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Adult dog food comparisons?

3731 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Jac
Hey fellow doodle owners!

As I try to warm my bones after a long trip to the collllld dog park, I thought I'd check back in with the doodle list. Haven't done it in far too long! Hope you all are well!

Banjo just turned 10 months and is doing great! We're interested in switching her food, and so I searched the archives of this list to see what others were feeding. It looks like there are all sorts of great choices in adult dog foods, but I am lost in the sea of information! I saw some endorsements for Flint River Ranch, Canidae, and others.

Here's my question: How does one go about researching dog foods? What are some good online resources to begin researching? What are the most important factors (in your knowledgeable opinions!) in a dog food? We want to get Banjo started on a high-quality food, but I don't yet know how to figure out what's high quality or not (besides seeing that the first item on the ingredients list is meat)...

Any thoughts? I know you've got some!! :)

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Hi Robyn and Banjo, welcome back!
I agree, there is soooo much info out there, how do you know which to trust?
Well, I have decided that my first choice would be to raw feed, but there are so many who question this I just can't get my feelings straigt on that I am going to try Eagle seems to be very good and a high percentage of meat. My dogs are we'll see if they will eat it.
I hope that Terri Lynn will let you know what she found out...she has researched the food issue for quite some time. (Molly on this forum.)
I'll let you know how the Eagle Pack works for us. (I've heard good things about Flynt River too...but never tried it.)
Thanks, Jac!

Well, we ended up researching online a bunch and decided on Pinnacle. We bought a small bag and mixed with Banjo's puppy food, and she LOVES it. We like it because it's got all natural ingredients, no corn, and real meat.

She seems to be doing great with it, so it looks like we've got a winner!

That sounds perfect, Robyn! I have never heard of Pinnacle...but then I have only researched the ones I hear I will look into that! I need to find something that my dogs will eat!
Glad you found one that works for you.
I have never heard of Pinnacle but i will have to do a search for it. Sounds good. It is so hard to know what to feed. I am going to a seminar next month by a vet regarding dog food... If i learn anything imp. there I will let you know.
Terri Lynn
We feed Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy right now and are planning to move to the adult version of the same food when Sammy gets older. It is pretty reasonably priced and I feel good about the nutritional value as well as the added glucosomine etc that will help her joints stay strong. I think this is a quality food with wholesome ingredients:

Chicken Meal, Ground Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Rice Bran, Dried Beet Pulp, Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of natural Vitamin E), Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of natural Vitamin E), Lamb Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dried Egg Product, Lecithin, Dried Kelp, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Manganese Proteinate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Manganous Oxide, Chondroitin Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid.
Nutro supports the safe, ethical and humane treatment of all animals, including those used by our suppliers who provide our ingredients.

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (minimum) 28.00%
Crude Fat (minimum) 12.00%
Crude Fiber (maximum) 5.00%
Moisture (maximum) 10.00%
Linoleic Acid (minimum) 3.50%
Zinc (minimum) 240 mg/kg
Vitamin E (minimum) 160 IU/kg
Ascorbic Acid (minimum)* 35 mg/kg
L-Carnitine (minimum)* 15 mg/kg
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (minimum)* 0.004%
Glucosamine (minimum)*‡ 325 mg/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate (minimum)*‡ 250 mg/kg

Benefits of Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy:
Optimized protein and fat levels for healthy, balanced growth
Balanced calcium and phosphorus for strong bones
Glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints
Natural ingredients with vitamins and minerals
No chicken by-products
Controlled-Growth Formula


Ultimately you have to find a good balance for you between nutrition, how easy the food is to find near you, and price. We also give her some plain yogurt and sometimes low sugar peanut butter or creamcheese frozen in her Kong.
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Here is a comparison tool that someone posted on another forum that I thought would be useful to you. Not sure exactly how accurate it is, but it scores higher for things that are generally considered good, and takes points away for things that are not as nutiritious etc.

