Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay so I know both are made by Merrick and that is all I will feed my girl. I recently discovered though that Backcountry has a 5 star rating on dog food advisor where as Whole Earth Farms (what she currently eats) has a 4.5 star rating and they both seem to have the same recipe except I am noticing the "deboned meat" in the backcountry as well as the "protein meal" in whole earth farms as opposed to the actual meat in backcountry. I am concerned about price HOWEVER my dog is 50lbs and I can always buy her the 12lb for 39.99 if I go with Backcountry until I get a second job and can afford the $70 bag and I know the 12lb bag will last approx 24 days I am just looking to see the MAJOR difference and if it truly is better than Whole Earth Farms for the price. She doesn't eat Whole Earth Farms unless I put canned in with it (which is merrick backcountry) and that makes me feel like she's trying to tell me she really doesn't like that food BUT I have changed her food so much so part of me just wants to keep her on the WEF with Merrick BC canned.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,887 Posts
Both are good foods. Is there any way you can get a sample of the Backcountry? If she doesn't like the Whole Earth Farms kibble and they're pretty much the same thing, chances are she may not like the Backcountry that much, either. Is there other Whole Earth Farms formulas? Perhaps she just doesn't like the protein used in her current food, and switching proteins will solve that problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hi lilith thank you for responding. My local pet store does not offer samples. I bought the 4lb bag for 20.00 along with the canned food. I had a coupon so that saved me some money. So far she seems to like it. She only ate the raw bits though then a few minutes later ate some of the kibble. I usually mix canned in with it as it gives the kibble moisture but i wanted to see how she did with the backcountry kibble without the canned and im pretty impressed. With the wef she wont touch it without at least 1/3 of canned mixed in.

I poured the 4lb backcountry in with the remaining wef so part of me thinks she didnt eat it because of the wef in there. I even had to switch her wef canned to the backcountry canned because she wont even eat wef canned but devours the backcountry. I dont knkw the difference that backcountry has from wef that gives it that 5 star but i will be posting updates.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,435 Posts
12 lbs dry food for $40? Wow. There are so many other really quite good options of food for literally 1/4 of that price.

If you have a healthy adult or young adult dog (as in, not a tiny pup at risk of low blood sugar), than I suggest picking a dry food with a protein around 28-30% and a fat above around 14% and offering it 2-3 times daily.

A named protein meal is a good thing-- a meal is minus the water weight. So chicken alone is actually less meat/protein/fat content than chicken meal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I know but I really like the Merrick brand. I feed her 1/2 cup of kibble with 1/3 cup of canned a day. (Never chicken) I HATE chicken so I give her salmon or beef recipes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,435 Posts
I know but I really like the Merrick brand. I feed her 1/2 cup of kibble with 1/3 cup of canned a day. (Never chicken) I HATE chicken so I give her salmon or beef recipes.
Remember that dog food advisor is run by a dentist. Star ratings there can be a starting place for research but 4 vs 5 stars means fairly little in the real world. If a dog does well on a 3 or 4 star food from a reputable manufacturer and at a price point you can afford (again, I still think that you are paying insane prices if you are in the US and those are US dollars), then that is what makes a good food. If she won't eat the Whole Earth Farms, then it probably isn't the best food for her. But that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on Backcountry either (since you mention needing a second job to pay for it, it isn't like its totally extra disposable income you're using for the fancy food).

BTW, you do know that Purina bought Merrick, right? I'm not saying Merrick is not good food, just that for both your dog's preferences and your wallet, it could be worth exploring other brands.

1/2 cup kibble and 1/3 cup canned each meal or per day? For a 50 lbs dog, that is unusually low if it is per day. Canned food is mainly water, so on a volume basis it isn't adding a lot of calories.

One option instead of canned to add moisture is simply a bit of hot water (like tea water hot) over the kibble. Personally, while I do give raw meat and human food treats, I don't add it to kibble because with some dogs, once you start enticing them to eat with high value foods you create a picky eater and then you're stuck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hi Shell :)

1. I am not getting a second job to pay for the dog food. I am getting a second job to get my own place because I am a 25 year old single woman and in this economy it is just impossible to live on your own on only one income unless your have a darn good job like a doctor or something of that sort. I work full-time housekeeping at a hospital making $9.80/hr which is pretty good money BUT it's not enough. If I couldn't afford dog food on my current income alone I would not be buying expensive food.

2. Yes, I am well aware Purina bought Merrick and though that does set me on edge, I have been watching the ingredients and have not noticed any changes. I have also spoken with several people both from Merrick and Purina and both have informed me nothing is changing.

3. I know Merrick is very expensive but to me that's not an issue as I am very loyal to Merrick's company. I have tried the WEF for quite a while and tried mixing recipes and seeing what works and she hates all of it. Last night for the first time in months my girl actually ate the kibble with no canned food in it.

