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Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 11:53
by blueboysgirl
Hi all,
I've been feeding Bruno Pro Plan Puppy since forever, as this is what the breeder was using and it never occurred to me to change it.
After reading some reviews, and seeing as there is a special offer in P&H, I have ordered 2 bags of James Wellbeloved fish and rice. It seems like better quality, but I'm still confused over brands.

My criteria -
Easily digestible
Does what it's supposed to do
Company does not test on animals
No rubbish ingredients (unidentifiable additives etc on the pack)
Within budget, around £3 or £4 per kg.

Any suggestions???

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:09
by Littleoaks
Hi Claire,
Although it's not dry, I use Natural Instinct puppy complete. It comes in 1kg packets and I buy 10 at a time as don't have enough freezer space to buy any more. It costs £32 for 10 packs so £3.20 per kilo and Truffle loves it.
I sometimes give it with a handful of mixer but most of the time, just on its own and do alternate and give her sardines etc but have to say she enjoys the Natural Instinct one the most.
They do a trial pack for £15.00 I think which is 5 packets.
I'm sure Bruno would love it.
By the way, love your training tales, we are going through it with Truffle too who is brilliant at training and just thinks bu$$er it when she gets home!


Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:10
by baby_depardieu
Oh i think the whole feeding issue is driving me demented... :lol: . I am stopping with the Royal Canin that Betty was feed from her breeder... my reasons are because 1) its tested on animals, 2) She never eats it, and 3) her poos are always a bit soft....

LOADS of people have recommended Orijen for lots of reasons, and i think they are more ethical on the animal testing... unfortunately more expensive but the ingredient quality looks very good - human grade meat and fish and no grains (which is what is possibly making the poo so squidgy)

I was going to go down the Natural Instinct route (BARF) not always as convenient and i dont have enough room in my freezer :(... so im thinking of changing her to Orijen... and giving her the odd meaty bone as a treat instead of a meal once a week etc.

Arden Grange as also been recommended.

This site tells you how ethical the pet food companies are:

Ive got a really good independent pet food store near me and they let me have free samples of the dry stuff.... and i think you can get trial packs from most of the companies website to try...


Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:21
by awaitingrodders
Natural Instinct is great 8)
I didn't think Jackson liked it much but I actually think it was more to do with our fridge playing up and it not being fresh enough....... :? more money spent but finally sorted :wink:

Now he whoofs it up.....I mix using this with chicken wings, pork ribs and my own mince, veg and offal concoctions. I worked out that I can feed Jackson for £2.00 a day BARF ....... pretty good I think and comparable to good quality dry food. 8)

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:34
by zebedee
Hi we are trying Barking Heads at the moment, Green Dog Food another good one.x.

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:38
by blueboysgirl
Okay, thanks so much for your help. I'd still be interested to know anybody else's opinions on this as I'm really confused!!

baby_depardieu - that website was fab, although I'm disappointed that my James Wellbeloved was on the hate list ( :?: )

On your advice, I phoned Arden Grange, who were lovely :D and will send me a free trial pack of their puppy food. I also contacted Naturediet and although they don't do free trial :( , I have bought a mixed tray of 18 for puppies, at £16.30, including delivery :) .

I think I'm getting somewhere!!!! :shock:

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:41
by blueboysgirl
Littleoaks wrote:Hi Claire,

By the way, love your training tales, we are going through it with Truffle too who is brilliant at training and just thinks bu$$er it when she gets home!

:lol: Glad you are enjoying my pain!!
It is actually quite funny, if you think about it, but only IF IT'S HAPPENING TO SOMEBODY ELSE!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 12:58
by Bid
One thing about Orijen, I believe that although it is expensive, you don't need to feed as much of it - which makes it a little bit more reasonable I think.

Daisy was a Pro-plan puppy too, but with hindsight she grew much too quickly. You do the best you know at the time though don't you :D .

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 13:12
by Mica1971
Please remember to change gradually though, you don't want pup ending up with a dodgy tummy.

Frosty is the font of all knowledge when it comes to feeding, if you PM her I am sure she will help you as much as she can.

