Author Topic: How to pick a food and food change problem  (Read 1569 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Moonsong

  • Dog Training Student
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2270
  • My SD is my Super (hero) Dog
  • Location: Arizona USA
  • Mood: Sad
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: How to pick a food and food change problem
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2017, 01:01:51 AM »
Okay, so I've narrowed down my search to a few specific brands, and from here I'll just need to pick out what to get based off of price and what my dogs like best.

Here's the thing; Max's trainer really wants him to be on a scheduled diet, but my mom is adamantly against switching our dogs over. So, I'm now trying to work on putting only Max on a schedule and seeing how that goes. I'm teaching him to not eat from the slow feed bowls anymore (just teaching him not to eat from those three), and encouraging him to eat from the bowl I offer him. The trainer suggested making his food extra good so that he would prefer to wait for his meals than to eat the food left out for the other two. So I wanted to to mix some foods for him; I wanted to give him whatever they were having (so that he wouldn't get curious about trying something different than what he has) and adding in one or two other brands extra.

What I'm wondering now is if I should get him an 'active life' food? In the summer he swims a lot and hard, so I think in the summer he might need it, but as a service dog who also loves to run and play, should he be on it? There were a few Purina Pro Plan active lifestyles that I saw, and I know that there's the Beneful Playful life and also Beneful Protein. All of our dogs were on playful life for awhile, and they did okay on that. However, I thought that I would just ask for your guys' opinions.
Max - shih tzu/poodle- SDiT  Max's Facebook Page
Kirby - Pied Cockatiel - official bird of SDC
My YouTube channel (I love receiving feedback on my training methods!)

Offline Ariel

  • Scruffmaster Extraordinaire
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 4417
  • Location: North Carolina, USA
  • Mood: Cynical
  • SDC interest: SD partner
Re: How to pick a food and food change problem
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2017, 08:31:22 AM »
Active Lifestyle foods tend to be higher fat and protein for highly active dogs. When I'm talking highly active, I mean more than just running outside a bit, playing some. I'm not saying Max isn't active, but I'm guessing he's not running for hours on end. That type of caloric intake would not be ideal for a dog leading an active pet lifestyle, even as a SDIT. For many if not most SDs, service work on a day to day basis consists of sitting/downing quietly in wait and down stays for a large part of it.

Max is a small breed dog, so he really should be kept on the lower end of the ideal range for his size. He also has fairly severe crooked limbs in the front from what I saw in the few pictures you posted of him, so keeping his weight low and his walks short is ideal. Exercise is good, but it's going to be easy to stress a dog with that level of crookedness to their forelimbs. I'd definitely make sure to get knee and elbow testing and get an ortho vet consult prior to working him if you ever do get to the point where you are hoping to work him.

I would look at an all life stages food or a small breed food. The benefit of little dogs is it's way cheaper to go for a quality food because they eat so little of it. Bag cost doesn't change, but how quickly you blow through it does. Often the bags over direct regarding daily food allowances with small dogs. Vets often forget what a healthy dog should look like, so a perfect lean dog can often be called underweight at the vet, despite this not being true.

Do you think you'll have difficulty guaranteeing Max is able to be kept away from the food? Unless you trust that you'll tell him to leave it and then leave the house and he won't have eaten any even if the other dogs did, you should probably crate him when you leave to ensure he's only getting   the food you give him and nothing else. The last thing you want is for him to gain weight because you're feeding him meals and then he's snacking throughout the day. With two other dogs free feeding there would be no way to measure either if he's eating any of it. Unless your mom is willing to change, I'd crate him. Your mom sounds like she's set and comfortable in how she does things, so that means you just need to do what you need to for your dog so he doesn't gain weight.
Jubilee - Service Dog - German Wirehaired Pointer
Jubi's FB page!
In Loving Memory of Service Dog Saxon (6/5/13-12/2/15)

Offline Moonsong

  • Dog Training Student
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2270
  • My SD is my Super (hero) Dog
  • Location: Arizona USA
  • Mood: Sad
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: How to pick a food and food change problem
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 10:18:55 AM »
Thank you for your opinion, Ariel! Considering that, I think that maybe just when he's in the summer I'll get a little bag of it and supplement it a little bit (not as much as the other foods he's eating, just a little for some extra protein), since his swimming habits probably match a dog who is running for a long time.

