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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently got 2 maltipoos (1 male & 1 female) from a previous owner who couldn't take care of them due to her personal circumstances. They're both 4 years old and in good health. I feed them wet food in the morning and dry food in the "evening" around 6 pm. The wet food has been taken care of; I switched to one of Merrick's canned dog foods. (They love it). I just need some suggestions for what is a good dry food.

The previous owner was giving them Rachel Ray's Nutrish Zero Grain Beef, Potato & Bison Recipe dry dog food. Lucy the girl doesn't seem to like it very much. About 30-40% of the time, she doesn't even touch it and forgoes dinner.

EDIT: 1 more related question:

I see that a lot of cat & dog foods these days have "ZERO grain" diet on label or packaging. What is that all about anyway? And is it really good thing for cat/dogs? I was reading one of the older threads on the forum and someone's vet recommended against feeding their dog zero grain diet, saying that it causes more harm than good.
 

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Has she been checked by a vet to make sure that her teeth are in good shape? Dental issues can cause a dog to not want to eat hard kibbles.

The best food is one they do well on, like to eat, and you can afford to feed. Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find it. You might just have to buy a small bag of this or that, and see which one(s) that she'd rather eat. Since she likes the Merrick canned food, why not try their kibbles?

I do like Purina Pro Plan, but am currently feeding Blackwood.
 

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Another thing to consider: are you sure she's hungry? Wet foods can be very nutritionally dense, so if she's getting all she needs from that she might not be interested in a whole kibble meal. Some dogs are total chow hounds and will eat themselves into balloons if given the chance, but others are very good at self regulating and won't eat if they're full.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Another thing to consider: are you sure she's hungry? Wet foods can be very nutritionally dense, so if she's getting all she needs from that she might not be interested in a whole kibble meal. Some dogs are total chow hounds and will eat themselves into balloons if given the chance, but others are very good at self regulating and won't eat if they're full.
Yes, the thought did occur to me she's might not be eating it because she's full. How would I even check for that? She rarely ever whimpers or complains, so I don't know. I wish there was a dog / human translator - I bet she would be telling me to please switch it out for something more tasty. Linus on the other hand almost ALWAYS eats his dinner, no issues. And on top of that, he's the runt of the litter and much smaller than Lucy. He is not any more or less active than Lucy. They both get the same amount of daily exercise. Personally, I can't imagine how a 13 lb dog (I'm referring to Lucy) can make do on just 1 meal a day. Breakfast is usually given at 10 am. I guess I'm a little worried that I'm doing the dog a disservice by continuing to feed her food that she does not like very much. When she does eat the Rachel Ray kibbles, she eats ALL of it. I have a personal hunch that she only does so out of resignation - "My human owner is not going to give me anything else today, Oh well, I guess this will have to do".

BTW, I make sure to feed them a modest amount of food (breakfast) because I don't want them to get overweight.

I just thought of another question for you guys. Please see my edited post above, thanks.
 

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It is kind of trial and error, but if you notice that she is getting too lean, that's an indicator that she needs more food. If she's getting pudgy, she needs less food. Each dog is different, so there isn't really a straight answer! If she's currently in a good body condition and is not losing/gaining weight, she's getting enough food.

It is also possible that she is waiting for something better (since she gets wet food in the morning) so turns up her nose at the dry kibble in the evening.

You can try giving her a smaller breakfast of wet food so she eats more dry dinner if you're worried about her going on one meal per day. I agree that she may simply not be hungry.

I currently feed Victor. I feel it is a higher quality food, but it doesn't break the bank. My dog seems to love it, as well, as it has a very rich meaty smell which I think entices them to eat.

Yes, there is a correlation between grain-free food and Dilated Cardiomyopathy, even in dogs that are not pre-disposed to the disease (some breeds are more likely to develop the disease than others to begin with). It is still being studied, to my knowledge, but it is concerning enough that my vet recommended that I switch from a Grain-Free food to a regular food, so I did. Grain free food is only really beneficial if your dog has an allergy, and the rest seems to be marketing. You can read more that that here:

 

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Perfect. I'm going to make a trip to the pet store today and see how well my fur babies enjoy it.
Check and make sure anything you want to try is actually available at the pet store. Victor isn't in any of the pet stores in my area, I buy it on Chewy and can occasionally find it at farm stores like Tractor Supply Co.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Check and make sure anything you want to try is actually available at the pet store. Victor isn't in any of the pet stores in my area, I buy it on Chewy and can occasionally find it at farm stores like Tractor Supply Co.
Yup, I decided to call ahead first and my local Petco store does NOT carry it. I thought for sure Pet Smart would have it... but nope. Not them either. It's interesting how a farm supply store would have it but neither Petco or Pet Smart retail chain do not carry it! Weird. At any rate, I found my local Pet Supplies Plus store has it and there's one not too far away from me. Thanks.
 

