questionscan you help with recommendations on dog food and…

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I can tell you that most of those foods aren't the greatest for dogs (if not the worst). You want something grain free, and that uses some sort of meat as its first ingredient. You also want to steer clear of anything that has a meat "by product" in the label.

I went to dogfoodadvisor.com and read the reviews and the info on there when I was selecting my dog food. I use Blue Wilderness grain free for my German Shepherd. It is more expensive, but I'd rather have a food that my dog is able to absorb, rather than go right thru and leave her hungry for more. Not to mention it keeps my lawn free of pee-burns and is easier to pick up.

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@eraten: Thanks for the info about the site. I'll definitely take it into consideration. My concern is that I won't be able to find a lot of these foods in local stores, as I don't recognize many of the names, and with as much as my 80 lb guy eats, it might be difficult to drive a long ways to find them on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Is there somewhere online that would be able to sell it reasonably priced with cheap shipping?

And do you think the coming and going of his stomach problems are solely related to the poor food quality?

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My mom had a black lab - great dogs! Definitely try out some of the better ingredient foods. She fed him pretty much only Nutro brand, sometimes getting the Wellness or Halo (there was a sample listed on deals some time back) when they were on sale.

Remember, just like for people, the more nutritious the food you give the dog, the healthier he will be. Garbage in - garbage out.

eta- nutro has a coupon you can print out and you can sign up for their loyalty program to get coupons, etc.

Nutro is stocked pretty consistently at Petsmart, Petco, and Farm and Fleet. Hopefully you have something like that near you.

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We've had the best luck with Nature's Domain Turkey Meal and Sweet Potato formula from Costco... For the price the Nature's Domain is awesome food, it has worked wonders for our two labs.

I wouldn't recommend anything by Nutro, our dogs didn't react well to it and it's been generally panned as being inferior quality food at premium prices.

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Perhaps if @nortonsark sees your question, he can give you some insight about the digestion/dewormer. iirc, he is a vet.

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@theselected: You can order most dog-food online but it will be relatively expensive. Residential shipping on 30-50# bags can add up fast. You can find most of the healthier brands at many pet stores, Wal*Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, & similar stores. I'd say next time you're out just make a list of what your store carries and look it up when you get back home. Find the healthiest and best rated brand and try that one out. Hope this helps! You don't have to go all out and get your dog a 5-course meal in a bag, but stay away from Purina and Science Diet, especially for a growing puppy.

By the way, my dog had/has a digestive issue where her body does not produce enough enzymes to break down the food, this caused her to have slow weight gain as a puppy, and she had diarrhea almost always. We add a supplement called Prozyme to her food and it really has helped out a lot. You should talk to your vet and let them know you're concerned with your puppy's health, it maybe something simple!

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In terms of solid/reliable brands, I feed The Intern the cat varieties from Wellness and Before Grain. If I trust my cat to it (and I'm probably more fussy than the cat is about what she eats), I imagine the dog varieties are pretty good too.

If you sign up with Wellness, I know they periodically send coupons. Most of the 'fancy pants' pet food companies do that, and being deals, good to save money whenever possible!

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@theselected: I order my dog food from Amazon.com and get free shipping with Amazon Prime. I have two dogs who have sensitivity to wheat and corn so we feed them Nature's Variety dry food. I can actually buy it cheaper at Amazon than at the local fancy dog food store.

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@theselected: Many health related issues are indeed caused by the food.

Bella is an English Mastiff and a lightweight at 105#. My dog food of choice is Costco's Kirkland Signature. Indeed, it's the biggest reason why I'm a Costco member. A 40# bag lasts around a month. Less "filler" in the dog food = less to feed for the same nutrition.

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Another vote for natures domain. Every food you listed has corn meal as one of the main, if not the most prevelant, ingredient. Dogs are not even able to digest corn, so you are throwing money away because you have to feed extra. Natures domain is the most affordable grain free food I have found. It costs half what my next favorite brand costs. That food alone is worth the $50 for a Costco membership as you will save many times that amount on dog food alone. Food is a huge factor in a variety of health issues for dogs, and the first thing I would do for your dog is get them on to a grain free, or at the very least corn free, diet.

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I did a bunch of research. I had my dogs on Taste of the Wild, and it was good. Then they had a recall, so I was forced to switch because I couldn't get any in a few weeks. My lab mix has the most sensitive stomach ever. Even on TOTW, he farted a bit. Now, I feed my pups Nutro EVO Turkey and Chicken. They love it, and it is actually about the same price as TOTW, and now he doesn't fart and his poop is usually solid. YMMV

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@theselected: There have been many excellent posts about the importance of feeding a high-meat, low-grain feed, which I second (third, fifth, etc.!). However, in terms of the GI problems, it's worth considering everything that's entering his mouth. What kind of treats are you feeding? My littlest one had similar problems to what you're describing and it turned out to be a reaction to made-in-China chicken jerky (in our case, Kirkland (Costco) brand, but there are reports of similar problems with other brands of chicken jerky that are made-in-China). I am not implying that everything made in China is dangerous, but at the moment, there's a GI-distress-from-made-in-China dog treats, just like there's occasionally an epidemic of GI-distress-from-lettuce-grown-in-California, etc.

