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Which dog food? So many conflicting opinions (any vets on here?)

(37 Posts)
DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 15:01:14

I am having my head filled with so many conflicting opinions - I could understand if people were quibbling about which particular type of kibble or something, but the views are diametrically opposed.

Dog trainer says feed raw, nothing else will do really, but if you have to, feel pouches of meat and a tiny bit of veg. This is how they eat in the wild.

Pet shops says feed 80:20 (80% protein) - Canagan in particular. This is how they eat in the wild etc etc.

Vet and vet nurse says too much protein = overgrowth of bones and could mean hyper dog. Too much protein is not necessary and can upset stomachs. Go for 40% or below for puppy or 30% ish or below for a dog. They also say that what they have read suggests the gains of feeding raw don't really balance the risks (esp with children in the house - raw food on dogs' mouths etc).

Kennel Club website seems to suggest over development of bones from too much protein has been disproved.


The trainer and pet shop say vets only do 3 weeks on nutrition in 7 year of vet training.

Personally, I'd rather trust the three weeks of training, in highly intelligent people with a good background of physiology and biochemistry than however much training a dog food sales man gets to oversell something with high protein to bump up the profit margin.

Am I right to think lower protein is the way to go?

DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 15:02:43

Oh yes, and the website seems to rate the higher protein diets higher, but I am not sure who is doing the rating.

DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 15:03:24

*sales person, rather

Floralnomad Thu 14-Jan-16 15:08:09

I think it's just a case of finding something that suits you and the dog and then sticking to it . My dog cannot have chicken ( terrible wind) and can't have a raw diet due to a medical condition and teeth problems . He loves wet food but unfortunately that also makes him windy so he is on Millies Wolfheart kibble ( a fish based one) , he eats it , it gets good reviews ,he's healthy ,doesn't have wind and his poo is ok .

CaptainKit Thu 14-Jan-16 15:10:41

Depends on the dog. I've found my lurcher is doing much better on a mid-range food than he was on the stupidly expensive stuff.

Otherwise; I would say go with the best you can afford, but be prepared for it to take a while to get dog settled after a diet change.

FWIW mine are fed dry kibble, sometimes with a squirt of salmon oil. They get a dentastix as a treat each evening, and the occasional small rawhide chew or a raw carrot/apple. Both are healthy and active. I would love to feed raw, but don't have the confidence that I would be feeding the right balance. With the dry (Harringtons) I can get it in my weekly shop, and I know it's a suitable complete diet.

I opted for a grain-free food; I think it's rice-based. Have a look at the ingredients list and compare a few different brands at differing price points to try to see what is 'better' or more expensive.

BrumpyGollocks Thu 14-Jan-16 15:13:27

I feed a combination of RAW & Millie's Wolfheart Turkey&veg.

I did a lot of my own research when one of my young dogs became sick with an unknown illness and then died quiet quickly ,I was very shocked at what some of the leading brands add into Dog food.

I also think that what suits one dog might not suit another.

pigsDOfly Thu 14-Jan-16 17:23:54

Yeah, it's a mine field.

My dog was doing very well on a high protein good quality wet food but she's now decided that she'd rather starve than eat another mouthful of the stuff, so I'm back to looking for something suitable that she will actually eat but I don't want to keep on chopping and changing foods; that way pickiness lies.

I'm also wondering about the level of protein, although I think a higher level suits her.

I've been thinking of changing to dry food but all the kibbles I've looked at seem to be full of fillers and sugars.

My vet recommended a good quality dry food but I can't find it locally and online it seems to sell in huge bags that cost around £60; obviously, I'm not going to risk spending that sort of money only to find she won't eat that either. Also, given that she's a small dog with a small appetite, the bag would last forever.

I feel your pain and confusion DogStuff

Greyhorses Thu 14-Jan-16 19:43:21

Personally, as a vet nurse I would not feed my dogs raw. I have seen it go wrong too many times by people who have no clue what they are doing. I won't go into individual cases but put it this way, in a practice with over 100 wel qualified vets and nurses who see animals day in and day out, not one of us feeds our own pets a raw diet. I feed mine a good quality dry food as I don't think I could give them what they need with raw and couldnt be bothered with the hassle that comes with it.

I don't have any issue with people feeding raw as long as research is done and people are making an informed decision but often people aren't aware of the pitfalls and are effectively brainwashed into thinking there is no other option which isn't true.

It is also not true that vets get 3 weeks nutritional training. Most vets and nurses are very clued up on nutrition and do way more than 3 weeks plus extra courses on top.

I also must admit that we do roll our eyes at the dogs are wolves argument, ive never seen a wolf that looks like a pug or bulldog in my life wink

ditavonteesed Thu 14-Jan-16 19:47:13

I am not an expert but did a lot of reading a few years ago, I fed my dogs raw for a while but the hassle of making sure I got it right was too much. They now have either barking heads or skinner field and trial, I avoid grains and go for high protien. I have a border terrier and a cocker spaniel, both very healthy good weight lovely coats etc.

MrsPnut Thu 14-Jan-16 19:52:41

We had a very fussy dog, she would eat wet food but nothing else until we switched to pooch and mutt. She loved it and we alternated between the digestion and wind one and the calm and relaxed one. It comes in 1kg bags from waitrose but it also comes in 10kg sacks from them directly.

WeAllHaveWings Thu 14-Jan-16 20:51:33

Raw is difficult for a lot of people.

Find a good quality grain free kibble in a quantity that keeps your dog lean with good output, no smelly wind, and skn/coat in good condition. We also feed Millues Wolfheart.

