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Grain Free Recommendations Please
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18 July 2012 - 10:54 pm
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Duke saw another onco today and she suggested switching him to a grain free diet. Could you please make some recommendations? Which one(s) do you like and why? I don't have tons of time to do lots of research, because I'm always taking him to the vet for laser treatments and bandage changes in my free time, and I know lots of you have done lots of research, so any quick suggestions will be appreciated. He does tend to have a speedy metabolism (that's my nice way of saying diarrhea) so if you had particular issues with that I'd appreciate knowing. Thanks in advance.

San Diego, CA
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29 October 2010
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18 July 2012 - 11:16 pm
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We used to feed Abby Blue Buffalo's Wilderness Formula kibble, which is grain free . It's got a 5 star rating for kibble on

I'm in the process of switching Rita though from the B.B. Wilderness to Honest Kitchen. I was reading about how the "extruding" process that they use to make kibble strips out a lot of the nutrition. We are feeding her the gluten free H.K. food, but I know they have some grain free options too. Rita LOVES it. It's raw dehydrated food that is human grade quality.

I think there are others on the site that feed H.K. so maybe they'll chime in.

Abby: Aug 1, 2009 – Jan 10, 2012. Our beautiful rescue pup lived LARGE with osteosarcoma for 15 months – half her way-too-short life. I think our "halflistic" approach (mixing traditional meds + supplements) helped her thrive. (PM me for details. I'm happy to help.) She had lung mets for over a year. They took her from us in the end, but they cannot take her spirit! She will live forever in our hearts. She loved the beach and giving kisses and going to In-N-Out for a Flying Dutchman. Tripawds blog, and a more detailed blog here. Please also check out my novel, What the Dog Ate. Now also in paperback! Purchase it at Amazon via Tripawds and help support Tripawds!

Oakland, CA
Member Since:
30 April 2012
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18 July 2012 - 11:35 pm
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We switched Holly and now Clyde to Honest Kitchen's grain free , low carb, and high protein, so it should be a good cancer diet.  Potatoes are high on the ingredient list, though, so that does concern me a little bit even though it says it is low carb.  We add 95% meat canned food (we've been using Wellness) or Wysong Archetype to up the protein some.   I think Charon did something similar with Gayle...Embark with additional meat.  Clyde has finished his radiation treatments, so I'm considering moving to a more true raw - frozen Primal or something like that at some point...we didn't want to go that route while he was having radiation or while Holly was doing chemo, but I think I probably would have wanted to move her over if she had finished her chemo.  I don't know what the thinking is while using it if they are on MP chemo.

He really enjoys the Honest Kitchen and the canned food.  She LOVED the Honest Kitchen...she also really like the canned food, but she was over the moon when we did the Archetype...she thought she was in heaven.

Portage Lake, Maine
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8 December 2009
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19 July 2012 - 6:18 am
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 After Maggie's diagnosis of cancer I switched both my dogs to Honest Kitchen with Primal raw grinds added to lower carbs even more.  I try to keep the carb number below 18%(Dr. Ogilvie cancer diet is that).  Here's my notes from when I did the research:

Honest Kitchen Preference grainless mix – 15.9% carbs using 95% lean ground beef doing 1:1 mix or 10.6% carbs using a 2:1 meat:mix.

Honest Kitchen Embark grainless premix – 17.87% carbs without added meat to it.  Can add 1:1 meat/mix, which drops carbs even more.

Honest Kitchen Thrive premix – 19.6% carbs without added meat to it.  Can add 1:1 meat/mix, which drops carbs even more.

Honest Kitchen Zeal premix – 18.2% carbs without added meat to it.

There is also a new Honest Kitchen grainless call "Love", which I also use as it's touted as low carb.


Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13


In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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19 July 2012 - 8:27 am
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I use HK Thrive and Embark. I mix with raw meats (including yummy chicken guts) or a kibble I found that I like a lot, Nature's Logic. The dog food rating place gave it a 5 star rating. It has millet in it but there is an explanation of millet that I have forgotten, but it was something like millet acts differently and isn't a carb hit like other grains. I don't remember. But you can go to their website and read up on it. (They also use a disgusting-sounding blood plasma sprayed on the food, which must be what makes it so dang good!)

For the lowest carb, lowest grain food, you'll probably have to do something like Tracy does. The HK takes a lot of guesswork out of the nutritional calculations. If your dog doesn't like one recipe, keep trying. Dakota wouldn't eat any of them until I mixed it with canned dog food. Then I gradually started mixing it with raw meats, kibble, etc. He shot daggers out his eyes at me when I first gave him the Thrive. He eats it ok now because I know how he likes it, poor little prince. And as I mentioned elsewhere, Evelyn will eat the cardboard box it comes in.


