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Food availability
  • Hi all - quick question for you guys.  I have a friend who lives in the southern US who's having trouble finding a good quality food for her dog, Axl.  She recently switched him from a pretty shoddy kibble to raw and while he's lost weight on it, she's concerned about his ability to properly chew.  He's an American Bulldog mix rescue with a lower jaw and teeth that are not exactly normal so he has trouble chewing bone properly and she's pretty worried about him gulping raw.  She wants to keep him on high quality food, but the only thing available in her area is pretty much Nutro and Royal Canin.  I pointed her to the TWO site as I know from you guys mentioning it that they have free shipping, but the food itself is extremely expensive.  Do you guys know of any other good foods that have decent shipping deals?  She would really prefer him to be on grain free, as close to raw type food as you can get.  I'm going to browse around different sites and help her hunt but I figured I'd see if you guys have any suggestions [:)]
  • "Southern US" meaning....?

    TO isn't that expensive.... It's the same as I'd pay for a bag of Natural Balance, and I have to drive to the store, for that. TO is a better kibble, if you ask me... Not that my dogs can eat it. Has she considered premade raw, grinding her own bones, using bonemeal, or home cooking?
  • Depending on where you are this site has very high shipping, but right now the [linkhttp://www.petfooddirect.com:80/store/product_detail.asp?pf%5Fid=20164810&dept%5Fid=1&brand%5Fid=299&Page=]Canidae Lamb[/link] is on sale $18.99/40 lbs. This new food, [linkhttp://www.petfooddirect.com:80/store/dept.asp?dept%5Fid=1&brand%5Fid=998]by Nature[/link] is on sale for a pretty good price too (the active is $16.99 for 2-17 lb bags). ORDSC1069 is a 15% off coupon code. Might be worth checking into.

    ETA: I think that code expires tomorow, but they always have them 13% - 22% off. It's worth it to get on their e-mail list.
  • ORIGINAL: jennie_c_d

    "Southern US" meaning....?

    TO isn't that expensive.... It's the same as I'd pay for a bag of Natural Balance, and I have to drive to the store, for that. TO is a better kibble, if you ask me... Not that my dogs can eat it. Has she considered premade raw, grinding her own bones, using bonemeal, or home cooking?


     
    Oh sorry, she's in Georgia [&:]   You know, I hadn't even thought to suggest she grind the bones.  What's the best way to do that?  That might be a good option for her...

  • Oh sorry, she's in Georgia You know, I hadn't even thought to suggest she grind the bones. What's the best way to do that? That might be a good option for her...


    I'm in Georgia, too.... If she's anywhere near me, I could direct her to about five places to get good food.

    You can buy a commercial meat grinder, to grind bones, or you can order whole prey, preground, from someplace like Hare Today. Hare Today's shipping isn't too bad,  to Ga. It ends up being less than $2 a pound, shipped.
  • Oh! She could also crush the bones, with a sledge hammer. It's more labor intensive, but it helps with frustration[;)]
  • I had a nearly toothless dog on raw meaty bones. I never fed him anything harder than chicken but he did extremely well. He was old and almost in renal failure but we had another good two years with him - during which time we were able to abandon the yearly dental/extraction we had been doing. Remember that dogs do not chew in the sense that we do, ie, to mash up food for digestion - they merely crunch hard food into smaller pieces for swallowing. Anything appropriate for a dog to eat, that makes it down the hatch, should make it the rest of the way with no problem. Dogs do swallow inappropriate things, of course, but it's our job to make sure that doesn't happen!

    For a dog with such special needs, I'd join a raw list that focused on my breed - raw-bulldogs or something. I don't know whether a bulldog might have trouble crunching up bigger bones but I wouldn't think chicken, duck, or rabbit, would be a problem. Even some smaller goat (kid) or lamb bones are easily crunched by even the smallest and most handicapped dogs.

    For my tooth-deprived dog, I did grind about fifty percent of what he ate - I added the whole pieces for variety, interest, and dental health. It's hard to keep weight on an older dog so I added some ground red meat to his diet along with eggs, fruits/veggies with higher carb counts like the tropicals and sweet potatoes. I don't know whether that's an issue but it was for us when his renal failure became more serious combined with his bad mouth. Since at the time I was feeding three senior dogs, I was on a senior dog raw feeding list and it was a lifesaver - maybe literally. I highly recommend the specialized lists for people who are just starting out raw - you feel less like you are charting new territory on your own, which can be very daunting, I know.
  • TWO actually costs much less per serving than Nutro in my area, because you feed less. Don't just look at the price per bag.
  • Most of the food companies have a website in which you can find a retailer that carries the food. The site will say "where to buy" and they ask you to put in your zip code.