Stick to natuaral chews and treats (dried tripe, ears, lamb skin, dried 100% venison sausages etc etc) and avoid dentstix (and basically all the other big supernarket brand treats from pedigree, bakers etc) and especially avoid rawhide as its full of very scary chemicals (Google for more info) .

Only feed human food leftovers suitable for dogs like meat, some veg, a little cheese.

tinkywinkyshandbag Thu 14-Jan-16 21:24:39

Those who feed Millie's Wolfheart what mix do you use and do you find it expensive? Is it crunchy like kibble or more meaty? I have a lurcher puppy, I am drawn to raw feeding but it does like an awful lot of hassle and lurchers are supposed to do better on a lower protein diet (she won't eat dry kibble unless I mix it with something like sardines, and it does look quite unappetising).

DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 21:32:08

Thank you everyone smile

Greyhorses what is your view on the amount of protein they should have? What percent if they are on kibble. What kibble do you use?

I also get a bit hmm at the wolves argument - it was a fair while ago now that all dogs by wolves, and by that argument, we should just eat meat and berries!

Cheerfulmarybrown Thu 14-Jan-16 21:46:54

Raw feeding is just not difficult to do. As humans we manage to fed ourselves without eating a totally processed manufactured diet and dogs diet is even easier!

If you can't be arsed to work it out yourself then feed a complete raw like nutriment. Any problems with raw feeding are alleviated. It also takes away the worry people have of feeding bones.

In my vet practice 11 vets and 24 vet nurses who own dogs they all fed raw bare one vet. So the argument of raw versus kibble is not either or with vets either.

Dogstuff it is not just the protein you need to consider but the carb protein mix in kibble. Kibble may start out with good ingredients (in some of the food) but by its very nature it is over cooked, over processed and has to have artificial vitamins added to it if it is to attempt to be nutritious.

Do a lot of research and do be happy with the decision you make - It is an important decision.

DogStuff Thu 14-Jan-16 21:54:56

But how and where do I do the research cheerful? What can I trust as being independent and where can I find academic studies?

WeAllHaveWings Thu 14-Jan-16 22:27:04

tinky our lab gets 75% countryside with 25% salmon. Too much salmon gives him smelly wind, but a little keeps the white skin flecks out if his black coat.

The Millie's site has a chart showing which foods suit which exercise levels as some are more suitable for very active dogs.

SweetLathyrus Thu 14-Jan-16 23:11:25

I can only give you my own experience, my pup (a working cocker) started on a specifically formulated organic turkey and rice kibble puppy food. He had the most rancid wind - turns out he can tolerate anything except rice. I switched him to Canagan because it's what I feed the cat. It suited his digestive system, but he didn't enjoy it and had to be coaxed to eat. I changed to Millie's and we have not looked back; he loves it, his coat is outrageously glossy, and I found it cheaper than Canagan. I use a range of mixes in rotation, and supplement with sardines, chicken And cheese as training treats, and banana, carrot, cucumber and cauliflower as crunchy treats. But I would second avoiding dentistix and raw hide.

It is a huge worry and responsibility, but all dogs are different, so there is no 'right' answer, though some answers might be better than others!

Dieu Thu 14-Jan-16 23:18:57

Another Millie's fan here. No wind, healthy dog, nice firm poo (which is definitely ideal when you have a longhaired fluffball).

Welliesandwings Thu 14-Jan-16 23:30:32

Yet another Millies user. I changed our Golden Retriever over to it from Royal Canin and she loves it. The amount of Millies she needs is more than 1/2 that of Royal Canin, no wind, poos are less smelly and nice and firm, so win win. They do varying sizes of the mixes which allows you to try them before committing to a bigger bag, always useful if you have a fussy dog.

Welliesandwings Thu 14-Jan-16 23:33:27

Tinky, she's on the Riverside Mix (salmon) and it's not dry and crunchy, nor is it soft, more somewhere between the two.

Dieu Fri 15-Jan-16 10:00:38

Their customer information helpline is very helpful, and they would be able to advise on which of the kibbles would best suit your dog.

DragonmotherKhaleesi Fri 15-Jan-16 10:27:42

I use country kibble grain free dry. It's a reasonable price (£30 for 12kg) scores 4.1 on the allaboutdogfood site.
I've used canagan, millies, Eden and fed nutriment raw but sadly a drop in income forced a change.
He's doing as well on this as any of the other foods.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 15-Jan-16 10:30:41

We use Millie's too. Monty our lab loves it. He's lean and shiny and healthy and seems to be doing well on it. We usually go for turkey & veg, salmon, hunter or countryside. Some of the bigger bags work out cheaper in the long run. You can buy little bags for a couple of quid to try. They're very easy to order online, they email you to let you know when it's coming and you get a one hour delivery window on the day. The website gives quite a good list with ratings and ingredients.

hennipenni Fri 15-Jan-16 13:39:10

At the end of the day it's your own choice to feed what suits your dog and your pocket.
My own dog was fed in a good quality fish based grain free kibble as on all previous kibbles he used to scratch himself until he was sore.
I eventually after a lot of research and thought put him into a diy raw diet as even on the good quality kibble he seemed to lack something about himself. Once in raw he got his mojo back, no further scratching and looks healthy and well and has even lost some weight as an added bonus.

It really is about finding out what suits you and your dog at the end of the day.

tinkywinkyshandbag Sat 16-Jan-16 15:12:41

Thanks wellies, I'll send off for some samples.

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