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Old 07-27-2009, 12:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Why you may really be able to afford feeding better.

This may be a long read, but I hope it is worth it when you are done.


Well there sure are a lot of questions about feeding and what foods to feed on this forum. I have had personal experiences shopping around with a bunch of different brands. And for fewer dog households, I really think that feeding a better food equals out pretty evenly. Now I am no expert, but I've done some reading, and like I said personal experience over the last 2 1/2 years of shopping around. I've fed quite a few different variates of Diamond foods, from regular Diamond up to some brands you may not have known are made by diamond. Such as, chicken soup (for the dog lovers soul) Premium Edge, and Taste of the Wild. I've also fed some Purina brands, and Innova brands. While I did not care at all for the lower end Diamond named products, I have had good to excellent results on their higher end brands. Think "Toyota to Lexus"

First you should consider and ask yourself these questions.

1. What am I paying for my current food, and how big of a bag, and how many cups a day does my dog eat total?

2. What is my dogs age and current weight? Does my dog need to lose, gain or is s/he at a healthy weight?

3. Does my dog have food allergies?

4. Is my dogs coat healthy and shiny on her current food?

5. Is my dog having a lot of bowel movements in large amounts? It may seem gross to some but I do examine my dogs (visually!) lol everytime to check for color and consistency changes.

6. Does my dog require any special joint care formula dog foods?


I hope to touch on all of these through my personal story below.

I avoided feeding a better food for a long time. Because of the initial sticker shock. As in when I was feeding Premium Edge at 24.00 a bag for an 18lb bag. It went up to over 26.00 a bag. But I kept feeding it, and kept looking at Innova with initial sticker shock at $30.00 for an 15lb bag bewildered why would I pay 4 to 6 more dollars for a few lbs less??

What I didn't realize was I could totally equal out that few extra dollars and make the bag last just as long, if not go a few more days on it!

So Helena had been eating 2 cups a day, one cup twice daily of Premium Edge. Which was about the same as she was eating previously on Chicken Soup and Purina One ( I'm leaving these two out because she wasn't on them long)

So the 18lb bag of Premium Edge was lasting me about 3 weeks, I spent about 26 dollars for almost a month of feeding. And I was feeding the "skin and coat" formula.

I decided to try the Innova since it was only a few more dollars and I realized I could reduce my feeding to a only 1 1/2 cups a day at to even 1 full cup a day if I really needed to stretch the food. And this 15lb bag for a few more bucks lasted just a long! I started noticing a way better coat than the "skin and coat" formula offered, and this was plain adult Innova food no frills or special advertising on the package. No special formula. Her poop got smaller and firmer, she only goes twice a day. She lost a good 3 to 5lbs and gained better muscle form and this was without conditioning, not a huge difference but noticeable to us.

I moved up the ladder to EVO and fed the small bites, and saved a few bucks that way as well. The EVO went just as far. And it was only 13lbs but I was spending over 30 dollars at this point. But man did she really gain muscle tone! Drop weight and "tuck up" I took her off this food because it was very high in protein and I figured out that a dog that is not doing much doesn't need to be on such a high protein diet. I was feeding her it because I thought more protein would give us even better results.

We finally leveled out to Taste of the Wild. Thanks to some advice from friends. TOTW is an all stages food so I made this switch when my puppy Onyx came into the household. I bought a 5lb bag for around 11.00 after taxes. This lasted us a week! For a growing puppy eating about 2 cups a day and my adult dog eating around 1 1/2 cups. So that is nearly 4 cups a day. That would mean I would be paying a little less than 30 dollars for 15.lbs for 3 weeks. For a puppy and an adult. And I'll be feeding less when my pup grows into an adult! But when I went to a local feed store I found the exact same 15 lb bag (the pacific stream with salmon type) for only 21.00! It pays to check out feed stores instead of only dog/cat pet stores. My pup looks great and so does Helena. Even the vet said Helena was very healthy and her coat was beautiful (pretty good for a demodedic mange pup)

When feeding brands such as Dog Chow and regular Diamond I was feeding more and Helena grew to a whopping 50lbs! Just adding that extra 5lbs made her a fat dog. And this was about 12 dollars for 20lbs lasting me less than 2 weeks. Think if I was buying puppy and adult dog food??


As far as special formula's regarding age, weight, dog size, and health. There sure are a lot of variables right? Wrong! If your dog food is balanced and you do some ingredient research you will find that most of these are just a marketing ploy to charge more for different types.

Age, well that was fixed with the all stages TOTW.