    Eagle Pack is often available at farm feed stores. So is Diamond, which means you may be able to find Chicken Soup (made by Diamond). Sensible Choice is made by Royal Canin, it is less expensive and doesn't contain corn gluten. You may also be able to find Pro Pac in some of the small farm feed stores. Pro Pac makes a decent Lamb and Rice and a great Holistic formula.
  • One of the farm supply stores where I shop, carries Canidae, too. It's a Southern States, which I know is in GA. Southern States also has their own line of feeds (Big Red) that are better than grocery store brands, anyway. Most of the formulations have corn but there's a lamb and rice now that is corn free.

    Blackwood is available at a lot of the farm supply places and most Pet Supplies Plus. They've got some good products and they are a nice company, based in SC.
  • The feed/farm store where I shop has all the Natura products, Canidae, Nature's Variety, Eagle Pack, Solid Gold, Wellness, and a whole bunch of others that aren't as good. 
  • Thank you everyone for the advice. I'm the friend Nikki_Burr started the thread about. [:)]
     
    First I'll give you a little background: I adopted Axl (bulldog in question) from the local animal control four years ago. He was considered a "pit bull" (America/English bulldog cross is more likely, but whatever. He's a mutt.) and because of it was immediately labeled "vicious." No one wanted him because everyone at the shelter would go on for hours about how he bit, he couldnt be handled, you wouldn't want him around children/other animals/etc. I spent 5 minutes with him and knew all of that was crap. When I got him he had a raw spot around his neck from being chained, bad callouses on his elbows from lying on concrete, and many of his teeth had been pulled and the tips of his canines filed off. My best guess is his former owners were afraid of him for some reason, toassed him outside, filed his teeth, and ultimately dumped him at the pound. Who knows.
     
    Either way, he's by far the greatest dog I've ever had. Nothing they said about him was true and he's perfectly behaved. I have honestly never met as well behaved as he is, and as for being "vicious"...well, ask my pet rats, cats, ferrets, and various other animals that poke and prod him and look in his mouth and use him as a jungle gym just how "vicious" he really is. [:D]
     
    Anyway, at this point I was 16 and living at home with my parents. They bought the dog food, and they fed him whatever was cheap- Kibbles 'n Bits or Ol' Roy or whatever was on sale. I tried to talk to them about it for years, they didn't care, so finally I decided to start buying his food and I switched him to a raw diet. For a while, he was fine- even chicken bones bothered his gums, but he got over it and ate them. Then he discovered a faster, easier way to eat: gulping and vomiting.
     
    He takes a RMB, crunches it *just* enough to force it down, and then immediately regurgitates it. Then crunches it up a bit more, swallows, and regurgitates. He keeps this for a good 20 minutes or more, until he's satisfied that its been thoroughly crunched. If this method worked well for him, I wouldn't really care- but it doesn't. Already he's gotten bones lodged in his throat while regurgitating, several times, and sometimes partially chewed bones cut his throat and cause him to bleed. His throat swells and any sounds come out hoarse and painful. So, I've tried hacking up bones with a cleaver, and it didn't make a difference. He's learned to eat RMBs this way and he thinks its the only way how.
     
    Now, if this were the only problem, I would find some way to keep him on raw...but it isn't. His coat sucks. He sheds constantly, and everything is dull and oily. He's never been the most active dog, but now his energy level is nil. He's horribly gassy. He was overweight, and he's lost some- but he lost muscle mass too, and now he's saggy and flabby. He just looks old all of a sudden. He's also got a fatty tumor or two and he's been getting *more* since switching to raw. I just don't think raw is right for him anymore.
     
    Now, my chihuahua and ferret are doing beautifully on a raw diet so I know this isn't a case of me not giving him the proper foods. My chihuahua, who was always dull and smelly and hyperactive on kibble is a different dog on raw. Same with my ferret. It's just Axl who has these problems.
     
