I've decided to rotate Delilah's food and try a different brand and/or formula each time she needs a new bag. Before I got a dog I had researched raw and homecooked diets, but the fact is, I don't have a lot of money for that and I can get kibble for cheap or even free through my job. This week was the first switch over for dog food.
*Disclaimer* I am not a veterinary nutritionist nor do I work for any pet food company. I will not be going too much into nutrition, rather just noting my observations. I will include links to analyses from Pet Food Advisor for anyone interested in the nutritional value of these foods.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula: Adult Chicken and Brown Rice
I had originally bought a bag of Blue Buffalo Adult Chicken and Brown Rice formula since that is the food the rescue had her on and with all of the big changes in her life, I figured I should at least keep the food consistent until she had time to adjust. I bought a 30 lbs bag for about $37 (with an employee discount) and it last her almost 4 months. She ate about 1/2 - 3/4 c of food a day (we use kibble for training so it varies). It wasn't a bad food. She certainly enjoyed it. It was rated 4/5 on Pet Food Advisor and you can check out their analysis of it here. I was happy that the first two ingredients were chicken and chicken meal, as opposed to something like "chicken by-products," "corn," "soy," etc. The third ingredient was brown rice.
There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Blue Buffalo lately over their use of by-products which the company had claimed not to use. From my understanding, by products themselves aren't necessarily bad ingredients- they may just contain organ meat. But they also tend to contain meat that isn't suitable for human consumption, meat from animals dead on arrival or sick, and the process of rendering these "inedible" meats can be controversial as well. Since I don't know much about these ingredients other than what I've heard I don't have a strong opinion one way or another. If what I hear is true and not just sensationalism, then by products sound like something to be avoided, but I don't know enough about the issue either way.
Delilah was underweight when I got her- literally skin and bones- and weighed about 5.8 lbs. She gained a little more than 0.5 lbs on this food- weighed about 6.4 lbs at the heaviest- but then she got sick and lost it all. I also noticed her feces tended to be larger and soft. Not diarrhea, but they definitely left smears in the grass when I picked them up.
One more thing to note is that she had AWFUL breath. A big part of this was that she hadn't lost some of her baby teeth and gunk was getting wedged between the puppy and adult teeth. They finally fell out so with regular brushing her breath seemed to be getting better, but was still kind of gross. I'm going to see if I notice any difference on different diets.
Castor and Pollux Natural Ultramix: Grain Free-Duck, Sweet Potatoes, and Whole Peas Entree
Delilah REALLY likes this food- you can smell the quality (you really can, compare the smell to something like Beneful or Science Diet- they smell like crap). It's a high protein food but it didn't upset her stomach when we switched over somewhat gradually. She's digesting more of this than the Blue Buffalo food- her stools are small and firm- no more smearing in the grass! (Also, I think the heart-shaped kibbles are really cute.)
Delilah got sick a few weeks ago and lost a lot of weight. When I brought her to the vet she was literally back where she started- 5.8 lbs. I'm feeding her a little more food now and she's gaining weight again. Her spine, hips, and ribs aren't as prominent.
Other than that, she's only been on this food for about a week. I'll write more about my observations of it during my next food switch up.