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Discussion Starter #1
We're about to bring home our new GSD. He's a rescue dog, male, and appears to be about a year and half old. He's undergoing heart worm treatment right now. I thought I'd ask about food...? My gosh, I had no idea the diversity of opinions/options in the shepherd world!

So...considering our dogs age and health (very under weight right now) what would you all recommend?

Thanks in advance.

Rob
 

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You are going to get as many opinions as there are people here. I have bounced around A LOT on food. Used CA Natural Lamb and Rice for YEARS til they changed the formula. Went with Avoderm once but the dogs ended up SO hungry they tried to eat me. Went with Blue Buffalo and liked it but I can't get it near here. Asked a top (and I mean TOP) husky breeder who lives near me and she uses Taste of the Wild and we can get it locally at our feed store. She finds the huskies do fabulous on it. The vension/bison is a little too high in protein. The salmon is, well, all fish (OK if you are a husky in my mind). For a long time I bought one of each to cut the protein level down. They came out with a lamb version -- or they always had it and I just found it. The dogs do very well on the lamb. I CAN get the lamb down in town IF they happen to have one of them on the shelves, but I just went with delivery. I tried the Blue Buffalo Chicken Senior on my older Aussie and he does REALLY well on it but my GSD is intolerant of chicken. My bottom line is Taste of the Wild Lamb. You don't have to feed a lot, waste is reasonable and not excessive, and it seems easy to switch to. Seems well tolerated and not outrageously priced and not cheap filler stuff. What's good enough for the huskies winning in the ring on the national level should be OK for my boys. Good luck on that one!
 

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Is he under weight due to any medical issues? Does he have any known food allergies?

Find out what he is eating now, make sure you get some of that food or have them give you some and switch over (if you decide to switch) slowly. I would let him get home and settled in before switching food.

If you can do it I think raw is best. Next best thing would be a grain free kibble. I like Orijen but some dogs do not do well on it.

There are lots of threads on foods. Usually the same ones are suggested Orijen, Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, etc..

Best thing you can do is research the foods and buy the best you can afford. Hopefully the dog does well on that food.
 

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TOTW is not a higher caloric food....(just to keep in mind).
The average caloric values for TOTW is between 338-375kcal/cup....Wetlands being the highest, and the Lamb being the lowest.
If you want/need a higher caloric food that is still outstanding in it's ingredient list...then I would suggest Earthborn Holistic GF.
The average caloric values are 430-445kcal/cup....Primitive being the highest, and Great Plains being the lowest.
IF you were considering GF foods....they are a great choice and economically friendly.
JMO
 

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Ideally, raw. Since he is more or less an adult, ff you are on a budget I would go with Taste of the Wild or Earthborn Primitive Naturals. If you have the money I would go with Orijen or Acana and rotate the flavors. There are many other mid-range brands, but these are pretty much the only four I personally would consider at this time.
 

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As far as kibble goes I like the grain-free ones. Orijen, TOTW (taste of the wild), and recently Costco got one in that I switched to and the dogs seem to be doing well on it.

If you can, even though I don't, I think raw is the best way to go.

I'll admit - Orijen is pretty pricy. The best grain-free food I found in my area was Taste of the Wild - got some samples and the dogs loved it.

It's completely understandable if you can't afford a super high-end kibble. I would try to get the best kibble you can comfortably afford though. In the past I have used Nutra Nuggets Rice and Lamb and had the dogs do well on it. The biggest difference is probably the poop - it's larger, less firm, and probably less digested than the grain-free versions.

If you want to put weight on a dog I would do it slow so that it doesn't stress his joints, he has time to build the weight gain into muscle and the weight gain isn't just fat.

Something you could do is, occasionally, give something called satin balls. You can easily find recipes for this online. It's supposed to be great for coat shine and putting weight on. However, I think it would put weight on too fast. I don't think adding one small satin ball per kibble meal would hurt though.

That or you could add a little bit of a topper to a kibble - a little shredded cheese, an egg (raw or scrambled), some people use sardines (I would go light for worry of diarrhea), etc. If you use a topper I'd stick with something that has some protein.

I would make sure and see what food he is being fed now so that whatever it is you can gradually transition him over to a new food. With his condition getting diarrhea and losing weight wouldn't be good - never is for any dog.

A site that I found really helpful when researching kibble is:

Dog Food Reviews - Main Index - Powered by ReviewPost

It rates the kibbles and says the pros and cons to each one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input, folks. Markus' weight-loss is due to the heart worm treatment. His coat is also suffering. We're scheduled to spend some more time with him this weekend and I'll speak to the foster about what they are feeding.

Sure appreciate you all taking time to answer some very basic questions:)

Rob
 

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I have taken three foster dogs through heartworm treatment and never had it make them underweight. Is there a possibility that he was underweight when rescued and the rescue found that he was also heartworm positive when they had him vet-checked? He might simply have had both conditions (underweight and heartworm-positive) at the same time and they are unrelated. Is it possible that he is underweight due to a medical reason or from neglect by the previous owner?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's a good question. I know that he has lost weight, since his rescue and start of the treatment. We're going back to visit him this weekend. I'll investigate further. Thanks.

Rob
 
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