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Oh friends, I have a really horrible dilemma on my hands! I have tried absolutely every single method of feeding my dogs - raw, canned, kibble, freeze dried, dehydrated....you name it, we've tried it!

Here's what I have discovered: as much as I would LOVE to feed my crew raw, at the moment, it's just not feasible. My husband refuses to even look at it and I am having some health problems and cannot guarantee that I will be home all the time to make sure they get fed. So, we have to settle with something you can just scoop into a bowl and go.

My big problem is, my dogs do NOT do well on any of the holistic, all natural, good brands of dog food. I've literally tried every one that has a small kibble available - Orijen is too big for my chi with bad teeth. They end up with diarrhea, itchy skin, tear stains, HUGE stinky poops, room clearing gas, allergic reactions....the list goes on. Most of the higher end foods, they won't even look at, let alone eat, even when starving is an option.....they would rather starve!

So, here are my options (and, please, I know these foods are all crap by most standards, I'm not looking to be bashed for having to choose something I'm not happy about, but, the dogs do better and actually eat the options I'm going to present):

1. Purina ProPlan Naturals or Small Breed
2. Royal Canin Mini or Special
3. Science Diet Toy and Small Breed or Healthy Fitness
4. Science Diet Ideal Balance

Please help me decide which I am going to choose for my little terrorists, who for some reason, do much better on these foods.:(:ponder::confused:
 

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I wouldn't get the Royal Canin, or Science Diet Toy and Small Breed.

The other three seem to have similar ingredients that look O.K.. I think the ProPlan, followed by Ideal Balance, might be the best of the bunch. The ProPlan seems to have less fillers and be getting the protein more from meat rather then plant sources.
 

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id go with purina proplan naturals seem to have such better ingredients then rest of proplan. though which do they do best on? if i remember right didnt they used to eat fromm?
 

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id go with purina proplan naturals seem to have such better ingredients then rest of proplan. though which do they do best on? if i remember right didnt they used to eat fromm?
They ate Fromm for about a second, then decided they hated it. Also, we had the same issues as all the other foods, with poops not being consistent and the gas....holy cow!

They have always done fairly well on ProPlan. Good consistent stools, no gas and Tucker doesn't eat poop (that was another problem on high end foods....Tucker would always go in for a snack)!
 

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They ate Fromm for about a second, then decided they hated it. Also, we had the same issues as all the other foods, with poops not being consistent and the gas....holy cow!

They have always done fairly well on ProPlan. Good consistent stools, no gas and Tucker doesn't eat poop (that was another problem on high end foods....Tucker would always go in for a snack)!
oh thats no good i thought they loved fromm well at least you have tried all the high quality ones and it doesnt seem you have a choice to go back to pro plan but the natural version looks best and id personally go for that if it agrees with them etc
 
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I have no experience with small dogs but I've been feeding Leia Royal Canins Giant line (puppy and junior) and have no shortage of good things to say about it. Good poop, good coat, enough nutrients to get her to 110lbs at 9 months without ever putting on an ounce of fat, pure lean growth.

Simba is also eating Royal Canin, their gastrointestinal food finally solved a lifetime of diarrhea with pretty much everything was we tried.

Obviously ymmv but I don't think RC is a poor quality food. Neither does any vet I know. That seems to be some internet rumor.
 

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@Esand, thank you for your personal feedback on Royal Canin. We have a permanent foster kitty that we are going to have to switch to the Digestive Care formula....she's a big puker! That's the one my vet recommended to try.

My vet has also recommended Royal Canin for the pups, but all the breeders and other anecdotal suggestions I've received suggest I try the Purina. It's so confusing and frustrating when you know none of the are what most people would consider "good food", but sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and feed what the dogs do best eating!

Thanks @crazy and @Rain for your input. I knew I could count of my DF friends to give me good advice!
 

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It's so confusing and frustrating when you know none of the are what most people would consider "good food",
Most people aren't that well informed to put it mildly. The people who recommend brands like royal canin and pro plan, in general tend to be vets, veterinary nutritionists, food scientists and breeders. The people who disparage those brands tend to be laymen on the internet who've read a few articles and made an intuitive deduction on what dogs should eat based observable phenomena. Sort of like flat earthers.
 

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Most people aren't that well informed to put it mildly. The people who recommend brands like royal canin and pro plan, in general tend to be vets, veterinary nutritionists, food scientists and breeders. The people who disparage those brands tend to be laymen on the internet who've read a few articles and made an intuitive deduction on what dogs should eat based observable phenomena. Sort of like flat earthers.
That is silly. My wife is a veterinarian and has spent nearly a decade studying canine nutrition. There are countless experts who would never recommend feeding royal canin or pro plan. The vast majority of veterinarians who recommend these brands are also selling these products. The vast majority of veterinarians also haven't been educated on this subject matter outside of information from Nestle & Mars representatives.

The pet food manufactures aren't using brewers rice because its good for your dog, their using it because it is cheaper then regular rice.

