Career Change Changes

Hill's Science Diet is Guide Dogs for the Blind's primary food choice, so that is what Cabana has been eating all her life. But every once in a while, I hear that Science Diet isn't necessarily the greatest selection out there. Cabana has always done really well with Science Diet, though. She's very regular and seems to enjoy the taste, although she's barely ever eaten anything else but that.

I wondered what other people feed their career change/pet dogs? Is there a food you'd recommend and why?

Also, I went to buy Cabana some training treats the other day. GDB puppies are not allowed to have treats, other than pieces of their regular kibble. When I looked at the VAST assortment, I had no idea what to buy. There's so much talk about some treats not being good, making your dog too fat, or being high in something or another. I don't want to upset Cabana's tummy either. But I'd love to find a highly-motivating treat that I can use to work on Cabana's recall, one that will pull her away from the most inticing distractions. Any ideas?

Ally, Teddy and Kira  – (December 2, 2009 at 9:46 AM)  

I don't have many suggestions on dog food, some of it depends on your local area but our choices here are limited so I feed my dogs Canidae.

As for treats you can get little, or big, rolls of food from pet stores that you can cut up to the size you want and freeze. They are highly motivating, just make sure you don't use too many. I like the Bil-Jac peanut butter treats for my dogs and they love them. Any liver treats, 101 training treats are nice size and dogs love them and they're not too moist. Pretty much any liver treat you can find would be good, just stay away from Zuke's (they cause major gas) if you can and duck food rolls. Have fun choosing a treat and food for your girl!

Mandy and Terence  – (December 2, 2009 at 12:03 PM)  

I'm curious to see what everyone says as food can be such a delicate topic. If we put a much thought into what WE eat a we do our dogs....That said, science diet is a fine company and they put a lot of thought into developing their products. My local vet has been to their research facilities and was thoroughly impressed with their opperations. BUT Hero gets wellness, which has human grade ingredients.. If I was keeping Terence, I would either put him on wellness core or orijen. Wellness core is available at petco and is top of the line, orijen is a bit harder to find but is pretty much the best out there, but here are my general thoughts on food: most every premium food will have the nutrients your dog needs. If you want to pay more for a higher quality food, you will find that your dog will need to eat less and will produce less too. Some people will claim your dog will live longer or be healthier on more expensive foods. I'm not sure I fully believe that, but I guess I doing it just in case. Plus I hate how I need a decoder ring to find the right science diet, (I litterally go into the store repeating thename of the food so I don't buy the right one and STILL mess up occasionally!) and I don't like how it smells. But that's just my opinion! Let us know what you decide!

Alphini's Puppy Raiser  – (December 2, 2009 at 12:58 PM)  

I'm just catching up on my reading...Congratulations on your keeping Cabana! :-) I can tell you're thrilled, yay!

GDTx uses Natural Balance, and our puppies have especially liked the venison formula (and done well on it).

We do use treats and some of our (by which I mean the dogs') favorites are: freeze dried beef liver (#1 with all our pups!!), Old Mother Hubbard (various flavors), chicken jerky-type treats (I break them up into teeny bits), Zuke's mini naturals, & pupperoni. Most of the treats I have to chop up smaller, so the pups don't fill up! I like to mix a few different kinds in my treat pouch so they never know what they're getting next. Keeps them interested. Just some ideas...good luck!

Natalie  – (December 2, 2009 at 1:28 PM)  

Darrell just recently switched to Wellness food because he heard a lot of bad things about Science Diet (too many fillers and stuff). So maybe check into that...

For the treats.. Egypt loves freeze dried liver. They are only 10 calories a piece and are big so we break them into 4 smaller pieces. Just be careful when giving her any new treats because you never know what it will do to her tummy.. Egypt wasn't effected but we were advised to watch her stool because it can be loose for the first couple of times.

By the way, our puppy raiser lady calls the freeze dried liver doggy crack.. thats gotta tell you something lol.

lindsey  – (December 2, 2009 at 1:31 PM)  

If Cabana is doing well on Science Diet and you have no complaints...don't bother changing it!

When I had Ontario I put him on Costco brand (Kirkland) Lamb and Rice formula. If you look at the ingredients on the bag it looks like a pretty good food and he did well on it. Plus you can't beat the price! :)

As far as treats go...Ontario got pieces of "dog log" It's a soft roll of dog food that they really seem to enjoy...I would cut it into small pieces, but you have to remember to keep it in the fridge.

Poppy The Puppy  – (December 2, 2009 at 2:10 PM)  

I recommend no food change until she is home from her spay. Look for the Whole Dog Journals info on dog foods. I always choose a wholistic food for my pets. There are several good ones out there. Different dogs do better in different foods. I prefer Solid Gold, but have used several others. Look for the protein source as the first ingredient and whole meat, not by product. Dog food can bring up a heated debate - people tend to be passionate about it! Be prepared!