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

19 July 2012 - 2:31 pm
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Thanks for the replies and your help. I really need it now. I'm overwhelmed with trying to work and maintain my career while taking care of Duke. I'll see if I can get some HK Embark somewhere this afternoon. He'll eat anything (dog poop is in fact a favorite ugh) so I'm sure he will eat it. Just going to be a month long process switching him over due to his sensitive tum. 

So California
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14 May 2012
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19 July 2012 - 2:42 pm
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Chico has been eating Taste of the Wild for years now, but since the fiasco at Diamond a few months back, I, too, am looking for a new grain free .


Chico didn't like The Honest Kitchen (and neither do my cats).

I currently have Nutrisca and Earthborn Holistic to try.  I understand Stella & Chewy's is a good freeze-dried food made in the USA.

I've done a few raw and Chico likes those a lot--Sojo's (where you mix in your own meat and water) and Nature's Variety.

The one thing I look for is sourcing from the USA and no ties to Diamond (despite the fact that the problems were in So Carolina and the plant in California hasn't been cited).

Austin, TX
Member Since:
26 August 2010
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19 July 2012 - 5:31 pm
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I think they've cleared up the TotW fiasco, for the record.

I do a price-search every time I go to the dog-food store.  Luckily we just had a local place open up next to the house that has my 3 favorites.  We alternate (just buy one bag at a time) between Hi Tek Naturals, Canidae Grain Free Pure, and a Texas-brand called Before Grain.  We occasionally try others when prices drop (Fromm, Orijen, and Wellness), and I give them a lot of raw meaty bones/whole chicken parts/fish when it's affordable.

If you're having trouble getting your pup to eat kibble at all, and aren't sure you want to try a raw or dehydrated diet, Additional (company) sells raw goats milk in a small cartoon that you can buy to mix in with dog food.  I use it frequently because it keeps my packs' stomachs in good order and they go nuts for it.

Jack - adopted with a crooked leg at 4 months old, managed for six years, and now much-happier Tripawd as of 5/24/2012!

Caledonia MI
Member Since:
13 October 2011
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19 July 2012 - 8:31 pm
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After some research I have started feeding Orijen 6fish and I am also feeding Koa "natures variety" I guess its like feeding "raw" i get it in the freezer section at Chow Hound. I tried it on Levi when he became very ill. It was the only thing he would eat. The ingredients are amazing! None of its cheap but Im so hoping to not have to go through cancer again with my little Koa ...sad

Levi was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma 7-7-11
Ampuversary 10-14-11
Lung Mets Discovered 1-4-12. Chemo seemed to not be working so we switched to Artemisinin and other supplements. In May, Levi developed a sinus infection and started having seizures. The cancer had moved to his brain. We let him go 6-26-12.

New Jersey
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27 December 2011
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19 July 2012 - 9:29 pm
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Hibig-grin  I did quite a bit of research and ended up giving Lily the Orijen adult dog food. We mix it with canned Instinct chicken. Both are grain free and low carb. She likes it-so far,so good. There's a lot of great ideas from everyone-I'm always looking for better options! Happy eating!!

Our beautiful Lily was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her front leg on 12/14/11 at age 8 and had amp on 12/16/11. She completed 5 rounds of carbo. She was so brave and kicked cancer's butt daily! She lived life fully for 4 years, 3 months, and 15 days after her amp. My angel is a warrior princess. I miss her so much.

19 July 2012 - 10:41 pm
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Thanks for all the great ideas. I did purchase some Embark this afternoon. Put one whole tablespoon full (seriously, that's all because he does not switch foods well) on top of his Healthwise Chicken and Oatmeal kibble and he ate it with no problem.

I'm shocked at the price, however. $40 and for a dog his size it will last... 6-7 days - when he is totally on it. Yikes! It will last a long time as I transition him over slowly. My vet said to be extra careful because of his diarrhea issues. I always keep Metronidazole on hand after he was hospitalized and then home on sub-Q fluids for acute colitis after a round of Clavamox. (And then, when he had his amp, what did the surgeon put him on after I said NO CLAVAMOX? Yes, of course he did. So glad they listen.) I know some dogs have had problems with Metronidazole - it has been a lifesaver for him.

So, thanks for all the suggestions. I'll move forward with this and see how he does and look into some of those others also. 


