The Dog Foods – Guide for Picking the Right Food for your Dog
When bringing a fresh dog into the world, one of the larger decisions you’ll want to check on off your list immediately is the type of dog food to buy. The blessing and the curse of selecting dog food is that you’ll not be missing for options. We’re here to help you get around your dog food scenery so you are completely prepared before getting your brand-new dog home.
As pet owners, we wish the very best for our pups to supply them with an extended, happy life, which starts with feeding them well balanced, healthy meals. Dog’s body, like humans, are unique. What’s best for your pet can be very different than what’s best for someone else’s dog.
What Nutritional Requirements Exist for Dogs?
When choosing which food to buy, you’ll want to understand the nutritional needs of your dog and how they may differ from other dogs. If you have a new puppy you’ll need food specifically formulated for young, growing pups. Or if you have a dog on the small or large end of the spectrum there will be a specific formula more suited to your dog’s needs.
To ensure that you’re buying food that contains all of the vitamins and nutrients your pet needs, look on the label for the words “complete and balanced.” This is a term the FDA uses to regulate dog and cat food nutrient profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The ability to feed your dog one food which has all the nutrients and vitamins they need is an advantage over feeding your pet a raw diet, which may then require additional vitamin supplements.
One supplement you might want to include in your dog’s daily diet regardless of the dog food you choose is omega-3 fatty acids. Just like in humans, your dog needs a balance of omega-3 and omega-6. The imbalance comes from a high amount of omega-6 which is found in most manufactured dog foods. If you’re feeding your pet commercial food, you should consider adding an omega-3 supplement to correct the imbalance.
Your dog needs omega-3 for a variety of reasons including:
- Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps dogs dealing with allergies and arthritis.
- Omega-3 improves skin and energy levels, as well as coat and joint health.
- Omega-3 helps with the cognitive development of puppies and could improve the cognitive functions of older dogs.
Obviously, there’s a wide-ranging collection of omega-3 supplements to choose from so be sure to research your facts in picking one out. An inexpensive COULD Met My Dog Personnel choice for seafood essential oil is a 16 oz salmon essential oil pump from Essential Family pet Life. Or you can go with a seafood oil product that doubles as a delicacy, the Zesty Paws Omega-3 Salmon Bites.
How Do I Pick Out Commercial Dog Food?
It’s difficult to narrow down exactly what food is best for your dog because of the abundance of choices available to you. Dog foods can be formulated for three stages of life, growth stage, adult stage, and senior stage, while other foods will simply be for “all phases of life.”
After choosing which stage of life food you want to look for, the best way to begin selecting a brand is to compare product labels. When reading a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of largest to smallest quantities. Be aware of manufacturers hiding the amount of undesirable ingredients by listing them separately and disguising what percent of the food they make up.
When looking at the product label you’ll want to see a variety of nutritional ingredients. Dogs can digest and gain nutrition from fruits, grains and vegetables in addition to meat. A good dog food will contain a combination of those ingredients, while the best dog foods will contain the highest quality versions of those elements. Ingredients to avoid are corn, cornmeal, soy and wheat as they are harder for dogs to digest.
Terms to remember when picking out food:
- “Chicken” means at least 70 percent of the product is made up of chicken.
- “Chicken Platter,” “Chicken Dinner,” or “Chicken Entrée” means that at minimum 10-percent of the food is beef.
- “With Chicken” means just 3-percent, while “Chicken Flavor” is less than 3-percent.
Does My Dog Need a Grain-Free Diet?
Many dog food manufacturers have began to offer grain-free options. The idea is that just as human ancestors experienced a grain-free diet, so do the ancestors of early canines, and therefore dogs would reap the benefits of a grain-free diet just like some humans do.
You’ll read varying opinions on how canines’ digestive systems have evolved to take care of grain and gluten, which range from those that believe dogs still have relatively primitive digestive systems, to the ones that believe canines can break down grains without a concern. When you read such wide-ranging views, the truth is likely someplace in-between. An over-all nutritional guideline that a lot of can agree on would be that the suggested daily amount of grain for a puppy is 10% of their diet. All of those other diet should almost evenly be divided between vegetables (50%) and proteins (40%).
