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Pet food brands

chemgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 16, 2009
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Can anyone recommend a good pet food brand? Something for cats.

We used to feed our 3 cats science diet. I wasn't convinced that it was really that great and there is a lot of negative online. Then we joined Costco and DH started buying Kirkland food. The ingredients look to ok, but it's so cheap it feels wrong. Significantly less than Whiskas.

So new delema. They have been on the new food for about six months. Two of them have recently started pulling out their belly fur. The vet thinks it's stress. It could be, but these guys are both 13 and nothing has really changed other than the food.

I want to switch them to a premium food (I know about mixing a new food in gradually). Friends have recommended Acana and Orijin. I was all set to pick some up after work, but DH called the vet to ask their opinion. He spoke to the vet and she said she wouldn't feed either tonher cats. She really pushed Science Diet as the only really good food (which is funny because her office sells Royal Canin).

So what do you think? Is Science Diet the royals royce of pet foods? Are premium foods like Acana and Orijin safe?

Having a bit of an argument with the husband and need some referees.
 

sonnyjane

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Tricky. Vets usually get kick backs and free samples for recommending Science Diet so I don't trust them about that anymore. I'm currently finishing out some Blue Buffalo but because of a supply issue (some ingredients coming from China) I'm thinking of switching to Orijin because they don't use any ingredients imported from China... Allegedly lol, but it's really hard to be confident.

There's absolutely nothing magical about Science Diet.

Is your food grain free? I'm doing grain free right now, told that helps with skin issues.
 

chemgirl

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sonnyjane|1444275126|3936110 said:
Tricky. Vets usually get kick backs and free samples for recommending Science Diet so I don't trust them about that anymore. I'm currently finishing out some Blue Buffalo but because of a supply issue (some ingredients coming from China) I'm thinking of switching to Orijin because they don't use any ingredients imported from China... Allegedly lol, but it's really hard to be confident.

There's absolutely nothing magical about Science Diet.

Is your food grain free? I'm doing grain free right now, told that helps with skin issues.

The Costco food has brown rice. First ingredient is chicken so that does put it ahead of many other foods. However it's $18 for a gigantic bag. Nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I can't trust that food.

Funny thing is the vet said cats need grains. I'm not convinced. Where would wild cats get grain? It makes no sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

Eta: she had been great in every other way and has diagnosed a few major issues that we had asked several other vets about with no answers. I believe that she believes what she's saying.
 

sonnyjane

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chemgirl|1444276004|3936114 said:
sonnyjane|1444275126|3936110 said:
Tricky. Vets usually get kick backs and free samples for recommending Science Diet so I don't trust them about that anymore. I'm currently finishing out some Blue Buffalo but because of a supply issue (some ingredients coming from China) I'm thinking of switching to Orijin because they don't use any ingredients imported from China... Allegedly lol, but it's really hard to be confident.

There's absolutely nothing magical about Science Diet.

Is your food grain free? I'm doing grain free right now, told that helps with skin issues.

The Costco food has brown rice. First ingredient is chicken so that does put it ahead of many other foods. However it's $18 for a gigantic bag. Nagging voice in the back of my head telling me it's made from diseases animals or something.

Funny thing is the vet said cats need grains. I'm not convinced. Where would wild cats get grain? It makes no sense from an evolutionary standpoint.

Wild cats are obligate carnivores, not omnivores like bears or even dogs, which will eat a variety of things. Contrary to the fact that my cat will jump up and steal chips out of the bag lol, they should really be eating mostly meat.
 

Gypsy

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I was very displeased with the Costco so called premium cat food. We bought one bag and never again. When I compared it to what I normally buy them it was full of filler and grains and junk.

For dry food we feed grain free. We've been giving them Instinct dry for a while now. http://www.naturesvariety.com/instinct/cat/all

I like that the different products are interchangeable. It causes no upset stomach if I switch between them. http://www.instinctpetfood.com/product/instinct-raw-boost-grain-free-kibble-cat-food-chicken I give them raw boost sometimes. Sometimes not. Most of the time we give them Chicken flavor, but we work duck and rabbit into the rotation too.

Also, no allergies and no filler.

I recommend it. With 6 cats we free feed our dry food. So it's always out for them.

We also do some wet food at night. It's a good habit. Allows us to do a 'bed check' every night. And what I mean by that is that it lets us gauge how their appetites are, if there are any issues. Also as they get older, some of them are starting to have teeth issues, etc. it's good for them to be used to taking some wet food as we may need to switch some o them over. That we don't limit to grain free, just whatever they like. It's a treat at this point.