As for the bowls, on top of teaching him not to eat from the other dogs' bowls and making his food more palatable, I'm going to ask my mom if she's okay with simply moving her dogs' bowls into her bedroom. The other two would be taught where it was, and since Max doesn't usually go in there, there will be less temptation for him. Then, if we need to go somewhere or Max needs to be unsupervised for whatever reason, I can just shut the door to her bedroom. The other two will survive a few hours without access to their bowls. If it's an all day thing, like the renaissance fair, then I would just trust Max and risk giving him too many calories b/c it would be unfair to crate him all day and it's only one day (kind of like how many people pig out on Thanksgiving). Until I feel like he's learned reliably that he's not allowed to eat their food (or realize that he won't get the hint and give up on this whole venture) I'm going to have to tether him unless the food is unavailable to everyone.

It's a complicated situation, but I'll try to figure it out.

I think my end decision (for now) is to give all three dogs Beneful Original since my older two don't need anything special and it's a brand that has worked well for us in the past, and give Max some Beneful Playful Life. He was eating Playful Life with the other two, and I don't think that it's targeted at super active dogs, just the moderately active ones like Max. Of course, that was on free-feed, not a schedule, so I'll have to watch and see if he ends up gaining too many calories from it. Trial and error. Then, when summer comes around and he's swimming like crazy I might add in just a little of something active, but I guess that depends on how he does with Playful Life in the meantime.

Thanks everyone for all of the help!
Max - shih tzu/poodle- SDiT  Max's Facebook Page
Kirby - Pied Cockatiel - official bird of SDC
My YouTube channel (I love receiving feedback on my training methods!)

Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

  • Resident Terrier Wrangler
  • Old Timer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1948
  • Holli and Azkaban
  • Location: North Carolina USA
  • Mood: Tired
  • SDC interest: owner-trainer
Re: How to pick a food and food change problem
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2017, 01:19:56 AM »
Rayner is a little crooked in the front legs, our vet didn't think that it would affect him being able to use a harness to lead but it was something that worried me the entire time he was a SDiT. He holds his wrists awkwardly with his toes kind of slanted, the vet didn't do xrays but said that he felt solid and it looked like it was just the way he prefers to stand. Now that he's not a SDiT we just keep his weight down and try to keep the muscles in his forelimbs strong and mobile so he doesn't develop arthritis or tendinitis. It looks really awkward but it doesn't bother him whatsoever.

Beneful has been the center of a lot of controversy, though it was cleared by the FDA as safe for consumption. It's second most substantial ingredient is corn and it contains dyes to make the kibble more appealing to owners. The first ingredient is chicken, but as we've discussed before, raw meat contains a lot of water and though the food contains more raw chicken than anything else, the chicken may lose it's water and cook down to be a lower percentage than the other ingredients during processing. I know we just got through discussing looking at feeding trials and your independent dog's tolerance of the food over ingredients alone but foods that are mainly or mostly corn are not a very sustainable food for most dogs. Beneful is an okay food and is just fine if that's your only option but if you have any better options I'd seriously consider them. Corn is not a death sentence for a food but it's usually better to see it in smaller, more balanced amounts.

If it's the best food you can afford or if it would be an endeavor to convince your parents to change foods it will be fine. As long as their coats are healthy and they're healthy they will be fine. But if you genuinely are looking for a higher quality food I'd go for something like Rachel Ray's Nutrish Just 6 or Zero Grain brand or Wal-Mart's Pure Balance. I've fed both for prolonged periods of time with sustainable success and they're not as expensive as brands like ProPlan or Nutro. They're actually really reasonably priced for smaller dogs. It wasn't economical for us to buy them because we needed bulk and the cost of those foods in bulk was more than a larger amount of a higher quality food.

14lbs of the Rachel Ray Just 6 will run you about $16, and 15lbs of the Pure Balance Chicken and Rice will run you about $16. Pretty reasonable for small dogs and not a whole lot different in price from Beneful Originals. The Pure Balance is only $3 more than your current food for the same amount at Wal-mart.

Like I said, if you're happy with your food then stick with it. I do think it would easier to keep Max's weight under control with a less starchy food, and neither of the foods I suggested contain dyes which have no place in dog foods in the first place.

We fed Ol' Roy High Performance for a few months when we were literally dirt broke and had just had a baby. We were struggling to put gas in the car much less a decent food in our dog's mouths. Az lost hair from a corn allergy and everyone gained a decent amount of weight, but they survived and didn't suffer any long term ill effects. Whatever food you choose will be the best for your dog because it's the best food you have access to.
-Azkaban, Rayner, and Chewy-
"I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights" -Desmond Tutu
PM me about being pen pals or receiving a holiday card in the mail!