Those and only a grain-free diet cite benefits that are extremely much like those cited in raw diets, including more healthy coats and teeth, smaller stools and increased energy.
One drawback of grain free is that those diets frequently are higher in body fat and calories and may lead to putting on weight in your pet. Going grain-free may also be a far more expensive option, so you’ll have to choose if the benefits are well worth the excess cost. In the event that you curently have a flawlessly happy and healthy dog, then there is probable you don’t need to significantly change their diet to grain free.
Your dog is only going to need a grain-free diet if they’re specifically allergic to grains. In the event that you notice itchiness, or discomfort on your dog’s pores and skin there could be a food allergy at play. In cases like this attempting a grain-free diet could be a choice to find out if it helps clean up the issue.
Should My Dog Eat a Raw Diet?
A raw diet for dogs can consist of organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables, and yogurt. This type of raw diet can be of the homemade variety, while the other way to feed your dog a raw diet is through commercially available dog food that includes raw ingredients.
Proponents of a raw diet claim that eating raw food promotes cleaner teeth, a shinier coat, healthier skin, higher energy levels and smaller stool. The raw diet is sometimes referred to by the acronym BARF, which stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Sled canines and racing greyhounds were some of the earliest adopters of the hilariously titled BARF diet, and these days the diet has become much more popular with food manufacturers.
Some will say that the only reason for your dog to eat a raw diet is to eliminate ingredients in commercial foods that cause allergies. If your pet seems to have a food allergy and you’ve tried grain free, but the irritation has continued, a raw diet could an option. If you do decide to try a raw diet, do as much research as possible beforehand and consult with your vet or a nutritionist.
Detractors of BARF will argue that going raw will lead to an unbalanced diet, which could harm your dog if fed for an extended period. For those that are feeding dogs raw meaty bones, there is a potential for choking or internal punctures. For these reasons, we do not recommend nourishing your dog whole raw bones. Your dog’s ancestors may have needed to resort to that type of diet, but that is not a reason for you to put your pet at risk.
If you’d like to safely give food to your dog a bone, there are many quality commercial options to consider. One option is entire, naturally shed deer and elk antlers. Pick an appropriate sized antler for your pet in order to avoid choking. Your dog will love to chew it, they do not splinter, and they promote healthy gums and tooth.
There are some that argue the benefits from a raw diet are largely due to a higher fat composition in these foods. Those detractors declare that the huge benefits gained from heading raw could be duplicated by substituting high-fat commercial food.
It’s hard to fully recommend a raw diet for your dog considering the concerns nutritionists have of creating an unbalanced diet that could be harmful long term. To further this point, a study at Tufts University looked at five raw diets, two commercially available and three homemade, and all five “had nutritional deficiencies or excesses that could cause serious health problems if given long-term.”
One study is far from conclusive to judge the entire raw diet landscape, and there will likely be many more studies that will continue to come out both in favor and against raw diets.
Ultimately, it’s hard to know exactly what to believe. From this author’s perspective, it might be safer to just sit on the sidelines and wait for more conclusive evidence one way or the other before drastically changing your dog’s diet.
Wet or Dry?
When selecting dog food you’ll have a selection of either damp or dry out dog food, in addition to dehydrated food. Dry out dog food gets the benefit over moist dog food of not needing refrigeration after starting, and it can also be little less costly than the wet, canned food types. Wet and dry dog food both contain similar elements, but damp food may include a higher amount of fresh proteins and pet byproducts.
Dehydrated food can become more expensive, but may also be top quality, and is intended to be coupled with water for rehydrating into meals.
There are numerous quality possibilities in these varieties, but three our staff recommends are Blue Buffalo, Wellness and Nutrish which can both be bought either canned or as dry kibble. We like the Blue Buffalo Seafood & Nice Potato canned moist food and the Blue Buffalo Poultry and Brown Rice kibble dried out food. We also like the Health and fitness Simple Salmon and Potato kibble dry food and the Wellness Primary Grain free canned wet food. For Nutrish, we like the Nutrish Meat, Pea and Dark brown Rice kibble dried out food.
For dehydrated food, a favorite option and one which requested and received a “human being grade” ranking from the FDA may be the Honest Kitchen.
