What brand/variety of food are folks using? Do you feed straight kibble or do you mix anything in it? What is the quantity and frequency that you use for your large breeds?
Im feeding mine IAMS (Lamb & Rice) dogfood as it seems thats what the really prefer.I feed all the dogs a cup each in the morning and one in the evening.
And If they seem to be a little down or having a hard time eating I water it down a little to help them out.Daniel
We have bullmastiff's and a rat dog (Brussels Griffon) They all eat Canine Caviar. It is just what has suited them the best. The big guys each vary (same with your dog). Harley gets 3 cups a day and Amber (who burns it all off) gets 4 cups a day, each twice a day.
You'll need to go off of what you think is too thick or thin for your dog. Most breeds you want to see a slight "tuck up" with not too much rib. Depending on the breed of course!
We also feed the occasional rabbit, we raise rabbits for meat and they get the pleasure of eating raw from time to time. Its great for their teeth and they love the treat!
Read your labels carefully, you want to avoid corn, soy and wheat. Which are nothing but fillers for a dog. Soy will give them major gas too! When someone complains about gas problems that is usually my first question. You'll also want to know what is in the first 3 ingredients, they are your main ingredients.
For larger breeds you want a protein level of no more then 26% and a fat of 15%.
One other hint, be sure you are using an actual measuring CUP. In my many years showing, training and breeding dogs, I have seen folks tell me they are feeding their pup 4 cups a day, in all reality they are using a Super sized McDonalds cup which will easily hold 5 cups of food. If they are feeding them 4 of THOSE cups, its no wonder their dog has a weight problem.... . This is a common mistake!
My breeder recommended Canidae 'all life stages' when we bought our Golden. However, I couldn't find a source for it in the Soldotna/Kenai area, so we transitioned to Canine Caviar as the bag that the breeder supplied with the pup was depleted. Initially, our dogs would eat the Canine Caviar (the chicken version), but they were never "enthusiastic" about it. Over the last couple months they have been turning their noses up at it. They slowly "choke" it down purely out of hunger, which is simply annoying. I want to put down breakfast and dinner and be picking up empty bowls in a matter of a few minutes, not a half hour.
My Vet recommends Purina Pro which sits right next to the Canine Caviar at the feed store, sells for nearly the same price, and the ingredients met the standards. I think the only reason I went with the Canine Caviar instead of the Purina was the notion that Purina is more of a "grocery store" dog food that contains a bunch of fillers and uses plant products that may lead to food allergies. However, since that rash decision I have found out that the Purina Pro version is supposed to be a very good dog food.
While visiting a friend who uses Purina Pro, I fed a little bit to our Golden and he devoured it like he was starving to death. So, as much as I hate to go through the process of changing foods, I'm thinking of switching to the Purina Pro so I don't have to try and coerce the dogs to eat.
My food choice.
I think you are already on the right track. You have to find a food that will suite your dogs dietary needs. Ie age, activity level and health. But you also need to find a food your dog will eat.
I strongly believe you get what you pay for. If you buy the low end budget feed. It's sorta like feeding your dog popcorn. I'm the one that cleans the yard so I definitely see"" what works and what doesnt'
There are the $40 a bag foods that are great but when you are feeding 30 to 40 dogs at a time it gets very expensive. When I first started my kennel there were many companies that were trying to fill my mail box with offers. So we tried some. To make a long story short. I feed Purina products at my kennel. Purina Hi Pro, Pro Plan and Purina One.
I chose this brand because of it's variety and nutrional balance depending on each dogs need. Plus it is a national brand not a local or regional product. So when I travel out of state to compete or train it is readily available at any store or pet supply.
If you are happy with the results of the Canine Caviar (We feed the lamb and millet) then I would stick with it. The other thing you can do is add a little water to their food each feeding or even a little (and I mean little) bit of Salmon oil. I certainly dont have picky eaters but from time to time when a ***** comes into heat Harley will have nothing to do with his food. Warm water usually works. Sure, having to beg them to eat isnt fun, but switching foods can be just as much hassle in the long run.
Sounds like you have a great start! I personally cant stand Purina products. (No offense Wetlands!) It really gives my dogs some bad odors.
This is great thread, I really enjoy seeing folks that care about the "pay" they give their dogs.