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If you look up the specific wet food you feed, you'll probably be able to find the calories per can. From there you can estimate how many calories you're feeding based on how much of a can you're giving, and compare that to calorie/day recommendations for a 13lb dog. Of course different dogs have different caloric needs based on more than just size, just like humans, so that would just be a very rough estimate, but it'd give you a starting point.

Or just estimate based on the recommended serving size on the can. Most of the time these recommended serving sizes are on the generous side - as in, many dogs need less than the listed serving sizes to maintain a healthy weight. But again, it would be a rough starting point. So if the can says a dog Lucy's size needs one can a day, and you give her half a can for breakfast, that could easily be most of her daily caloric needs right there because the "one can" recommendation is actually too much for her specific metabolism.

But, as others have said, it can't hurt to try a different kibble to see if it's a matter of taste! Just know that some dogs get upset stomachs when their food is switched around too much, so you may want to introduce the new kibble slowly, mixing it with their current food at first. Although, given your dogs' history, it sounds like they're used to eating all kinds of things, so they might be perfectly fine!

Grain free dog food started based on the idea that many traditional dog foods have too many "fillers", like wheat and corn, to the point where there are barely any nutrients coming from actual meat or animal products. That idea is only partially true, and mostly applies to really low-end brands like Alpo, and the "grain free" label doesn't automatically mean a high quality food either. A lot of it is marketing, although there are dogs out there who have sensitivities to common grains and therefore require grain free formulas (this is less common than some would have you believe, however). But some grain free formulas are really excellent foods that work well for many dogs. It's a mixed bag.

The link between grain free formulas and heart problems is still very poorly understood, but many people are understandably more comfortable sticking to grain-inclusive formulas since the correlation was discovered. That's a personal choice everyone has to make for what's best for them and their dog. I personally switch brands and/or flavors pretty much every time I buy a new bag of food, sometimes grain free, sometimes grain inclusive, but that doesn't work for every dog or every household.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you look up the specific wet food you feed, you'll probably be able to find the calories per can. From there you can estimate how many calories you're feeding based on how much of a can you're giving, and compare that to calorie/day recommendations for a 13lb dog. Of course different dogs have different caloric needs based on more than just size, just like humans, so that would just be a very rough estimate, but it'd give you a starting point.

Or just estimate based on the recommended serving size on the can. Most of the time these recommended serving sizes are on the generous side - as in, many dogs need less than the listed serving sizes to maintain a healthy weight. But again, it would be a rough starting point. So if the can says a dog Lucy's size needs one can a day, and you give her half a can for breakfast, that could easily be most of her daily caloric needs right there because the "one can" recommendation is actually too much for her specific metabolism.

But, as others have said, it can't hurt to try a different kibble to see if it's a matter of taste! Just know that some dogs get upset stomachs when their food is switched around too much, so you may want to introduce the new kibble slowly, mixing it with their current food at first. Although, given your dogs' history, it sounds like they're used to eating all kinds of things, so they might be perfectly fine!

Grain free dog food started based on the idea that many traditional dog foods have too many "fillers", like wheat and corn, to the point where there are barely any nutrients coming from actual meat or animal products. That idea is only partially true, and mostly applies to really low-end brands like Alpo, and the "grain free" label doesn't automatically mean a high quality food either. A lot of it is marketing, although there are dogs out there who have sensitivities to common grains and therefore require grain free formulas (this is less common than some would have you believe, however). But some grain free formulas are really excellent foods that work well for many dogs. It's a mixed bag.

The link between grain free formulas and heart problems is still very poorly understood, but many people are understandably more comfortable sticking to grain-inclusive formulas since the correlation was discovered. That's a personal choice everyone has to make for what's best for them and their dog. I personally switch brands and/or flavors pretty much every time I buy a new bag of food, sometimes grain free, sometimes grain inclusive, but that doesn't work for every dog or every household.
This is really informative. Thanks!
 

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Another "thought" on "grain free" dog food. These foods used to be potato based when they first came out. Potatoes are starchy with little protein. Protein came from other sources most notably meat and meat by products. Now most grain free dog food is PEA based. Peas add to the crude protein but that protein isn't necessarily bio available to the dog. It is a way for manufacturers to cheaply "boost" crude protein as reported on the package. Pea based dog food helps their bottom line but does not necessarily improve the product for the dog.

After several dog food recalls 5 years ago I went to a RAW diet. Dog's teeth are cleaner, stools are smaller and I never have an issue with the dog eating the food. It IS more expensive.. but as much as dry and canned food has gone up on price, it isn't that much more. I buy a premix and add things to it. I also have a 70+ pound dog.
 
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