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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have fed Origen for a while and have been told the reason my guys have a sparser coat than any others from their lines is because the food has 40% protein. I am wondering if anyone has any comments? I have been told I should pick a food between 20-27% protein, preferably the lower quality choices.

I have said its due to the fact that my dogs live inside totally but they do spend large amounts of time outside when it is cold, and we get 5 months of very cold almost never above freezing. How much outside time is needed to grow heavy plush coats?? Should I consider changing foods?

Another thing Ty is always 5-10 pounds under weight according to most GS people, he eats his food but does occasionally walk away without finishing. the vet says he is in great shape and has a runners body, long lean muscles, Any ideas would be appreciated, I am starting to second guess myself. Thanks
 

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I feed Orijen and my dogs have great coats and are normal weight both 90 lbs. Maybe your GSD just did not get the plush coat- coats vary even within litter mates. How much does Ty weigh anyway?
 

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most people don't know what ideal weight is for a dog, as long as you can't see his ribs he isn't underweight. Ideal weight means you shouldn't see but should be able to easily feel ribs, there should be a noticeable tuck to the abdomen viewed from the side, and waist viewed from above.

I don't understand how the higher protein could cause a sparse coat. However it COULD be the food, but for another reason such as your dog just not doing as well on that food. Many people are afraid of the higher protein counts in grain free foods. As far as I know from current research there is no problem when fed to adults. Many are also afraid of high protein diets and believe they cause kidney impairment, but the studies this myth was based on were high protein diets to dogs that ALREADY had kidney problems.

It may just be that your dog has a shorter stock coat, there is a bit of variation within the coats of the GSD. My girl Tessa is from working lines and has a very tight, short coat. My boy Logan had the longer, plushier, show coat type.
 

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Well who is telling you to feed lower protein of a lower quality? That is crazy! Have you read the white sheet on Orijen's website? It is very informative.

Maybe posting pictures of your dogs would help us to see what your talking about. Do you feel they have a problem with their coat or are people just telling you this. I had a guy at the pet store tell me my dog was thin, he is not thin his weight is just right. Some people just do not know better. If your dogs are inside they will have a different coat than a dog that lives outside.
 

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I feed Orijen to my two girls, and my breeder has asked me what I feed because they have such beautiful healthy coats.

Carly is 8 months old and has a very short stock coat. She is never going to have a full plush coat, regardless of what she eats.
We are showing her, so she has every gel, mousse and bodifier known to man to help make that coat appear thicker and plusher.

Sage, on the other hand, has a lovely stock coat. It'll be much easier to groom her to show!

As far as weight goes, I think most people are so used to seeing overweight dogs that they think a healthy lean dog is skinny.
 

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A "bad coat" to me means harsh, dry, flaking, shedding.
If the coat is thin, that is usually due to genetics and environmental temperatures not diet.
Onyx never developed a winter coat until this past winter and it was due to the temps/length of cold that she got so thick. Before that(her first two years) she never needed a thick one and didn't blow her coat. She has been rawfed from the age of 6 months.
She is a stock short coat that is very sleek looking. Karlo has a thicker coat, Kacie is a long coat they are all rawfed. Here is Onyx in April before she blew her undercoat:

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did just publish pics of them on critique pages, Gemma and Ty. Ty is 74 pounds, Gemma 60, she is correct weight. I can see and feel all ribs and hip bones and all grooves between ribs on Ty, I agree he looks way better at 80 but only got there with 3 satin balls/night for months and as soon as cooler weather and more activity he lost it and went back to 74. Their coats are soft adn shiny but not plush, very short and sparse. Please check the pics and let me know. The poops are great adn they seem healthy, just the latest group of breeders including theirs suggest i try lower protein. The dogs aren't seen often but did go visiting lately so more breeders saw them.
 

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Niko is on Evo, which I think is even higher protein than Orijen (I could be wrong??). Anyway, he's got a nice coat, short and sleek on his sides, but thicker and fluffier along his back.
 

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A "bad coat" to me means harsh, dry, flaking, shedding.
If the coat is thin, that is usually due to genetics and environmental temperatures not diet.
Onyx never developed a winter coat until this past winter and it was due to the temps/length of cold that she got so thick. Before that(her first two years) she never needed a thick one and didn't blow her coat. She has been rawfed from the age of 6 months.
She is a stock short coat that is very sleek looking. Karlo has a thicker coat, Kacie is a long coat they are all rawfed. Here is Onyx in April before she blew her undercoat:
Thats how shiny the coats from mine are too.

Especially in the sun Yukons fur is so shiny that he's got a golden glimmer in his fur. Same with Zenzy and Indras fur has a deep rich color even though she's got the bitch stripe. :wub:
 

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Halo has been on Orijen since about a month or two after we got her. Her coat is soft, shiny, and extremely thick an plush. She was on the LBP up until a little over a year old and has been on the adult since then. Keefer gets the Orijen 6 Fish, and his coat is good too. He's always been a bit dry and itchy, even going back to when he was a puppy, but he's been doing the best on a grain free fish based food, and mostly salmon jerky for treats.
 

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Curious on what foods are they telling you to switch to?

Like others have said they look good in the pics.
 

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I can't believe people are feeding you that line. Completely bizarre and I've never heard someone try to claim that before. If the coat is dry and flakey, it could be they are allergic to something in it. But if all is well and it agrees with the dog, the only thing Orijen will do is help their coat. HIGH QUALITY foods with low proteins can do this too, of course, but definitely not the "lower quality choices."

They both look like they are a good weight to me. Is his poop firm? I found that adding Prozyme to the diet helped a lot with maintaining weight.
 

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I have found that some Shepherds seem to do better with some added fat to the diet. For those, I add a good oil supplement with EFAs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thanks everyone, Ty has no problems maintaining his 74 pounds, he just doesn't hold more, and their coats and skin look great BUT they are thin and shorter than I am told they should be. Coats ARE shiny and feel great, longer and thicker is what I am trying to get, Purina Selects was suggested, TOTW Pacific stream, Kirkland, and I can't remember the rest.

I think I will leave them with Origen or maybe the Acana, both seem healthy and poops are great, winter may add coat, I don't know, they are inside so much since they are not kennel dogs
 

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Coat length and fullness is very genetic. Some have a short tight coat, some have a more soft coat missing some guard coat, some carry more plush.

If the dogs are outside in the winter, then a fuller coat can come in. But sufficient time must be spent there. Coming into the house too much will result in less coat. I have been told a dog needs to out at least 60% of the time so that they can adjust their metabolism to the cold. This acclimation is important. I don't leave mine outside that long, so they are always wearing what I call their "house coat".
 

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Purina Selects was suggested
:eek:

Oh yuck. Keep them on the Orijen.

It really sounds like you're not happy with the coat they were given genetically. There is nothing you can do to add on length, and using cold to try and make it thicker can bring negative effects as well.

Forget about what everyone else says and just love your dogs! :wub:
 
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