These options are Not WSAVA recommended, so do your homework.
Check into these brands further to make sure you are comfortable feeding them to your dog.
Contact the manufacturers and ask tough questions. Make sure their answers are solid, not just fluff.
What am I looking for:
- no suspected DCM ingredients (if there are, they are in small amounts)
- no corn wheat, or soy
- no millet – it can interfere with the thyroid
I went through most of the brands, omitted the grain-free and other suspect formulations, then took a hard look at the ingredient lists of what was left. This list is what was left to choose from for food over $50.00.
I am going to point out any problems I see in the ingredient list, but remember, I am human and I can make a mistake (or 3). Double check my work. Don’t just take my word for it. My goal is to point you in a direction that allows you to choose the best you can for you and your dog.
Keep in mind all those wonderful sounding ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and probiotics are pretty much there just for looks. Most of the nutrition and probiotics are rendered useless or even harmful during the process of creating kibble.
My idea? Choose a basic formula that is low in carbs and ticks all the safety boxes. Then add your own fresh foods, fish, probiotics, etc.
In this post, I will give you my pick, and why I chose it for my dogs.
Looks like customers like this product. Check out the stars and number of reviews. Not a huge amount of reviews, but it’s more than 10.
42% carbs. A good number for kibble. As you see, I didn’t highlight anything on this label, so I’ll just point a few things out. Too much rice for my dogs – listed twice in the top 4 ingredients. I’ll see a decline in their coats and an increase in eye boogers. Fish meal is any kind of fish, in any state of being (could be dead or diseased, who knows). A probiotic formula, which, if it went through the kibble production process, is dead and won’t help your dog at all. All in all, not bad.
Someone gave this product 4 stars.
39% carbs. Looks good from a carb standpoint. Again, too much rice for my dogs – listed twice in the top 3 ingredients. If combined rice would probably be the first ingredient. Fish oil is from any fish, in any state of being. Again, the probiotic formula looks nice but probably won’t help your dog. They do list their omega 6 and 3 percentages. The numbers are a little too far apart for me, but you could always add some omega 3s to make it better. Check the calories per cup, you may need to cut back a little if what you are currently feeding is lower in calories. All-in-all a decent looking label. It is similar to American Eagle, but a little more expensive.
Almost 5 stars with a few reviews. Let’s see what we find.
47% carbs. A little high, but still below 50%. Look at all of those pretty ingredients. Remember, they really don’t do much for your dog and could, quite possibly, be a problem in the whole diet-related DCM issue. We’ll find out when the studies are done. Not a fan of canola oil – GMO and not as stable as the marketing tells you. We have 3 added amino acids, D/L Methionine (D = synthetic and harder for your dog to process), L-Lysine, and L-Carnitine, which tell you the meat source isn’t good enough to provide them. Most of the protein is probably from plants.
Many people are switching to Farmina with Ancestral Grains. It’s not a grain-free formula, but a low grain formula. Check out the stars and review numbers.
35% carbs is awesome for a kibble! Whole spelt – keep in mind, this is sprouted wheat. It’s a bit better than regular flour because the sprouting tells the wheat berries they can release a lot of compounds used to protect the berry from being eaten (harmful to anything that wants to eat it) while waiting for spring. But is it helpful? Not sure. It has to go through the high-heat process to make kibble. My guess is that anything good was rendered useless. If your dog has a wheat allergy, don’t choose this formula -just in case. And there they are. 3 amino acids had to be added in. Not enough quality meat sourced protein. Omega 6’s to 3’s aren’t bad. There are a few pretty ingredients to entice you to buy this formula. For the price of the smaller bag size, I would probably pass on this one.
A bit high priced for the size bag. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
47% carbs is a bit on the high side. Not a fan of canola oil. Natural lamb flavor? What is that? Probably chemicals and MSG (a brain excitotoxin). And again, 3 amino acids have had to be added (lamb is naturally low in taurine, so adding in the amino acids your dog can use to produce their own taurine is often necessary). Pretty ingredients to get you to buy. Same with the probiotic products. Omega 6’s and 3’s could be better in a skin and coat formula. Personally, I would pass.
I used to rotate their grain-free formulas in and out of my dog’s diets. Every time we would get through most of the bag, their coats would get bad. Not even my toppers helped. I would always go back to raw feeding afterward. So I tried their other grain inclusive formula and did not have a problem. But, as I learned more about diet-related DCM, I found that formula contained some peas and potatoes in it. I won’t be feeding that one again. I have not tried this particular formula but really did consider trying it. I opted for something else, just to see if it worked for my dogs. If it did, I would probably stick with it. That product is coming up.