Weight? Does your dog need to go on a diet? Don't spend more for the "diet" foods. Once again, switch to a higher quality food, feed less and examine your dogs progress over a few weeks. And adjust the amount accordingly. I don't worry about how much the bag tells me to feed. I feed the same 1 1/2 cups no matter the food and my dog has never gotten skinny, just fatter (on low quality foods) And this was without adjusting the amounts.

Size? If the ingredients are as complete as they say they are than your dogs size should not matter in selecting an all stages dog food. Again I believe this is a marketing ploy to charge more for "large" breed dogs. Which "apbt's" are not large breeds.

And are you feeding a special "skin and coat" or "senior" diet for joint health? Well I found in feeding salmon I got the best skin and coat and joint results without feeding a special formula. Generally I found that when a food advertises glucosomine and other joint supplements in the food, this is another ploy. Because the amount is far far less in the food than a dog actually needs for daily maintenance. Helena needs around 1250 maintenance does normally of glucosamine, as an added supplement. The food she was eating from Premium Edge boasting about glucosomine actually had a scarce amount compared to this. And not enough to make a difference. The salmon has the omega 3's and 6's to really improve the coat and also help with joint care.

And visually examine your dogs bowel movement to check for colar and consistency. I noticed on better foods Helena's were smaller and darker. Compared to larger and yellow colored on cheap grocery store brands. This means she was getting less nutrients and it was going through her system. To make her just feel "full"

As far as allergies go, I recommend feeding a food that is non beef and no grains.

But remember, I learned all of this from asking questions from experienced dog people online and offline, just google and reading about ingredients and of course trial and error results. Which the latter are your best advice.

Well I hope this helps! And I think I got most of the bases covered. But I might add more later. And if you have a question feel free to ask and I hope I can answer and if I can't there are more experienced here who can.
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good post Megan.

How did the Innova adult compare to the TOTW you are using now?
Are you getting a better price on the TOTW and that is why you use it over the Innova adult?
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Actually they are pretty equal, but I am getting a better price with TOTW. I also emailed Innova about an all stages food. And they told me that their regular green bag Innova adult could be used on puppies as well. But never feed Evo to a puppy!
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cool. We have a feed store near here as well and like you found out there the prices are a lot better than the pet food stores.

Have a good day my friend.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I pay $44 for TOTW Pacific Stream 30 lbs from a shop by my mom's house in Delaware. So I have no sales tax. The store also has a program of buy 10, get 1 free. We save a lot that way. I feed 3 dogs for about 2 weeks on a bag, but we spend a lot of time at my mom's and her dog eats it while we are there too. so I guess it's kind of 3.5 dogs lol. You would think my pug doesn't eat that much, but she will eat over 1 cup some days, as she is very active, running around with Lady is 2x as much work for her little legs lol.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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very good read ...i learned a few things
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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BTW TOTW has recently changed their formula. Many people I know have had problems. Some have dogs who won't eat it at all, some are picky, and mine seem fine. However, each of my dogs had a vomiting incident last week, and we just got a new bag. No repeats yet, but I am keeping an eye out. The kibbles are visibly different, much smaller than they used to be. Has anyone else had problems recently? I hate when they change the formula, I would even pay a few bucks more to keep it the same!!!
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info floorcandy, I just started feeding it about a month ago. So if the changes were made before that then I guess my dog is eating the new formula. Your dogs may have gotten upset tummies simply due to the food change.

I guess prices are different. Because at the pet store here that I usually buy food at the price is the same. And at the feed store the 30lb bag is only like 35 bucks. Good to know that it lasts your 3 two weeks. A lot of people go through a 50lb bag of Purina with 3 dogs for less than that!

Really though if it weren't for all the wonderful people online, I wouldn't have even known about all the different brands. There was a time when I thought Science Diet and Eukanuba were the best foods you could by! And the first ingredient in science diet is corn! It's total crap. The vets must make a killing off the stuff. My vet had never heard of Taste of the Wild! I told him it was way better than SD. He said "well never heard of it but looks like it's doing great"

And t1dirty, glad I helped you out.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloorCandy View Post
BTW TOTW has recently changed their formula. Many people I know have had problems. Some have dogs who won't eat it at all, some are picky, and mine seem fine. However, each of my dogs had a vomiting incident last week, and we just got a new bag. No repeats yet, but I am keeping an eye out. The kibbles are visibly different, much smaller than they used to be. Has anyone else had problems recently? I hate when they change the formula, I would even pay a few bucks more to keep it the same!!!
That might explain why Brutus has been eating less. Some days we have to convince him to eat. I might have to look into that. I really don't want to go on a brand hunt again and we are not making enough to justify making the step towards feeding Orijen. It's been really hot here so hopefully it's just the weather that is making him lose his appetite.

