Changing flavour of dog food within the same brand

So we are told to change dog foods slowly over a number of days, but what about if we are simply changing flavour of the brand of food we are feeding?

So for example if I want to change from Forthglade Chicken to Forthglade Duck, does the change-over rule apply? It seems not… but why? Nothing at all is ever mentioned about this, and the dog food manufacturers sell multipacks of different flavours, suggesting that you can feed different flavours of their food whenever, without any change-over period.

That doesn’t make much sense though.

If I change from one manufacturer that has 75% chicken to another entirely different manufacturer that has 75% chicken surely that is an easier change on a dogs stomach (because all your changing is the other 25%), compared to changing from 75% chicken with one manufacturer to 75% duck with that same manufacturer (where 75% of the food has changed)??

As with a lot of things relating to dog food – this just doesn’t make sense, and if it does make sense why don’t the manufacturers explain it? Not one explains this on their site.

Is this change-over rule just a scheme to get people to stick with the same brand? People think – “Oh I can’t be bothered changing over 7 days and working out percentages… I’ll just stick to the same stuff”. Or is there a genuine reason why changing flavour of one food within the same manufacturer doesn’t require any change-over.

Well, manufacturers??


Just a thought…

Just arrived in a holiday cottage for a week. We were starving after a 4 hour journey, so we quickly made a cup of tea and tucked into the biscuits that the cottage owner had kindly left.

Our dog was pacing between us staring at the biscuits with pleading eyes, and it suddenly hit me. Poor bugger. He is starving too after the journey, but he can’t just go and get something like we can… he has to silently (or sometimes not so silently) beg for something. He is totally reliant on us to give him food, water, treats – he can’t do anything for himself.

This small thing brought it home as to why I want to write this blog or site, or whatever you want to call it. It’s because dogs are so amazing, yet so reliant on us. If we feed them shit they cant say anything about it. If we don’t feed them enough they can’t say anything about it. If they are thirsty and their water bowl is empty they can’t say anything about it. If you’re stood outside a pub enjoying a pint while your dog is panting and gasping at your feet there is nothing he/she can do to tell you. Dogs give us everything they have. They are incredible animals, that give undying love, fun, and loyalty. They constantly melt our hearts. Surely it’s not too hard to repay them with a bit of consideration – and make sure they eat decent food, make sure they always have fresh water, good walks, fun, and are healthy. It’s down to us, as dog owners to treat our dogs as one of the family.

By the way – back to the holiday cottage story… once I realised he was starving too, I jumped up from stuffing my fat face with biscuits, and went and got him a nice piece of tripe (yum!).

What are we feeding our dog right now?

At the moment, each meal, we are feeding a tray of Forthglade Wet Complete Food, plus a handful of Laughing Dog Dry Complete Food. So he gets that twice a day.

We like Forthglade – it is 75% meat or fish, and has good ingredients, and seems to have sensible analysis percentages. There don’t seem to be any nasties in there (though I’m sure someone will disagree – hence the whole point of this site), and the feeding volume suits our fit and healthy 37Kg dog.

We give a top up of Laughing Dog, because the Forthglade tray alone isn’t quite enough for our dog. It also adds a bit of crunch and texture (though I don’t buy the rubbish about kibble cleaning teeth by a dog crunching on them).

Laughing Dog again seem to have good ingredients, and good percentages, and we like the fact that it is baked rather than produced using the dry extrusion method that is used to produce most kibble.

We split his meals by percentages too. So he gets about 80-90% of wet complete, and 10-20% of dry complete.

We change his food brands every 3 months or so. I’ll perhaps talk more about that in another post.

What’s in your dog’s food?

I think we still need more transparency when it comes to what is in our dog’s food.

For example, all too often the ingredient percentages only add to 70%. Well what’s the other 30%? It is often moisture and a few other bits and pieces, but it would be helpful to see the full list adding to 100%, so that we know exactly what’s in the food.

Same kind of things goes for the analytical constituents. We are given the percentages for protein, fat/oils, etc., but what about carbs? If it is not possible to give us that figure then explain why.

There needs to be a standard which all companies selling dog food in the UK, go by.

Choosing a dog food is a complete nightmare

The problem with choosing a dog food right now is that there are a million opinions from manufacturers, experts, nutritionists, etc, yet no one seems to agree. That’s worrying. How can two dog food brands, who have top canine nutritionists working with them, have such differing views? I can imagine a slight difference in views, but we are talking vastly different. Polar opposites. …And worse, all the brands all disagree with each other.

Here are a few of the things you may have come across where the experts’ views differ wildly:

Natural, or not natural?
Dry, or wet, or raw, or frozen, or dehydrated, or BARF?
With grains or grain free?
Gluten free or not?
Fish or meat? Which meat or fish?
Breed specific, or is that a marketing gimmick?
Dogs should have a diet like wolves, vs no they shouldn’t.
Use meat meal or not?
The analytic analysis: Such as how much fat, ash, protein?
Protein percentage.
Protein source.
Single source of protein or mixed source.
Big difference in wet to dry percentages. Calculating the dry percentage for wet food to compare.
Joint Care – glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin?
Feeding volume?
Large breed / Small breed
Natural antioxidants?
Beet pulp, or no beet pulp?
Egg or not?
Human grade ingredients?
Too much phosphorus?
Phosphorus/calcium ratio.
‘As fed’ or true analytical?
Tomatoes bad for dogs?
Too much selenium?
The list is endless…………….

