Grain-free/high calorie options?

Postby TheRedQueen » May 5th, 2010, 8:27 pm

Okay...I just posted that P&G is buying/bought Natura Pet Products, which makes among other foods...EVO.

The Wiener has finally settled into eating EVO with no issues...skin is cleared up, no bumps, no itching...everything is good. I can buy it at the local pet store, and it's not a bad price for the size bag I buy. It's grain free, so it keeps him from having issues...but also, it has a high calorie content per cup (537/cup). The Wiener weighs 10 pounds, and eats about a 1 1/3-1 1/2 cup per day...plus some as treats...and he's still got ribs showing. So keeping weight on is another issue. Also, he's got a tiny little mouth...so small bites are preferred.

Any options for a grain-free, high calorie food...I prefer a dry food, because he eats out of a Tug-a-Jug or Treat Stik in the morning...and I use it as treats.

The foods I can find locally (I don't buy much online...so I'd prefer to buy it local) are Orijen (470/cup), Before Grain (385/cup), Solid Gold Howling at the Moon (465/cup) and Blue Buffalo Wilderness (470/cup).

any thoughts?
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Postby mnp13 » May 5th, 2010, 8:30 pm

I'd stay with EVO for now, P&G won't be changing it for a while.

But I like Orijen.
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Postby TheRedQueen » May 5th, 2010, 8:35 pm

I've got a big bag of Evo...don't have to buy anything for a while...just trying to check out options before I forget ;)
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Postby amazincc » May 5th, 2010, 8:38 pm

I personally prefer Orijen... Daisy has been on it for a while now, and she tolerates it really well. It's a little pricier than the rest, but I'm very happy w/the quality. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » May 5th, 2010, 8:39 pm

Holy crap he eats more than Inara!

We really liked the Wellness Core, but it just got pricey. We switched to Before Grain and really like it now, too. I know Taste of the Wild makes a grain-free one as well.

I've NEVER heard anything but good stuff about Orijen.
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Postby TheRedQueen » May 5th, 2010, 9:59 pm

I'm leaning towards Orijen, because it's easy for me to pick up a bag...but I'm afraid I'll be paying a lot more if he has to eat a lot more, due to fewer calories... :neutral:

It's also hard to get him to eat it all...we're on two meals a day, and it takes him FOREVER to eat it all. :( I can't imagine trying to get him to eat MORE
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Postby amazincc » May 5th, 2010, 10:36 pm

Daisy gets 1 1/2 cups a day, and she's 50+ pounds... she's not nearly as active as the Wiener, but still... she maintains her weight really well on Orijen.
On the other hand - stock up on EVO NOW! :wink:
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Postby amalie79 » May 5th, 2010, 11:13 pm

We used to use Nature's Variety Instinct grain free-- teeny tiny kibbles and the pups LURVED it. River, who is 60lbs, ate less than 2 cups a day. Right now they're eating NV's Prairie kibble, cause she had waaaay too much energy with the instinct :wink: . Nature's Variety overall has been a favorite at our house, even when none of my pups were interested in Innova or Avoderm...I chalk that up to the so-called biocoating; instead of spraying the food with digest like the cheapo brands, they spray with a raw mixture. They also make prepared frozen and freeze-dried raw. Their overarching deal is rotation diet. All the foods are supposedly meant to be able to rotate abruptly-- no transition needed if you're moving to another flavor of NV. My girls usually get chicken, but after every 30lb bag, I usually buy a 5 or 15 lb bag of venison or rabbit or duck...We've never had any problems.

Our 15 year old boy is on Pinnacle Duck and Potato Allergen free formula; the only grain in it is quinoa (very, very low allergen grain), and he's doing great on it. Plus, the other two are constantly trying to sneak a few kibbles. I have to order it, so Simon's the only one eating it right now. But our holistic store has said they'll look into ordering it for me, and the PetCo has been trying to build interest so they can stock it. Simon's poops seem soooo much smaller than the others', even though he eats the same volume, so I'd love to transition them all. :P

My mother's border collie really likes Nature's Logic; it's only grain is millet (also low allergen), if I recall, and their whole schtick is all natural vitamin and mineral sources-- nothing synthetic.