As for training treats, watch the calorie content. You don't want to increase her overall calories per day. adjust with her meals. Big training day = less kibble. I like the size of kibble. I want the training treat to be consumed quickly with little chewing so my turn around time is quick. Natural Balance makes a dog food log that is sort of like salami. I like cutting that into kibble sized pieces for training.

Emily  – (December 2, 2009 at 3:15 PM)  

I feed my pet dog and Pepe Iams Lamb Meal and Rice formula. It's quality dog food and it isn't expensive. Any of the Iams foods are good,Eukanuba,or Purina. We found that Beneful made our dog need to "go" more often.
As for treats, for Pepe, I use a combination of Charlie Bears (small crunchy training treats) Bil Jacs (Liver treats) and I also buy the big meat sticks, and cut them up. A large meat stick lasts a really long time.

L^2  – (December 2, 2009 at 4:51 PM)  

From what I've seen dog food is a highly debated topic. There are plenty of independent research companies who have analyzed the many dog food brands and formulas out there and published their results on the internet. They're pretty easy to find if you search for them. From looking into all of this myself a few years ago though, I can tell you that brands like Purina, Eukanuba, Science Diet and Iams all rank VERY LOW in quality. Human grade brands like Canidae, Natural Balance, Wellness, and California Natural all rank very high in quality.

Willow's school fed Purina One/ Pro Plan, but since I finally made the switch about a year ago to feeding her Canidae "senior" formula she's been doing a lot better. Stella currently eats California Natural's Herring and Sweet Potato formula (because she has grain allergies), but she did about the same on Canidae's All Life Stages formula.

High quality human grade food brands do cost a bit more and can be more difficult to find (for me anyway, since I live in the middle of nowhere), but the dog doesn't need to eat as much to meet the nutrition requirements, because these foods don't have all the fillers. So, another bonus is that there's less "mess" to clean up later. ;-)

Bethany  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:08 PM)  

Oh, I feed my GEB pups when they are considered adults "Iams Adult Large Breed Lamb and Rice Formula".

Bethany  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:08 PM)  

With GEB we use treats for training all the time. Usually just their kibble, but I also use these jerky dog treats, Healthy Omega Treats for Dogs (Salmon and Duck), and these other treats called Natural Jerky. I've heard from other raiser's to try to stay away from wheat because sometimes that causes ear infections. And also with my pup, Dahlia, she is no normal lab, she isn't very food motivated so I put her daily treats in a container with hot dogs so that she gets the smell and some of the taste of hot dogs, but not the calories. I hope that helps! :)

Martha G  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:11 PM)  

We just had a conversation about food, so I'll just go on record to say I'm not a fan of Science Diet and think it is smelly, too. I switched Ardella to Canidae No Grain and I really like it. I switched my Cairn terrier to it, too. I've also used Wellness but it didn't agree with the Cairn and so didn't use it for Ardella, although I might.

The Kirkland food from Costco is a good dog food and it's made in the same kitchen as another high-quality food which is essentially the same but higher priced. (I'll have to find out the name of that food this weekend).

I give Ardella a few treats like Fruitables (blueberry) and Plato Dog Treats Chicken Strips for training. I also use rationed kibble. In the summer Ardella likes blueberries and raspberries and I give her frozen berries every once in awhile (like 1 or 2 at a time).

The November issue of The Whole Dog Journal just featured an article on high-quality treats.

One of the things that Ardella adores (as does Aidan the Cairn) is her kibble put in a food ball. She pushes the ball around and picks up her food as it drops out. So, not only do you now get to feed Cabana what you want to feed her, you also get to give her food in a combination of ways. The food balls are great for long-term entertainment value, too.

L^2  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:15 PM)  

Also, in case you're interested, HERE is a link I bookmarked recently that helps you figure up a quality grade for dog foods.

Mimi and CC Cabana  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:27 PM)  

Wow, such great information! Thank you, everyone. Poppy's Raiser, I will definitely not switch until after Cabana's spay. I guess she still might go into season before her spay and need to be boarded, so best not to confuse things!

L2, I love that link you sent! Wow, Science Diet got an F, while Kirkland got an A+! Talk about NOT necessarily getting what you pay for.

Martha, maybe Kirkland is made in the same kitchen as Wellness? At least they got the same exact score of 110.

Poppy The Puppy  – (December 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM)  

Here is one of the many points that gets debated. On that list for scoring the dog foods it says: "12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point"

Highly debated about the number of protein sources the dog is exposed to at once. They can develop allergies to proteins. If your food has a bunch of protein sources in it, you could be setting your dog up for trouble down the line. I'd be careful about using that one as extra credit.