4. Marley is not a big eater and never has been. I was feeding her 1 1/2 cups per meal but she never ate it all so now I start her off with 1/2 cup of dry and 1/3 canned and if she wants more she will stand by her bowl and look at me and then I will give her a cup of dry with some canned and she eats it. Somedays she wants the 1 1/2 cup with canned but most days she's just not that hungry and she is a very picky eater and I know that is my fault for a couple reasons. 1. i switch her food often and 2. I mixed the canned food in with the dry which now she won't eat dry unless it is mixed with canned. I have tried just putting hot water in with it but she won't touch it.

I do want to say that I notice she is favoring the freeze dried raw bites that came with the kibble (backcountry infused with raw) so I'm wondering if instead of givng her canned with it, is it safe for me to buy salmon or hamburger meat from the store cook that and put that in with her kibble? That would certainly be cheaper than buying 6 cans of canned food along with spending 40 on a bag of dog food

I am set on Merrick as I said HOWEVER I am willing to take into account what other dog food brands are out there that are the following

1.Organic/natural
2.Made in USA
3.No preservatives or "flavoring"
4.Grain Free
5.As close to a raw diet as possible without going raw 100%
6. Cheaper than Merrick but still the same quality


Below is a picture of my girl :) As you can see she is very healthy and in good shape. She lacks no nutrition that I promise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,435 Posts
You can certainly cook some meat from the store and add that. For hamburger, I would drain most of the fat first. I wouldn't bother with salmon, but tinned small fish like mackerel and sardines are great additions. They are high in good fats and low in mercury. Just get the packed in water, no salt added kind.

My comment on cost was that the way you worded "second job" happened to read as if, the dog food was enough of a strain on the budget that it was pushing into second job territory, that's all.

Suggestions for other possible foods--

Victor Grain Free Yukon River: Protein 33.9%, Fat 15.83%; $56 for 30 lbs on Chewy
Victor Grain Free Lamb Meal: Protein 30.8%, Fat 16.4%; $56 for 30 lbs.

Dr. Tim's RPM Salmon and Pork: Crude protein:min. 32.0% Crude fat: min. 18.0%; $70 for 30 lbs on Chewy

Muenster Grain Free Pork: 29% protein, 15% fat, $50 for 30 lbs or $11 for 5 lbs

edit to add: One thing to consider is that a lot of grain free foods lean heavily on peas and pea proteins to keep the protein content high but with less expensive ingredients than meats. Some dogs just plain don't like all those peas. If you haven't tried a good grain-inclusive food, she might prefer it and brands like I mentioned above will list what percentage of protein comes from meat and what percentage from plants. The formula I feed the most has a full 90% of its protein from animal sources whereas the same brand's grain free is 76% meat-sourced proteins.

May I ask why you hate chicken? Chicken hearts and gizzards run about $1 per lb at the grocery store and make great additions for kibble. Chicken livers too are cheap and nutrient dense- loads of iron, vit A, folate, Vit B12 and more (don't overfeed liver though)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for all of the info! :)

Oh, I didn't realize it sounded like that to be honest. (I wasn't upset or getting defensive either btw and if I came off that way I do apologize)

I did look at the other brands and compared to Merrick's backcountry I still like them more. To answer your question on the chicken, it made Marley sick last time she ate it. I gave her a food with chicken recipe and she was throwing up for days and this was a food she had been eating for quite some time (before I found Whole Earth Farms by Merrick) so now I just turn away from anything with chicken or turkey in it.

I have not fed her anything with grains I was always under the impression that wheat was bad for dogs however, I know Merrick's classic like includes grains but I'm not sure if the backcountry does or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,435 Posts
Hmm, if she had been eating a food with chicken and then happened to be sick, I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that chicken is the issue. I am not saying that you should rush to feed chicken, just that by excluding it --possibly for no reason-- you are excluding a lot of quite good foods. Lamb is expensive, foods with lamb are going to be both more expensive and have lower amounts of meat in them (and/or the meat will contain more bone which means more mineral content). Same with most other novel proteins. I'd suggest comparing the ash content of varying formulas. High ash content may be a problem for urinary and kidney function. Could be that the batch of food was bad or had molded or something else. I thought for a long time that my male dog couldn't eat pork because he had reacted to a very small amount of ham. Turns out he is fine with pork (and pork blood meal) in dog food, it was as best I can figure the salt content in the ham.

Dogs can digest grains to varying degrees, they are true omnivores. I originally thought that improvement in coat, stool etc was due to going grain-free. But, as least in the several dozen dogs that I have observed directly, the improvements are mainly based on protein content and fat content. 30/20 is a sweet spot for my dogs but each dog is an individual. Some of the foods my dogs do best on have grains-- Victor Nutro Pro, Sportmix Wholesomes chicken, Pro Pac, Inukshuk for example. Wheat /= grains. Grains can be barley, rice, brown rice, sorghum, oats, and more.

