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I've got a new (adult) shepherd coming to me in just 2 days. He's coming directly from a private home where he is being fed....Pedigree. Gawwwd. I really wanted to feed 100% raw, but it doesn't look like that's doable right now for me because of storage issues and local cost. So I'm probably looking at either a 100% kibble diet or about 75% kibble, 25% raw (not on the same day). Meantime, I need to get him switched over to something really decent, obviously. I want to go natural and grain-free, and would love to feed Orijen, but, well, with the prices just increasing yet again, it's really not doable. So there's Taste of the Wild - great - but there's the whole Diamond thing one keeps reading about. Then there's the Natura stuff, but the worry about P&G etc. So, while I realize everyone has a different (and some sooo strong) opinion, is there ANY consensus of which are the top, let's say 5 grain-free foods?
 

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I've got a new (adult) shepherd coming to me in just 2 days. He's coming directly from a private home where he is being fed....Pedigree. Gawwwd. I really wanted to feed 100% raw, but it doesn't look like that's doable right now for me because of storage issues and local cost. So I'm probably looking at either a 100% kibble diet or about 75% kibble, 25% raw (not on the same day). Meantime, I need to get him switched over to something really decent, obviously. I want to go natural and grain-free, and would love to feed Orijen, but, well, with the prices just increasing yet again, it's really not doable. So there's Taste of the Wild - great - but there's the whole Diamond thing one keeps reading about. Then there's the Natura stuff, but the worry about P&G etc. So, while I realize everyone has a different (and some sooo strong) opinion, is there ANY consensus of which are the top, let's say 5 grain-free foods?
GF's, Annamaet if you can buy it locally, if not Canidae or Earthborn. I don't see the urgency with a GF but it is up to you.
 

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Right now I'm still working through what I have of Orijen / Acana grain-free. But my other top choices would be Wellness & Nature's Variety.

Of the ones mentioned in the post above, the only one I have experience with personally is Canidae - and very negative experiences on that one.
 

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We feed Acana grain-free which is made by the same company as Orijen. It is basicallly the same thing just a bit lower protein. Our guy has a very sensitive stomach but seems to do just fine on it, I would recommend it.
 

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I feed Holistic Select. It's not as pricey of some of the others mention. Pinnacle is good as well but I couldn't get it locally and got tried of paying shipping.
 

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I started Stosh on Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit kibble from the day I brought him home- the calcium level in the rabbit was low enough. Although I think it's a great food, he just didn't care for it, so now we use TOTW [High Prairie and now the lamb] and he loves it, is doing really well on it. The only thing that concerned me about the NV rabbit is that the rabbit is raised and processed in China--they say they have their own supervisor on site but still, it's China.
 

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GF's, Annamaet if you can buy it locally, if not Canidae or Earthborn. I don't see the urgency with a GF but it is up to you.
Canidae is owned by Diamond, which OP said she wanted to avoid. Not sure on the others.

To the OP.. I have recently (past 4 or 5 days) put my dogs back on Innova (P&G) switching over from Costco's grain free Natures Domain (which is at least processed by Diamond). I know 4-5 days isn't much time, their stools are already better and smaller than they were on the Nature's Domain. And for what it's worth, the feed store I get it from says they are trying to stay on top of any ingredient changes but their understanding is things are unchanged from before the P&G buyout. So if you want grain free Evo might be a place to look. If not, my dogs have always done fine on grain inclusive food (and apparently the dog you're getting is eating Pedigree and is at least surviving :) ), so as long as you are OK with P&G there is Innova or California Natural. Before I switched away from Natura brands after the P&G buyout, my dogs did very well with Innova for one and Cal Natural lamb and rice for the other, and so far everything is OK switching back to Innova.
 

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Orijen is the top of the line. I feed TOTW-Wetlands in the AM, not because it is the best, but because my dog loves it and it is a pretty good dog food. In the PM I feed Orijen (both adult and 6 fish, great stuff) and I mix in 1/3 of a cup of canned. Why the canned, believe it or not it was to slow his eating down. I got the tip on Dog food chats shout box and it worked. Every other night I mix in half the recommended amount of supplements in the can, which I water down a little and zap it for 15 seconds to make it easier to mix. A half hour after eating his kibble I feed him some raw beef or some cooked chicken or cooked eggs as a treat.
 

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The top I would recommend would be Wellness Core, Natures Variety Instinct (and this brand makes freeze dried raw), Orijen/Acana, and Blue Buffalo Wilderness.

I've been feeding raw for years though, and only kibble to fosters (so not grain free, due to cost) so I'm not as up on things as many others. I used to feed NV before I went raw, and really loved it. Especially with a cat with severe allergies, and another with severe intolerances (which eventually lead to her death, we think the rapid weight loss when she got sick caused heart damage because she just dropped dead at 6). I fed the canned and raw patties to the cats; kibble, canned, and raw patties to the dogs. I also worked for Blue Buffalo for a little while, and mixed that in with the NV since I got free bags every now and then.
 

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Canidae is owned by Diamond, which OP said she wanted to avoid. Not sure on the others.

