For many families, dogs are their family members just as much as their fellow humans. For our family, we are all pack members. There is a pack leader of course. As humans we eat food that pleases our tastes. Healthiness is just as important, although not always considered. For dogs, in the past I had fallen victim of searching for the cheapest deal on dog food. I know of many people who do the same thing.
Years ago we had a Alaskan Malamute that was allergic to many different foods. We visited the veterinarian numerous times in the first few months because he had blood in his stool. We tested him for giardia, coccidiosis, worms, and on and on thinking that was the root of the problem. Many hours were spent driving to specialists to solve this riddle. We spent thousands of dollars on vet bills to come with no conclusion. We had chosen a more expensive dog food at the recommendation of the vet. However after we realized nothing was fixing the blood, we opted for a cheap dog food. The blood went away. I thought it was a coincidence, as I was told it wasn’t the food. We changed back to a higher quality food, and once again the blood returned. We switched back to the cheap stuff, and it went away.
So why do I mention this? In our case the higher quality food was causing allergies. The cheap stuff was not. Our dog faired better with the cheap stuff. However, in most cases it’s the other way around. I spent thousands of dollars on vet bills to discover it was just an allergy. So first and foremost allergies should be considered when buying dog food.
For my golden retrievers though they don’t have the allergies that my malamute had. I still feel it is better to feed them a higher quality food because it can help prevent other diseases. Certain foods may be too high in calcium, to high in fat, and or protein. Some may just have too many fillers such as grains. Many of the cheaper foods require twice as much in serving sizes. All things should be taken into account.
If I spend a hundred or so dollars extra a year, I may help prevent something like hip dysplasia. I could spend thousands in vet bills to treat dysplasia. I’m not saying that the food may or may not prevent it, but there are things that can have an effect on many different illnesses. Who knows, maybe I’ll limit my chances of cancer. However, not everyone can spent $80 on a bad a dog food. I am no different. So I set out to find a food that was the middle of the road.
Taste of the Wild
Recently I’ve been using Taste of the Wild as my main food in our food rotation. It’s made by Diamond Dog food. Many people have problems with Diamond, but Taste of the Wild continues to get great reviews, and scores very high in quality. It’s a grain free dog food. I like that it contains venison and bison as a meat. It’s kind of returning dogs to their grass roots of when they were wild. Hence the name. Bags are around $45 for 30lbs. It is more money, but some companies online will ship it for free, and have no tax. I do get it from a local feed store for $41.50. Which breaks it down to the same price as Whole Earth Farms who are cheaper, technically less per serving. With this brand I have seen our goldens flatulence decrease. Also, my dogs eye drainage has stopped. I was going to take them to a vet to get that treated, but I don’t have to now. I’m assuming that they may have been allergic to the variety of fish in Whole Earth Farms or the grain.
Canidae Grain Free Pure
Part of my food rotation is the Canidae Grain Free Pure line. They have multiple varieties that I use. They are more expensive at around $59 for a 24 lb bag. You can find it at a local feed store. I get mine between $45-$50. It is more expensive, but I like to rotate foods and they like this variety a lot. The first ingredients in all their foods are a meat, and not a meat by product. That is something I think is important.
Whole Earth Farms
Petco (and now others) just started offering a new brand of food. It’s name is called Whole Earth Farms Dog food. A bag of 30lbs of food is around $40.00. That’s more expensive than a cheap $20 of food, but a lot higher quality food and a smaller serving size. Whole Earth Farms is made by Merrick Dog Food. Merrick has a lot more expensive dog foods out there, but this line is a bit cheaper. Partly because the first ingredient is a meat by product. Whole earth also carries a grain free food. They are smaller bags, and I have yet to try them. The one problem I had, is that my dogs continued to have flatulence with this food. Having more than one dog, the room can stink up in minutes. So I sought to look at other dog brands. I’d personally try this brand to see if it works though. It’s a nice price point, and Petco can’t keep it on the shelf. So it is obviously working for some dogs.
I also looked into Earthborn Holistic dog food. Specifically the Great Plains variety. This dog food is a grain free dog food. It is also made from bison. Bags cost around $50 for a 30 lb bag. This one also consistently gets high scores and good reviews. However, I don’t see as many reviews for this one, nor do as many stores carry it.
I will keep looking for other brands. From my research though, most other brands that rank high such as 5 stars out of 5 from dogfoodadvisor.com cost around $59.99 and up for 25-30lb bags. Many cost upwards of $80. Let me know if you find any foods that you like, and why. Any person coming here in the future might find it educational.
I am not trying to offer medical advice, or say which way to choose your food. I am just offering price points that I have found effective. Personally I want something healthy for my dogs, but not something that will empty my bank account. Also, I want the puppies that are part of our pack to start up growing healthy. Since I do have a large breed dog I feel it essential to limit the growth of our dogs at too of an excessive rate. Studies have shown that if a dog grows too fast, they are more prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Many puppy foods are created to bulk up a dog fast. Which is why I stay using adult foods for our puppies. That’s just a side note, and I would consult your veterinarian that you trust.