    When Axl was on kibble he was a bit chubby but he was always shiny and muscular, and ALOT more active. He also really seems to prefer kibble to raw...he goes after my cat's dry food constantly which is something he would have never even thought about doing when he was on kibble. So, I think I'm going to switch him back...but to a good quality kibble, instead of the store brand crap my parents fed him.
     
    So. I've been researching it online and I'm leaning towards TWO, probably Timberwolf Bison Canid Formula since it's supposed to be good for weight management. I'll probably mix that with a canned food...right now I'm leaning towards Eagle. I haven't made my final decision yet. Thanks again for all of the advice, and of course any more is welcome![:)]
     
     
  • Is Axl the first dog in your sig pic?
    If so, I don't even understand how ANY shelter or whatever could label him as a pitbull.
    He's CLEARLY not. Both your dogs are CUTIES.

    Anyway, it's very sad that he's not doing well on raw, poor guy! That is so strange too, because most dogs THRIVE on raw. But, some diets just don't work for some dogs. I would think that TWO is probably the best kibble out there (Just my opinion) and when my dog gets kibble, she gets TWO. I think you're doing good by thinking about trying it. Since he has these tumor things growing on him, maybe consulting a vet before a definite switch would be good? I don't know. Vets are going to tell you to switch to kibble from raw because most don't agree with raw diets. And most vets aren't going to know much about anything other than prescription foods anyway, but maybe you could find out if the tumors are indeed something that could be effected by diet or just what's going on with that. <----that's assuming you haven't already. Since he seems to be a sensitive dog, I would be hesitant to try more than one new food on him at once. This is in case he has a reaction, if you're only feeding him one new food, it's easier to find out the culprit. Could you possibly try the kibble mixed in with some raw chicken breasts or chunks of various other de-boned or maybe some ground burger? Or maybe just trying some kibble with water sprinkled over it?

    Have you ever tried any fish with him? And I'm talking about canned fish, not fresh (though, fresh wouldn't be bad).
    How big are these tumors?
    I also suggest trying some fish oil for him. That'll help his coat. But make sure you're using Vitamin E too.
  • Now, if this were the only problem, I would find some way to keep him on raw...but it isn't. His coat sucks. He sheds constantly, and everything is dull and oily. He's never been the most active dog, but now his energy level is nil. He's horribly gassy. He was overweight, and he's lost some- but he lost muscle mass too, and now he's saggy and flabby. He just looks old all of a sudden. He's also got a fatty tumor or two and he's been getting *more* since switching to raw. I just don't think raw is right for him anymore.


    This definitely isn't an attempt to talk you out of giving up raw - I agree that rmbs at least don't appear to be a good choice at this time.

    I wonder, however, about all the rest of this, combined with the barfing pattern. Have you have had a complete thyroid panel run on him? Not an inhouse deal, but one sent to either Jean Dodds or, shoot, I think it is MSU. That hrase you use - "suddenly he looks old" rings such a bell.

    Something else to think about: I've learned over the last year that sensitivity to chicken and thyroid problems can go hand in hand. Purdue is doing a study where the preliminary findings have found that rabies vaccination creates antibodies directed against the proteins used to grow the viruses. Presently most commercial rabies vaccs use calf serum, but the cheap ones use chicken eggs. Here's the info on the Purdue study -http://www.homestead.com/vonhapsburg/haywardstudyonvaccines.html Unfortunately I can't find the information on the chicken eggs.

    Anyway, is it possible your dog wasn't just playing with his food, but truly nauseated due to sensitivity? I've found that in the case of chicken, raw chicken is particularly aggravating versus processed in kibble. My cat used to tdo the same thing with her ground chicken livers - I thought she just didn't like chicken livers since she didn't do it with beef at first. But eventually she refused all raw food, and even canned food. By the time we figured out what was going on, the only type of food she "trusted" was kibble and it was that way for a year. We cleared up her allergies and now she eats all type of food again.

    Good luck!
  • I wonder, however, about all the rest of this, combined with the barfing pattern. Have you have had a complete thyroid panel run on him? Not an inhouse deal, but one sent to either Jean Dodds or, shoot, I think it is MSU. That hrase you use - "suddenly he looks old" rings such a bell.

     
    This sounds like a very good idea. Based on the coat condition and the loss of muscle with a "saggy" appearence, a thyroid ;panel and possibly Cushings test are in order.
     
    I hope that you can find out what's going on with your "boy" and get him on track [:D]