Saturday, July 21, 2012

Researching dog food

For years I have fed my dogs Purina Beneful Original, with the vet's acceptance, if not blessing.

Once I added the Great Dane to my household, I was told that while Beneful was a good dog food, I really needed to be feeding my two large dogs a better quality dog food.

Side note:  Does the dog food really matter when I feed them a bunch of treats throughout the day?  That probably undoes any good that come from the brand of food.

Before I did the deeper research, Blue Buffalo was recommended by my sister and highly regarded on the Internet.  Two of the first 5 ingredients are meat or meat meal.  But it is higher in fat and higher in calories than Beneful or Science Diet.  The dry bites are very small.  My Bogie is very sloppy, and I got tired of cleaning up the fallen pieces. 

Bloat is a leading cause for death in Great Danes.  An article I was given on bloat stated that animal fat in the first 5 ingredients is a bad thing.  

I compared the ingredients and the Guaranteed Analysis for the Large Breed variations from Authority, Beneful (not large breed),  Blue Buffalo, Castor & Pollux , Eukanuba,  Innova, Orijen, Purina Pro Plan, Royal Canin Maxi Large Breed, and Science Diet.

My vet recommended Science Diet, but it seemed to me by the ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis to be no better than Beneful.  It was higher in fat than Beneful and like Beneful only one of the first five ingredients was meat meal and one was animal fat.

Royal Canin was another vet recommendation. Chicken meal was the very first ingredient.  But the next 4 were grains.  And it was very high in fat.

Orijen seemed great with two meats and two meat meals in the first five ingredients.  But it was hard to compare because the ingredients vary by region and I couldn't find any guaranteed analysis.  It was also the most expensive brand I researched.

Castor and Pollux, Eukanuba, and Authority each had a meat and a meat meal and no animal fat in the first five ingredients.

I finally decided to try Innova.  It has two meats and a meal in the first 5 ingredients.  And of those brands listing Glucosamine, it had the highest amount at 600mg.  Considering my Angel is supposed to be taking  Glucosamine, that's a good additive. It has about the same calories as the Beneful.  And it's in bigger bites that tend to get cleaned up by the dogs, instead of me.

I haven't seen the vet since I switched, so I don't know what her reaction will be.  I have my research if she wonders why I chose Innova.  And I have only been feeding it for 4 days.  So it remains to be seen whether I made a good choice.

This is my research and my conclusions, for what it's worth.

Updated 8/2/12 -
So it's been a couple weeks on the Innova.  I've noticed the dogs' coats are softer and more silky.  When I was petting Angel last evening, I realized that I wasn't getting a handful of loose hair like I usually do. I also noticed that the couch was still virtually hair free from the last time I vacuumed it.

Very pleased.

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