View Full Version : Food mixing versus rotating AND the Grain Free debate....

6th November 2012, 06:17 PM
Hi all,

I know food choices have been discussed at length here, but I wanted to start a new thread to discuss the benefits of mixing food types rather than rotating frequently as well as the pros and cons of grain-free.

I currently feed both dogs Fromm adult gold mixed with fromm four star grain-free surf & turf. I also supplement their food with salmon oil and some veggies and fruit. There hasnt been any negative side affects to this food mix, but both of their coats are rather dry and since we're getting to the end of a big bag I was thinking its time to switch it up. I want to make sure that they are getting different types of meats and have been leaning towards going totally grain-free, but also dont want to overdo it on the protein.

After doing a lot of research I was thinking of doing a 3-way mix of Orijen 6 fish, Fromm grain-free game bird, and fromm four star nutritionals to round it out with a little bit of grains. That way they are getting several types of fish as well as several types of poultry. If I go this way the food will probably last about 4-6 months before it all runs out. They will be getting the same mix every day (with added fruits/veg) but at least it will include lots of variety of nutrients.

What are your thoughts on protein amounts in grain-free foods? As long as they arent corn/wheat based, are foods with grains okay?

I know this is a very controversial topic but I would like to hear from those who feed dry kibble as the main diet source.

6th November 2012, 08:41 PM
I am not sure if you would really call it dry kibble, but i feed Kokoda ziwipeak.
It is a strange kind of dried biscuit, like a soft jerky almost. it is hard to describe!

I do not mix the two flavours because i don't like to have two separate bags open at the same time.
As a result of this i just rotate through the flavours.

I don't see why mixing the kibble would be a bad thing at all, i just feel like i would get a bit
bored from eating the same thing every day for six months, so i like to change it for Kokoda.

I recently decided to try a grain free food to put into the rotation as it was cheaper,
however he really didn't do as well on it and lost a bit of his coat shine.
I would be happy to try a new one as I feel like they are good foods.

In regards to the protein amounts, that didn't bother me as I have a VERY active little cavalier. Kokoda is constantly running around so i figured some extra protein wouldn't be too bad, however i have had some people say their less active dogs didn't cope too well with the extra amount of protein.

I regards to the foods with grains, i am not a huge fan of them as the dogs don't actually digest the grains, they are essentially useless.
And are not nutritionally beneficial.
Plus then there is more waste that comes from the other end that you have to pick up!
(That is one of the benefits of grain free foods!)

Though this is all my current personal opinion after lots of research.
I had a dog that lived to be 14 on grain foods, so they aren't all that bad.

What you feed your dog is really a personal choice :)

6th November 2012, 09:16 PM
I also think it is simply what works for you dog. I have to feed Rose grain free, no or very low chicken, and no potatoes, etc. (common starches, essentially!), because of allergies, so she gets Back to Basics Turkey. Our boxer, on the other hand, can't take how rich the BtB is apparently, so we are switching her to Wellness Core Reduced Fat (I believe it's grain free, too) because she needs the starches and fiber. My parents' dog can only eat Pedigree, otherwise it messes with her tummy. And one of my cats needs a high calorie (she's elderly-16 this year), kidney friendly, fish FREE foods- so she's munching down the Science Diet Sensitive Stomach that is full of corn and doing well for several years. *shrugs* Don't sweat it too badly ;) .

6th November 2012, 09:27 PM
I never thought of mixing food, interesting idea. I think if it works for your dog then great. Two of my dogs have sensitive stomachs so when I switch food I have to do it gradually and watch their stools. I rotate food every three-four months.