Here is a little insight that I've noticed over the years.
Most people do not read the contents of package dog food.
Most people do not know what a dog, can and can not digest.
If you read a label, do you know the source of the ingredients ie. protein.
Did you know that some of the pet food manufactures use hair to boost the protein content of their products?
Do most folks know that soy is non-digestible in dogs?
Now I come to the part that I do not like. What is the reason behind some professionals promotion of certain brands of dog food? Why do some Vets sell certain brands of dog food in their offices? When we start to understand the motivation behind these people's practices, then we begin to broaden our knowledge.
In answer to at least one part of the question, I never feed dry, always add broth or soup to the mix. I will never feed canned dog food that contain horse meat, again non-digestible in dogs.
The pressure cooker can be your dogs next best friend, pressure bones, and skin and add this to his dry mix and you have done both your hunting pardner and yourself a great benefit. He will be better off and you have done much to promote his health. And last of all, he needs a lot of salt, do not forget to add this and the other minerals to his diet. Don't just rely on the package dry foods to provide these.
Thank you for posting this thread, I can not think of a more important subject, regarding our hunting pardners health.
I was just as ignorant about dog foods a year ago as most pet owners are. Our aussie/lab was getting numerous sores on his skin and we went to the vet who said it was probably food allergies. We started using a fish and potato food, which cleared up the skin problems right away. Unfortunately, he developed leukemia last spring (he was only 2 1/2 years old). I immediately started doing some heavy research and found a wealth of info on diet, including many claims that cancer in dogs is linked to diet more than anything else. The grocery store foods contain so much "unnatural" stuff for a dog's diet that their immune systems do not function correctly. Cancer is an acute dysfunction of the immune system. We made every attempt to feed that dog a "cancer diet", including cooking everything for him. While he died exactly 30 days after diagnosis, for that last month he was eating better than anyone in the house.
So, with the new addition to the family, I've put much more thought into diet and will never use a grocery store food again. The breeder we got our Golden from was well aware of all the cancer diet issues and along with every dog she sells, she provides a booklet that she has put together that is full of articles and medical studies on large breeds including everything from diet to exercise. He gets salmon oil daily. The breeder recommended adding vitamin C powder, but I haven't yet found a good source for that.
As for the Canine Caviar, I have decided to drop it completely. Our dogs will not touch it dry and I've been adding all kinds of stuff to it just to get them to eat. I want to start with a dry food that they will actually eat, then I can put in the proper nutritional supplements that I want them to have.
Al, what is the purpose of adding salt? This one I have not yet heard. Why do you add it and how much are you adding?
Here is an article about large breed dog diet:
My only fear about you dropping the food your on now, is that your going to end up with an even pickier eater then what you had before. Dogs are VERY smart and most the problems you are having is them "training" you. Think about it, you dont like something, wait a minute, your human will "change" it.
Dogs wont let themselves starve, but if you keep changing foods on them, sure, they'll love whatever you have thats "new" to them. Until it gets old. Believe me, I have been there. Good luck though, I hope your able to find a happy medium. My dogs know better, its either eat or starve around this house (hehe)....
PS. My other fear of feeding a different food, is that you may have more problems on your hands, like hot spots, allergic reactions and whatnot. If everything else is great, like skin, coat and eyes, I personally wouldnt change anything. Sounds like that person who wrote on Goldens was mentored by the same person I was (kidding). Great write up, lots of reading. If you attempt a raw diet be prepaired to do alot of reading
One of the great things about the internet, is that urban myths and legends can become "fact". Big Al, no offense, but the hair in pet food myth was debunked years ago. Believe it or not, most pet food manufactures do try to put out a quality product that is also affordable by a majority of pet owners who cannot afford the premium brands. That being said, many of the designer dog foods are to make us feel good. Yes, they will work for a group of the dogs, but again, not all dogs will thrive on any one diet.
Domestic dogs and Wolves have parted company and very few domestic dogs could survive on what their wild cousins eat. Many of the food allergies/sensitivities are at least in part genetics driven. Some dogs are more sensitive than others, some not at all. Almost all domestic breeds look and act the way they do because of recessive genes. Breeding and concentrating recessive genes carries a huge risk for health and behavior problems.
