(Closed) Dog food recommendations?

posted 8 years ago in Pets
Post # 4
2237 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@bridget_124: it depends on what your budget is.  You are right in that puppy chow is not a high quality food.  Also, you probably shouldn’t have been feeding puppy food for that long; they should be off puppy chow by the time they’re a year old, if not sooner.

I feed my dogs Blue Buffalo.  This has been a great food for our dogs, but it is pretty pricey.

If you are on a budget here’s what I recommend. 

  1. Meat should be the first ingredient.  Not meat by products, not meat meal…real meat.
  2. Corn is BAD.  Corn digests as a simple sugar for dogs.  It is nothing more then a filler.  Try to stay away from corn.
  3. Try to get a food that is made in the US.  Other countries have little to no restrictions to what happens in plants that produce dog foods.  Which is why there tend to be a lot of dog food recalls.  In the US they are regulated.  If this isn’t possible on your budget keep a CLOSE eye on dog food recalls.
  4. So, go into a pet store (not the grocery store, not Walmart) and go to the dog food section.  Find a few foods that are within your budget and compare the ingredients.  Just like with human food, dog food labels have the ingredients listed in order of how much there is.  You want meat to be the first ingredient.  You want fillers (corn, wheat, etc.) to be as far down as possible on the list.  Get the best food you can afford based off of the ingredient list.

Also remember you can’t switch a dog “cold turkey” from one food to another.  You have to slowly switch them over by mixing the foods together or else it will upset their stomach.  And I would recommend buying a smaller bag at first in case they don’t like the new food.

Good luck and if you have more questions (about specific brands) feel free to ask.  I’ve done a lot of research on the subject!

Post # 5
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

a lot of common, popular brands of dog food are actually pretty poor quality. purina, pedigree, eukanuba for example are are low quality foods. grain free kibble is great, dogs dont need grains and that is where “dog smell” comes from. ever wonder why some dogs smell like corn chips? its because they have a high amount of corn in their dog food. grain free can run pretty high, but some good quality kibble at reasonable prices (some are grain free, some are not) are taste of the wild, chicken soup for the dog lovers soul, diamond naturals, and blue buffalo are all good choices.

hth 🙂

Post # 6
5822 posts
Bee Keeper

Also avoid any foods with color in them (Beneful).  Dyes are intended only to entice HUMANS to buy the food, but they actually give your dog a hangover.

We feed Blue Buffalo exclusively.  We figure we’re actually saving money on vet bills since we don’t have to deal with digestive issues.

Our dog’s littermate was fed Science Diet, and the difference between them was huge.  While our dog has a good thick shiny coat, his littermate was constantly shedding and generally looked poor in condition.

I’m a huge BB fan especially because we have been repeatedly complimented by our vets on our pets’ teeth, coat, and general health.

Our Petsmart trainer recommended we not feed our dog anything with corn, wheat, soy, or animal byproducts in it.  There are like only two dog foods that meet those requirements.  Surprisingly some of the worst offenders are the higher priced specialty foods (Science Diet, Purina, etc).

Post # 7
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I did some research when I first got my dog and decided on Canidae. Its primary ingredients are meat and it has a lot less filler than grocery store dog food. It can be a little hard to find and it is more expensive, but it seems to keep my pup super healthy!

Post # 8
2111 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

We use Nutro for our puppy. It’s a natural brand and decently priced. You can get it at Pet Smart (here at least).

When we got her from the breeder, they were feeding her Pedigree and it was horrible stuff! She was always so thirsty and had bad gas. I went to our local mom & pop pet store and they recommended Nutro.

Right now if you sign up for their new rewards program, they’ll mail you a $10 off your next bag of dog food coupon. I just got mine in the mail yesterday.


Our’s is on the Small Bites Puppy right now as she’s only 8 months old (Puggle).


Post # 9
375 posts
Helper bee

Ahh yes Beneful was terrible! I bought it one time and I’ve never seen my dog poop as much as he did on Beneful. I think that tells you what a bad brand that is, all filler.

