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hi all, i am new to this forum and new to irish setters, what is the best diet for setters, i have a vizsla who is on arden grange large breed puppy and my setter who is 8 wks old is on beta large breed puppy, which is the food the breeder gave me.


amanda, holly and alfie

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Well I don't know what is best...but for the last 25 years I have followed a very old fashioned diet of tripe or meat with plain biscuit meal...this is very close to the new BARF diet. My dogs have done very well on it ...you can add oil and seaweed and calcium supplement as needed when they are growing up.
Hi Amanda,

I recommend my puppy buyers to stick to the food the pups know for the first couple of weeks and then, once the stress of the new home has worn off, the new owner can change the food gradually if that is what they prefer. My pups are also on a large breed puppy food. It is probably easier to feed both the same brand... I bet setter & viszla digestion are not that much different...
Hi, this is a very difficult question. I feed both my Setter girls, one Irish & one English, a natural diet of raw minced rabbit meat, slightly cooked chicken mince, mashed sweet potatoe, sardines (every second or third day), scrambled eggs (three times per week), plus an all natural vitamin supplement that I sprinkle on their food. They also get cooked veggies but only my Irish can have those, as my English Setter has a pancreatic problem that has to be monitored daily. I also add some minced garlic to their meals daily. Tess, has 2 fish oil capsules in her night meal also.

Everyone has different idea's of what to feed their pups, but for us, I feel that feeding 'real foods' is better than the dry foods that are so popular these days. We don't have a lot of choice because of my girls pancreatic disease, but saying that, my Irish girl Tess, whose very healthy indeed (thank goodness) does extremely well on this diet, and eats it so much more enthusiastically than she did when she was offered dry foods.

Lynn, Tess & Megg in Oz.
hi lynn, tess and megg,

since i posted this disscussion, i changed both alfie and holly to a raw diet, and they are doing fabulous on it, i had a real problem with feeding processed dry food, i dont eat processed foods so i didnt think my dogs should, i know that a lot of vets recommend a dry diet, but when i watch holly and alfie eating their dinners, i am so glad that i changed. holly, my vizsla, is a very fussy eater, or rather she was!! she eats with gusto now. alfie will eat anything put in front of him!!! my vet was adamant that barf feeding was the wrong thing to do, but whenever i go to the vets now they say how great they are looking.

amanda, holly and alfie
Hi Amanda, Your new diet sounds fine. I know a lot of people feed the dry & prescription foods that the vets recommend, but for us, a natural diet works much better. We also give my girls a raw meaty bone a couple of times a week and they just love that. We also give Tess (my Irish), raw chicken wings/drumsticks for her breakfast, and she loves them. Raw bones are fine, just never cooked and my girls both have beautiful teeth. I am lucky also that even though my vet recommends dry foods, he is fine with me feeding my girls this way. Just always says that they look great, so I must be doing something right (lol). They always look forward to their meal times, and never, ever, leave anything in their bowls.

Good luck with Alfie and Holly. I'm sure they'll do great.

This is an interesting subject, and especially the part about health/temperament/food.
(In fact I would like to hear a bit more about the temperament/food aspect.)

I have fed conventional all-in dogfood for the last 30 years or so and have not felt that there was a problem. I have not stuck to just one brand but tried several different ones over the years. (Changes have mainly been due to avalability etc)
All my dogs have ended their days with all their teeth intact and I have not had any problems that I could relate to food.
Neither do I have problems with dogs not liking their food.
I think that is more a question of lines (or in some cases the behavior of the owner) than anything else.

And yes, my dogs would like MORE food all the time (if given a free choice I think they would all love to walk about resembling barrels).
But the first setter I had was a very picky eater (I was used to german shephards and this came as a HUGE surprise to me). Finally I gave in and actually fed him old cakes from a bakery (I had sheep at the time and used to buy left-over bread). I figured that rather than eating NOTHING, he would have to live on a very one-sided diet of cakes.
Well he did for about the first three years and then began eating "normal" dog-food.
He was put down at the age of 15.5 years and had not been ill, had all his teeth intact + excellent hips when X-rayed at the age of 5.