And there's always the Old Mother Hubbard Wellness Core; we've never tried it. It's so expensive at PetCo and our local store carries the NV, Nature's Logic and Natura foods at such competitive prices that it's never been worth it.

My guys just didn't like the Natura brands much-- Innova was a snore for Simon, River, and my mom's border collie and the cats hated Evo-- but I am still really bummed to hear about the buyout. Another one bites the dust. :(
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Postby amalie79 » May 5th, 2010, 11:23 pm

Argh. Somehow I missed the part in the OP that listed the brands you can buy locally...So my info is probably no good to you, but maybe for others...

And for what it's worth, we order Pinnacle from PetCo through Amazon-- if you do it through Amazon/PetCo, you can get free shipping and a great price. Order through the PetCo website, it's lots for shipping. The only store that sells it near us is 30 minutes from my office (which is already an hour from my home) and costs WAY more.
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Postby TheRedQueen » May 5th, 2010, 11:34 pm

I'm okay with ordering foods if I have to...but I'm still looking for something really high calorie...so I'm not stuffing him full of food.

the Evo is 537 kcal/cup...which is a lot more than the other grain-free kibbles I've looked at online. I can get the Nature's Variety at my local store...and that's 490...so that's not bad...the Orijen is 470. And knowing that the NV is small is good! :)
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Postby amalie79 » May 5th, 2010, 11:42 pm

And knowing that the NV is small is good! :)


Definitely small-- big old River and Robin INHALE it. It's also a good size for the Steggin' Egg. I originally got it when I was switching my old man who'd free fed for 14 years to a schedule. I needed little kibble for his worn down teeth and high calorie so we could make meals as small as possible.

NV uses citric acid, so it's not great if you like to soak the kibble in water before feeding, but otherwise, it's been ideal for us. Our pups have certainly loved it.
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Postby BullyLady » May 6th, 2010, 12:47 am

If you can afford it you might think about buying as many bags as you can fiscally manage, just since you already know he does really well on it. I did that when the Ace I worked for quit carrying TOTW since I got it for cost there and it's the only kibble my girl kitty does well on, managed to get almost six months of it all at once. It will delay the inevitable, but at least that's that much longer you know he will do well with his food.
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Postby CinderDee » May 6th, 2010, 3:06 pm

I love the food that I'm feeding Zuzu but it's pricey. You don't have to feed as much as you do with kibble and they include their own measuring cup so you know exactly how much to feed. I think it would put weight on him and Zuzu goes nuts for it. She looks amazing and doesn't poop nearly as much as she did on kibble.

I buy mine online. If you get it from pet food direct they usually have a coupon for 10 -20% off or money off shipping. If you have Amazon Prime they ship for free.

The calories:
Venison Dog Cuisine 4200 kcal/kg/ 512K cal/cup
Venison & Fish Dog Cuisine 4150 kcal/kg/ 506 Kcal/cup
Lamb Dog Cuisine 4250 kcal/kg/ 518 Kcal/cup

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Postby LMM » May 6th, 2010, 3:15 pm

I've heard great things about Ziwi Peak but it is hella pricey!
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Postby HappyPuppy » May 6th, 2010, 5:55 pm

I know nothing about 'calories' but the Canidae g/f Salmon is insanely high in protein... (???)
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Postby pitsnok » May 6th, 2010, 10:14 pm

We feed Wellness Core and are very happy with it. I guess I didn't realize it was so expensive. The only other thing we have fed was Solid Gold, and it was comparable in price. I guess I should look into feed/specialty stores instead of buying at Petco...that's just what we have always done :|
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Postby amalie79 » May 6th, 2010, 10:36 pm

pitsnok wrote:We feed Wellness Core and are very happy with it. I guess I didn't realize it was so expensive. The only other thing we have fed was Solid Gold, and it was comparable in price. I guess I should look into feed/specialty stores instead of buying at Petco...that's just what we have always done :|


I'm a complete geek and work up the total calories in each cup and total calories needed per dog, grams per cup, number of cups per bag, cost per cup, cups per day and total cost per day. :geek: Phew!