That being said, I feed Solid Gold Wolf Cub and I will switch her to WolfKing when she reaches 12 months old. Why? She is a little sensitive to corn with some scratching, etc, nothing big, but tried it as one without the big three grains and she is doing and looking great. Why this one of the several premium brands without corn? I think its cool to feed bison and salmon, so it works for both of us.
By far the most popular feed for trainers and trialers is Purina in one of the several labels they put out. These folks live and survive off the health and vitality of their charges, so Wetlands is correct in his choice. It is both health and cost driven, but it works for a large majority of dogs. Eucanuba comes in second. The other brands just do not justify the expense. Yes, you can argue that they are better, but the cost to benefit ratio is huge and generally not justified.
Before Al Gore invented the Internet among knowledgeable handlers the question was going around about why dogs were having digestion problems with Purina Pro Plan, circa 1970 to 1980's. It was at this time that we discovered the facts about soy and that remembering a News Paper article that Purnia was in fact using animal hair to boost the protein content of there dry dog food. In fact this was the case and I only know first hand what was on their "Purnia" label, it did in fact source some percentage of protein as derived from animal hair.
I have no knowledge of what their dog foods are comprised of today, I have no desire to get into a pissing contest over what you read on the Internet as I can only go on what I have witness first hand. Perhaps that disquilfies me from making any comments on this forum as I'm unlearned in the myth making Ala the Internet.
As to the salt content needed in a dogs diet, I came of a knowledge of the huge amount of salt in dry dog food in the back door to the subject as a kid. Before, by many years, I had heard the word bio degradable. I would wonder why dog manure did not seem to fade away like the rest of the manure on the ranch where I grew-up as a kid.
Away from the home place the dog dropping would get ate up by the coyotes and foxes when we would be out working livestock. Well having asked just about everybody I could think to ask, and getting used to the shoulder shrugging, I ask the one guy that happened to supply the answer.
Lucky for me I remembered to ask this fellow as I was always pestering him with questions, This fellow was the smartest horse doctor I have ever known and I sure have missed his sage advise these many years since his passing.
In a word old Doc said it was the salt that was added to dry dog food that was the answer to all my observation. Of course that led up to the next question, to this poor old Vet Why do dogs need so much more salt that their dropping, don't just fade away and not kill the grass where they took a dump.
I found his answer to be most insightful. "Dogs don't sweat" all of there cooling has to come through their saliva. When you think about it, that sure gives a pretty complete picture of a dogs need to be constantly replacing his salt.
As to the questions about genetics and it's relationship to decrease in any animal health. Well of course that is the factor in a great many cases. But and this is a vary big "BUT" simply to lay the blame at the door of genetics is the most radicles of action as it precludes the scientific method. Where have we done a group discovery from the entire litter? Were the feedings of the group similar? Did this breeding combination produce the same results or similar among other litters?
I could go on and on about this subject of genetics and the many blind paths that it can take a person, that can and will lead to many false conclusion. I can also state that there are vary easy methods to preclude many of these pit falls.
Has anyone ever had a conversation with a dyed in the wool dog person that has a degree in statistical analysis? You might be surprised to hear their views on some of the so called genetic flaws we worry about. I know it sure blew my mind when I did the research after one of these conversations on the subject of hip dysplasia.
And so for all of the poor souls that have endured my poor observations. I want to leave you with this most insightful of all observation that I have gleamed for the Internet, and I quote.
"It's kinda like fartin in church; some people find it offensive, some find it comical, some (at least one) find it refreshing, but there is a group that think that whole section of pews (no pun...well maybe) stinks".
Great website to help explain what goes in dog food and what the labels mean. Lots more info there than I can explain or want to type.
Nutrition for Sporting Dogs
Here is another good source of information for sporting dogs.
Here is an altogether different track. We feed our dogs raw meat and vegetables. It is a messy and time consuming method, but it really seems to agree with the dogs. We get 50 lbs sacks of ground chicken as the base for their diet. On the whole, it is not more expensive than kibble, but it is more time consuming. We used the BARF diet as the kick off literature to get us started, but we have modified as we have gone along with raw foods. Besides for the improvement in health of our dogs, there is little to no poo to pick-up. More mess to feed, but less on the other end.