Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
We've always talked about being able to switch flavors between the 4 Star line of foods without transitioning, but some of the flavors are grain free, and some of them are healthy grain. I've only ever fed the healthy grain formulas (not because I'm afraid of DCM, that's just what I've always fed.) But can I, or should I rotate through the grain free formulas too?
Okay, I just deleted my reply because I misread your question, lol.
By all means, include some (not all, NEVER all) of the grain free formulas in your rotation. The higher protein levels will be good for them.
If your dog only ever ate grain-free food, switching to something with grains cold-turkey could cause an upset tummy for a few days. But the reverse doesn't apply, because you are not really introducing anything new when you give grain-free food to a dog whose diet has included grains.
I'll have to start doing that. It will be good for Willow. It doesn't look like the grain free formulas of Fromm are significantly higher calorie than the healthy grain formulas - but Maggie's Nature's Variety is like 170 calories/cup higher than Fromm, and that's part of why I didn't do it. Katie wants to be fat. She's a great weight, but she only gets 1 1/3 cups/day anyway. If her food had 530kcal/cup she would starve!
Also, I have in the past had experience with dogs having diarrhea on grain free food. Do you think adding some sweet potato to their diet along with the grain free food it would counteract that? It makes me a little nervous.
That's kind of funny. I had dogs get diarrhea on foods with grains.
No harm in adding a little sweet potato, but I don;t think you'll need it.
The papillon's had trouble on grain free food. I always assumed it was because it was too high in fat for them. That's when I vowed to stick with grain! But Maggie does really well on grain free, so I'm open to it.
Higher fat percentages can cause loose stool. But you can find grain free foods that are not high in fat.
Did you compare the fat percentages in the grain-free Four Star formulas with those in the ones that contain grains?
It's funny. I think the idea that grain free foods caused diarrhea is just one of those things that got stuck in my head as a fact and I never questioned it again. I wouldn't have put Maggie on grain free if she hadn't already been on it.
It looks like the fat % in the healthy grains is 15-16% Except for the Whitefish which is only 11%. The grain free ranges from 16-18% fat.
It's interesting that the difference between the chicken ala veg and the chicken au frommage doesn't look that significant. The protein increases from 24% - 26% and the fat increases from 15% - 16%. It looks like the Beef Frittata is the only formula where the protein hits 30%. It's also at the higher end of fat at 18%.
Surf and Turf also has 30% protein. Game Bird, Pork & Peas, and Lamb & Lentil are at 29%.
All of the rest of the 9 grain-free formulas are at 28% except for the Chicken Au Frommage at 26%.
Just as a comparison, Maggie's food (different brand, of course) is 36% protein. 19.5% fat. I guess I never realized there was such a big difference between what I was feeding Katie and Maggie.
Luna was one of those dogs too - really loose poops on healthy grain foods and her stools were almost always great with grain-free.
That's good to hear more confirmation. We are currently working on a bag of Whitefish. I think we'll try the chicken au frommage next and see how they do. The numbers look the most similar to what they've been eating so hopefully it will be no big deal. I think they like a little variety in their diet.
Just between all of us here, I wish someone was as concerned about what I eat as I am with what the dogs eat! Also that they would just show up with food every time it was time for me to eat.
I'm concerned about your diet. But I live far away and I can't cook. :)