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@neuropsychosocial: Really the only treats he gets are MilkBones, Munchie Sticks (beef flavored, I think), and the occasional Canine Carry-outs (beef). I heard about the recalls w/ chicken jerky and have avoided it.

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I went by an Animal Specialty store on my lunch break, (not surprisingly they had more stuff for horses & cattle then dogs...), but they did have Taste of the Wild and Infinia which are rated at 5-stars, but neither was 'puppy' specific. Although the Infinia Turkey & Sweet Potato is marketed as 'All Life Stages.' At 9 months, does puppy specific still matter?

We don't have a Costco, but we do have a Sam's Club that just opened up, I may swing by and take a look there to see what they have to offer.

Also, since he is already having problems, does 'phasing in' the change in food matter? Should I work in whatever food I buy over the course of a week, or just change it up on him right away to the newer stuff?

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Also, maybe @nortonsark can answer this, but are there food allergy tests that can be administered to dogs? Maybe that can help me pin down what he doesn't do well with.

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Just seeing if you've established a baseline -- what is the puppy like with no meds and just a regular consistent diet for at least 2 weeks? From that point you should do slow food adjustments and noting what seems to make the loose stools (noting if the food is mainly chicken, or lamb, etc). Also, baseline needs to be established WITHOUT people food being given to the pet. If you do too many food adjustments too soon, that in itself can cause digestive issues. (IMHO)

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I'm a veterinarian and from what you describe, something is wrong. People constantly argue over the "best" dog food. In my opinion all of them are acceptable and your dog should certainly be able to produce formed turds on the foods you have tried. A grain free diet is the simplest way to cover a food sensitivity issue, but my guess is it is a different problem. Apparently the dog has been well "wormed" but the the issue persists. I would suggest a laboratory exam for Giardia and other protozoa type organisms. Chances are that has been done, but double check it. Some dogs have short GI tracts and cannot fully digest their diet. A radiograph with barium can help determine this (rare in labs). Pancreatic Insufficiency is on the top of my list for your dog's problem. A fasting TLI blood test (Trypsin-Like Immunassay) is diagnostic for this condition. If present, supplementation with pancreatic enzymes will improve things but it's expensive. Good Luck!

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@nortonsark: Thanks for the info, I'll definitely pass it along to my vet and see about getting some additional tests done.

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@theselected: I just posted an answer, but I'll expand on the food issue. Nine months is a little young to have developed food allergies and it's pretty much unheard of to have them from birth in dogs. There are blood tests to detect food (and other) antibodies in the blood, and these laboratories tie the antibodies to allergies, but I would pursue the other items I mentioned first. Again, a grain free diet pretty much covers this base anyway. It seems counter-intuitive, but most dogs with food allergies actually show skin problems rather than GI issues. Grain Free can be expensive. The cheapest I have seen is Nature's Domain (made by the Taste of the Wild mill) at Costco. The other Costco/Kirkland foods are pretty good as well. I am convinced you get the most bang for your buck at Costco. I do not believe Sam's Club sells a grain free dog food. Their Member Mark foods are OK, but Costco is better.

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@Everyone: Thank you all very much for the input! I grew up as a kid with dogs, and am now a proud 1st time owner. Like any new 'parent,' I've grown concerned about the well being of my little guy and I now at least feel like I know a lot more about my food choices for him and other potential causes.

It's for the plethora of helpful responses to questions like this that makes me proud to be a member of our online community! I really do appreciate all of the help and I'll continue to monitor this thread for any other suggestions/comments that people may have. (I just wanted to get my big thanks in before it got too old.)

Happy Wooting!

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I didn't read all the responses, but I would definitely take him to a vet just to make sure he doesn't have any other parasites or other issues. All the good dog food in the world isn't going to help if he has some underlying issues.

As for food, I have cats, but I have two brands I stick to for them and I think they both make dog food. One of my cats has a puking issue if I don't feed her the good stuff and I've had good luck with Blue Buffalo Wilderness (grain free) and Natural Balance Grain Free options.

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Over the years I have tried various dog food brands. For the past 5 years I've been feeding my dogs Wellnes Core Grain-Free food and it has been wonderful. Not one digestive problem or negative to report. I haven't found a better dog food. http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/product-details.aspx?pet=dog&pid=135

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Please, please take your pooch to the vet. Something isn't right.

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I have a yellow lab raised from 6 weeks, who is now 8 years old. I'm no vet, but 90 lbs. seems like a lot for a 9 month old pup.

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@jsimsace: He's only 80 lbs, but he looks lean and doesn't appear to have any extra padding. His parent's were both very large too, so I'm not that concerned about his weight.

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@theselected: My bad. My brain saw 90 instead of 80. I've been told that with a Lab you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. 90 just made me think "Wow!".