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Discussion Starter #1
Dakota has done well on Natural Balance and she is a big girl. She is 82# but still looks slim. She is a picky eater. I have to mix wet food with her kibble or she eats zero. Lately I have begun worrying about the high carbohydrates in the NB because the first ingredient is Potatoes or Sweet potatoes. I wanted to go to a higher meat content without adding grain because before I switched to grain free she was constantly scratching and that ended when I switched within a week or two. So I was looking for Candiae but cannot find it locally. I found a nice store today that carries wellness core and Nature's Variety Instinct. But the protein is 34%. I don't really want to go Raw but the instinct kibble is coated with ground freeze dried raw food and nutritious oils. I am quoting from the brochures I picked up.
I know some folks on here feed these foods but what about that high protein with the better meat foods? I don't know what to do. I got a sample of the wellness and a can of the turkey and mixed a little togeather with some of her regular Natural Balance and she goobled it up in seconds flat. Maybe she is tired of the Nat. Balance. I can't find a huge variety of the high end foods here. Just Petco and the new place I found today which is kinda like a horse feed store but really nice. My mom has Dakota's sister and has more skin (hot spots and rashes) than we do. Dakota did have one small hot spot for a couple of days this week but I think she has a few fleas and I treated her last weekend with front line for that. My mom is waiting for me to choose a food and will follow suit with the change as well. She tried Natural Balance and her dog threw it up each time so she is on Science Diet and knows it is not the best but her dog tolerates it somewhat. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks
Cindi
 

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I have tried so many foods, We are currently using Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, I get it at the Tractor Supply store. It is lower on the protein than Evo or others, which I was a bit worried about too. Ava has skin problems too, TOTW seems to be clearing up her skin and she almost never scratches anymore (she was on NB Duck and Potatoe just before we switched to TOTW) I tried Canidae, but she still scratched some, it was better but not great. I have never tried the Evo or Wellness but I'm very pleased with this one so far. I will try the other varieties later if this goes well, but she LOVES it. She whines and drools while I dish it up waiting for me to put it down and release her. I would love to go RAW but I'm a bit afraid of it yet. Of course I do add yougurt once a week and salmon oil
 

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I use Exclusive large breed puppy food, breeder recommended and chicken is the main ingerdient. I also use the Exclusive brand for my cat. It's not sold in pet stores, at least in my area, I buy it from a feed store.
 

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Wellness Core and Instinct are both good foods. Why don't you get some samples and see if she likes them? The protein level is fine. Taste of the Wild is also decent (I feed it to Rafi but he can't handle much because of the high fat content) and costs a bit less than Wellness and NV.
 

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I looked up the ingredients in Exclusive, it says it has corn gluten meal and oatmeal. Corn is a major alergen for us and if the OP has problems too, it could be a concern. Cindi, were you looking exclusively for grain free?
 

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We just started the Instinct 2 weeks ago, and it has been a big hit. Mia loves the Duck & Turkey, and the food was transitioned from Canidae over a 5 day period. There was no loose stool whatsoever from the changeover. What the results are coat & healthwise, too early to tell. (She was itching a little on the Canidae, but I didn't know if it was the food or being too dry in the house over the winter. )

I always had to mix canned, cottage cheese, etc with her dry food or she was less than enthusiastic--but the Instinct she ate right off the bat with nothing mixed in. The protein level would be a concern if your dog were still a puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, grain free. The store I found today did have the Exclusive but he said it was not grain free. She just improved so much when I went grain free. I really would like to use the Wellness core or the Instinct I was just afraid that the protein was too high. I read that on this board that it needs to be in the lower 20%'s and the Nat. Bal is 21% but the other ones that I am looking at are 34%. Difference is the high carbs or high protein I know. Bowwow I did get a sample of the wellness and she seems to love it. I was also looking at the Instinct because of the freeze dried raw meat coating. lol. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I chose the Nat. Bal before cause it was readily available at Petco. But she does not eat it well!!! She is suppose to eat about 4 cups a day and only eats about 2. If it is well mixed with something
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh Mia's mom so if she is a year old now the higher protein is ok?
I am very new to this. She will be a year old in 4 days. And she is slim.
But not skinny. Or fat.
 

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all of the modern, up to date research indicates that protein levels are not an issue with a healthy dog, so dont worry about the protein numbers. the calcium/phosphorous levels are a bigger issue, especially with a still growing dog.

i dont like the higher levels of calc/phos in many of the grain free lines. the exception to this is the orijen and wellness core. both of these keep those levels in check quite well. i have been using the core for my two older (over1 yr) dogs and results have been terrific.
 

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TOTW Pacific Stream is grain free. The carbs are from sweet potatoes and potatoes. It sits at 25% protein, I dont know the calc/phos content though. I cant seem to find it for this one.
 

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here is a excerpt form whole dog journal. it doesnt give specific %'s but rather general comments about various protein, mineral levels.--this is why i like core (listed under old mother hubbard)--they take a more moderate approach to protein and minerals

Whole Dog Journal 2008 Grain-Free List

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A good list of grain-free foods approved by Whole Dog Journal.


Artemis Pet Foods ~ North Hollywood, CA
Maximal Dog
WDJ Comment: A high-protein, high-fat, relatively low-ash food with relatively high calcum and phosphorus levels.

