The “rule” at our house has always been- when times are tough and we eat generic, the dog does too. That didn’t work out so well with this dog, and I decided to try Purina Active Senior 7+ dog chow.
Much to my amazement time has passed so quickly, and Maggie the Vizsla is now 13 years old. She’s in very good health, and that’s a bit amazing itself. She was the only puppy from her litter to survive. They were all very ill when brought to the Humane Society as tiny puppies. The family that adopted her (friends of mine) spent a small fortune to save her from double pneumonia. Just over a year later, Maggie came to live with me. I suspected that she had a bad hip, and paid for an X-ray. Sure enough, one of her hips was about as bad as it could be without being actually dislocated. She also was very nervous riding in a car, and would throw up after just a couple of miles.
The vet told me in no uncertain terms that her hip would not allow her to be a backpacking dog- to go with me on long hikes where she would also carry a pack. That was ok, but I was convinced that regular day hikes would improve her muscle tone and be good for that hip. Time has pretty much proved me right, and she got better at the car riding. (We can now go 35-40 miles before nausea wins out.)
This is all to say that I never really suspected that Maggie would make it to this age and be in such good health that she goes on hikes of 7 to 10 miles and comes home only tired, no more stiff and sore than I do. So here I am with an aging dog...
Last summer, we did switch from regular Purina Dog Chow to generic food for her. The price of dog food was just a killer and we were eating off the discount table, buying dented cans and scrounging leftovers from friends. About the same time I noticed something that I did not, at first, connect with the food.
She began pooping five or six times a day. Sorry, to be so graphic, but it’s pertinent. The feces was very light in color and “airy, ” like a cheese puff. I hate to confess that it took me a couple of bags of food to make the connection with this and the cheap dog food. Obviously, she wasn’t processing and using much of what was going into her system.
One day at the store, the Purina Active Senior 7+ food was on sale, so I bought a bag. Maggie loved it! (Of course, she loves food pretty much no matter what!). But, I noticed immediately that her bowel movements became normal again.
I’ve been buying this food ever since, and it seems to agree with her very well. Since the nutrition is better, I can feed her a little bit less each day, than I did of the generic brand. I’ve looked back at my expenses, and here’s how the price compares. A 22-pound bag of the generic dog food was selling for $8 -$10. A 17-pound bag of the Purina is $10-12. They seem to last the exact same amount of time, which is 5-6 weeks. So, over a year, I will be spending maybe $20 extra dollars on dog food. This seems like a reasonable amount given the clear superiority of the product to the generic food.
For those people who don’t like processed dog foods, this one won’t make you happy either. The primary ingredient is corn, followed by wheat. Third is meat and bone meal, then soybeans. Crude protein is 26%, fat at 8% and fiber is 7%.
As to being formulated for senior dogs it claims to have high protein, antioxidants and extra vitamins C and E, as well as 26 vitamins and minerals.
I was surprised to read just now that you aren’t supposed to just switch over abruptly to this food, but gradually increase the proportion of new food until the full change is made. I suppose that would be a good idea with any new dog food.
What does Maggie think? She always gets excited when I bring home a new bag of dog food. The smell must be quite powerful even though it comes in a foil-lined bag. I think she’s been acting even more hyper over this brand of food. She really likes it!
The kibbles are fairly small, but not tiny. They are semi-soft when fresh, but do dry out a bit over the month even though I keep the food in a fairly well sealed bin. I think any size dog could easily eat these. There are four colors- brown, tan, red, and green. Maggie doesn’t seem to prefer one over another, so I suspect the colors are just for the people to enjoy. I like the size, because I can give her a few out of hand as a treat. She doesn’t seem offended that they are just her regular food, served up in a small quantity!
Except for the digestibility, as noted above, I really can’t give any scientific proof that this food is really good for Maggie. But she is certainly an active senior dog; I know several dogs her age who are really struggling compared to her. I will continue to feed Purina Active Senior 7+ to my dog.