Dry food advice

Hi, I have a 3 year old cocker spaniel that has been fed on Judges Choice Country Pursuit since being weaned. This was recommended by the breeder and she is generally happy and healthy. But having read advice on this site I checked the ingredients and cereal is listed first, then meat and animal derivative, which I’m thinking is not good?
I also have a 12 week old puppy cocker. She was fed Natural Instinct raw food but I’m not keen on this type so have changed her onto Arden Grange puppy food. Eventually I would like them to eat the same food so would like some advice on brands to change to. Also what is the difference between air-dried and cold presses and how would I tell? Thanks.

Hi and welcome to the forum.
Unclear ingredients lists should always be treated with suspicion and generic words as “cereals” (what is it? wheat, rice, barley, corn, buckwheat they’re all cereals) or “meat derivatives” should raise a few eyebrows. I couldn’t find this specific food in the directory so I guess you generated your own review. It’s hard to say which food will be good for your dog and much will depend on your budget too.
Also, since your new puppy has been kept on raw food so far, you have a dog used to a protein rich diet, as well as one used to a protein poor diet… finding a food that will be suitable to both will take some trial and error.
Perhaps the best thing you can do is to choose among the best food your pocket can afford (the Dog Food Directory will tell you the daily cost according to the manufacturer’s guidelines) and see how both your dogs cope with them. Your elder dog can be switched progressively but the puppy should be switched overnight as he’s been on raw food so far.
Air dried Vs cold pressed: air dried is simply dehydrated food, it will require adding some water to be brought back to its original state. Cold pressed is food that is processed at low temperatures (think about it like a slow cooking process… not exactly the same but it gives the idea), compacted and then extruded in pellets; it can be given on its own or soaked in water as it sometimes is hard to chew for some dogs. Both techniques claim to be as close as it gets to “natural” food and “ancestral diet”, as the ingredients aren’t cooked at high temperatures and therefore keep most of their nutrients and they’re as close as it gets to raw food from a chemical point of view… or at least this is how the theory goes. They are both fairly new entries in the pet food industry so real benefits are more based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific data. My dog was doing great on cold pressed, I eventually had to switch her back to kibble due to a mild intolerance to rice and cold pressed food has to have grains in it.
I hope I haven’t flooded you with information! :slight_smile:


i can’t add much to what Red Akita has said but just wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum. We don’t recommend any particular brands on the forum because it can very much vary what suits individual dogs. I hope that you can find something to suit both dogs.

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Hello and welcome to the forum. I agree that it is much easier (and probably cheaper) to have both dogs on the same type of food. As has been said, it may be better to look for something that is mid range in terms of protein and fat. If you could get back to us regarding your preferences, including budget and who you prefer to purchase from (i.e. shop/Internet) we could help you source something from the Dog Food Directory.

Cold pressed food has been mentioned and it could well be suitable for your dogs. There are some grain free products now. If you are interested, check out our cold pressed dog food thread here.

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Hello and Thanks for you replies and advice. I would prefer a food I am able to buy in a shop as well as online.
I have just got back from a local store that sells all types. The lady there thought Arden Grange was a reasonable one to go for. Having 2 dogs now I don’t really want to spend more than £1.00 each per day. I have looked on the dog food directory and wondered how the score out of 5 is reached? The Aatu gets 5 out of 5, but the lady in shop said the protein content was too high for most dogs.

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As per Dottie’s post, there are grain free pressed foods available - Prins have an entire range of grain free pressed foods suitable for pups right through to seniors.

I don’t wish to speak out of turn but the scoring system on this site should just be used as one aspect of the checks you do. A foods analytical constituents (the likes of protein levels as you mention) are equally, if not more important. The most important thing is your pet is getting the correct nutritional levels it needs first and foremost - obviously you then want it to come from the highest quality ingredients possible.

Something I recommend everybody should do is look at the correlation between the ingredients list and the analytical constituents. This will actually give you the best idea of the actual quality of ingredient that’s being used in the food. An ingredients list on it’s own is simply a list of words - it doesn’t tell you the quality of the ingredient, how it’s been prepared and what’s left of it after the production process. For example, if you have 2 products with near identical protein levels but one has 50% meat and the other has 30% meat, you need to ask yourself what sort of quality meat was being used in the first product and what have they done to it so that so little protein is left over.

You mention in your opening posts that you have a 12 week old Cocker - as well as the protein level you should always check the calcium level of any food you feed a puppy or junior dog. I wouldn’t recommend a food with a calcium level of over 1.5% for any growing dog - too much calcium can cause bone and joint problems later on.


Hello Alipash and welcome to the forum!

To shed some light on just how the dog foods on the allaboutdogfood website are scored as they are, there is a helpful article here which explains how these useful ratings are calculated :


I also use those excellent nutrient dials that accompany each food that’s been reviewed on the allaboutdogfood website as these help by showing the nutrient levels of the food.
So, in effect, following the “Ingredients List”, the “Typical Analysis”, and the “Nutritional additives (per kg)”, these dials are in the “Dry weights nutrients” section, and they graphically represent the levels of Protein, Fat, Fibre, Ash and Carbs (carbohydrates) in the food.

So for example Aatu (that has been mentioned) can be found here:


And the nutrients dials for this food show the level of Protein is 34.8 and is coloured dark blue, which, in the accompanying explanation, represents an “Above average” level of protein.

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Alipash - it is good that you are wanting to support the small pet supplies shop and I think that the lady has a point about high protein - some dogs do very well while some are unable to tolerate it. The scoring system is a guide but just as important is the dog itself and what it’s activity level is. What suits one, won’t suit another.

The lady also mentioned Arden Grange and it does meet some of your criteria so maybe it would be best to stick with the puppy food for your little one and gradually move your older one onto Arden Grange Adult. Eventually you can move pup onto the adult food when old enough. It does have meat (named) as the first ingredient. Looking at the analysis, it has protein 27.2% and fat 16.3% . It scores 3.5 stars, most likely due to the two red ingredients maize and digest. I haven’t worked it out but it may well meet your budget criteria.

The air/freeze dried and cold pressed foods are usually generic i.e. for all ages - the owner just has to adjust the amount fed. You could therefore feed both dogs the same thing. Markus Muhle NaturNah is a cold pressed food that would probably meet your budget criteria and both dogs could have the same. However, you would have to buy it online - Zooplus and Bitiba sell it. Having said that, it is different to kibble and I feel that it is best to read up about it first, not least because it is very easy to overfeed due to the product being dense. Definitely needs to be weighed. Adult recommended amount is 1% to 1.2% of desired body weight and puppies have circa 2.5% of body weight.

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Hi, thanks for all your replies. You’ve given me lots of info to digest and look into. I will keep my puppy on the Arden Grange for now and take time to choose the right food to move onto.