Dog Food Quandry

Hey DC readers!

So we’re trying to decide what brand of puppy food to keep Biscuit on, and I was hoping some of you fellow foodies could help!


We did some online research and found that Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul has good quality ingredients and is reasonably priced, so we’ve been trying to change him on to that food. But at our first vet appointment yesterday, the vet suggested that Iams and Science Diet are good brands that have a lot of long term research under their belts. When we pushed back a little he said that Iams were the people who broke the story about melamine in pet food a few years ago but that they didn’t get any credit.

I like science and data… so I appreciate that companies like Iams put a lot of money and research in to their product. I also understand that millions of dogs have been on Iams for years and done extremely well. I also understand the philosophical argument that better quality foods (without things like corn gluten meal and meat byproducts) should be more nutritious. We know that a fast food cheeseburger isn’t good for a person everyday, so we’re likely to think it’s not good for dogs either. But aside from passionate debate and outcry on the message boards, I haven’t seen much actual data about what’s better.

Have any of you run across data about what is actually healthier for dogs in the long run? What does your vet recommend?


10 Responses to “Dog Food Quandry”

  1. Laura says:

    We feed Eukanuba Natural Lamb and Rice (started with puppy, and we’ve just moved to the adult food). I really like it. Westies are prone to allergies, and dogs that are prone seem to react less to the lamb and rice formula. I have also found, especially with the adult food, that his stools are really infrequent and not too large, which makes for easier cleanup. He doesn’t always eat his food, which makes me think what he does eat is filling him up nicely. My vet also said this was a good food. Eukanuba is also not as expensive as the Nutro brand, which I think comes highly recommended, but it has many of the same ingredients. Also, my other piece of advice is definitely don’t feed the amount recommended on the package. We always fed 1/8 to 1/2 cup less than the recommended amount while he was a puppy, and now he consistently get 1/4 cup less than what’s listed. Remember they’re out to sell dog food, and you’re also going to be feeding loads of treats in the first few months of his life as your train him, so he’s not going to go hungry.

    I have never tried feed Iams or Science Diet, but I will say that my cats were on both those brands and were always overweight. Now, that may have been a problem with the amount we fed, so I don’t know.

    Finally, let me recommend carrots as good don’t-worry-about-giving-him-too-much treats. They’re fat free, low on calories, and dogs love ’em. Yorick gets whole baby carrots whenever I’m feeling particularly loving, which is like nine times a day. He gets tiny pieces of hot dog when we’re training him, and Milkbone biscuits when he goes in his crate.

  2. Cat H. says:

    Well, this is not the data your asking for…but if you want local and (I think) relatively good quality, check out Sammy Snacks (they have a website). My cats were on their food for a long while before we switched to a prescription diet. (And, consider this not a recommendation, just a suggested idea. I’m not sure how their dog food stacks up…)

  3. Stephanie says:

    Our vet recommended Science Diet. Scout has been on it for a few years now and has done fine. I don’t have any actually data resources though. Scout has been through several different surgeries and treatments due to abuse from a previous owner and she’s been on Science Diet the whole time, except when she had to eat the wet canned food (yuck!) because it would be easier to digest.

    Though, if she could tell you what was best for her, she’d say, “Salty, crunchy, pretzel sticks!”

  4. Heather (Ghost Baker) says:

    Thanks, Laura. I think our breeder recommended Eukanuba. I haven’t looked into that one too much yet. I definitely agree with feeding less than the recommended amount. We haven’t tried carrots yet as treats, but that’s pretty adorable. We did get some Old Mother Hubbard puppy treats, which are a little pricey but he’s at least enjoying them. We’ll have to start using carrots sometimes so that he doesn’t become a fat boy!

    Cat – Our vet actually mentioned that Sammy Snacks are fine for treats, but that he doesn’t like the kibble so much. He said he went to a local conference and asked the Sammy Snack people what kind of testing they’re doing to make sure the food is safe and nutritious long term, and they said they send home the food with their employees to give to their dogs. Our vet didn’t so much like that response. Who knows!

    Sam – It’s funny.. lots of websites say vets only recommend Science Diet because they get kick backs for promoting it, but then at the same time the only way the other dog food brands are going to get more customers is by showing that the big guys like Science Diet and Iams are bad for dogs and out to get you. So hard to know!

  5. Heather M. says:

    We have Wyatt on Blue Buffalo brand kibble. It was highly recommended by both the vet and the rescue group. He started on the puppy version and has now graduated to the adult lamb and brown rice recipe. He has a pretty sensitive stomach and this is one that agrees with him. Whatever you select, I would recommend that you only pick one that is readily available in a store near you. It is surprising how much they eat and how quickly a 30lb. bag of food disappears. The last thing you want is to run out of food and not be able to get more easily.
    Here are a few resources you might find helpful. Yes, the one is run by a kibble company, but the information is still useful.

  6. Heather (Ghost Baker) says:

    Thanks so much, Heather! I just clicked to the rescue group site and this link on choosing pet food is particularly helpful. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction!

    Another link I’ve found in the search process is The Dog Food Project – it looks like it has some helpful and unbiased info.

  7. Meghan Iams says:

    Of course my vote is for IAMS. hehe

  8. CM says:

    I would NEVER feed my pet Iams. Most vets seem to like either Iams or Science Diet. I’d go with Science Diet of those 2 choices but I personally feed my babies Royal Canin. I did alot of research when Codee got sick and Royal Canin is my #1 choice. I’ve also fed Nutro and Flint River Ranch in the past. They were okay, but Royal Canin is both easy to find, affordable and quality ingredients. The breeder had fed Eukanuba but that didn’t last long b/c of my Iams-aversion.

  9. Heather (Ghost Baker) says:

    Hey guys – check out this site I found. The editors review the foods by ingredient listing and rank them. I’ve found it very helpful! Looks like the Chicken Food for the Pet Lover’s Soul we’ve been using is ranked highly – as is Blue Buffalo.

  10. Lou Robinson says:

    We’re had our Shelties on Canine Caviar for years and it’s excellent. All natural ingredients without allergens. Gives them incredibly soft coats and it’s also very low residue. Our vet thinks it’s great too. We buy it throug, since there is no local supplier.