What is the best dog food?
This can be an overwhelming question, as there are so many choices out there?
We will look at what we consider to be the best type of food for your dog, and take a look at the 5 different types of food available on the market today.
Plus we will share with you 3 veterinarian tips that will help you to make the right choice when choosing commercial dog food!
What is the best kind of dog food?
With over 76 million dogs in the US reliant on their owners to feed them a healthy, nutritious diet, every dog owner at some point in time will ask themselves ” Am I feeding my pet a healthy and balanced diet?” and, ” how do I go about determining what the best kind of dog food is? ”
It’s vital to think about a variety of factors, such as age, breed, body composition, gender (neutered or not), temperament, and activity level. In general, a healthy diet that includes high-quality ingredients will be advantageous to your dog.
The worst food you can give your dog is an unbalanced homemade diet!.. Raw or cooked, they are the same. Throwing your dog a piece of chicken and some vegetables isn’t balanced, and it can cause bone problems and organ deterioration as a result of not meeting your pet’s calcium, mineral, and omega fatty acid needs.
This can be very easily remedied though by just following a recipe that adds the necessary ingredients to make food balanced and you go from worst food available to best food available for your dog!
It’s critical to adhere to the diet at all costs, as it is the basis of good health, but there are two key factors that everyone should consider while deciding what foodstuffs they’re feeding their dogs.
1) Species appropriatness
For dogs, this entails a diet that is high in protein, low in starch and has a high moisture content. This is extremely significant because denying dogs adequate moisture causes a slew of physiological issues, such as organ failure and kidney disease.
Dogs were designed to eat a diet that was approximately 70% moist. When we feed a dog dry food that is only about 12% moisture, dogs (and cats) live in a condition of chronic mild dehydration, which can lead to organ strain and eventual death. Fresh clean water should be provided to them at all times.
2) A Balanced Diet
This means that the food has been tested and guaranteed to satisfy your pet’s essential vitamin, mineral, and nutrient needs ( look for the wording ‘ balanced diet’ on the dog food you purchase). Because nutritional deficiencies develop rapidly in dogs, it’s critical to get this right!
Between the ages of 2 and 6 months after a poor diet, a growing puppy could develop nutritionary problems with organ and bone disorders. As a result, he may suffer from stunted growth, skeletal deformities, and muscle weakness. Adult dogs take 2-3 years after feeding a nutritionally deficient diet to start to develop problems, so foods must be balanced!
Read our blog on canine nutrition
Whether you go dry or wet food, one of the easiest ways for you to determine good dog food is by reading the label and looking out for the AAFCO Statement.
1) The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a group that establishes nutritional requirements and ingredient standards for food. Their statement is essentially a nutritional claim stating that the product is complete and suited to a certain age group. (The statement is generally located near the ingredients list)
2) Look for the words ‘tested’ in the AAFCO statement. This implies that the dish has gone through a food trial and that it does not include any contaminants like salmonella, which is good news.
3) Look for the wording ‘ life stages’ of your dog. Dogs go through four life stages: puppy, adult, mature adult, and senior. It’s best to eat a diet that is tailored to your dog’s current stage of development.
So,what is the best kind of dog food?
Top of the list is:
1) A balanced homemade raw diet
Balanced means containing all of the necessary nutrients (following a recipe that is nutritionally complete from the many canine cookbooks available). The term “raw” refers to food that is “unadulterated or unprocessed.” Foods with more vitamins and minerals are less likely to be found in commercial dog food, as it is processed and those raw enzymes and nutrients are lost as a result of the high temperatures employed during production.
Homemade gives you full control of the quality of the ingredients. Also, try to include a lot of variety (seasonal fruit and veg), and different meats for variety too. For more information on WHY some consider this to be the best for your dog, check out our article on: raw diet for dogs.
Another interesting article on Raw Feeding by THe Pet Food Manufacturers Association is well worth a read too.!
2) Commercially available raw diet
Again it’s important that they are balanced. There are a lot of commercial foods available that have not been proven to be nutritionally complete. You will know if the raw food is complete because on the bag it will say ‘this food has been proven to be nutritionally complete or adequate for all life stages’, This statement is very important! Also, follow the food hygiene guidelines when handling raw pet food!
