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Are Innova & California Naturals really the best dog foo


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I am just curious about this. We have a local person selling these 2 brands of dog foods. She told me they are the best. I did buy a few bags along with a few cans. I still feed my dog's Solid Gold and Wellness...I like to rotate their foods every few months. I also feed raw every few days and other home prepared meals.
The women who is selling the Innova & California Naturals told me it really isn't a good idea to rotate foods :o She said I should start on Innova as it is the best food and stick with it as changing foods is not good for a dog.

I guess its just my own personal feelings :wink: but, I don't think its good to feed the same thing day after day after day. I like a variety in my dogs diets. I guess this just turned me off a little.
So, my question is. Is Innova better than Wellness and Solid Gold? I am getting so tired of the competition of dog food competitors that I am almost to the point of a total raw diet.....almost :oops: It does get a little costly trying to feed 5 dog's...3 of them being Newfoundland dogs and a Rottie and Dobie. The kibble does save me a lot of money to feed in between raw meals.
My boss at the grooming shop said that California Natural is the best for a dog with allergies. I do have to agree with that, in my line of work we have recommended this food to many of our long suffering customer's and have witnessed wonderful results.

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It all depends on the dog.
You have to feed what your dog like and does good on.
I don't think there are any food sare are "the best" cause not all foods agree with every dog.
some may have better ingredients, but again, it doesn't matter if it doesn't agree with the dog.

It is actually good to rotate your dogs food, gives them more variety and they get more nutrients and vitamins and such......

sales people usually dont know a dang thing, they are just there to sell a product and they will tell you anything if it gets yout to buy it

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my personal opinion, for what it's worth:

differences in dogs aside (since if it doesn't work for your dog, it's obviously worthless), i do believe that natura products [i]are[/i] superior to others.

this is strictly speaking about ingredient quality (proper testing for possible antibiotic and pesticide residues, heavy metal contamination etc.), quality of supplements used (down to small details like not using menadione), formulations, and product transparency (as in making detailed analyses available to anyone who is interested, not keeping it a secret where the food is manufactured, and so on).

as far as my concerns about commercial pet foods go, natura has managed to eliminate more of them than any other manufacturer i can think of and don't make any claims they can't back up. the price is good too, there are a lot of foods out there that are more expensive than natura products yet don't even get close to the quality level.

what also impresses me about this company and their employees is that they do not spread bogus information, such as "it's bad for your dog to eat raw meat or bones" or "a dog should never eat anything than dog food and treats especially designed for dogs" and so on. i've talked to natura representatives and they will not tell anyone that it is a bad idea to feed raw or home cooked and that you will kill your dog if you do. one rep even told me he feeds a partially raw diet combined with innova kibble. mind you, these weren't sales people who work at a store but actually employees of the company with booths at dog venues.

wellness has lost a lot of credibility in my eyes after they have sold out and prepare to go mass market (if you look around a bit, you see wellness available in pretty much any mail order catalog and on a lot of websites now), with another push to more retailers (not necessarily pet stores) soon. you can't have it both ways, true quality products aren't mass produced. besides that, the price (compared to other high end foods) is absolutely unwarranted.

my main beef with solid gold is that they are very secretive about their foods and not forthcoming with information. they are also the only pet food company i can think of that does not offer a satisfaction guarantee, meaning if you have a problem with the food, you're stuck with it, unless the retailer you got it from takes it back out of their own courtesy. that makes me kind of uncomfortable. overall i also find their formulations too low in protein and [b]way[/b] too low in fat for animals who have a digestive system designed for utilizing meat and fat and not carbohyrates. the thing i do like about solid gold foods is that they utilize fairly unique ingredients, which is very useful for dogs that suffer from food allergies. the "holistique blendz" is nice for using as a mixer with fresh meat, but i wouldn't recommend feeding it as an only food. minus points for calling the food "holistic" and still using menadione.

then there is also the fact that solid gold products have been banned from sale in texas, due to misleading labeling. if you try to get any sort of comments on the issue from the manufacturer, you get stonewalled. all they say is they are "working to comply with state regulations" and texas isn't a state that is known to have high standards, so this really makes me wonder.

it's silly to claim rotating foods isn't a good thing to do, unless an individual dog has a really hard time with each transition. then it's best to not mess with it and try if you can at least mix in some extras..