Even if you are committed to staying with Merrick overall, IMO it is a good idea to at least try 2-3 other brands. Reason is, if a brand ever has a shut-down or recall, it can be invaluable to know a backup food that your dog does well on. Even the best manufacturers can suffer something like a natural disaster or a kitchen fire and shut production for weeks or months.

Basically, I'm not trying to steer you away from Merrick nor towards any particular brand really. Just giving food for thought (er, no pun intended) that cost does not always equal quality and that there is more to food than star ratings.

Out of curiosity, why do you say that you still like Backcountry more than the formulas I mentioned? Reason being, if I know why you like Backcountry over those, it might help me suggest another food option that suits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
How can I tell the ash content in food? on the back of the label where the ingredients are listed I see nothing for ash. I can try chicken again and see how she does on just a small amount but until I see good results I'm going to be a bit skeptic of chicken. I was thinking about Wellness as a "backup" because of the whole Purina/Merrick thing but I'm not sure that has everything I want out of a dog food. I would love to experiment with it but isn't it unsafe to always change your dog's food? I thought it could flip their stomach or cause serious GI issues? (Which is also why I want to stay with Merrick because I don't want to keep switching) but the main thing about Merrick Backcountry I like is that it is infused with raw and it has deboned meat. I actually love that about Merrick and that is really what is keeping me with their company
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,435 Posts
How can I tell the ash content in food? on the back of the label where the ingredients are listed I see nothing for ash. I can try chicken again and see how she does on just a small amount but until I see good results I'm going to be a bit skeptic of chicken. I was thinking about Wellness as a "backup" because of the whole Purina/Merrick thing but I'm not sure that has everything I want out of a dog food. I would love to experiment with it but isn't it unsafe to always change your dog's food? I thought it could flip their stomach or cause serious GI issues? (Which is also why I want to stay with Merrick because I don't want to keep switching) but the main thing about Merrick Backcountry I like is that it is infused with raw and it has deboned meat. I actually love that about Merrick and that is really what is keeping me with their company
Ash content can sometimes be tricky to find. First, start with the website and look at the general analysis and the guaranteed analysis. One or both are likely to state the ash content. If not, start adding up the minerals. In general, the higher the calcium and phosphorus, the higher the ash is likely to be. Ash is all that which is non-burnable in a food, minerals are important but too high of percentage is both a sign of a lot of bone in the food and a potential issue for organs. I say potential because the science isn't totally clear at what level ash can be a burden on the organs. So, I figure to aim for 8% or less which is about as much of a consensus as I can find on what's good. 5-6% would be better but can be harder to find.

Wellness is a solid choice IMO.

Some dogs do have trouble handling food changes. Some have real allergies, some just have sensitive systems. Your dog might have a sensitive system and need time to change foods. You gradually replace new for the old-- 1/4 new to 3/4 old for a few days, 1/2 to 1/2 for a few days, 3/4 new for 1/4 old for a few days and then all new. I switch all my fosters cold-turkey. Most of them come eating either who knows what from the shelter or really low grade food with colors and sugars added etc. Never had a problem switching. That said, it is always possible it will be a digestive upset issue. Current foster arrived eating Pedigree puppy and had the most disgusting smelly soft poops the first two days. Second day here, I started him on the same food as my dogs and the next bowel movement was not smelly (well, not more than any poop is smelly) and firm.

Bloat-- there are a lot of variables with bloat and while its known that deep chested large breeds like Great Danes seem to be most at risk and there may be a link to fat being high in the diet and exercising too soon before and after meals, there isn't a lot of clear science based evidence for bloat risk. I have not heard at any point that changing foods in and of itself creates any additional bloat risk. Since it is a concern for you, I suggest diving into the research yourself so you can weigh the data for your own dog and your own needs.

Deboned meat is still meat with water weight. Ingredients are listed by weight. So a named meat meal will have a higher protein and be a better source of meat based protein ounce for ounce than deboned meat. Infused with raw is something of a gimmick IMO. It is still processed, it isn't raw and if you do want to feed raw it is a heck of a lot cheaper to just add raw meat to the dog's diet.

Here's the AAFCO guide to what is what on a label:
http://www.aafco.org/consumers/what-is-in-pet-food
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,412 Posts
Have you looked into Acana? They have several different lines, each with their own purpose/intended consumers with different price ranges, but all are great foods from a great company. They are the same people who make Orijen, which is my favorite kibble although it is expensive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for providing that link. It is very helpful. I like that I can buy a 30lb bag of wellness for 53.00 as a 22lb bag of Merrick Backcountry is 70.00 (I have coupons to take that down to 62.00 though) so switching/trying different foods isn't detrimental to a dog's overall health?
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top