because I have had a similar observation as CptJack in that both my dogs (and several previous fosters, so maybe 7 dogs total as a "test panel") have done quite well on what I call the lower-mid range foods. I have fed raw, grain free, grain inclusive, etc. In the end, I found if the food had a good amount of meat protein and kept protein above 25% and fat above 15% with 30/20 being very good, then the dogs were cool with it. They even did well on a bag of Pure Balance, made by Ol' Roy.

So my rotation is something like Pro Pac Ultimates (grain inclusive), Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken and Rice, Dr. Tims, Fromm, and back when I could find it, the US version of Inukshuk (with corn and wheat even)

Just my opinion but I see nothing wrong with trying a different food to see if the dogs do well on it and then the money can be spent on other useful items. Since you say that you'd switch if you found a less expensive kibble that works, which requires some trial and error. I'm not talking about feeding Beneful or anything, just branching out a bit.

TO the OP--
Purina Pro Plan is a long standing food that has a large number of dogs doing well on it. I would not have a problem feeding it except that I feel it costs more money than other foods that my dogs do well on and from companies with good track records. I do sometimes use the PPP canned food as a treat or for upset tummies (the salmon formula is really mild)
I agree that there is nothing wrong with trying different foods, at all. If your dog can eat the lower end foods and thrive, I'm happy for you, I wish my dogs could. I'd much rather feed a lower end/lower cost kibble and be able to afford whole, fresh foods for them more often to mix in. I just don't like that people are subtly implying that all dogs can do well on lower end foods and it's marketing/gimmicks, because that isn't true, just like saying all dogs can eat Orijen or all dogs can eat raw. If you read my post, I tried several different 'lower end' foods and none of them worked for my dogs as well as higher end foods. I tried the 'performance/sports' versions of foods, because I knew they did best on higher fat/protein diets. They would have survived, sure, but they weren't nearly in as good of condition. It was pretty gut wrenching for me to see the noticeable change that occurred after switching even though I really was hoping that they would do well. I am a full time college student/part time employee feeding 250lbs of dog, 225lbs of which I don't even live with any longer, but my parents would switch them back to alpo and I can't let that happen in good conscience.

Ultimately, as it always goes with these kinds of threads/questions, it's what your dog does best on, not the opinions of others. We all know our dogs and what they do best on better than anyone else would.
 

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I agree that there is nothing wrong with trying different foods, at all. If your dog can eat the lower end foods and thrive, I'm happy for you, I wish my dogs could. I'd much rather feed a lower end/lower cost kibble and be able to afford whole, fresh foods for them more often to mix in. I just don't like that people are subtly implying that all dogs can do well on lower end foods and it's marketing/gimmicks, because that isn't true, just like saying all dogs can eat Orijen or all dogs can eat raw. If you read my post, I tried several different 'lower end' foods and none of them worked for my dogs as well as higher end foods. I tried the 'performance/sports' versions of foods, because I knew they did best on higher fat/protein diets. They would have survived, sure, but they weren't nearly in as good of condition. It was pretty gut wrenching for me to see the noticeable change that occurred after switching even though I really was hoping that they would do well. I am a full time college student/part time employee feeding 250lbs of dog, 225lbs of which I don't even live with any longer, but my parents would switch them back to alpo and I can't let that happen in good conscience.
I'm not implying anything - nor am I stating it. I'm sorry that I came off that way.

I do, however, think that a good number of people - myself among them for most of my dog owning life - take a good deal of pride and feel validated by how much money they spend on their dogs, and that a good many companies are jumping on grain free as a 'fad' soley to capitalize on the popularity of grain free at the moment. And it works, because they charge more but the ingredients aren't actually great, and the protein and fat levels are horrible, and their dogs don't actually do better.

But they *feel* better.

I have similar issues regarding health care. Going for the most expensive option, soothing your conscious or stroking your ego or as a means o subtly (or not so) making yourself feel superior to other pet owners (and I AM NOT saying you do this) is also ridiculous. You go for the right option for your animal, and you should feel good about that.

If your bench mark is the most expensive option, whether it's right or wrong for your dog, you're no better than someone going for the cheapest so they can save money. Someone who has no understanding of what is best for their dogs or why or how or what to try is no less ignorant than someone who buys what's most common without any understanding of what their dogs need.