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Thank you so much for the information.
I really appreciate your telling me about Solid Gold and Wellness. I didn't realize that Wellness has sold out :o . I do find Innova to be better priced than Solid Gold and Wellness. I did read some where perhaps on the website for Innova that they will only sell to small representatives as they don't like the way that big corporations will mass store bags of food.
I will continue to rotate my dogs food, I will probably now just stick to Innova, home prepared meals. One of my Newf's suffers allergies and only does well on hypo allergenic foods and raw. I did buy her a bag of California Natural to switch her from the vet brand of Hypo food.

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[quote name='newfiemom']TDG,

I have a question about the Innova EVO. It may seem silly but I have a tendency to ask strange questions. I got a couple of sample packs to try out to see if my guys would like it. Are the pieces really that small? It reminded me of rabbit food pellets.[/quote]

that's not a strange question at all! :)

yes, it's really that small! i think it must have something to do with the fact that the formulation is grain free and the meat content is so high that lager kibbles would probably just fall apart to crumbs.

my dog enjoys playing with a treat ball and the evo makes an excellent filler for that. it's also great for clicker training, and my cats go nuts for it too. i can't wait for the day they come out with an evo for cats. :)

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Magic has been on Innova Evo for a month. She loves it and she has had no problems with it yet. At first she had a bit of gas but it was just for 2 or 3 days.
I have tried most of the top kibbles and the only ones I feel truly good about feeding are the Natura products. Until I started feeding Innova I always felt that I could do better.
I am happy with the way I feed my dog now, she gets Innova Evo and homemade.

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Magic still goes 1 or 2 times a day but the poops are a little smaller. Actually one thing I wanted to ask about Magic's poop LOL she has always had really soft poops and finally had normal poops on Innova, now on the EVO her poop is more dry it's just slightly crumbly is that bad?

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OK graphic warning I'm gonna talk about poo now :lol:

I have Buddy on evo as his main food with quality bits of human food treats and 2-3 Milk Bones per day.

His poops are definitely less in volume than when we got him, when he had been fed unlimited Ol' Roy from an automatic feeder. Then we switched him to regular innova (green bag) and they got better, darker and smaller but still pretty soft. Now with the evo they are nice and hard, often quite "spherical", and prolific enough (about 4 per day).

Every once in awhile he gets a loose or mucusy poo. I wonder then if it is poor choice of treats and/or his tendency to munch on kitty poo. It has improved since I fenced off Gladysse's litterbox but I still have caught him with the neighbor kitty "popsicles" from our yard.

FYI Buddy is about 4 years old, 50 pounds, probably lab/border collie mix. I am dedicated to giving him the nutritional best in part because he's had such a rough start. He was heartworm positive when we adopted him 3 months ago; he has gone through the treatments and is HW negative now with no negative effects from the infestation.

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[quote name='candy722']Is that good food compared to Nutro?[/quote]

nutro is one of the better "mainstream" foods, but far from being a true premium product.

nutro is a food that contains a lot more grains and fillers than meat - the average content is under 30%, even less in some varieties.

considering the fact that you can get premium products for the same price as nutro, or in the worst case just a little more, it's way overpriced too.

*edited because i can't spell :drinking: * lol

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I'm making the switch from Canidae (which is already a premium brand) to Innova, as it is a bit better food and I'm hoping for less yard waste. So far so good, no runs, no upset tummies, just some stinky gas. And the yard waste already appears to be reducing but they've only been on it for a few days.