41% carbs are good. Omega 6’s and 3’s could be a bit better. Look at all the pretty ingredient. They are why I was having a hard time deciding. The marketing is hard to let go. The struggle is real! Haha. So all those pretty ingredients, the useless probiotics and the fact they had to add an amino acid (DL-Methionine) gave my mind permission to try something different.
This is the brand we are testing out right now. I know. Only 4 stars and 6 reviews. Read on to find out why I’m trying it.
40% carbs and very few pretty ingredients. Every ingredient is named. No added probiotics. Rice is lower on the list (7th and nowhere else), this is good for my dogs. Sodium chloride is salt. It’s highlighted just to reference that anything after it is in very small amounts. Omega 6’s and 3’s aren’t great, but I am going to add in. Calories are low, but that’s okay because I want to add in. As of this writing, my dogs have been on this for about 2 weeks and their coats feel amazing! Even better than the grain formula from Health Extension. I chose this because it appears to be a great base formula (right now my dogs are telling me it is) that I can add into. Right now our weather is still cool so I make homemade broths and add in meat, some veggies, coconut oil, turmeric, a probiotic (not all of the time), mackerel or sardines (not all of the time), and chia or flax seed on rotation. When the weather gets warmer I will probably switch to raw. This brands’ formula is a bit pricy, but worth it for us if it continues to work well for our dogs. *Update* My dogs did not end up doing well on this. Their coats soon lost all vibrancy. They felt dirty and greasy. I went against every instinct and put them on Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Lamb and Oat formulation. It took about a week, but their coats are fabulous. Their minds are bright and focused, and their bodies are full of energy. Never thought I’d see the day, but here it is.
All the stars and all the reviews! Worth it? Let’s see.
45% carbs. Okay. Too much rice for my dogs. Rice is listed twice in the first 4 ingredients. Canola oil, you already know I’m not a fan. A whole lot of pretty ingredients and added probiotics. They could be a problem, but at best offer limited value. No added amino acids. That’s a plus. Omega 6’s and 3’s actually look good. Not bad.
Okay Natural Balance feeders, I found one. Stars are good and there are a lot of reviews.
50% carbs puts this right on the border for me. Also can’t feed it to my dogs because of the high amount of rice, but if your dog needs to be off the other grains, or can’t handle a mix of grains, this could work for you. Canola oil, you know how I feel. Natural flavor could mean anything, even MSG. An amino acid (taurine) did need to be added – remember that lamb is naturally low in taurine. Otherwise, this could work for dogs who need limited ingredients.
The only Nutro brand formula I could find for you. Stars and reviews are great.
44% carbs. Okay. Too much rice for us (3 times in the first 5 ingredients). Natural flavor is probably nothing good. Sunflower oil isn’t the best for going through the high-heat kibble process. The amino acid D/L-Methionine had to be added. You can see there is lamb on the label and you might think the amino acid is added because of that, but there is chicken in this recipe as well. I don’t think lamb is the problem. Quite a few pretty ingredients. If you like Nutro and your dogs handle rice well, this isn’t bad.
A big bag for the price.
45% carbs. Okay. Rice is twice in the top 3 ingredients. A good guess is that if you combined them they would be the first ingredient. Fish meal – what kind of fish and what state of being were they in? Natural chicken flavor – chemicals and who knows what. Sunflower oil isn’t stable enough to go through high heat. An amino acid had to be added. Probiotics are added and probably useless.
A smaller bag, a few reviews, but they gave this almost 5 stars.
41.5% carbs. Pretty good. Too much rice for my dogs. Olive oil sounds great but isn’t stable in high heat. Natural flavor, you know how I feel. Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide (EDDI) – if you feel safe with it, go ahead. I’m always suspicious of GRAS ingredients and this sounds like it would be better in farm production than dog food. Otherwise, it is another base formula that you could add into.
And that’s it!
There was another high priced brand, I mean really high priced, that I left out because of its price and the ingredient list was no better than any of the lists I have shown you in the last 3 posts. If you want to dig around Chewy to find it, go ahead. I’ve already forgotten what it was.
I know I didn’t write complete sentences or anything like that. I wanted to keep it as short and simple as I could, so you could make a decision without a lot of digging.
Don’t forget to follow up your choice by contacting the company and asking questions about their nutritionists, testing of ingredients, quality control and/or anything else you would like to know. Make sure you are comfortable with your choice.
Remember these are NOT WSAVA recommended.
If you are feeding grain-free kibble and your dog can tolerate being on a kibble with grain in it, please, please, please switch. Your dog’s life is worth it.
If you have ANY questions, please post them in the comments.
Peace and Joy,
P.S. If you missed the diet-related DCM intro ===>Click Here<===
If you missed the WSAVA recommended foods ===>Click Here<===
If you missed the low cost, not WSAVA recommended foods ===>Click Here<===