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Natural Balance
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My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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22 November 2009 - 9:50 am
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I know lots of you are feeding homemade diets, but I'm just not ready to do that.  Trouble has a history of severe allergies, food and non-food related.   I've fed Royal Canine (IVD Duck & Potato) for many years and she has done pretty well on it.  There are two problems, it is quite pricey and it isn't carried by all vets clinics - my primary care provider included.

We had kept her allergies under control with Atopica prior to the cancer, but she had to be taken off when she was diagnosed.  Everything went along pretty well until the last few weeks.  She is not having breakouts, but is VERY itchy- has her muzzle just about rubbed raw.  We have an appointment next week to discuss options, but from what I've been told during the past year, I think the options are pretty limited. Dr F doesn't want to give her any more prednisone because the last dose she had dropped her blood count too much.

I'm going to try the sweet potato & venision.  From what I've found online in a couple of different places, the Natural Balance is a couple of steps above what I feed now.  I'm hoping it helps with the itchies. 

Allergy diets are based around single source protein and single source carbohydrate and cancer diets are based on no grains.  I guess my only question really is 'do any of you use Natural Balance' and how is it working for you?

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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22 November 2009 - 10:18 am
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Shanna and Trouble,

I did try a bag of Natural Balance when Cherry's appetite was non-existentand.  Even now that she is eating, I would never use her as a measure.  We are down to only three types of dry, five types of canned, four types of biscuits, and two type of jerky strips.  Add to that the home cooked additions like hard cooked egg every day, soy milk, and the occasional ice cream or pumpkin and I hope you get the idea that since the chemotherapy, Cherry's appetite has been a moving target.  I was pleased with the Natural Balance and Coal (the sheltie we inherited from my mother-in-law) like it very much, but we have to push him to an almost total diet of R/D.

Paws Crossed that it workes!

Bob & Cherry

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22 November 2009 - 12:07 pm
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Hi Shanna and Trouble

Cancer diets try to incorporate food with a low glycemic index (actually a low "glycemic load", which basically tells you the total amount of sugar you will get from a typical portion. Some foods have a high index but you eat such a small amount at one time that the total amount of sugar is very very low. I finally found some information, like a food pyramid that rated foods based on their glycemic index or load, that helped me get my head around this. Ideally you use foods that take longer to convert to sugar and more complex carbos take longer than simple carbos.

Potatoes actually have a glycemic index and load that is higher than many grains. For that reason, I am avoiding kibble with potatoes and using either a kibble with either oatmeal or rice. Both oatmeal and some varieties of rice have relatively low glycemic loads compared with many carbohydrates.

If my Tazzie did not have a kidney issue, I'd probably use a food with no grain or potatoes (Orijen made in Alberta is a great option and Tazzie loved the taste more than any other kibble when I did side by side testing during his picky chemo stage). Supposedly Orijen got an award for being the top dog food in North American last year (I have no additional info to use to evaluate that statement - maybe there are tons of such awards around). In any case they use free range and organic ingredients, but it is pricey.

The same company makes a food called "Arcana" (similar to Evo) with a few options: currently Tazzie is on a single meat protein and single grain variety. They also have meat and potato varieties. Arcana is slightly less pricey than Orijen.

Then, in Manitoba where people do not spend money the way they do in Alberta, there is "Eagle Rock", which has lots of options in terms of limited carbo sources (grain or potato), natural ingredients and it is not nearly as expensive.

In any case, your companies probably give you similar options. Does Natural Balance offer a meat and oatmeal or meat and rice option (single carbo option) instead of meat and potato? Oatmeal or brown rice seemed to be pretty good carbos, if you have to have a carbo. I can try to dig out some of the info on glycemic index or load if you want to see it.

Susan & Tazzie 2

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22 November 2009 - 2:30 pm
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Natural Balance is not a bad choice for the money although I do prefer California Natural.  My allergic dog is currently doing great on Herring and Sweet Potato although they also have Chicken and Rice and Lamb and Rice.  Evo makes a good high protein/low carb Salmon or Herring food as well as a Turkey/Chicken or Red Meat but those also have other veggies and proteins like cottage cheese so may be too much for Trouble to handle. 

It is hard when these cancer dogs have multiple problems!  I wanted to feed Tazzie a high protein/low carb diet for her cancer but I could not because of her liver issues.  My Pitbull Kona loves the Evo (she has intestinal sarcoma).  I do the dry poultry mix and supplement with cans (95% turkey).  I would try some of the high quality high protein foods with poultry or fish (I do not know if any have duck).  Other great choices besides Evo are Solid Gold or Orijen.  Money is also a cost factor for lots of us so Natural Balance would not be too much lower on the quality scale if that's all you can do right now.

Pam

The Rainbow Bridge

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22 November 2009 - 7:22 pm
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Shanna, we really like Natural Balance's dog food meat logs, they look like sausages. We always gave them as treats to Jerry and he never had a problem with it, and now, neither does Wyatt.

Ok, so I want to throw this out there...and trust me I'm no expert by any means, about home cooking, but I do want to say that the thing about home cooking is that advocates say is one of the best solutions for allergic dogs. Mostly because you can control exactly what goes into it, and there are no preservatives that may cause reactions. You're not doing as much guessing as you are when you're comparing dog foods and their often mysterious ingredients.

Just something to consider. I just read a book called "The Whole Pet Diet," which we are basing Wyatt's diet plan on, and it really gives some great information about how allergic dogs have been completely healed by home cooking. I know you have a lot on your plate, but I just wanted to throw that out there...Ok, you can tell me to hush up now!

Good luck. Poor Trouble! Hope that girl feels better soon.

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22 November 2009 - 7:45 pm
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Thanks all, I really appreciate the input.

Rene, I'm anxious about home cooking, because I tried Raw for a bit.  I didn't realize I could overload the beef protein and she had a violent allergic reaction.  I went right back to prepared and have been there ever since.  I may try the book though, maybe it will get me past my fear!

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

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24 November 2009 - 9:56 pm
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Shanna, I understand how you feel, completely. We tried raw with Wyatt, and not all of it agrees with him, he doesn't have the belly to process it. Too much bad breeding I suppose, since this is supposed to be the diet of his ancestors? Who knew it could give even a healthy dog issues?

There are so many user groups about home cooking, I have yet to explore them, but I know that you could probably get a lot of your questions answered there too. Good luck!

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