Help me feed my tiny dog
February 26, 2011 12:03 PM   Subscribe

What should I feed my 3 month old toy poodle?

I've never had a pet before (at least not a mammal).

Searching online results in instantaneous information overload. Soft food, dry food, commercial food, raw food, home made, bones... on and on. One website says that all commercial foods contain diseased dogs, cats, and zoo animals! It seems almost impossible to get at the truth.

Even my vet acted like an official representative for a certain brand of commercial dry food - she gave me a 10 minute commercial then offered to sell the food to me right there in the office. Very disappointing.

My question: I just want my dog to be healthy. I don't want to go overboard (i.e., home cooked meals from scratch), but I don't want to be stupid either. Is there anyone here on the green who knows about this stuff and can say - "look, just go to the store and buy X then supplement with Y".

Simple answers that give me real authoritative direction get praise, petting, and biscuits.
posted by crapples to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I always tried to avoid the cheap stuff, the overly-advertised stuff, and the crazy expensive stuff. I got two dogs to very, very old ages feeding the appropriate Nutro products.
posted by sageleaf at 12:18 PM on February 26, 2011

Find your local independent pet food store (maybe a feed store in your neck of the woods.)

Those folks really know there stuff and will give you samples.

My dog is now on good quality food that is right for his medical condition. But when he was younger we just did Iams. I regret that now.
posted by k8t at 12:19 PM on February 26, 2011

The brands we sell at the pet store I work at that I actually LIKE are Blue Buffalo (the Wilderness varieties), Nutro, Avoderm, and Wellness. I've heard that Wellness is reformulating everything because they got bought by a big company but I'm not sure if this is true so YMMV on that.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 12:29 PM on February 26, 2011

This is a pretty heated issue among many dog owners.

Many will say to avoid products with corn and soy, since it is just filler in a dog's diet, and some dogs can develop allergies or reactions to those products.

So the basic answer is that kibble is fine, but to avoid most supermarket brands, and stick with a food that has protein as its first ingredient. Here is one source of information about the various dog foods out there.

As your research your answer, your going to hear a lot about raw food diets from raw food enthusiasts as well.

I don't think raw is a bad way to go, but I would approach it with some reservations.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:35 PM on February 26, 2011

Raw is an option, but at least don't give it anything with grains. How could dogs ever eat grains in the wild? I think that's what's behind the pet obesity epidemic.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 12:56 PM on February 26, 2011

My dog ate pedigree from the age of 4 weeks and lived 18 years.
posted by pearlybob at 12:56 PM on February 26, 2011

Simple answers that give me real authoritative direction get praise, petting, and biscuits.

Sorry. Ok, you want simple...

1. Feed dog kibble. Do not get cheapest brand of dog food.
2. Give dog 2-3 weeks to get acclimated with food. Mix it with previous food until previous food is gone, since most dogs will get upset stomachs from abrupt changes in their diet.
3. If poops look good and coat looks healthy, and yearly vet checks look good, stick with the food.

In terms of diet, I think the key to your dog's longevity and health, more than any other factor is its genetics and the fact that IT IS NOT OVERFED. Caloric restriction has been shown to increase the length of lives in numerous animals. Obesity (no matter what type of food) will cause a variety of health problems down the line.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:57 PM on February 26, 2011

Dog Food Reviews

Scientific analysis of basically every brand of kibble you can buy in the US. I completely and totally get that it looks like a content farm, but it is not - it is run as a project by the people at Boxer World, who take their feeding extremely seriously.

I would print out the six, five and four star food lists, take them to your local pet store, and buy whatever is the highest rated food they actually stock. Orijen Puppy is their highest rated puppy food, and you can feed it through year 1. You can also buy it online for home delivery.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

My vet friend told me to make sure the first two ingredients were real meat and not just filler. She also recommended Orijen or for a more reasonably priced alternative, ProPlan. My dog loves it!
posted by Raichle at 3:48 PM on February 26, 2011

I'm on my 4rth Poodle. 2 toys, then two standards. The first two ate Purina and Alpo and died at 7 and 9. #3 was a wild thing who often found her own meals in the floodplain behind the house. She contracted some awful avian infection and died at 11.

Current Poodle is 13 and runs circles around younger dogs. She treed a bear 2 winters ago. We fed her Eukanuba until the formula changed 9 years ago. Then we switched to . We pour hot home-made chicken or beef stock over it.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:06 PM on February 26, 2011

posted by arnicae at 4:54 PM on February 26, 2011

Thanks a lot for the great information! I like that Dog Food Reviews site, and I like that Orijen is the highest rated puppy food. That's something that I can hang my hat on. There's a store nearby that sells it too - maybe I'll give that a try.

And arnicae asked for a picture:

The red eye was horrible on this shot so I used the flickr anti-red-eye tool - now he looks like his eyes are made of plastic. Darn - he's a lot more awesome looking than the picture would suggest.
posted by crapples at 5:10 PM on February 26, 2011

Aw, your puppy is beautiful!
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:27 PM on February 26, 2011

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