As for the OP, I want to ask you why you are purchasing the smaller bags instead of the larger? With TOTW we get a 30lb bag for about $47 (including sales tax). If you're paying $11 for a 5 lb bag, multiply that by about 6 and you are paying $66 for what you can get for about $45. Perhaps you were just using the smaller bags as an example? Not sure, just thought I would point out that you save even more money by buying in larger quantities.

Great post btw.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We buy the 15lb bag that lasts about 3 weeks, we get the 5lb bag usually between paychecks.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Great post. Very informative.

My question is what do I do to make Bella gain a few pounds?

She is eating Innova. Her coat is nice and shiny. She loves the food. But she looks a little on the skinny side. Her ribs are almost showing. I tried to take a picture of it but in the picture, you cant really notice it.

I was originally feeding her two cups a day but then I began feeding her 2 1/2 to see if she would gain some weight which she didnt. All she did was poop 3-4 times a day, which I do understand any more than twice a day and they are eating too much.

Should I change her kibble to something different? If so, any suggestions? Add wet food? Any info would help.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitlover0718 View Post
Great post. Very informative.

My question is what do I do to make Bella gain a few pounds?

She is eating Innova. Her coat is nice and shiny. She loves the food. But she looks a little on the skinny side. Her ribs are almost showing. I tried to take a picture of it but in the picture, you cant really notice it.

I was originally feeding her two cups a day but then I began feeding her 2 1/2 to see if she would gain some weight which she didnt. All she did was poop 3-4 times a day, which I do understand any more than twice a day and they are eating too much.

Should I change her kibble to something different? If so, any suggestions? Add wet food? Any info would help.
Ideally you should be able to feel the ribs and not see them. Your pup probably has a high metabolism. I have never heard that more than 3 poos means the dog is overweight, I would worry about the size of the poo. My Pit and EB poop about 2x a day, huge poos, my pug poops way more often, but it's 1 little log at a time, I free feed, and it seems the pug will often grab a few bites very often, but the big dogs are more likely to eat a bunch one or 2 times a day. If the dog eats more often, it will poop more often. My pug seesaws from skinny to just right, depending on the weather, if we have a long string of rain, she hates to go out, and gets much less exercise, but she is still what I consider thin for a pug.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:24 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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I didnt mean if they poop more than twice a day that they are overweight. I meant that they are eating too much a day. Im pretty sure I read that on this forum. I could be mistaken though

I have been feeding her 2 1/2 cups daily for about two or three weeks and she hasnt gained any weight. I feed her twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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i was just wondering, to the OP, how you decided that 1 1/2 cups a day was the right amount for your dog? i have a hard time deciding how much i think is appropriate for my pups, since i know the amount on the bag isn't always correct.
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Old 07-29-2009, 04:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Well I believe the 1 1/2 cups was pretty close to the estimate on the EVO bag of food. TOTW would have me feeding her like 2 1/2 cups a day, which would quickly make her overweight! So I stuck with the same amount and have the same results. I figured I would since both foods are very similar in ingredients, minus the types of meats used. When money was tight and I was feeding Purina dog chow, I upped her to 2 cups a day and she became hefty. I thought the less quality of the food I would have to feed more. But all it did was make her overweight. She LOOKED bigger and more impressive, lol but I knew it was all fat and not muscle. So I scaled back to the normal ration, she didn't slim back down til she got on TOTW. And since she's been on crate rest for nearly a month shes only getting 1 cup a day now, because she was packing on some pounds again. Poor spayed girls! lol

But I don't know your dogs activity level and particular needs. I would just get an idea from what the bag says and see how your dog looks after 2 weeks. Then scale back half a cup or add half a cup... or of course keep it the same if you are happy with the results.

Helena isn't the most active pooch so she generally does pretty well on less food. But now I know why so many dogs are overweight, generally they are eating low quality food and eating way too much. My boyfriends mom feeds her dog cheapo food and gives him a coffee can a day! The poor dog is old and pretty good sized and so overweight. We tried to politely give her some tips, but she thinks she is spoiling him. I tried different things.. like explaining bloat.. but that didn't seem to work either. But she has a pit bull mixed pup now so I hope she doesn't over feed him too. I've heard bloat can be common in our dogs.

I wish I had some advice to offer on the underweight dog. But if the ribs can be felt under a thin layer and the dog has a nice tuck and a visible waist she is probably alright. And I'm sure you covered the bases on parasite control.
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