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 13:14
by Liz!
i know Lola is small but she only eats 30g of Orijen, twice a day, as it is so rich! The puppy pack we got when she was 5 months is only just finishing and she is now 9 months. i think its the best on the market and I spent ages researching before we got her.

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 13:22
by baby_depardieu
Liz! wrote:i know Lola is small but she only eats 30g of Orijen, twice a day, as it is so rich! The puppy pack we got when she was 5 months is only just finishing and she is now 9 months. i think its the best on the market and I spent ages researching before we got her.

Thats interesting to know.. im about to change Betty onto Orijen after all the great things ive heard about it - good to know it could work out cheaper as Betty is a mini too. The lady at the good pet store said its the closest dry complete to feeding BARF...


Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 13:53
by Daisy(mini)Doodle
Science plan , buy it when its on offer and make sure you weigh out the amounts dosnt work out any dearer than cheaper brands because of the amount you feed + the dog eats it

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 17:47
by sajwhite
We're on Burns...

Ollie was originally on Royal Canin but didn't like it so we swapped to Burns and haven't looked back...

My Mum has recently put her elderly lab on it...he's had stomach problems all his life but is like a different dog with Burns

It is confusing...there are so many different opinions out there..Good Luck

Sarah and Ollie

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 18:30
by Liz!
Science plan isn't a good food, it has maize as one of the main ingredients and has artificial stool hardeners in and other nasties.

Re: Which dry complete?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010, 21:47
by frosty
Had a couple of Pms regarding this thread, so thought id post what I wrote on "another" forum :wink:
Hope this helps :D

What to look for in a complete food:

Did you know that the commercial petfood industry is a billion pound business just in the UK? There are literally hundreds of different brands to choose from, let alone individual products within each brand, so its no wonder that people get confused deciding what is the best type of food to feed their dogs. People want convenience, but they also want to ensure that whatever they choose will benefit their dog nutritionally.
Its important to say that not one brand or brand product will suit every dog. Each dog is different and may have individual intolerances, taste preferences or specific health issues that need dietary restrictions. Its also fair to point out that if there was an “ideal” complete as the marketing people like to tell us, every product would have similar ingredients and typical analysis (eg protein & carb levels) , and they don’t. The variety between just one product range by one manufacturer is enough to send you into confusion.

As every commercial petfood on the market contains different ingredients, and each one has the potential to cause symptoms of allergy or intolerance in some dogs you have to learn by trial and error which ratio works best for your dog. So it’s not surprising that people feel confused or are persuaded by clever marketing that they are feeding their pet a good quality food, when the truth is they are not

So when choosing a commercial brand of Food what should you look for?

Meat/ Fish etc should be listed as the first ingredient. Meat is easily digestible and should be the main protein source. Also look for a named meat…i.e. chicken meal, as opposed to “meat meal” as it could contain absolutely anything. The meat content should always be high.

Purchase dried foods in smaller bags and vary the protein sources regularly. I.e. Chicken one month, Lamb another. Buying a huge 20kg bag which is open for a few months before it’s used up will “go off” and not be as nutritionally viable. Keeping food in tight storage containers improves longevity too. Food allergies are also more likely to develop if the dog is fed the same food all the time.

Select Naturally preserved food. I.e. Preserved with Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols), Vit C (Ascorbic Acid) instead of chemicals.

Low Grains- (rice, wheat, maize, corn, barley, oats to name a few). Be careful to read the label and check ALL grain sources. Food labelling can be deceiving and just because they label meat first doesn’t mean it’s the main ingredient. Grains tend to be split to hide the overall content so for e.g. wheat, Maize, prairie meal etc when all added together means that grains are the main ingredient.

What to avoid:

Fancy Packaging – Because the marketing department will love you for that. What’s important is the ingredients and breakdown, so the most basic packaging may be ingredient wise superior to others. Dont forget advertising, especially on TV, costs money so that cost has to be absorbed in the food. Bakers is a good example of fancy bright packaging, TV coverage and the nutritional content is horrendous.