Another treat for you (in all your vegetarian ways!) baby carrots! They LOVE baby carrots! Cut them up and put them in a ziplock bag, then in to your treat pouch. At home, pet dogs in my house also get pieces of apple, pears and always get the last bite of bananas. Various veggies can be added to meals too - especially on those days you do a lot of training and have to cut down dinner! Fresh or unsalted canned green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and various others may get tossed in the bowl. (though you may not want her on the couch after dinner! It produces some stinky gas too!) NO onions, garlic, grapes, raisins or the cores of any fruit. And not too much fruit at once! (Accord LOVES pears and stole a whole bunch one day. Let's just say it wasn't pretty!)

L^2  – (December 2, 2009 at 8:04 PM)  

Yeah, I don't necessarily agree with every point on that list, especially because I have a dog that has to have a somewhat limited diet due to her allergies. But I still thought it was interesting in that it gives a general idea of what to look for and what to avoid in dog foods.

Also, for treats for Willow I mainly just use kibble. Although, occasionally for holidays and stuff my Mom will bring her a few home-baked treats (she has several cookbooks full of pet-friendly recipes to spoil all of her pups and Grandpups with). Willow doesn't get treats often though since her school discourages their use while training/working. And due to Stella's allergies any non-kibble rewards for her tend to be a small bite of banana, cauliflower, carrot, seedless watermelon, or even just an ice cube, depending on what I have in the fridge.

Kim, Bethany and the girls..  – (December 2, 2009 at 8:48 PM)  

We went through many many foods when we decided to keep Claudi (as she was CCed for irritable bowel). Currently our house is doing great on Natural Balance-it is also nice that our company sells Natural Balance, so we can support the company & get a small discount ;-). I hate Science diet and would never feed it (aside from ID)-to any of my dogs if it were up to me. It smells bad, is poor quality, and seems to disagree with dogs more than not!..That's just my opinion!

Al Brittain  – (December 2, 2009 at 9:11 PM)  

We feed Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Adult Canine - I'd recommend that or their Organix for a lotta reasons.

As has already been mentioned, the Whole Dog Journal recommended list is a great starting point. You can see that here:

http://rottndobie.tripod.com/wholedogjournal.html

Carrie and Waffle  – (December 4, 2009 at 12:48 AM)  

Carrots! Carrots! I love carrots! sometimes I get a bit of apple and this really smooshy thing that mom puts on her own kibble in the morning. I hear Carrie say carrots are good for my figure, I thought they were good for my eyes? I don't really have a choice in what I eat, but the peeps use Natural Balance - my coat is nice and shiny and Carrie says my kisses are not nearly as goopy and sloppy as they were with Science Diet.
But I love carrots. They are crunchy and sweet yum! CARROTS!
love
Waffle

OSU 98  – (December 4, 2009 at 9:19 AM)  

I feed the Chelsonator Nutro Large Breed Adult dog food in the blue bag. Her meals consist of dog food, green beans and a cookie. Given that Cabana and Chelsie are at very different stages in their lives, their dietary needs are different. But I have been able to maintain a very regular relieving schedule with this food, which is mission critical to my schedule - which is why having to feed her three times a day after her surgery was a MAJOR pain. It caused her to have to ahem, do her business in a major way in the morning, leaving her mother feeling indrecibly guilty.

As far as treats are concerned, I treat and reward with Charlee Bear treats, which you can buy at Petsmart or Trader Joes. Literally, they look like little oyster crackers - Chelsie loves them and they only have 3 calories, which is why I use them for agility, and for her sit/stands in her rehab program. A lot of people I train with also use frozen Bill Jac food as treats, which can be purchased at your local grocery store. I also see a lot of people suggested carrots, and Chelsie firmly believes in carrots as well.

Whatever you decide to do, I would ask GDB for guidance in switching her food - I am sure you will come to find out this too is a transition. I held my breath for about 3 weeks until we transitioned successfully with no major issues...

Martha G  – (December 5, 2009 at 3:21 PM)  

The Kirkland food is made in the same kitchen as Blue Buffalo, according to my local pet training facility. Kirkland scores higher than Blue Buffalo though.

I saw a lot of good foods at PetCo the other day. They've really changed their food selection.

Maddie, Gabrina (IFT), and Betsy (PIT)  – (December 6, 2009 at 8:29 PM)  

GDB recommends Purina One Lamb and Rice if you don't want to pay to feed Science Diet. Betsy in on the puppy formula and our pet dogs eat the adult formula. And they all do great on it!

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