I fully believe that feeding them the best food I can keeps them healthy and cuts down on vet visits.
 
Q

Queenie60

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We use Blue Wilderness for our cats. It's a grain free food and helps with allergies that one of our cats can't seem to shake when eating standard food.
 

azstonie

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Orijen, top notch, fed the kibble to my Westies, they loved it. I won't detail what you can read on the orijen website, it speaks for itself. I also fed their freeze dried raw to the Westies.

I've got them on a home prepared cooked diet now, recipes from Dr Pitcairn's outstanding book.
 

Resonance.Of.Life

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Orijen and Acana - it's what I feed my pups. Also, Zignature Kangaroo for my food allergy ridden foster dog.
 

lknvrb4

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We feed our dogs Wellness Core, sure it costs a lot but I want what is best for my dogs.
 

chemgirl

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Thank you everyone for confirming that grain free is good!

DH is coming around and at least asking "how much" and "where do we get it?".

Starting to find it a bit unsettling that our vet is so against Acana and Orijin. She claims grain free is bad, those food brands are all marketing hype, she would never give it to her cats. DH was convinced that it's really bad for them.

Back story on these cats...they belonged to his ex girlfriend and she was going to give them up to a shelter if he didn't pay for their upkeep after their breakup. So he did for years while they lived with her mom. When I found out about their arrangement I insisted that he either go get them immediately or stop paying. The group was 8 years old when they came to live with us so I sort of feel that they are his cats and he takes the lead on their care.
 

chrono

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Grain-free canned cat food extended the life of my cat who had kidney problems in her last few years. I also made sure the first 3 ingredients are meat with no meat by-products. She gained weight and was back to her usual active self.
 

chemgirl

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Chrono|1444310283|3936248 said:
Grain-free canned cat food extended the life of my cat who had kidney problems in her last few years. I also made sure the first 3 ingredients are meat with no meat by-products. She gained weight and was back to her usual active self.

Interesting. Called the vet myself and she claims grain free can be bad for liver and kidneys. Maybe the key is wet food? She is really against a change and seems certain that grain free means high protein which means kidney and liver damage.
 

chrono

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Chemgirl,
I don't know about the details but I do know that a follow up visit showed improved bloodwork results. I am a strong proponent for wet food though because what animal in the wild eats kibble (dry)?
 

ecf8503

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I'm a vet - worked in cat-only practices for years.

Canned is best (the water is good for them), and you are correct - they don't eat grains in the wild. They are obligate carnivores, so the closest I can get to "mouse-in-a-can" is what I aim for. They don't tend to drink as much as they should, so the extra hydration helps the kidneys especially.

That said, I have 7 cats, and I feed them a mix of canned brands (ProPlan, Wellness, Fancy Feast, Nutro, Purina One, Blue Buffalo, etc) - they get 95% canned, with dry as a treat before bed (they do love it...).

There's nothing magical about Science Diet. I don't feed it to my cats, fwiw. And I personally have never heard of any organ damage from feeding canned food.

Grain-free is up for debate - but canned food is inherently lower in carbs than dry anyway - dry food is really just cereal - it's baked dough, covered with chemicals to make it taste good.

Go with your gut. You are thinking, which is good - read the pros and cons, investigate brands, and you'll find your sweet spot. Then once you switch foods, stay with that choice for 6-8 weeks at least to see if the hair pulling stops.
 

rainydaze

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I did a bunch of research (online) about cat food recently. I learned that Iams and Hills (Science Diet) fund and supply most veterinary schools. This gives them great exposure and creates loyalty with veterinary students, hence the overwhelming and often exclusive recommendation of those two brands by vets. However their products are no better than most out there.

I second Acana, Orijen, and Nature's Variety. I am currently feeding mine EVO however our local pet food supplier (very knowledgable - on her own, not by relying on reps) said she suspects they might be changing the recipe. So, she's on the lookout for that and if they do, she will be on top of it.

My research indicated Nature's Variety wet was the best choice. Cats supposedly won't drink water voluntarily because in the wild they eat raw meat and are hydrated from that. Many kidney issues result from dry food diets, because they don't get any water from the dry food and they won't go and drink enough. (This explains the moving-water fountains for cats - I was so puzzled by that when I first saw them! Apparently moving water encourages them to drink more.)

However, I couldn't convince my adopted three-year-old cat that wet food was yummy. He actually drinks a fair amount of water on his own, so dry food it is! I have used all four brands I mentioned, and he's done well on them. Cleared up some seriously stinky, persistent flatulence, and also greatly improved his mood and activity level. I think whatever he'd been eating affected his health just as it would a human, and you could see he wasn't himself.
 

sonnyjane

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ecf8503|1444321052|3936306 said:
I'm a vet - worked in cat-only practices for years.