And, a note from Duke to Dakota Dawg: Chicken guts? Really?!? CHICKEN GUTS? YUM!!!!!!!! That sounds delicious!! But Mommy is a vegetarian. Wonder if she could handle it? She can handle chicken for us when we are sick. But chicken guts? Wow. That might push mommy right over the edge. She has this "I love you but it's not gonna happen" list, at least I think she does cause she says it sometimes. I bet that's on it. sad

In your heart, where I belong.
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9 February 2011
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19 July 2012 - 10:57 pm
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If you feed Honest Kitchen exclusively, it doesn't last long. But I don't know anyone who does that. It generally gets mixed with a high-quality kibble or with meats. Tracy, Maggie Moo's mom, helped me figure out how to feed Dakota and Evelyn. She was a real help. I buy gigantic quantities of meats (there are buying co-ops for raw feeders) and mix it raw with the HK. I also use a kibble that I like a lot and that Dakota will eat. (Again, Evelyn would eat a roofing shingle and ask for another.)

I keep both my dogs on a strict calorie count diet. Evelyn will turn into a bowling ball if she eats more and Dakota has to stay lean since he's a front amp. Evelyn, for instance, tops out at 800 calories per day, max. If I feed the Thrive formula, I feed her 1/3 cup of that with 1/2 cup of the kibble (Nature's Logic) or 1/2 cup of raw ground beef twice a day. (I buy the 70/30 beef, not the lean stuff.) That gives her about 750 calories. Dakota maxes out at 1100 calories per day.

I have my little doodling of how much of what to feed scrawled on the HK box. Depending on what they get, the proportion goes up or down. But my point is that Evelyn gets a total of 2/3 cup and Dakota a total of 1 cup of HK Thrive per day. That lasts both my dogs right at a month, maybe a few days short.

Dakota would tell you that chicken gizzards and livers are full of yummy goodness and that left to their own devices dogs will eat meadow mice and rabbits and bypass the sweet potatoes and green beans. Unfortunately, we vegetarians must concede that one. I do buy the little tubs of chicken guts and feed that, too. Nasty? Sure. But it beats the roundworms and tapeworms that eating rabbits and mice get you. (Been there, done that.)

Stores around here have taken to packaging chicken feet in large amounts and selling them as "chicken paws." What the hell is that for? I have no idea who wants to cook or eat chicken feet. I have bought them for my dogs but only once. Both scarfed them down like it was doggie crack and promptly puked them back up. The only thing uglier than a chicken paw is a barfed up chicken paw. (Or the raccoon paw that Dakota ate and barfed up once. That was really ugly.  ugh)


From abandoned puppy to Tripawd Warrior Dude, Dakota became one of the 2011 February Furballs due to STS. Our incredibly sweet friend lived with grace and dignity till he impulsively raced over the Bridge on 12-15-12.

Dakota's thoughtful and erudite blog is at

Member Since:
18 June 2012
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19 July 2012 - 11:58 pm
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We've made our own raw diet for over a decade.  I like the control, variety, and cost savings.  But it is extra work.


When we travel with the pups we use Stella & Chewy's dehydrated which is really great.  The ingredients are top notch and I like their ratios and lack of cheap fillers.  Their frozen patties are also great.  And I've recently had to splurge for that as we've started chemo.  It's the only raw-ish food that I can trust to be close to pathogen free.  Also, the girl has become a little picky and we're trying to avoid food aversion, so having the freeze dried patties are easy to feed with different textures: dry, moist, wet.  The freeze dried is available on Amazon.


I agree with the above poster.  Honest Kitchen has too much potato for me, though I've ordered some trial boxes (20% Anniversary Sale through July) just in case I need to more options to change up to.  I've always been taught not to feed a nightshade to dogs and cats by integrative nutritionists.  But, hey, whatever works for the individual dog...


Here's a great link, btw, on feeding during chemo if you're doing so. 


On The Road

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24 September 2009
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20 July 2012 - 6:51 am
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That is a great link, Kelseysmom, thanks!

We too feed a partial HK diet, it's part of a variety of foods that our Wyatt Ray receives including premium kibble, raw chicken, beef, bison bones and miscellaneous home cooked stews. The way try to soften the blow of premium packaged foods is that we try to think of it like this: you either pay now, with good nutrition, or you pay later with higher vet bills. Do whatever you can to feed "real food," even if it's just feeding olive oil, eggs and chicken a few times a week along with kibble, and your dog will thank you for it by staying away from the vet (hopefully!) 🙂

If this will help folks, are are some Nutrition Blog articles for more insight:

Raw Feeding Facts and Tips for Tripawds

Maggie’s Guide to Fighting Cancer

Maggie Shares Agile Cow Dog Nutrition Plan

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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