To change or not to change

It seems like each day brings forth yet another type of dog food. Maybe I am not alone when I say that I am increasingly confused by the bewildering array of products. I can’t imagine how David keeps up with it. In view of this, I would really like to know whether pet owners are influenced by new products or are you inclined to stick with your usual food?

Traditionally, it was thought that you found a food that suited and that was it - the dog was fed on the same product year in, year out. It was even thought (by some) that you shouldn’t change the dog’s food. Dog food companies advise the owner to transition very gradually, reinforcing the notion that the dog’s digestive system is somehow sensitive and cannot cope with different food very easily. Maybe I’ve been lucky but my lot have no particular problems when I have tried something new.

Personally, there is always a reason when I have tried something different and I do check the recipes carefully. Now I have them on a food which I like and which seems to suit them so I am inclined to stick with it because I cannot see any reason to alter things at the moment. However, these days it is recommended that you give your dog a bit of variety, particularly with regards to the protein source so maybe that isn’t the right thing to do. Question is, If your dog is happy and doing OK on it’s food, do you try something different or do you stick with your chosen product? If you do buy a new type of food, why do you do this?

Interesting question, Dottie.

All my dogs have had some variety in their diet in as much as I have always added bits & pieces of ‘people food’, whatever I had around at the time, to the dog food I was using. Thinking about it has led me to recollect over 60 years of dog feeding…

When I was a child our family dogs were fed on a staple diet of boiled tripe, with leftovers added. Very healthy they were too. Then when I first had my own dogs I allowed myself to be convinced (by advertising? I can’t remember) that dogs needed specialised foods prepared by ‘experts’, and I fed tins of Pedigree Chum with some sort of mixer biscuit, but carried on adding leftovers along with the occasional treat like an egg or tin of sardines.

I can remember being horrified when I first became aware of the existence of dry dog foods - it seemed so unnatural to me, and I felt sorry for the poor dogs that had to eat them day in, day out - but eventually I was persuaded, by vets and others, to switch to a dry food myself. I carried on with the additions though because I still felt sorry for dogs that were fed solely on dry food - and actually, I still do!

Looking back on it, that switch to dry was when all my dog feeding problems began, and so did the switching from brand to brand in an attempt to sort out the problems. Even with the additions, I was starting to see intolerances and upset tummies, things I had never experienced before, and my dogs never seemed to be as healthy as the remembered dogs of my childhood. So yes, by then I was switching the dry base of the diet from one food to another on a regular basis in search of Nirvana, sometimes with a result that was clearly worse and sometimes seeing an improvement - which always turned out to be temporary.

In a way, I’m very glad that the Little Cav turned out to be intolerant to every dry food I tried. That was what led me, in desperation, to switch to raw, and truly I can’t see myself ever going back to a dry food. Home cooked maybe, like the dogs of my childhood, but not dry. No more temporary fixes, I’m sticking to ‘real’ food.

The Little Cav is now getting 4 different varieties of Nutriment and 2 of Natural Instinct in rotation, along with whatever else I feel like giving him on top.

Sorry, that turned out to be a bit of a long story. As I said though, an interesting question and it’s helped me to clarify my own thoughts. And yes, I do believe dogs need variety, that’s the one belief that hasn’t changed over all these years.

I posted that then went to check out the results of David’s poll, where I see that out of 51 votes so far, 27 are feeding either raw or home cooked - almost 53% !

The times they are a changing…

Just in the short time I’ve owned a dog and participating in forums I’ve noticed the shift to raw. I have to admit I’d never really thought about dog food quality and went along with what the breeder recommended. Of course he came home with the advertising puppy pack from Royal canin with freebies and I was taken in.

I then found out about raw from forums, which to tbh I’d never heard of before. The poll is making very interesting viewing. The problem is most participating in it already have an interest in what food to feed so you’d expect grain free, raw, home prepared to be slightly on the higher side.