Canned is best (the water is good for them), and you are correct - they don't eat grains in the wild. They are obligate carnivores, so the closest I can get to "mouse-in-a-can" is what I aim for. They don't tend to drink as much as they should, so the extra hydration helps the kidneys especially.

That said, I have 7 cats, and I feed them a mix of canned brands (ProPlan, Wellness, Fancy Feast, Nutro, Purina One, Blue Buffalo, etc) - they get 95% canned, with dry as a treat before bed (they do love it...).

There's nothing magical about Science Diet. I don't feed it to my cats, fwiw. And I personally have never heard of any organ damage from feeding canned food.

Grain-free is up for debate - but canned food is inherently lower in carbs than dry anyway - dry food is really just cereal - it's baked dough, covered with chemicals to make it taste good.

Go with your gut. You are thinking, which is good - read the pros and cons, investigate brands, and you'll find your sweet spot. Then once you switch foods, stay with that choice for 6-8 weeks at least to see if the hair pulling stops.

Thanks for chiming in. I'm going to really look into wet food after reading this.
 

chemgirl

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ecf8503|1444321052|3936306 said:
I'm a vet - worked in cat-only practices for years.

Canned is best (the water is good for them), and you are correct - they don't eat grains in the wild. They are obligate carnivores, so the closest I can get to "mouse-in-a-can" is what I aim for. They don't tend to drink as much as they should, so the extra hydration helps the kidneys especially.

That said, I have 7 cats, and I feed them a mix of canned brands (ProPlan, Wellness, Fancy Feast, Nutro, Purina One, Blue Buffalo, etc) - they get 95% canned, with dry as a treat before bed (they do love it...).

There's nothing magical about Science Diet. I don't feed it to my cats, fwiw. And I personally have never heard of any organ damage from feeding canned food.

Grain-free is up for debate - but canned food is inherently lower in carbs than dry anyway - dry food is really just cereal - it's baked dough, covered with chemicals to make it taste good.

Go with your gut. You are thinking, which is good - read the pros and cons, investigate brands, and you'll find your sweet spot. Then once you switch foods, stay with that choice for 6-8 weeks at least to see if the hair pulling stops.

Thank you!

Right now we leave out dry food and I put out wet as a treat a few nights per week. DH usually gets annoyed about the wet food because he is concerned about high protein and also weight. One of the cats is a bit chunky, but the other two hover around 10-11 pounds.

Current plan is to look for a good dry food and supplement with wet in the evening. Will go from there and probably switch to more wet than dry later if they seem to like it.

The hair puller has had a history of over grooming when she's stressed. She had a tumor in her ear that was misdiagnosed as an ear infection for months. She did overgroom at that time, but her entire personality was off. Now she is her normal, cuddly, playful self. The hair pulling is also more random than before. Instead of one area she is doing patches including under her arms. The vet can't find anything wrong with her so we are going with stress. I'm starting to think it could be a skin issue.
 

telephone89

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I fed my dogs acana/orijen and they loved it, but had allergy issues - could be similar to what your cat is doing. One of the dogs would constantly scratch, and the back of her legs, arm pit area and tummy were almost bald. After a little while on this + fish oil supplements it stopped. The vet believed she was allergic to typical things in dog food - corn. So the change in food helped, and fish oil helped with her coat. Anyways, I liked that its local and had nice ingredients. And tbh it wasn't *that* much more expensive, because you feed less.
 

packrat

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We'd been feeding ours..shoot, I forget now, but we switched to Halo a couple years ago. And now I've been giving them Iam's hairball formula. The hairballs were coming like crazy when they were on Halo. I'm not sure why.
 

Arcadian

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I have a dog, so face other issues really...lol I don't like to feed her kibble mainly because I don't trust the companies who make it.

So a lot of the time I make her food myself + she eats raw. I went with a mostly raw diet because its just better for her + as a racing dog, this was something she was used to. She's got a beautiful glossy coat, non smelly breath, very clean teeth and smaller poops!

I find it to be cost effective, and there's that value add of peace of mind, but it can be a bit time consuming.
 

azstonie

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Whole Dog Journal is beholden to no one, their annual list of approved foods and why is worth tge yearly subscription.
 

azstonie

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Also, check recalled dog/cat food lists every month. I was shocked to see Stella & Chewys on it. This is a big reason I'm home preparing their food now. I fed them s&C freeze dried raw food. It shouldn't have had contamination by Listeria as tge freeze dry process (HPP) kills that but there was obviously a failure in the plant.
 

kenny

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Our doggies have always eaten Costco Kirkland brand big dry food bag ... lamb 'flavor' or whatev.
I didn't do no research. I trust Kirkland did some research. :rodent:
So, sue me.