My issue isn't directed at people here, it's an industry wide thing.
 

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Just my opinion but I see nothing wrong with trying a different food to see if the dogs do well on it and then the money can be spent on other useful items. Since you say that you'd switch if you found a less expensive kibble that works, which requires some trial and error. I'm not talking about feeding Beneful or anything, just branching out a bit.
The thought of loose stool or diarrhea from the 5 dogs (that weight a cumulative 585 lbs) I'm feeding is enough to deter me from experimenting with their diets. Beyond that, Danes require very particular calcium/phosphorous ratios and percentages that are simply not available from many kibbles (both low and high end).

I'm not implying anything - nor am I stating it. I'm sorry that I came off that way.

I do, however, think that a good number of people - myself among them for most of my dog owning life - take a good deal of pride and feel validated by how much money they spend on their dogs, and that a good many companies are jumping on grain free as a 'fad' soley to capitalize on the popularity of grain free at the moment. And it works, because they charge more but the ingredients aren't actually great, and the protein and fat levels are horrible, and their dogs don't actually do better.

But they *feel* better.

I have similar issues regarding health care. Going for the most expensive option, soothing your conscious or stroking your ego or as a means o subtly (or not so) making yourself feel superior to other pet owners (and I AM NOT saying you do this) is also ridiculous. You go for the right option for your animal, and you should feel good about that.

If your bench mark is the most expensive option, whether it's right or wrong for your dog, you're no better than someone going for the cheapest so they can save money. Someone who has no understanding of what is best for their dogs or why or how or what to try is no less ignorant than someone who buys what's most common without any understanding of what their dogs need.

My issue isn't directed at people here, it's an industry wide thing.
Trying not to take this personally, but I am one of the people who is a vocal advocate for not shopping around for cheap veterinary healthcare on this forum. It's not about money. It's about quality of care. If I were going to have knee surgery, I wouldn't shop around for the cheapest knee surgeon I could find to do it. I'd want someone in a state of the art facility who is using the most current methods and who has the most current tools at their disposal. And going to that type of facility is expensive. Same goes for my dogs. Titan had two eye surgeries before he hit 10 months old, and no way in hell was I going to shop around for pricing for eye surgery that could blind him for the rest of his life if it went wrong. I went to a vet I trusted who had a high success rate with the surgery and had it done at that facility.

This is why I think people should carry health insurance if their budget doesn't allow for expensive or specialty care that may someday be required. If a dog is insured, it can get the best care possible, not just the best care that's affordable.

Conversations about money and animal care always kind of put me on edge. Not everyone who goes for the most expensive option is doing it for ego-soothing (both food-wise and healthcare-wise, frankly). I went for best (and most expensive) options for Loki because he was my soulmate dog and he deserved a chance. I don't feel any better about it, or the money I spent. I drop the massive price of his care on people not stroke my ego (he suffered and died despite my efforts, there is no ego to stroke, I couldn't save him and I prolonged his painful battle with cancer), but to impress upon them that health insurance will ensure that they will never have to choose to put a dog down because of financial limitations, or make massive real life economic sacrifices in order to try to help their pets.

Back to the original topic - I don't like Earthborn because it's "high end". When I recommend it to people, that's never part of my pitch. "Correct calc/phos percentages for growing Danes, my dogs do well on it, minimal shedding, good solid poops, US-based company owned by Midwestern Pet Foods, who is a decent parent company, their bags are made with recycled materials so their carbon footprint is very small, and they have never had a recall". Definitely not "it's $52.99 for 28 lbs so you can feel superior to your pet owning neighbors!"

Again, trying not to take it personally. I've just seen a lot of budget-related shaming (going both ways) lately, and I think it needs to stop. I don't need to be told that anyone who spends thousands on a puppy is stupid and that purebreds are unhealthy. No one else needs to be told that spending less than a hundred dollars to rescue a dog is cheap and that rescues are temperamentally unpredictable or ugly. I don't need to be told that buying the food my dogs do well on is a waste of money (no one here said this, it's an ongoing family argument). No one else needs to be told that buying cheaper kibble is sacrificing their dog's health for money. I don't need to be told that seeking out high end vet care for my dogs is somehow an ego thing. And no one else needs to be told that using a s/n clinic is cheap and unsafe.

I guess I did take it personally. Loki died a year ago today, so the comment hit home.
 
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