To the OP.. I have recently (past 4 or 5 days) put my dogs back on Innova (P&G) switching over from Costco's grain free Natures Domain (which is at least processed by Diamond). I know 4-5 days isn't much time, their stools are already better and smaller than they were on the Nature's Domain. And for what it's worth, the feed store I get it from says they are trying to stay on top of any ingredient changes but their understanding is things are unchanged from before the P&G buyout. So if you want grain free Evo might be a place to look. If not, my dogs have always done fine on grain inclusive food (and apparently the dog you're getting is eating Pedigree and is at least surviving :) ), so as long as you are OK with P&G there is Innova or California Natural. Before I switched away from Natura brands after the P&G buyout, my dogs did very well with Innova for one and Cal Natural lamb and rice for the other, and so far everything is OK switching back to Innova.
Canidae is not owned by Diamond, the food is made at Diamond on a contract basis like Solid Gold and others are.
 

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I started Stosh on Nature's Variety Instinct Rabbit kibble from the day I brought him home- the calcium level in the rabbit was low enough. Although I think it's a great food, he just didn't care for it, so now we use TOTW [High Prairie and now the lamb] and he loves it, is doing really well on it. The only thing that concerned me about the NV rabbit is that the rabbit is raised and processed in China--they say they have their own supervisor on site but still, it's China.
What about other ingredients that might come from China like vitamin premix? Does TOTW guarantee no ingredients from China?
 

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Our 10 month old female is finally getting well using Solid Gold products. We have her on large breed puppy, but there are 3-4 adult varieties, one is high protein, probably grain free. Our dog's skin problems are diminishing and her stools are great for the first time in months.

There is another post regarding bloat and a great sticky with info. After researching bloat, it is recommended not to feed dogs food with alfalfa which Orijen has and some Blue Buffalo, also foods with oil/fat is first 4 ingredients which Natural Balance Limited ingredient has.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow - thanks guys. So much good info. Every single food has pros and cons and just when I think I settled on one that seems best for us (the most pros, the least cons), there's a post saying you might not want this one because... :headbang: ;)

Right now I'm leaning toward Acana if he does well on it. But subject to change as this thread goes on. <lol>
 

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We switched from Orijen (due to the price increase from $70 to $82) back to Innova EVO and there has been no change in our dogs or their stools. We still blend whatever we buy with a Wellness CORE (Ocean/fish and/or Regular/chicken) foundation. We stopped buying EVO when P&G bought them out, but after doing a lot of research and talking with local Portland holistic pet store owners who investigated and toured the Innova facilities (after the buyout and supposed ingrediant changes), determined that EVO was still safe. EVO has always been our dogs #1 kibble based on flavor! We also implement Acana in place of Orijen. So right now they're getting a CORE, EVO, and Acana mix.

They did horrible on TOTW, regular Wellness, and Solid Gold. We can get CORE for $54 a bag, EVO for $61, and Acana for $62. We prefer Orijen, but for $20-30 cheaper, it's better for our budget.

It's strange how not too many people discuss Wellness CORE. We tried the regular Wellness, and our dogs had non-stop runs, but the CORE solidified their stool overnight and keeps it firm. It's our #1 stool-firmer-uppers!!! Haha. Plus it's a higher end, grain-free kibble. I'd put it in my top 5 kibbles on the market, and it would be the cheapest $$$ out of those top 5 too!

But of course I understand that each dog is an individual and what one dog does well on, another dog might not.

Hope that helps! Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, now there's a question: Is there a reason, when people want to feed Orijen, but can't due to high cost, they don't immediately go to Acana? I understood it to be *very* similar, just a bit lower protein and lower cost?

My last dog ate Wellness - did well on it too. Hmmm.

Is there an advantage to mixing a couple of brands as you do or do you guys feel it "better" to find one that works for your dog and stick to one? (Reading conflicting things on that, too...)
 

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Yeah, now there's a question: Is there a reason, when people want to feed Orijen, but can't due to high cost, they don't immediately go to Acana? I understood it to be *very* similar, just a bit lower protein and lower cost?

My last dog ate Wellness - did well on it too. Hmmm.

Is there an advantage to mixing a couple of brands as you do or do you guys feel it "better" to find one that works for your dog and stick to one? (Reading conflicting things on that, too...)
Arcana has grains, for whatever reason the owners don't want to feed their dogs grains.
 

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Yeah, now there's a question: Is there a reason, when people want to feed Orijen, but can't due to high cost, they don't immediately go to Acana? I understood it to be *very* similar, just a bit lower protein and lower cost?

My last dog ate Wellness - did well on it too. Hmmm.

Is there an advantage to mixing a couple of brands as you do or do you guys feel it "better" to find one that works for your dog and stick to one? (Reading conflicting things on that, too...)
I know that Orijen and Acana are both hard to find in certain locations. We lived in VA and could not get either one, but now that we live in OR, they're both easy to locate.

We mix and/or rotate so the dogs get multiple protein sources more often than they would if we only stuck with one kibble. I remember reading in a book (German Shepherd For Dummies I think) that you'd get bored eating the same food 3 times a day for the rest of your life, and a dog would also. I tend to agree, so that's why we give them different brands here and there, plus implement raw when we can. I have not seen any problem with my dogs stemming from blending and rotating kibbles. Can't say how it would affect other dogs, but no problems here.
 
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