Artificial Preservatives – (BHA, BHT or Ethoxyquin) , another sign of a low quality food. These are usually labelled as permitted EC additives, EC permitted colourants and antioxidants. Ethoxyquin is banned from use in foods for human consumption except for the use of very small quantities as a colour preservative for spices. Find a food with natural preservatives such as Vitamin E instead.

Meat Derivatives , digest or by products (meal is Ok). These descriptions basically translate to horns, hooves, beaks, feathers to name a few. There is some disagreement whether whole meat is preferable to meal. Meal means it has been dehydrated, so if a meal is listed as the first ingredient, there is greater likelihood that the food contains more meat than grains. When whole meats such as chicken, lamb, turkey etc are listed as the first ingredient, there may actually be much less meat due to the weight of the moisture in the meat. Both whole meats and meals are considered acceptable as long as they are identified and not generic (e.g., not "meat meal" or "meat and bone meal").

High in Grains- Avoid food that have grains as the main ingredient. Better to choose a brand that has a smaller percentage of grains where possible as these tend to be high in carbohydrates which are difficult for a dog to digest and will tend to increase weight in our dogs. They are present in many commercial brands and are more likely to cause digestive intolerances. These include wheat, maize, corn, rice etc and if the main ingredient, should be avoided. Wheat and oats also contain Gluten.

Salt and sugar. Sugar can damage the pancreas and drain vitamins and minerals from the body. Yeast also thrives on sugar. Excessive salt content leads to kidney and heart problems.

High in Carbohydrates . Food should be high in protein in the form of quality meat ingredients, not high in carbohydrates from grains. Contrary to many myths and popular beliefs, there is no harm in feeding a high quality protein diet to dogs of any age, including puppies and seniors. Studies have proved that protein does not cause joint issues in puppies, nor lead to kidney disease in older dogs. In fact, protein is extremely beneficial: it supports the immune system and the central nervous system, contributes to wound healing, helps build lean muscle, and is required for skin and coat health. There is absolutely no reason to limit the amount of protein you feed your dog. However you must ensure it is high digestible protein from Meat/ Eggs as opposed to grains. Look for foods that are high in proteins from meat sources, rather than the typical high-carbohydrate diets that are more commonly available. Dogs find it hard to digest complex carbohydrates that are used in dog food mostly as an inexpensive source of calories (grains are also used to supply low-quality protein in some foods), and to help bind dry food together into kibble. Studies indicate that highly digestible protein, low-carb foods with moderate amounts of fat also help dogs lose weight better than the traditional high-carb, low-fat (and often low-protein) weight loss diets.

Low Price: generally the lower the price, the lower the quality of the food especially at the lower end. Eg £15 and under for a large 15kg bag of dried food will definitely mean very poor ingredients.

Ive added a bit of a “biography”of what ingredients actually translate to in our head.

Understanding Food Labels:

Ingredients are listed on a pet food label in order of pre-cooking weight; heaviest to lightest. Ie,the first five or so ingredients, by weight, make up the majority of the pet food. So even if you just look at the first 3-4 ingredients and understand them, you’ll be on the right track as to whether its good or not.

So whats good and whats bad? Not an easy question as it may not be bad if it only makes up a small percentage, but on the other hand even the smallest amount may have an effect on your dogs overall health.
Ive listed some examples (in alphabetic order) and tried to explain what they are, and if to be avoided. Its certainly not an exhaustive list, and I can add to this as time goes on.

Animal Fat : Animal fats are a mixture of fats rendered from different animals. The source of these are diverse and include restaurant artificial preservatives and factory by-products. The mixture of different animals makes it hard to avoid particular ingredients if your dog has an allergy or intolerance. First you can never be sure which animal fats are present and secondly they can vary batch to batch so that even if your dog can tolerate it, this could be different in a later batch of dog food.
Due to the nature of animal fat, they tend to be preserved with such as BHT, BHA or Ethoxyquin to prevent rancidity as it is hard to preverve them naturally. Avoid!

Ash: Ash content is given as a percentage. It isn't an ingredient that is added but the total mineral content of the product after incinerations look for a product with a named fat source i.e. Chicken fat or lamb fat.