Dog Food - Scoring Guide and Scores
Prepared by HausMommy

Here is a list of ingredients and definitions you'll find in your dog's food:

How to grade your dog's food:
Start with a grade of 100:

1) For every listing of "by-product", subtract 10 points

2) For every non-specific animal source ("meat" or "poultry", meat, meal or fat) reference, subtract 10 points

3) If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points

4) For every grain "mill run" or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points

5) If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients (i.e. "ground brown rice", "brewer's rice", "rice flour" are all the same grain), subtract 5 points

6) If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points

7) If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points

8 ) If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points

9) If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points

10) If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points

11) If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points

12) If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points

13) If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points

14) If it contains beef (unless you know that your dog isn't allergic to beef), subtract 1 point

15) If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:

1) If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points

2) If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points

3) If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points

4) If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points

5) If the food contains fruit, add 3 points

6) If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points

7) If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points

8 ) If the food contains barley, add 2 points

9) If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points

10) If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point

11) If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point

12) For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count "chicken" and "chicken meal" as only one protein source, but "chicken" and "" as 2 different sources), add 1 point

13) If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point

14) If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A
86-93 = B
78-85 = C
70-77 = D
<70 = F

Here are some foods that have already been scored. If you don't see your dog's food here, ask and someone will score it for you.
Dog Food scores:

Authority Harvest Baked / Score 116 A+

Bil-Jac Select / Score 68 F

Canidae / Score 112 A+

Chicken Soup Senior / Score 115 A+

Diamond Maintenance / Score 64 F

Diamond Lamb Meal & Rice / Score 92 B

Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula / Score 99 A

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Ultra Premium / Score 122 A+

Dick Van Patten's Duck and Potato / Score 106 A+

Foundations / Score 106 A+

Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold / Score 93 D

Iams Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Premium / Score 73 D

Innova Dog / Score 114 A+

Innova Evo / Score 114 A+

Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables / Score 110 A+

Nutrisource Lamb and Rice / Score 87 B

Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy / Score 87 B

Pet Gold Adult with Lamb & Rice / Score 23 F

ProPlan Natural Turkey & Barley / Score 103 A+

Purina Benful / Score 17 F

Purina Dog / Score 62 F

Purina Come-n-Get It / Score 16 F

Royal Canin Bulldog / Score 100 A+

Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult / Score 106 A+

Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice / Score 97 A

Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+ / Score 63 F

Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies / Score 69 F

Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken / Score 110 A+

Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold / Score 97 A
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Here's another site with good informatino and a list of ingredients in virtually every food:

this page on the site has a list of what they consider "premium" dog foods:

Hope all this stuff helps!
Hey, Kelly...I was just about to post these links! :D Looks like a great way to start some research!
Hmmm . . . I switched from Science Diet to Eukunuba Large Breed Puppy Food because it seemed to be a good food, but maybe it's not so good. Anybody have any experience with Eukunuba?
Eukanuba is owned by Iams which has been going through some very bad publicity for some pretty severe animal testing. I would note recommend supporting a company that has these harmful practices. Actually we found Nutro to be less expensive than Eukanuba which was a nice surprise!
I totally agree about the animal testing issue, but have you read this article? It was posted by Archiedoodle. ... _statement

You can also logon to ASPCA and search "Iams" and it will give you test reports. In short, Iams seems to have done a 180 on the whole issue and have become model citizens. That said, the quality of the food is a very important issue and price follows not too far behind. I know that Eukunuba is a better food than Iams, but I will look into Nutro.
Thanks for the latest info! I hadn't heard that update... glad to hear they are turning things round.

Like I said in a previous post, it is just important for an owner to do some research and find a food that they feel good about in all areas: avaliability, nutrition and cost. Best of luck!
Hi Diane,
I have been using Eukanuba because it is what my vet sells (so they rave about it) but my dogs don't like it. (Not too unusual because my dogs don't like much of anything!)
I used California Natural and did like that, but again, the dogs won't eat it unless it is doctored up...I am in search of a dog food that actually satisfies my dogs (and of course is good for them.) If I find one, you can be sure that I will post it!
There is one thing, as a breeder, that I like about Eukanuba...that is that they have a "weaning" formula that is very good texture for tiny pups.
Wow, you all provided such great links!

I found Pinnacle here:

And it happened to be carried by my local pet store, which is great about carrying really natural stuff (they had California Natural, Solid Gold, Innova, etc...)

Banjo is REALLY liking this food! She gobbles it up every time really quickly compared to her lingering walk by, have a bite, walk by again 10 minutes later, have a bite of her puppy food. Even the cat tries to eat it! :p

I found this link very helpful. I have spoken with the author of the site, and she is very very knowldgable about dog foods. She has basically devoted her life to understanding dog nutrition.
It's worth a read at the very least for sure.
Great link, Tina!

Thanks again everyone for all the wonderful info you posted! Really great :)
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