6th November 2012, 11:27 PM
I don't think there is another wrong with mixing high quality kibbles. I feed grain-free Wellness Core and fresh fruit and veggies thrown in and as treats, Fletcher will do anything for a strawberry or baby carrot :) I always buy the same favor kibble just out of habit and the fact I know Fletcher eats it up so for me its like why fix what works. I basically choose Wellness Core because that is what my sister and brother-in-law feed their dogs (my brother in law is a vet and my sister is VERY nutritionally aware/we call her the family food police) I did some of my own research on the whole grain-free issue and decided to go with that. I do not give any supplements either. I do give Fletcher canned pumpkin from time to time when he gets the "puppy tummy" and it works like a charm. Its a shame I think I feed Fletcher better than I feed my kids LOL

My only issue/problem would be food storage can you feed off the same bag for months and store it???????????

7th November 2012, 03:35 AM
I like the orijen / acana brand, its made in canada, uses human grade protein. Orijen has no grains, Acana uses oats and less protein than Orijen but are made by the same company.

8th November 2012, 03:10 PM
My only issue/problem would be food storage can you feed off the same bag for months and store it???????????

I think I exaggerated a bit with 4-6 months, its probably more like 3-4. But I use one of those big tupperware containers with an easy-lift lid. I usually mix half a bag of each, seal the leftovers in the bags back up with duct tape and store it in a cool-dry area. I think it keeps the food fresh enough, the girls never hesitate to eat it! And I store my cereal in similar (smaller) containers and it stays fresh for months so thats my rationale! I dont live in a humid or hot area though so I think that helps the food stay fresher.

I think I will mix the three types with only 1 with grains. Im hestitant to give them entirely grain-free since Gracie has a thyroid problem and puts on weight rather easily, if I went grain-free I'd have to cut her food down even more and the poor girl only gets just over half a cup a day as it is.

8th November 2012, 03:47 PM
I think the most likely reason for not mixing types of food is that they can supplement differently and you could over or under supply needed nutrients. Also if you had any issues with a food it would be hard to identify what ingredient is causing problems.

On grains: I honestly think it doesn't matter much whether a dog is fed grains UNLESS the dog has an allergy. By the same argument we humans should not be eating anything but raw meat, veg and fruit, insects etc as that is what was once our 'natural' diet. The human gut evolves very quickly to new food sources -- one assumes dogs do too. Personally I have never had a problem with diets that include grain and most of us with dogs in the 60s and 70s and 80s would have fed only kibble with grain and had some long-lived dogs.

I actually think it's a lot more important to have plenty of fresh food in an dog's diet and limit kibble, which is a highly processed food no matter the brand or cost. I wouldn't wholly abandon kibble but I do keep it to fewer than a third of my dogs' meals. And I'd always try to mix it with something 'real'. :)

One problem with long term storage of kibble, once opened -- which exposes it to air -- is it can form a mold that can actually kill dogs. If keeping it long term (eg a couple of months -- but that is really a very very long time.. and it will lose nutrients over time and exposure) -- the safest way to keep it is get a container that seals tightly. You can get this specifically for dog food -- plastic containers that will hold a 15k bag. Lots of pet shops and online shops sell them. I have one I got for free from Royal Canin years agao.

8th November 2012, 03:52 PM
Here you go: why NOT to store kibble long term:

What happens to the kibble after the bag is opened?

Source: www.mercola.com

By Steve Brown and Beth Taylor
Would you keep a loaf of bread open in your kitchen for 39 days?

We hope not. That's how long an open bag of dog food typically lasts. This lengthy storage time and poor storage conditions often lead to nutrient degradation, oxidation of fats and infestation by molds, mites and other food spoilers.

Another set of numbers, as a dog owner, you want to be concerned about: One in three dogs dies of cancer. We believe improper storage at home is a major contributing factor to that mortality rate.

Dry dog foods usually have a one-year shelf life. That means the food is good for up to one year after the manufacturing date. Many dry foods stamp a best if used by date on the package. This applies only to unopened bags, however. High-quality dog food companies use bags that provide protection from oxygen and moisture. If the bag is intact, not enough oxygen and moisture can migrate into the food in one year to cause significant oxidation or microbial growth problems.

Though there are problems that can occur between the food manufacturer and the customer opening the bag, it's what happens after the bag is opened that we are most concerned with in this article.