Derivatives of Vegetable Origin: This term allows the use of anything that is not classed as a cereal. It is generally waste material from the Human food preparation industry. By the time it is processed at high temperature, it contains no nutritional value except as another fibre source. It is inexpensive to use and is classed as another bulking agent "Derivatives of vegetable origin" is a generic term used to describe by-products of vegetable origin. This is yet another term that is commonly used in pet foods that covers many different ingredients so that pet food manufacturers can use the cheapest available. Avoid!
Official definition: Derivatives resulting from the treatment of vegetable products in particular cereals, vegetables, legumes and oil seeds.

Cereals: Cereals" is a term used to cover many different grains used in pet foods. When you see this as an ingredient, it means that you cannot be certain what is actually in your dog food because they are not using a "named" ingredient. This allows manufacturers to use the cheapest grain available at the time of manufacture and this can change batch to batch. Try and Avoid!

Corn/ maize/ prairie meal- All the same thing. Labelling is clever and they will split these down so that it looks like meat is the main ingredient. Add all of these together and Corn is infact the main ingredient. Corn is a frequently used pet food ingredient; however it can be difficult for dogs to digest. Used as a carbohydrate source, it is cheap and in the main is used as a filler. In high amounts Avoid

EC permitted additives: The term "EC permitted additives" covers a large range of different chemicals, allowing a pet food manufacturer to use any of them without having to individually name any of them. This includes artificial colours and flavourings which are known to cause hyperactivity. More worryingly, pet foods using this term can contain preservatives such as BHA, BHT and Ethyoxquin which have been shown to cause cancer. Avoid!

Grains: These can be Wheat, Rice, Maize, Barley, Oats. Its preferable to choose Oats, Rice, millet, Barley based, as opposed to wheat or Maize but never choose one that has grains as their main ingredients.

Meal: Can be classed a Chicken meal, lamb meal etc.
Meals are prepared by the heating, drying and grinding whole or parts of warm blooded land animals from which the fat has been partially extracted or physically removed. The product has to be free from hooves, horn, bristle, hair and feathers as well as digestive tract content. A quality ingredient.

Meat: Fresh un-dehydrated meat. A good product highly digestible product that should be top of the ingredient list. A quality ingredient

Meat v meal: EG: Chicken and Chicken Meal are meat ingredients providing essential meat protein. Chicken is obviously chicken meat; Chicken Meal is chicken meat with the moisture removed. Any meat contains a high amount of moisture, up to 70% moisture. Chicken Meal is chicken with the moisture removed and thus provides the dog or cat with more protein nutrition by weight. These are both quality ingredients.

Propylene Glycol is a preservative that is used in pet foods. It is best avoided as it known to cause problems such as hair loss, dull coat, diarrhoea etc . Avoid!

Rice: Rice is the most digestible of all grains and is known to be low in allergy risk and so is found in many "hypo-allergenic" pet foods. If just listed as rice, it will be white rice. Brown rice is usually listed just as that and is rich in unsaturated fatty acids and B Vitamins. OK if not listed as main ingredients.

Rosemary/ Rosemary extract: Rosemary is used in pet foods as a preservative as it is a natural antioxidant. Quality Ingredient

Seaweed: Or otherwise known as kelp. Is a great source of iodine and minerals. Quality ingredient.

Soya/ Soy : Soybeans are widely used in dog foods as a protein source. However, Soy is commonly known as a cause of food allergies in dogs. Avoid

Sugar beet pulp: added as a source of fibre. Not really much food value. Not an easy ingredient to avoid, but not harmful.

Tocopherols: Tocopherols (vitamin E) are a naturally occurring antioxidant which is used to preserve pet foods. Tocopherols are often made from edible vegetables oils. The use of Tocopherols in a dog food is a good indication of a better dog food. Quality ingredient.

Vegetable Protein extracts: All products of vegetable origin in which the proteins have been concentrated by an adequate process to contain at least 50% crude protein, as related to the dry matter, and which may be restructured or textured.

Wheat/ wheat gluten: Wheat is a grain used as a carbohydrate source in dog foods, however it is associated with causing allergies in many dogs. Avoid!