Post # 10
1892 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We feed ours Innova by Natura and I love the stuff. We used to feed it to my diabetic dog and now give it to our two furbabies. It’s expensive since it’s top of the line but they are part of the buy 18 get 1 free program which helps (just check to make sure your supplier has the program. Some other dog food brands also have this offer). 

It’s holistic, all natural, protein 1st, no animal by-products, corn and soy free, hasn’t had recalls and every ingredient is something I would put in my own body.

We tried to feed our pups Blue Buffalo because it’s a good food that’s cheaper, but they had trouble digesting it and real loose stools (sorry TMI). You should test any new brand and introduce slowly. What works for one dog might not work for another so keep that in mind when shopping. Do your research and good luck!

Post # 11
2829 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We feed our lab Orijen.

It’s hella expensive. Failing that (if it’s not in stock @ the local pet store) we go Blue Buffalo.

Our vets were surprised when we said our lab actually had solid stools, apparently lab digestion is a horror show, and often quite messy on the exit.

Iams is actually on the nasty foods list, and is the reason we switched vets (our first vet’s clinic was sponsored by Iams and he actually tried to tell us that ‘fancy foods’ aren’t any better than other cheaper foods, yeah right!), our new vet is actually more of a ‘farm’ vet who is pro-raw feeding so I am definitely more happy working with someone reasonable/informed.

We’ve been completemented on our girl’s coat, lack of doggy stink, and growth rate by tons of people.

You should google dog food ratings and look for a site that breaks them down in 6-1 star categories and read about their ingredient make-ups (first ingredient should always be meat & corn is no bueno) and then compare the costs to your budget.

Orijen is 65$ direct from the manufacturer, but we pay between 71 & 80$ depending on store mark-up per bag (those are the biggest bags). So it definitely adds up.

Post # 12
713 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

We feed our Eagle Pack – Holistic Select. They love it and its super healthy! When I compare our dogs to other of the same breed… our dogs have much nicer coats.

Post # 13
2111 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@PrairieGirl: My aunt feeds their dog Eagle Pack – Holistic Select too. Her dogs love it and I’ve heard good things about it.

Post # 14
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

My dogs eat a raw diet now, but when they were on kibble I did a lot of research on choosing food for them.

Here’s a set of “rules” I came up with:

1) When I chose a dog food, I chose one high meat content. I want to see preferably at least 2-3 out of the top 5 ingredients be meat or meat meal (first ingredient must be!). “Meal” has the water removed, so “chicken meal” actually has more meat thant he same weight of “chicken”.

2) I want to see higher quality grains, such as barley, brown rice, and oatmeal, instead of seeing wheat and corn. Or an alternative starch/carbohydrate such as potatoes or sweet potatoes. (Dogs actually have no nutritional need for carbs; but all kibble must have a carb/starch, otherwise it wouldn’t hold it’s shape and would be “crumble” instead of “kibble”.)

3) I don’t want to see any byproducts.

4) I don’t want to see a lot of fillers (beet pulp, brewers rice, etc).

5) I don’t want to see preservatives that are believed to be carcinogens (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin).

6) I don’t want to see artificial colorings such as the Red, Blue, and Yellow dyes.

7) I don’t want to see added sugars (sugar, corn syrup).

8) I don’t want to see mystery meats (meats identified only as “meat” or “poultry”.)

Here is an article about byproducts:

And an article on what ingredients to avoid:

This website has a pretty good rating system: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/dog_food_reviews/
(I recommend only feeding foods rated 4, 5, or 6 stars.)

And remember that your vet is one of the worst people to ask about nutrition for your pet. They haven’t been trained in nutrition, and it’s really not their job. They just recommend brands they know that send out sales reps.


If you’re interested in raw feeding, here’s a good starting place: http://www.dogster.com/forums/Raw_Food_Diet/thread/431875

Post # 15
4385 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

We feed our doggie “Nutro”. It’s all natural, with no byproducts or corn. We buy it at petsmart, and it’s pretty reasonable.


Post # 16
1518 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

We switch up the food for our dog- he is spoiled and likes variety 😉 Anyways we go between iams  and nature’s domain.  Nature’s domain is more expensive but he loves it and it is better quality. 

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