It wouldn’t be too bad if there was a general consensus about all the key things, and perhaps just a handful of companies taking a different viewpoint. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case – pretty much all the dog food manufacturers out there disagree with each other. Even if there is agreement about a couple of things, there will be almost certainly be disagreement about other things.

Here are a few examples, which I’ve made up, to illustrate the point:

Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is the way to go, but one will have beet pulp in the food and the other will say beet pulp is really bad in dog food.
Two manufacturers may agree that wet food is best, but one will have grains in the food and the other will say grains are really bad in dog food.
Two manufacturers agree that the food should be 50% meat based at least, yet one has a 24% protein level and the other has 40% protein.
Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is nonsense and that grains are fine, but then one will have no joint care in the food claiming it is a gimmick, whilst the other will have a large breed joint pack.
Two manufacturers may agree that grain-free is the way to go, but one says it must be single source human grade ingredients, whilst the other says it includes 3 sources of meat protein mainly from non-human grade meal.

You get my point. There is always some discrepancy. There is always something wrong apparently with every food. There is not even a general consensus on the main things, where at least then people can choose a food that meets those base requirements, and then try the different brands to see which works for their dog.

Every time I think I’ve found the perfect food, I discover there is an ingredient I don’t want, or one of the analytical percentages is too high/low, or the feeding volume is too high/low.

The way we are getting around this with our dog, is to try a couple of brands which meet our main requirements – where there is only the odd thing ‘wrong’ – and then rotate them every 3 months. That way, if there is anything ‘wrong’ with any of the ingredients (and there is, according to the competing manufacturers!) our dog isn’t getting too much of it on a long-term basis.

Dog food feeding volume

One area that does not seem to have ever been addressed when it comes to dry dog food, is the feeding volume.

Feeding volume is mentioned by manufacturers of course, but it is always from the point of view of ‘lower the volume, the better, because it is better quality food and cheaper for the owner”. Well what about the dog feeling full and satisfied? Am I the only person that is concerned about this? Why is nothing written about this? Perhaps I’m missing something.

The dog foods that are high meat/fish content seem to have the lowest feeding volume. All this “nutritionally dense, and food of our ancestors” stuff is great, and makes a lot of sense, but it still doesn’t answer the question about feeding volume and whether the dog is satisfied.

The point that the manufacturers make with higher meat/fish content is that the food is packed with great stuff so the dog needs to eat less to get all the nutrients required each day. But, hypothetically, what if a food manufacturer developed a food so dense and nutritionally packed that it was simply a pill the dog had to eat twice a day? The dog might get all the nutrients required, but it would be really really hungry! Now I know that is an extreme example, but you know what I’m getting at.

Does the fact that a dog gets all his nutrients mean it is full and satisfied? Does anyone have an answer to this? We have a big dog, and whilst I want him to eat the best quality food I can give him, for the best price, I also want to feel he is getting enough volume of food each day so that he is not still hungry after every meal.

All foods full of crappy ingredients seem to be high volume – the dog has to eat a lot of it to get the nutrients required. All foods made with good high meat/fish ingredients seem to be low volume – the dog doesn’t need to eat much of it to get the nutrients required.

Depending on the dog food our dog should apparently be fed anywhere from 240g per day to 600g per day. As mentioned, that seems to be based purely on the amount that needs to be eaten to provide the correct nutrients. What is the correct volume of dog food that a particular dog needs to feel full and satisfied? It simply cannot only be about the nutrients being delivered.

Is it actually possible at all to produce a dry dog food that is both nutritionally dense, high quality food… yet with enough volume of food to satisfy the dog’s appetite?


Welcome to the great Dog Food Debate!

All you want to do is feed your dog a healthy balanced food, but one doesn’t seem to exist? You are constantly searching for “The best dog food”, “The healthiest dog food”, etc? You’re sick of all the conflicting information from nutritionists, manufacturers, and so called experts? Every time you think you’ve cracked it and found the right food BANG there is a problem – one of the ingredients is ‘undesirable’; there is something wrong with one of the analysis percentages; the feeding volume is wrong. Welcome to my world.

I’m not a nutritionist, nor a manufacturer. I’m a dog owner who, for the last 2 years, has become increasingly frustrated with the dog food industry. I’m no expert, but I’ve read a lot about dog food, the industry, the analysis, and the ingredients. I’ve sifted through hundreds of hours worth of percentages and ingredients. I’ve become very interested in, and passionate about, (possibly obsessed with?!) the food we make our dogs eat. I’m so sick of all the conflicting information and views I’ve decided to write about it. Hopefully I’ll raise awareness of some of the issues, help you make informed decisions, get dog owners and the industry talking, and perhaps even help make some changes! Knowing the subject of dog food though it’s more likely I’ll simply confuse you more.

The main thing I’d like to achieve is to help dogs eat healthier food. Simple. Their health, vitality, and life is down to us and what we feed them. Dogs give us so much – lets repay them.