3) Cooked balanced homemade diet
Exactly the same as the first on the list but just cooked which means some of the nutrients have been diminished because of processing
4) Human-grade canned food
This will be very clearly marked on the label and is the most expensive option of all!…great if you have more money than time!
5) Human-grade dry food
Although this is not as species-appropriate as a moisture dense diet. Human grade is good as it has been approved for human consumption and not made with rendered meats!
6) Super premium canned foods (available from good pet shops and stores)
7) Super premium dry foods (available from good pet shops and stores)
8) Veterinary recommended canned foods
9) Veterinary recommended dry foods
10) Grocery store brand canned foods
11) Grocery store dry dog food
12) Bottom of the list.... Semi-moist pouch food
The reason why Semi-moist pouch meals are at the bottom of the list is that, unlike canned dog food, it comes in a package and contains an element called propylene glycol (If cats or dogs consume large amounts of propylene glycol, poisoning can occur).
This is a harmful ingredient that is actually approved by the pet food industry. it’s second cousin is antifreeze! (ethylene glycol), avoid at all costs!
The 5 different types of food available on the market are:
1) Kibble / Dry Food
Dry food is the most inexpensive form of commercial dog food, which is why many people choose it for their dogs. It also has a long shelf life and does not need to be kept in the fridge. Chewing crunchy dry food can help to prevent tartar buildup by stimulating saliva flow throughout your dog’s mouth.
Wet food has a long shelf life and is readily available in any grocery store or, ideally, a pet shop. The most essential thing to look for are Named Protein Sources such as beef, chicken, salmon, etc., while ‘Animal derivatives’ and ‘Meat Meal’ should be avoided. Because indigestible protein passes through a dog’s body without being broken down into absorbable nutrients, it is essentially useless to him.
The most significant disadvantage of canned dog food is that it’s mostly composed of water (about 75 percent). Because the more water there is in the food, the less nutritious it is, your dog will eat considerably more. If you want to give your dog canned food, it’s best to go with a kind that’s labeled “100% nutritionally complete” (US brands) or “complete and balanced” (UK/European brands).
Many dog owners like to have complete control over their dog’s diet. Feeding your dog a home-cooked diet is time-consuming and expensive, but many people feel it is well worth the effort. If you decide to feed your dog a home-cooked diet, learn about canine nutrition so you can be sure he isn’t missing out on any important nutrients.
See our article on Dog Nutritional Needs – The Essentials!
4) Raw diet
A raw diet consists of raw meat, preferably with some bones (never cooked bones, only raw) and organs mixed in, as bones are a natural source of phosphorus and calcium. This type of diet works well for many dogs since dogs have short intestinal tracts and strong stomach acids, both of which make it easy for them to consume and digest raw food. Before transitioning your dog to a raw diet, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits and risks.
Raw food aims to mimic the diet of dogs in the wild. It is high in protein, contains probiotics and enzymes. This natural diet also provides antioxidants that help combat diseases by fighting free radicals in your dog’s body. A raw food diet typically consists of ground chicken or beef with vegetables, but it can be more expensive than other types.
5) Veterinary diet
There are many diets on the market that are tailored to help dogs with specific diseases. The AAFCO statement (Association of American Feed Control Officials) regulates nutritional needs and ingredient standards for meals. Their assertion, in essence, is a nutritional claim that says the food is complete and suitable for a particular life stage or health condition, such as renal or cardiac health.
These are designed to reduce the number of various nutrients in the food that influence the problem at hand – for example, limiting protein intake in a renal diet so that the kidneys have less work to do excreting protein by-products. These should only be fed under veterinary supervision since they can damage a dog without special need.
Before feeding your dog the new food you spent so much time carefully selecting, you’ll need to slowly transition them off of their old diet. You can do this transition over a week or two, rationing in the new food little by little until you’ve completely switched over.
Best dog food - What to do next?
Did you know that a dog’s gut health has a significant influence on its overall health?
A recent scientific study reports that 70% to 80% of all illness begins in the gastrointestinal tract! discover why this supplement is essential for your dog’s immune system and overall health-Full Bucket’s Probiotic supplements
- Dr Karen Becker