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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, ill be receiving my WGSL in 2 weeks and after reading the million threads on here about different foods, I think I've narrowed it down to:


Fromm Heartland gold Large Puppy then to Heartland gold Large Adult
Victor Grain Free puppy then to Grain Free Yukon River
Orijen Large Puppy then to Regional Red or Tundra


I like to go with beef or fish as a main ingredient over chicken solely based on past experiences. I fed Blue Buffalo to my last GSD and he did great on it but after reading all the negative reviews I decided to go with a more reputable company.



Im sure whichever one of these I decide on will be fine, but figured id get some input. Thanks!
 

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Be careful with the calcium/phosphorus ratios in Victor. Most are not appropriate for a large breed puppy. A lot of people have great success with it for their adult dogs though!

What is your breeder feeding the litter? Any reason you don’t want to stick with what they are being fed for at least a few weeks?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The breeder said he feeds raw but for kibble recommends Orijen or Acadia (which just throws me another option). I do like the idea of raw but im going to stick with the kibble.
I have also read a lot of people dont even bother feeding a puppy food and just go straight to adult food. Any thoughts on that?
 

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Right now, I'd be avoiding grain-free foods that have a lot of peas/lentils/beans and/or potatoes. Be sure to follow this thread:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/diet-nutrition/748011-fda-dog-foods-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy.html
(Acana is one of the foods that kind of seems to me like it's over-represented on the spreadsheet connecting dogs with low-taurine test results with the food they're eating, linked on page 2-3 of that thread...so I personally would be cautious with it til all this uncertainty shakes out with the FDA warning.)


IMHO, grain free is marketing hype! Fromm and Victor are companies I like a lot, but there's no reason to feed their grain free lines unless you are buying a puppy with food allergies (which I doubt). They substitute potatoes and legumes for rice and oats, even though conventional grains are much more easily digested by dogs than those replacements. You can't extrude kibble unless it's at least 30-40% starch, so all grain-free gets you is different, less digestible starchy filler -- NOT more meat! Worse, there's worry now that some of those starchy non-grain fillers may be binding to taurine leading to deficiency in some dogs (though the researchers aren't yet sure).

If you're going to feed Fromm or Victor, I would buy their formulas with grain that are cheaper (e.g., Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy instead of Heartland -- it has exactly the same % protein, and all of it comes from meat instead of beans, at about $10 less per bag!). Spend that extra money on a bag of yummy chew treats or a new toy every month. FWIW, a lot of people here seem to have had pretty good results with the Fromm Gold LB Puppy (blue bag).


As for Orijen, given how much it costs, it seems to have a lot of legumes too -- this really puts things into perspective:
https://truthaboutpetfood.com/is-change-in-pet-food-a-good-thing/
 

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I feed raw, but have had good luck with Dr. Tim’s and Earthborn Holistic for puppies, when I needed a kibble option. I’ve yet to have a dog that can tolerate Orijen or Acana. I’ve only ever tried Fromm with my dog who has IBD, and he is not one to judge by because no kibble works for him. I know a lot of people feed it with success.

I’d heed Magwarts warning about grain free formulas regardelss of what brand you choose, though.
 

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I started feeding my GSD Victor Ultra 42 when he was 6 months old and he did fine on it. My other dog has been on adult food since he was 2 months old without issues. You can experiment some to see what your dog likes best but be careful and do so gradually to prevent digestion problems. If you switch 100% of the food too quickly they'll get diarrhea. In regards to adult food specifically look for something higher protein, one of the main differences between puppy food and adult food is the protein content.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Magwart Thanks for all the info! Ill def be reading through that thread. And yea the main reason I was going to feed grain free is because my last was actually allergic to it and the food made his skin and coat terrible, within 2 weeks of going to grain free he was a brand new dog. But the more I read the more i see how rare that is and how grain free is pretty much just another fad.
 

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There is also quite a big difference between grains like corn and wheat that you will find in cheap foods and the grains you will find in Fromm or Victor's foods. Compare the ingredients in the grain inclusive and grain free foods. A grain inclusive food with protein equal to that of a grain free food is almost surely going to have more of that protein coming from meat ingredients.

Mine did great on Orijen. Jazz was on it for 6 years of her life and did great... She does equally well on Victor Hi Pro Plus and I have more money in my checking account as a bonus.
 

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I put Shadow on grain free because I needed a limited ingredient kibble while we worked out allergies, and just left her on it. In light of recent events I regret that decision.
First Mate still tops my list, I can't get many of the foods sold in the US.
Acana has done nothing for Shadow except make her eat more, poop more, reduced her energy, caused hair loss and increased her itching. Plus the singles pork formula that I was feeding is being specifically mentioned in a number of studies related to this DCM thing. So really not thrilled with Acana right now. I had tried it in the past and my dogs did not do well on it so this is really just another nail in the coffin for me.

As far as puppy food I have raised pups on all life stages food and they have done well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well after reading everything, I realized I had my last Shepherd, Dutch, on Blue Wilderness. He passed away of DCM two years ago at 12 years old. I thought it was just old age catching up and its not a very good feeling to now know it could have been caused by the grain-free diet I was feeding him. So I guess now with a new puppy coming in 2 weeks my question is even more important. Im definitely staying away from grain free now, Dutch fought it great for about 11 months but that last 2 months was heartbreaking and I dont want to put another dog through that.
 

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Well after reading everything, I realized I had my last Shepherd, Dutch, on Blue Wilderness. He passed away of DCM two years ago at 12 years old. I thought it was just old age catching up and its not a very good feeling to now know it could have been caused by the grain-free diet I was feeding him. So I guess now with a new puppy coming in 2 weeks my question is even more important. Im definitely staying away from grain free now, Dutch fought it great for about 11 months but that last 2 months was heartbreaking and I dont want to put another dog through that.
I know the feeling. Shadow was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat as a tiny puppy, since we couldn't put her under we never knew the cause. Now I get to wonder if she would have grown out of it if not for the grain free food. I fed food with the potential to damage my dogs heart to a dog with a bad heart.

That said we are not omnipotent, the best we can do is learn and move forward right?
 
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