Pet Food Label "Rules"

The 95% Rule: If the product says “Salmon Cat Food” or “Beef Dog Food,” 95% of the product must be the named ingredients. A product with a combination label, such as “Beef and Liver for Dogs,” must contain 95% beef and liver, and there must be more beef than liver, since beef is named first. A better quality product.

The 25% or “Dinner” Rule: Ingredients named on the label must comprise at least 25% of the product but less than 95%, when there is a qualifying “descriptor” term like “dinner,” “entree,” “formula,” “platter,” “nuggets,” etc. In “Beef Dinner for Dogs,” beef may or may not be the primary ingredient. If two ingredients are named (“Beef and Turkey Dinner for Dogs”), the two ingredients must total 25%, there must be more of the first ingredient (beef) than the second (turkey), and there must be at least 3% of the lesser ingredient.

The 3% or “With” Rule: A product may be labelled “dog Food with beef” if it contains at least 3% of the named ingredient. Avoid!

The “Flavour” Rule: A food may be labelled “Turkey Flavour dog Food” even if the food does not contain such ingredients, as long as there is a “sufficiently detectable” amount of flavour. This may be derived from meals, by-products, or “digests” of various parts from the animal species indicated on the label. Avoid!

Its not imperative that you understand Every ingredient in a petfood, however by just basically understanding a bit of the above, it will help you make a better informed choice when selecting a food for your dog.
I can’t name and go into every brand of dogfood for obvious reasons, but if you like the look of a particular food then please post the details and i will be more than happy to analyse it for you.

Some other good sites to find further information on Commercial petfood and how your brand rates.

Quality v Value

Its important to a lot a people to be able to budget their pets food into the overall cost of their household bills. The super Premium brands such as Orijen, although are superior in terms of ingredients are not always affordable to all.
Also convenience is sometimes an issue. Some of the more reasonable priced foods which are also high quality, eg Greendogfood, can only be ordered online from specialist pet places, which again is not always convenient for people.

In these instances the best thing to do is find a reasonably priced, quality food that is easily accessible (ie from the supermarket, PAH etc) , and just add bits of high quality human type protein based food additions to bump up its quality.
Low priced top grade foods could be tins of value sardines, eggs, Offal, cottage cheese and left over meat scraps. All these foods are easily accessible and cheap and will boost the nutritional content of the chosen commercial food.

My Ratings of Premium, Quality, Value and Convenience Brands

This list is by no means exhaustive, and new products come onto the market all the time. Ive listed them into price categories for ease, and please feel free to offer suggestions and inform us of products that you have come across.
prices based on the bigger bags from 12kg-15kg.

Dried Foods:

Super Premium (£45 + range)
Acana - 60% meat
Applaws - 75% meat
Orijen - 70% meat
Fish4Dogs- 55% meat
Taste of the Wild - (over 65% meat)

Premium Foods (£35-45 Range)

Barking Heads (55% meat)
Greendogfood (45% meat content)
Naturaldogfood Co - (43% meat)
Arden Grange premium - (38% meat)

Quality (under £35)
Wainrights - (PAH) 26% meat
PAH own brand - 32% meat

The above is basically the highest meat content for the price analysis and based n the quality of ingredients. Thats why you dont see for example JWB listed, as it is only 27% meat content yet would sit in the £45+ bracket so to me the quality v price is not as good as the ones listed above.

Wet Foods:
NatureDiet -over 60% meat , rice or potato and Veg . Around 80p per 400g
NaturesHarvest - over 60% meat as above
Natures menu - Over 60% meat
Applaws - Over 60% meat

Supermarket Foods

At times, we all have run out of food and have had to pop to the supermarket to get doodles some food. Or the supermarket is the only accessible place to purchase it. Unfortuntaley the supermarket does tend to stock very low quality Petfood, but if we are faced with it, the below are the better ones to purchase.

Harringtons Available at Asda and Tesco
(free from artificial colourings and preservatives)
Joe&Jacks (dried) - Available at Sainsburys
Naturalise (similar to naturediet)- Available at Asda
Butchers Tripe mix (wet food).

Dont forget you can always stock up on value sardines, Value Frozen minced meat too 8)