Every meal they also get a bit of freshly-prepared protein that I made for myself, like salmon, chicken or hard-boiled egg with most of the yolk discarded.

They ain't died yet.
They seem very happy and healthy.

Dogs vary.
Dog owners vary. :mrgreen:
 

distracts

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Our dog eats a mix of Orijen and a raw diet. The cat started on Orijen when we got him as he had previously been eating Acana but he was allergic so he now eats Royal Canin PV, which is one of Royal Canin's limited-ingredient ones. The rescue where I got him feeds all their cats Acana. My vet feeds both her cats and dogs Orijen.

I have tried a few times to switch my cat to canned but the ONLY time he has willingly eaten it is when he had teeth out. Any other time, he'd rather go two days without eating than even look twice at the canned food. idgi. I've read all the websites about how to switch your cat to canned food and tried all the things. He DOES like FortiFlora probiotic flavoring though so maybe I should get a new stack of cans and try putting the FortiFlora on them. I don't know what sort of cat crack they put in it to make it so alluring - he's impervious to catnip, treats, meat both cooked and raw, every other cat-safe food I've ever put in his face - I have no clue WHAT he likes, other than dry food and FortiFlora.
 

PintoBean

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I am very lucky that my three cats are not picky. My first cat (at my parents') is 17 years old and will ONLY eat Iams or science diet kibble Lolol.

My three fur babies I feed a variety of flavors to prevent developing allergies to a certain type of protein. I recently read to avoid feeding too much fish flavors. I do always avoid beef because it has the least amount of tbe proteins kitties need - taurine?

Brands I cycle through sold at petco are wellness, instinct, halo, Merrick, grain free varieties. Usually whatever has the better sale price is what I grab lol. We have a 5 mos old kitten now so I am feeding the all stages dry and wet. I pick up orijen when I am near any pet store that carries it.

Right now we do kibble and a spoonful of wet in the AM, and in the PM kibble, wet, a sprinkling of wheatgrass and a dollop of whole fat plain yogurt.

Kitty one can eat the grass out of the planter, but kitty two has never managed it. She can pluck the blades but they fall out of her mouth and she stares at the grass sadly, which led us to trim some for everyone during dinner time.

The addition of yogurt happened bc kitty two would scream to lick tbe spoon whenever I had any yogurt, so I went what the heck and started adding it to their dinne. Whole fat plain.
 

distracts

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PintoBean|1444400642|3936612 said:
Kitty one can eat the grass out of the planter, but kitty two has never managed it. She can pluck the blades but they fall out of her mouth and she stares at the grass sadly, which led us to trim some for everyone during dinner time.

The addition of yogurt happened bc kitty two would scream to lick tbe spoon whenever I had any yogurt, so I went what the heck and started adding it to their dinne. Whole fat plain.

laughing. Kitty two sounds like a riot. I love imagining her gazing longingly at the uneaten grass!
 

hoover

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I feed my dog Orijen and he has IBS and allergies. The vet thinks the protein level in this food is too high, but we tried putting him on other foods like the Royal Canin and Science diet GI / allergy foods when he developed the IBS and they all made him sicker. He doesn't get anything with corn in it and we give him pieces of the Orijen freeze dried raw food or chicken breast as treats. Little monster gets fed twice a day (one meal a day didn't work well - heck, one meal a day doesn't work for me, so why put him through that?) and gets a couple squirts of salmon oil on his kibble at dinner.

PintoBean - your kitties sound hilarious. My dog jumps onto my lap to try to steal ice cream off my spoon. He also yells/barks at me if I don't share what I'm eating with him. I get yelled at a lot now so I have to get something special for him every time I eat/snack :lol:
 

Gypsy

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Yogurt is brilliant. I think I am going to start adding some yogurt to their diets a couple nights a week. My eldest, Duncan, loves the stuff. And I give him a lick or two of mine, when I am having it. But he'd love to have more.

I think Lucy and Penny and Jack may like it too. Whitey doesn't eat human food at all. You could leave a steak in front of him and he'd just roll over and take a nap (true story).
 

chemgirl

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One day into Acana and my little clowder is loving it. They scarf it down like I'm starving them or something.

Next step, integrate wellness wet food.
 

azstonie

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Glad its going well, chemgirl!!!! Btw your advice to me on window coverings was spot on, I followed it and benefited, thsnk you ! :D
 
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