How Much Food Should I Feed My Dog?
The quantity of food a puppy should be fed daily will be unique for every situation, depending on size and exactly how active your pet is. As a guide, this desk has recommended quantities to feed your pet more than a 24-hour period depending on size.
|Dog Weight||Cups of Food/day|
|20lbs||1 1/3 cups|
|30lbs||1 ¾ cups|
|40lbs||2 ¼ cups|
|50lbs||2 2/3 cups|
|70lbs||3 ½ cups|
|80lbs||3 ¾ cups|
|90lbs||4 ¼ cups|
|100lbs||4 ½ cups|
* These are general guidelines. Please check with your veterinarian to properly manage your dog’s diet.
Slowly Transition Dogs from Old Food to New Food
Before feeding your dog the new food you spent so enough time carefully selecting, you’ll need to gradually transition them from their old diet. You are able to do this transition over weekly or two, rationing in the new food over time until you’ve completely switched over. Through the changeover period keep a detailed on your dog’s bowel motions to ensure their belly is pleased with the new diet. If not, visit a different food that your pet can easier break down and try until you find one which keeps their stomach and body happy!
The Hand That Feeds
A meal is your dog’s biggest paycheck. If you leave your dog’s food down all day, it send a message that you’re not in charge. Instead, ask your dog to “sit” or “sit down” and “stay” before giving the meal. Your dog thinks if you’re in charge of the food, you must be the top dog. Even better, feed your pet twice every day and you will have two opportunities to be top dog.
How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog
With regards to choosing the right food for his or her dogs, people often agonize about choosing among an array of options. Considering that 95 percent of owners consider their household pets to participate the family, relating to a Nielsen study around the Humanization of Family pet Food, family pet parents typically want to give a well-balanced diet, created from quality elements.
Whether seeking to introduce variety into a pet’s diet or address a problem, like a food level of sensitivity or weight issue, the right pet food can nurture house animals and address medical issues.
“There are so many well-formulated dog foods to choose from today,” said Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, older nutritionist, Petcurean. “Like humans, all pets are unique, so that it just requires a little patience and persistence to get the recipe that is most beneficial for each family pet.”
Keep these pointers at heart when analyzing what might be best for your puppy:
Look at the ingredients
High-quality, whole-food ingredients like fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and grains provide the essential nutrients your dog requires. They are also a source of other important dietary components such as antioxidants and plant-based nutrients to support optimal health.
Select a protein source
For canines with food sensitivities, selecting a proteins source can be difficult. In the event that you believe a food level of sensitivity, it’s smart to seek advice from with your vet. You’ll also have to begin testing option food options to recognize a formula your pet can tolerate. If you’re uncertain which proteins your pet is delicate to, try something more obscure, such as duck or pollock.
A limited-ingredient diet can also be good for lessen the opportunity of a detrimental food response. These diets usually include a single-source, book protein and also have a limited quantity of elements, which decreases the chances of your puppy eating something that doesn’t trust his / her stomach.
Consider activity level and weight
You may want to choose a food that was created to meet specific needs. For instance, an over weight dog might need a food with fewer calories. Having a calorie-reduced food, you might be able to give food to the same quantity, however your dog will need in fewer calorie consumption. On the other hand, high-energy and energetic dogs may necessitate food higher in excess fat and carbohydrates.
Look for healthy fats
Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can provide health benefits in dogs. The omega-3 content of a food can sometimes be found in the guaranteed analysis on the packaging. Some examples of ingredients that contain omega-3 fatty acids are salmon oil, flax essential oil and canola oil. A good guideline is to look for foods that contain an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio between 5:1-10:1.
Think about rotational feeding
You also may want to consider a rotational diet, which can allow your pet to experience different flavors and textures and discourage picky eating. This approach also encourages varied proteins and food forms.
For those looking to change things up for their pet without making a full switch, there are also creative ways to add variety to your pet’s diet, such as adding wet food, mixers or toppers. Consider an option like GO! Solutions Meal Mixers, which feature freeze-dried, functional ingredients including single-source primary proteins and whole fruits and veggies. Available in four recipes that address different dietary needs, the mixers can be incorporated into dry kibble, stews or pates or served as a snack to add a boost of concentrated nutrition.