Through the entire lives of my current dogs, I'd been a major dog food snob. I fed only the best with human grade ingredients, and if something better came out, I'd switch to that. The dogs did OK on them. Grant always had problems with acid reflux, though. And, Harry always had issues with diarrhea, and some issues with his anal sacs. My idea of a good food for him was one that at least had him not having uncontrollable diarrhea, and a bonus if it had some shape to it. Then, I moved to the middle of nowhere, and the closest pet store at that time was over 100 miles away. So, I switched them to raw. They did about the same, except Harry had diarrhea a bit more often, and his anal sac situation actually got a little worse. Grant's acid reflux improved a little, but not enough to get excited about. He didn't really like the raw food, though.
When I started having pregnancy complications, I knew I could end up in a hospital several hours away at the drop of a hat (and it DID happen!). So, I realized that I had to switch them to something easy and readily available, as they were either going to end up in the kennel if they had room, or have a friend coming over to care for them. And wherever they ended up, raw was probably not going to be a good feeding option. So, I went though all the grocery store had to offer, and chose what made me the least disgusted, Iams Lamb & Rice. I nearly cried the first time I fed it to them. That was in October of 2007.
Harry hasn't had chronic diarrhea issues since, nor has he had any problems with his anal glands. Grant's acid reflux is gone. Their coats look nice. Honestly, they look better than they ever have. I will admit, their breath isn't as nice, but everything else is better. I had planned to switch back to raw, or seek out something "better" when things stabilized with the baby. But seriously, why should I switch to something supposedly healthier if the dogs do more poorly on it?
I am a now humbled former dog food snob. And, now I can get their food anywhere, anytime, as even the 24 hour grocery store carries it. And, it's always in stock. The store was constantly running out of chicken hindquarters, but they have never run out of Iams!
I worked in veterinary medicine for 13 years, I do think that some of the companies are more concerned with putting together by-product free healthy ingredients than seeing how it actually comes out the other end. I've seen a lot of metabolic issues on super-premiums, and TONS of urinary infections and blockages. A lot of these foods cause an incorrect urine pH, which can lead to deadly problems, particularly in cats. Interesting tidbit, here on the prairie where we don't have pet boutiques with organic foods, I hardly ever saw blocked cats. We would get at least one or two a week in the city, but only one every few months here. Most of the cats here that we saw ate Science Diet or Iams. I've wondered if that is coincidental.
Feed what works. If Ol' Roy makes your dog thrive, why change it? He might do better on something else, or he might not. Don't let people make you feel guilty for not feeding "the best," as sometimes that is not what is best for your particular animal or situation.