Here's a short list of goodies, among others, that enter the bag after it's opened:

Mold spores
Storage mites

Oxidation of fats: As Dr. Mercola has shown, oxidized fats may cause cancer and contribute to many chronic health problems in humans. The same is true for dogs.

Dog food companies use antioxidants -- sometimes vitamin E and other natural sources -- to slow down oxidation. Every time the bag is opened, however, oxygen enters. Eventually, the antioxidants are all oxidized (used up) and some of the fats are damaged, starting with the more fragile omega-3 fatty acids that better pet food companies now add to their foods.

Degradation of all micronutrients: Vitamins particularly susceptible to oxidation and damage due to long-term room temperature storage include vitamin A, thiamin, most forms of folate, some forms of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal), vitamin C and pantothenic acid. The nutritional value of the food at the bottom of a bag left open 39 days will be considerably less than the food you remove when you first open the bag. Simply put, the fresher the better.

Molds and mycotoxins: Storing open bags of dry dog food for 39 days in warm, humid areas (most kitchens) promotes the growth of mold. Some of the waste products of this mold (mycotoxins) are increasingly being linked to long-term causes of cancer and other health problems in humans, poultry, pigs and other animals. Dogs are particularly susceptible to these toxins.(1)

When dry dog foods absorb moisture from the surrounding air, the antimicrobials used by most manufacturers to delay mold growth can be overwhelmed,(2) and mold can grow. The molds that consume dry pet foods include the Aspergillus flavus mold, which produces Aflatoxin B1, the most potent naturally occurring carcinogenic substance known.(3)

People don't see low levels of mold, and most dogs can't taste it.(4) In fact, many dogs have died shortly after eating mycotoxin-contaminated foods.(5) Mycotoxins kill most dogs slowly by suppressing the immune system and creating long-term health problems in all organs of the body.(6)

Infestation: Bugs, storage mites, mice, and other unpleasant invaders thrive on dry dog food. Recent research has shown that allergic dogs are frequently allergic to the carcasses of storage mites, which may infest grains, especially those grains used in low cost dry dog foods.

8th November 2012, 04:57 PM
The tupperware container I use is one specifically for dog food and does hold 15kgs I believe. I just thought it was exposed to more air being in the container (and opened twice a day), which is why I wasnt putting the whole bag in the container at once. Instead I empty half the bag, take the excess air out and seal it up with duct tape. I will start buying smaller bags though, it is just a quite higher cost when buying high quality kibble.

16th November 2012, 02:01 PM
I feed a grain free, Nature's Variety Instinct. I don't mix flavors, only because it would be entirely too much food, even if I used only the smallest bags, to be eaten in a reasonable amount of time. I only have one dog eating that food, and I buy the 13 lb bags. It lasts him a few months, which is probably too long to have the bag open, and I need to get him a better storage container for his food. He just does well on the grain free stuff, so that's what I use for him.

16th November 2012, 05:47 PM
I ended up going with Orijen. I bought a 7kg bag each of the 6 fish and Chicken adult. I decided to keep them separate though, at least for now until I make sure the girls dont have any issues with either. I will just be rotating days with the different flavours.

I also discussed the possible issue of food going mouldy with both my vet as well as the owner of my local pet supplies store, and both said there is no issue with having a bag of food last months as long as it is properly stored (i.e. seal the bag or use a plastic tupperware, dont store in your musty wet basement, etc.) - at least in our cool, dry climate there is little to no risk of this happening. Actually both even said up to a year is fine, although mine last about 3 months. But this is obviously dependent on the climate where you live, I will probably buy smaller bags in the summer months when it can be a bit humid.

Thanks for all your input!

Joanie Davison
17th November 2012, 01:47 AM
Lukesmom...I feed our 10 1/2 year Tri Nature's Variety Instinct as well...he loves it, I mix in a few vegetables or additional meat also for a variety. You are the first person that I have seen that feed their Cavalier this, so that makes me feel better.