what is lacking in my dogs' food?

brownthumbiaSeptember 7, 2010

I have 2 Bichons, 11 years old. I have cedar chips around the house and around the pond. The dogs love to eat the chips, much like I love to eat chocolate bon bons. It seems to be getting worse. I have fed them Science Diet food for years and the vet totally agreed with that brand. But awhile back I noticed there was a reduction in price of the food. Then a short time later I got a letter from the company saying they had lowered the price of the dog food. I hope they haven't changed the contents of the food. Does anyone have any suggestions what else might be the cause of this problem?

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I doubt that your dogs are eating mulch because of a nutritional deficiency. But Science Diet has always been corn, by-products, more corn and anything else cheap, so yes(!) switch to a better food simply because your dogs deserve it. Although some vets have good knowledge of food, many do not. And a vet recommending Science Diet is a vet with little knowledge of nutrition.

Here is a link that might be useful: WDJ 2010 Recommended foods

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:37PM
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Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. I don't know much about nutrition for dogs but I thought I have been giving them a very reliable brand of dog food. In my area SD is an expensive dog food. I know there are some that cost a lot more but I do know there are a lot cheaper brands also which I have certainly steered away from. My dogs have always been extremely healthy. Never have had vet bills except for their shots and exams including heartworm, etc. I guess I thought that as far as the food was concerned as far as keeping them healthy was the important factor. I'm afraid changing to a more expensive food is out of the question because my income won't allow anything more expensive. They do not like food with lamb in the ingredients so that is out. Again, thanks for your help. As I said, I guess as long as the dogs were so healthy the food I was feeding them was okay.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Try Natural Balance foods- they are without fillers and random stuff that SD has. About the same price for much better quality. Also check your local stores for frequent buyer plans. My local pet stores has a buy 10 get 1 free program, which helps a lot considering I have 3 huskies, a rottie, and a pomeranian, plus occasional rescue dogs.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 6:45AM
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I'll try to post a link to a somewhat interesting article about pica in dogs. One of the theories I think is most interesting is that you, as the owner, try to stop them but give them attention in the process, so they keep doing the behavior to get your attention. That makes some sense.

I've had several cats that seemed to have pica-like behaviors. In their cases it has been dental issues. You would think that inflamed gums and tooth problems would cause an animal not to chew on harder objects, but personal experience has taught me (that with cats at least) sometimes you need to clear up dental problems to stop the chewing.

Good luck figuring it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pica in dogs

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:13AM
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quasifish, thanks for the literature on pica. I will talk to the vet although they have been seen quite recently, however I neglected to tell them about their eating behavior. They did have their teeth cleaned about 6 weeks ago so I don't think that's the problem this time. But I do want to thank everyone that has taken the time to try and help me figure this out. And if anyone else has any ideas, please feel free. I'm open to all ideas. BTW both dogs were anesthetized when their teeth were done and the one had surgery later on for urinary tract stones. All tests were run at that time and were found to be in good health. I'll keep checking.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I agree with cynthia. Science Diet is NOT a good food. Price isn't always an indicator for quality, especially in dog food. Your dogs maybe healthy but I guarantee you will see a difference if you switch to a quality food. I understand that price is a concern. It is a concern for me to! But I have found that I actually feed less (and therefore buy less) with a higher quality food. Personally, I recommend Taste of the Wild but there are a few good brands out there. Evo, Orjien, Wellness Core... Check out the link below. Compare the ingredients of Science Diet (a one star food) to Taste of the Wild (a six star food).

In regards to the chewing, I have two Black and Tan Coon Hounds. They both eat wood. Firewood, 2x4s, tree branches... basically anything they can find. They are healthy. My vet said it was not caused by a medical condition but simply a desire to chew. I find that if I provide alternative chewies (bully sticks, rawhide, etc) they leave the wood alone. Plus, this helps keep their teeth clean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Food Analysis

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:10PM
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I feed a high quality dog food, no grains, lots of meat, etc. but because it si a processed food (think about people processed foods), I know that some things have to be missing. So, I supplement with a couple different things. I found a cool online questionaire that takes just a few minutes to fill out and then was sent a Health report for my dog, well, a dog that was dumped here. It gave me diet suggestions and suggestions for what to supplement, etc. It was a good starting point.

Science Diet is no longer owned by the original company and it is loaded with all kinds of fillers. There are great alternatives out there...for dogs who should eat meat not corn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dog Health Report for Free

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 5:04PM
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