The pet food manufactures aren't using animal digest because its good for your dog, their using it to enhance the flavor of the product (I wonder why....)

They use ingredients like corn gluten meal to boost the protein content instead of using meat simply because its cheaper.

The list goes on and on. The fact is that products manufactured by Nestle and Mars typically made with lower quality ingredients than those manufactured by Champion Pet Foods or some of the smaller manufactures.

Now, there is nothing wrong with people feeding Mars & Nestle products if that is what they can afford or if these are the only products their dogs do well on.
 

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You kind of proved my point there. Is there any evidence that more expensive ingredients are better for dogs?

Royal Canin and Pro Plan are more expensive than Taste of the Wild and other loved brands, they also have the advantage of high volume so where does that money go.

According to a friend of mine who is a feed engineer for cargill (he works on livestock feed but he knows the pet food industry as well) a good part of that money goes to capital intensive research and development. Nutrition is a science and big business and he said they're constantly running studies on their feed and variations looking to improve on outcomes where as smaller companies often outsource analysis and rarely perform controlled experiments on their food once it's approved.

How is it that these brands that are so terrible are the ones with all the prescription diets that vets prescribe to sick dogs.

Your ideas about ingredients sound a bit like people saying why take these distilled pharmaceuticals when we could just consume the a natural herb that contains the active ingredient as well. You can but the fact that it comes as a plant doesn't make it more effective, it usually makes it less.

Here's some interesting reading from a few years back
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/pet-food-company-survey-20141/
 

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You kind of proved my point there. Is there any evidence that more expensive ingredients are better for dogs?

Royal Canin and Pro Plan are more expensive than Taste of the Wild and other loved brands, they also have the advantage of high volume so where does that money go.

According to a friend of mine who is a feed engineer for cargill (he works on livestock feed but he knows the pet food industry as well) a good part of that money goes to capital intensive research and development. Nutrition is a science and big business and he said they're constantly running studies on their feed and variations looking to improve on outcomes where as smaller companies often outsource analysis and rarely perform controlled experiments on their food once it's approved.

How is it that these brands that are so terrible are the ones with all the prescription diets that vets prescribe to sick dogs.

Your ideas about ingredients sound a bit like people saying why take these distilled pharmaceuticals when we could just consume the a natural herb that contains the active ingredient as well. You can but the fact that it comes as a plant doesn't make it more effective, it usually makes it less.

Here's some interesting reading from a few years back
http://www.dogforum.com/dog-food/pet-food-company-survey-20141/
Here's an example of why I do not trust my vet to advise me on what to feed my dog...

My dog has been having anal glad issues, not it just in the past 2 months became a real problem and my dog is 3 years old, instead of trying to figure out what may be triggering it (I think a combo of salmon and chicken), instead of advising me to increase the fiber in his diet by adding something like oat bran (which I'm doing), metamucil, pumpkin, or something like that, he told me to put my dog on Hill's Science Diet prescription W/D. Here's the ingredient list of the food:
Whole grain wheat, whole grain corn, powdered cellulose, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, whole grain sorghum, soybean mill run, chicken liver flavor, pork fat, soybean oil, pork liver flavor, lactic acid, caramel color, potassium chloride, choline chloride, l-lysine, vitamins (vitamin e supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin c), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin a supplement, vitamin b12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin d3 supplement), iodized salt, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, l-carnitine, calcium sulfate, dl-methionine, l-threonine, l-tryptophan, mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene

My dog is not diabetic, my dog is not extremely obese, my dog is not elderly, yet I'm told to feed him a food that is basically loaded with stuff his body will not utilize, and will just pass right through him because the food is high in fiber. To make matters worse my vet never even bothered to ask me what I was currently feeding my dog, or if he had any food sensitivities. When I told him my dog does not do well on chicken, do they have a variety with a different protein I was told to feed it anyway and see what happens:mad: I tried transitioning onto it for 2 days, and had the expected result happen, soft stool, so I very happily have discontinued it.
 
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very well said @Rain and totally agree with you!
 

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Unfortunately studies are rarely empirical because the companies doing the studies are usually funded by the diet that is being used in the study - so the findings are usually skewed. You also have to take into account that dogs are individuals so studying nutrition as a whole is difficult. Add in that fact that pet food is a relatively new way of feeding pets, so no one can truly determine which diet is best. What they can determine is dog a) thrives on diet 1 and dog b) thrives on diet 2.

Feed what your dog will eat, because at the end of the day your not going to have a healthy pet if they refuse to eat the food you provide - regardless if it's the best of the best, mediocre, or "junk".

Also all that said, I agree that RC gets a bad rap, hills I'm still not such a fan of. RC is definitely made of a better quality than other foods you can find out there. Their testing policies are stringent, starting from where they source their foods, far more than even some "high" quality foods (such as Diamond). In fact if the sourced food isn't of acceptable quality it doesn't even make it near the factory. That being said I think they need to be a lot more transparent about where they source those ingredients and consider trying to make considerations regarding a few of their ingredient choices, but they do have a lot of science to back up their foods.
 
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