Champion Pet Food ~ Morinville, Alberta
Orijen including puppy, adult and senior varieties
WDJ Comment: High in protein, moderately high in fat, relatively high in calcium and phosphorus and relatively high ash.

**** Van Patten's Natural Balance ~ Pacoima, CA
Potato/Duck, Sweet Potato/Fish, & Sweet Potato/Venison formulas
WDJ Comment: A "limited ingredient" food with conventional levels of protein, fat, and ash. High carb content (for this category of foods).

Solid Bold Health Products for Pets, Inc. ~ El Cajon, CA
Barking at the Moon
WDJ Comment: High protein and fat, high calcium and phosphorus; calcium is over AAFCO maximum, moderate ash.

Petcurean Pet Nutrition ~ Chilliwack, British Columbia
Now! (3 varieties) & Go! Natural
WDJ Comment: Now! contains moderate protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus; ash is relatively low. All animal proteins in Now! are fresh, not rendered. The Go! Natural Grain-Free food is a high-protein, high-fat food.

Canine Caviar Pet Foods ~ Costa Mesa, CA
Venison & Split Pea Adult
WDJ Comment: A high-protein, high-fat food. Calcium and phosphorus levels are at AAFCO maximums, ash is relatively low.

Diamond Pet Products ~ Santa Clara, CA
Taste of the Wild
WDJ Comment: High protein and fat and high levels of calcium and phosphorus. Moderate carb and ash levels. Pacific Stream formula has lower protein and fat.

Natura Pet Products ~ Santa Clara, CA
EVO, EVO Red Meat & EVO Reduced Fat
WDJ Comment: High protein and fat; moderate levels of carbohydrates. Calcium and phosphorus are above AAFCO's maximums. Ash is moderately high. "Red Meat" varieties are lower in calcium and phosphorus.

Nature's Variety ~ Lincoln, NE
Instinct
WDJ Comment: High protein and fat; ash is moderately high. Calcium and phosphorus are high; their ratio is at AAFCO's maximum level. The Rabbit Formula has lower calcium and phosphorus levels.

Old Mother Hubbard ~ Tewksbury, MA
Wellness CORE three varieties
WDJ Comment: High protein and moderate amounts of fat, carbs, calcium, phosphorus and ash.

Taplow Feeds ~ North Vancouver, BC
FirstMate Potato/Fish & FirstMate Potato/Fish w/Blueberries
WDJ Comment: A very simple limited formula with moderate protein and fat, conventional levels of calcium, phosphorus and carbohydrates; high ash.

The Honest Kitchen ~ San Diego, CA
Force & Embark
This is an unconventional food with conventional levels of protein, fat, and a relatively (for this category) high level of carbohydrates. This is not a baked or extruded food, but a dehydrated product made in a human food manufacturing facility (and we've been there). Force has moderate levels of calcium and phosphorus and low ash.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all so much
I am gonna go with one of the two I mentioned now that I realize they all are pretty high in protein. I can decrease the carbs with an ok protein. I will check the calcium level of the 2 foods.
 

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I wonder where TOTW gets their Salmon?
Hopefully not CA or OR since Salmon fishing this year is shut down.
Farmed perhaps?
 

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Good question, I just shot them an e-mail to ask. It says smoked salmon, my experience is that oftentimes they smoke what is considered "dog fish" these are salmon that are caught right after spawning. If this is the case, then it wouldnt have a negative impact on the resource. Salmon die not long after they spawn and they do not have their best flavor at this point (at least I dont think so) which is why they smoke it, it improves the flavor.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, We are going with the Wellness Core. I mixed it half and half with her Nat. Bal and she ate it without any canned food mixed in or anything. I also bought some packaged raw beef and may use it as a bedtime treat or something since she is eating the wellness so well so far. Thanks everyone. Hope she does well on it.
 

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I switched Dante over to Core awhile back and he's doing very well on it. Feeding less than Timber Wolf, smaller poops and the poops are now bouncing.
A bit of increased gas but not room clearning like when he was eating Nutro.
 

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I haven't ever had a gas issue with her but she does like to burp in my face all the time. lol
 

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Update
I went with Wellness Core
She loves it!! eats every bite nothing mixed with it. (except her old food)
New problem--
She started chewing herself like crazy -so bad I had to take her to the vet last Friday. They gave her a shot of Cortizone and a script for Atarax. Said it is allergies.
She had brown round spots all over her and a chewed place on the back of one leg that was a solid scab. I had tried to clean it off cause it looks like dirt but it does not come off. Besides chewing she is scratching. She does not have fleas. Have not seen one- She is on frontline every 3 weeks. So I went to the store today and they suggested Wellness Ocean I gave her the samples for dinner and she ate every bite. So I guess I will try that. Maybe she is allergic to the turkey in the wellness core? She has had chicken before but I don't know about turkey. I guess she has had a little turkey before. I got some oatmeal shampoo but have not used it yet. When I brush her the hair that I brush out (tons, and tons of it) has a white dandruff looking stuff at the ends. Maybe a dry skin issue? The vet said the brown spots are dots of blood from her scratching, chewing. Any more suggestions?
 

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hope the core ocean takes care of it. my older dog began some chewing on his front legs on the core original. he has been on foods w/ chicken before, so i surmised it could be the turkey. since being on the core ocean, there has been no more chewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I bought the Ocean today. She did not quite clean the bowl tonight, but she is not chewing much either. I am giving the Atarax though.
 
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