I am certainly NOT telling people to feed their setters on old cakes, but I am trying to point out that (in my opinion) healthy animals will do OK on very varied diets.
And yes, my dogs would LOVE a barf-diet!

But to me conventional dog-food is a more convinient way of feeding.

PS. They also love cleaning out cat-litterboxes, mice brought home by the cats, rotten fish found on the beach and a lot of other things I rather not think about.
One more PS: I just checked and realised that the setter brought up on a cake-diet actually died at the age of 14.5 and not 15.5 as I said in the text above. I got his age mixed up with his daughter...
Oh Ursula, I hope you didn't get their food mixed up, (although I am sure that your daughter would have loved a diet of cake)??? I too think that it is important to first feed the dog, some dogs will starve themselves rather than eat. Saffy would not eat anything if it was up to her. This morning her food contained 'Cherios, rice, cheep tesco tinned food, Chappie and the diet that I would like to feed her....Royal Canin...She is a very fussy eater Jas on the other hand will eat anything and I mean anything, like your old dog, she was brought up on, sheep food, and that contained sweets etc, I don't like the 'chicken wing' diet, I have known too many friends that have come so close to loosing their dogs with this diet, the latest is a friends puppy that has spent 48hours on a drip because of the gut being scratched by an accumulation of bones in it, she came so close to having to be operated on to remove the bones, I know that it is a 'natural' diet but WE have taken these animals so far away from natural. There is the question of 'balance' in the diet, and most of us have hectic lives that the dry food option is very convenient. It also has 'all' that the dog will need, boring I know, but balanced...just get the food that they actually like.
There is the bloat thing, people say that dry food can instigate bloat. I had a bloat problem many years ago and the dogs were fed on raw tripe and biscuits in the 70's that was one of the best diets you could give them.
I dont know enough of the Barf-diet to realy make a comment.

But I do feel that as long as my dogs are doing well on dry dogfood (happens to be Royal Canin at the moment) I am not going to change anything. And it is after all the easiest way to feed a dog, and the most convinient one for me.

As for the followers of Barf-diet, I wonder if the humans of the family eat a very natural diet as well?
Without anything added and all food produced and prepared from scratch at home?
yes I suppose this is why I feed raw meat and tripe and natural biscuit meal to my dogs( they also get the veg peelings and leftovers from roast dishes) after all I am French and my other hobby( apart from my dogs) is COOKING! so yes it is all natural here and as fresh as possible!
when I was young I used to spend my holidays in my aunt's farm in the North of France and all the gundogs( mainly Laverack setters as they are known there) used to be fed a very sloppy meal of all the leftovers! they used to do very well on it !
As I said I used to feed raw tripe and biscuits etc, this did agree with some of my dogs but not with all of them, and I was always worried that the supplements (vitamins etc) were not in the correct amounts,( when they were added to the feed). But with Royal Canin, which seems to be the food of choice, you can feed with confidence, knowing that it is most of all balanced and very convenient. I, unlike you, hate cooking now. Yes dogs do well on that kind of food, but the question is do they get the correct balance in their diet, and perhaps people will say that I am lazy about food preparation, but I do find the convenience wonderful. Whatever anyone feeds so long as the dog does well on it that is OK. Why should one person say that another is wrong because they happen to feed their dogs a different way to them......life would be dreadful and boring if we all thought and did the same things.............don't you think!!!!!!! Do you think that Royal Canin would give us payment for the advertising????
i think you are quite right, everyone should feed their dogs the way they feel is right, i dont think you and other people are lazy for feeding convenience food at all. people have different lifestyles which may dictate how pets are fed, my husband would probably say im a bored housewife with nothing better to do!!!!!!!, i have to say with royal canin, i fed it to my vizsla when she was younger, and she ended up with dandruff!!!!, so i dont rate it that highly. but every dog is different and what suits one dog may not suit another. raw feeding does take time, but for me it is worth it. i have to say looking at everyones pictures on this site, all the dogs look absolutely fabulous and healthy.




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