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In regards to the reduction of yard waste: Today Zaphod keeps going out and hanging out looking like there is something he aught to be doing and then later coming back in. He used to make yard waste every trip, sometimes I think he was doing it just to drive me bonkers, so this not going everytime is confusing to him. :lol:

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I asked my local representative about EVO Innova dog food. She said she can order it in specially for me, but, she was a little hesitant as she said the protein level was much too high for most dogs. She stated that it can cause problems with the kidneys?
I was thinking of switching my Dobie mix; which by the way is a high energy dog and hard to keep weight on. The other dog I am thinking of switching is my Rottweiler, I am a little wary of switching her to a high protein as she is currently over weight and a very difficult dog to get weight off. She gets out for 3 hikes a day same as my other dogs and eats less than they do. I guess she has a slower metabolism. My Newfoundland dogs I currently have on California Natural and was thinking of mixing in small amounts of EVO with their food.
What do you think TDG, should I just switch my Dobie mix Beau completely over to EVO and perhaps just leave Athena my Rottie on Innovia adult and just put a few sprinkles on top of her food? For my Newf's I don't see any harm in adding the extra food as they do not have weight problems.

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[quote]she was a little hesitant as she said the protein level was much too high for most dogs. She stated that it can cause problems with the kidneys?[/quote]

that's a myth, often perpetuated by reps from companies that make foods with a high grain and low meat content. i don't know your rep, so i can't say that's the case here, but it's definitely not true.

protein does not [i]cause[/i] kidney damage. dogs are carnivorous animals with digestive systems designed to utilize protein and fat. even in dogs with kidney issues, it is not considered appropriate anymore to limit protein, unless they are in end stage failure. if a dog has kidney problems, it is even more important than in a healthy dog to feed high quality, easily digestible protein that the body doesn't have to work hard to digest.

[quote]The other dog I am thinking of switching is my Rottweiler, I am a little wary of switching her to a high protein as she is currently over weight and a very difficult dog to get weight off.[/quote]

you are far more likely to get weight off a dog by feeding a food with a high protein content than one with a high carb content, such as most "lite" or "less active" formulas. that aside, the evo has slightly less calories per cup than the innova adult.

i don't think you can do wrong either way, no matter if you use the evo as a supplement or feed it exclusively. all natura products are of excellent quality. ultimately it just comes down to whether it isn't too expensive to feed a number of large dogs the evo, since it is quite pricy. :)

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Thank you TDG. I must sound like such a novice when it comes to food. I know the basics...but, it really made me cautious when the Innova rep in my area...I don't know if I should call her a rep, she just sells the food in her store. It wasn't a comment I was expecting from a person who is selling the food.
I try to do the best for my dogs...it makes sense about the higher protein to help a dog loose weight. I forgot that when I am trying to loose weight I cut back on useless carbs like white bread etc. I am going to order in a few bags...she gave me some samples and my dogs loved it.

As for the expense, yes, it is going to start adding up$ :lol: I have been very fortunate thus far as the breeder of my Newf's was buying and providing all food for the Newf's...I only had to worry about my non Newf dogs. She will only provide me with Eukanuba as she still lives in this bubble where it is the best and only food to feed. Mean while her whole kennel of Newf's are suffering from skin problems, hot spots, chewing paws, ear infections...you name it. I believe all these problems to be food related. I am now on my own feeding my Newf's...the only problem is she still legally owns the Newf's so she has been providing me with Eukanuba without fail when ever she thinks I may be getting low. My basement now looks like a warehouse...I am too frightened to tell her that I no longer feed this food as she may just take back her dogs. I doubt it, but, it is at the back of my mind. :lol: what a weird perdicament to get yourself into...I have a hard time trying to get my opinion on dog food across to all my dog expert friends...there fore I just keep my mouth closed and do research on my own.
Think it would be sneaky of me to drop off all the Eukanuba at the local shelter??? or would this be like stealing??? :-? :D

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no, neither wellness nor innova are organic, but there are products out there that are made from between 70 and 95% organic ingredients. he problem with most of these is that they are very high in grain content and rather low in protein and fat.

natura's products are all human grade and tested for contamination tho and the meats used are hormone and antibiotic free.

you generally can't rely on sales people to give you an informed opinion. most of them have no clue about nutrition and will just tell you waht their company tells them to tell prospective customers.

look here if you want to learn more about commercial dog food:

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Candy compare the products for yourself:

Nutro's Best Product - Nutro Natural Choice Ultra

Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Ground Rice, Lamb Meal, Rice Bran, Sunflower Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of Linoleic Acid), Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, source of Linoleic Acid), Salmon Meal (natural source of DHA), Flaxseed (natural source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid), Natural Flavors, Oatmeal, Alfalfa (natural source of Chlorophyll), Beet Pulp, Tomato Pomace (natural source of Lycopene), Cranberry, Fish Oil (natural source of DHA), Dried Egg Product, L-Lysine, Kelp (natural source of Iodine), Taurine, Bacillus Lichenformis Fermentation Extract, Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, L-Carnitine, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Garlic (natural source of Selenium), Marigold Extract (natural source of Lutein).
Suggested Amounts to Feed Per Day
weight in lbs feeding in cups
10 1 to 1 1/4
20 1 1/2 to 2
40 2 1/2 to 3 1/3
60 3 1/3 to 4 1/2

Deboned Chicken, Ground Barley, Oatmeal, Rye Flour, Menhaden Fish Meal, Whitefish, Ground Brown Rice, Ground Millet, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Flaxseed, Amaranth, Peas, Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Whole Apples, Whole Blueberries, Whole Clove Garlic, Alfalfa Leaf, Yucca Schidigera, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcus Faecium, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Inulin, Fructose, Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Beta-Carotene, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate (a chelated source of Zinc), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate (a chelated source of Copper), Copper Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate ( a chelated source of Manganese), Sodium Selenite, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid.
Couldn't find a cups/lb feeding guide but I did feed it to the boys for a while I think your looking at something like:
10lbs around 3/4 cup
20lbs around 1 to 1 1/4 cups
40lbs around 2 cups
60lbs around 2 1/2 to 3 cups
Anyone feel free to post the exact feeding if you have it.

Innova Ingredients - pardon I had to copy this from my bag
Turkey, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Ground Barley, Bround Brown Rice, Potatoes, Ground Rice, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Herring, Apples, Carrots, Cottage Cheese, Sunflower Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Alfalfa Sprouts, Eggs, Garlic, Taurine, Sodium Ascorbate, dl Appha Tocopherol, Freeze Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Freeze Dried lactobacillius Acidophilus fermentation product, freeze dried lactobacilis casei fermantation product, Freeze dried lactobacilius plantarum fermantation product, potasium chloride, choline Chloride, calcium carbonate, zinc proteinate, oron protienate, beta carotene, niacine, calcium pantothenate, copper protenate, manganous protanate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vit d3 supp, vit b12 supp, folic acid, calcium lodate, biotin
lbs cups
10 .72 or about 3/4
20 1.14 or about 1 and 1/5
40 1.82 or about 1 and 4/5
60 2.39 or about 2 and 2/5

The first thing you should notice is that you need to feed less of Innova and Wellness than you do of Nutro. This indicates two things:
1. There is less useless junk in Wellness and Innova
2. The slightly higher price per bag of Wellness and Innova does not actually translate into a higher cost to feed your dog.

The other thing you will notice is that Innova has more animal protein sources grouped in the first ingredients and Wellness has the same or more as Nutro but they are very quality sources. Further notice that the Nutro product has Brown Rice as ingredient 2 and Ground Rice as ingredient 3; this is ingredient splitting and we cannot be sure that the combined rice does not actually equal more than the Chicken Meal, companies do this to make the amount of filler look less. Also Innova and Wellness do not have ingredients like "poultry" fat - they identify their sources specifically. Generic sources like poultry or meat are scarey - think unknown slaughterhouse leftovers etc. Also Wellness and Innova do not have "Natural Flavors" which is a scarey ingredient as they don't have to tell you what it actually is, probably way to much salt whatever the case. Additionally Innova and Wellness have more fruit and veggie which, in the appropriate place in the ingredient list, is important although perhaps not strictly essential.

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That's the one. Thanks!

This is a pretty useful way to evaluate a potential dog food Candy. Its certainly not the only way of course and some of the points may be debated one way or another but it gives you a rough idea.

Nutro isn't bad it just isn't as good IMO. Some people have concerns over the sources and quality of their ingredients which is not something that is easy for the consumer to get info on or evaluate.

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