Now that I think about it, I can't remember if I ever worked up the cost analysis on Core for the dogs, but it was waaaay too pricey for the cats; Evo, Nature's Logic and ordering Pinnacle were all cheaper and equally good options. I really like supporting our local shop, and it's one reason I've resisted ordering food if I don't have to-- they have great brands and great prices, even compared to other local shops and online retailers. They have also offered to let me walk Robin around the store on slow days and they will hand feed her since they're still strangers to her. The owner even refrained from looking at her because he could tell that staring makes her nervous. I love them. :loveU:

PS-- Nature's Variety's website has buy one get one "Try It" coupons and the NV reps give coupons to retailers pretty frequently; Wellness usually has $5 or $3 off coupons on their site, and if you subscribe to the newsletter, they send out coupons monthly. Natura used to mail coupons to you if you just asked, so if you're going to stock up on Evo, that might be worth doing. Pinnacle sells 2.5lb trial bags for $3 with $3-off coupons on the back of the bag for use on future large-bag purchases. Aaaand k9cuisine.com has free shipping for $50 purchases always (though, unless things are on sale, their higher prices can cancel out the free shipping).

In addition to being a geek, I am also really, really cheap. :mrgreen:
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Postby hugapitbull » May 8th, 2010, 5:48 pm

amalie79 wrote:And for what it's worth, we order Pinnacle from PetCo through Amazon-- if you do it through Amazon/PetCo, you can get free shipping and a great price.


Thank you for posting this. I buy Natural Balance through Petco, the store is 30 minutes from us and the price is more expensive - about $7 more than Amazon/Petco.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 2nd, 2010, 11:04 am

Okay, we're back to the drawing board. I bought a bag of Instinct, for the Wiener...since he liked the sample. He's not eating all of his food, and picking through it (I think he's eating the Evo out). He'll eat a whole bowl if I mix in something tasty (canned food, broth, etc)...but he won't eat the dry out of his treat dispensing toys in the morning. He's *maybe* eating a cup of food a day...and is losing weight on days where I don't mix stuff in. This little dog feeding is weird...he's only 10-11#, so if he loses weight, it's apparent within a day or so.

I'm thinking I'll get a bag of BG, since he really liked the sample...it's a bit further to drive to this store...and I don't like the owners as well...but it's all about the Wiener. ;)
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Postby amalie79 » July 2nd, 2010, 11:20 am

TheRedQueen wrote:Okay, we're back to the drawing board. I bought a bag of Instinct, for the Wiener...since he liked the sample. He's not eating all of his food, and picking through it (I think he's eating the Evo out). He'll eat a whole bowl if I mix in something tasty (canned food, broth, etc)...but he won't eat the dry out of his treat dispensing toys in the morning. He's *maybe* eating a cup of food a day...and is losing weight on days where I don't mix stuff in. This little dog feeding is weird...he's only 10-11#, so if he loses weight, it's apparent within a day or so.

I'm thinking I'll get a bag of BG, since he really liked the sample...it's a bit further to drive to this store...and I don't like the owners as well...but it's all about the Wiener. ;)


What a bummer. I hate when my dogs are picky eaters-- it's like having more cats, and I have plenty of those already. :crazy2:

Apparently some varieties of NV are tastier than others (I think they just came out with a couple of new flavors, too). Robin was munching along on the Prairie chicken with no problem until I decided I'd "treat" them to a bag of the lamb. She flat refused it. And then refused the chicken for a day or so. I had to mix in the old man's Pinnacle to get her eating again. And now she's fine. The others don't like anything remotely fishy. But everyone loves the Prairie venison and the Instinct Duck and Turkey. :| I've often wondered if the different flavors REALLY taste that different. I guess I have my answer. :neutral:
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