Updated on November 28th, 2023
Choosing the best dog food involves considering certain issues. Yes, as you read: it is not as simple as going to the supermarket and picking up a bag of food on sale.
Just as there are better quality foods for humans, there are also better quality foods for dogs. Now, do you know how to choose the best dog food for your four-legged friend?
The Healthiest Dog Food: Human Food, Canned Food Or Dry Food?
Dog food, whether dry or canned, contains all the nutrients your dog needs to be healthy. Despite what you may believe, dogs are not strictly carnivores, but they also need vegetables and fruits, and even grains in their diet.
By choosing the right dog food, your dog will have all the nutrients he needs to be healthy and strong. But how to know which is the best dog food?
The healthiest dog food is the one that provides all the necessary nutrients for your dog. It does not matter if it is a combination of human food that you prepare yourself at home or if you buy dry food or canned food.
The important thing is to pay attention to the combination of nutrients. This must be adapted to the breed of your dog, its age and its physical activity, as well as taking into account particular situations such as the presence of diabetes or other diseases.
Top 5 Tips To Pick The Best Dog Food
Good dog food will contain both meat and grains, vegetables, and fruits. However, it is necessary to take into account the age and breed of the dog when choosing food because each puppy has different and specific needs.
If you have doubts about it, consult your trusted vet.
Let's see what you should pay attention to when choosing food for your dog.
1. Choose A Food Category
The first step is to know what categories of food exist. Yes, there are several:
- Holistic (the most conventional diet)
- Veterinary prescription diet
- Premium food
- Generic food
- Whole food cooked diets
- Raw food
- Vegetarian food
2. Check Out The Presentation Form Of The Food
As we already told you, dog food is in its wet or dry presentation. But there is also another variety: the one that comes dehydrated and needs water before feeding your furry friend.
What is the best option of these? Everything will depend on the quality of the food (always compare varieties within the same quality), the needs of your dog, and your comfort.
At the comfort level, dry food is the most practical because it does not need refrigeration and is easy to store.
On the other hand, MSD Vet Manuals points out that dry food is usually made by combining grains, meat, and meat by-products, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
While many of these ingredients are also found in canned food, the same post explains that they typically contain higher amounts of fresh or frozen meat, poultry, or fish products and animal byproducts.
If you find BIO dog food, go for it! After reading carefully the label, of course 😉
Do you prefer to prepare homemade dog food? Take good care of the nutrients your dog needs. Your vet will guide you!
3. Read The Labels
It gives us all perishes, but it is essential! All companies that make dog food in the United States must pass The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approvals, and this information is on the labels.
While unapproved products are not sold, it may happen that a certain product is not ideal for your particular dog. So how do you choose? Look for those products that exceed AAFCO guidelines and use high-quality ingredients.
For example, you can check that meat is in the top two to three ingredients to make sure they have used the right quantity and quality.
Another tip? Avoid products with many chemicals or "fillers" such as soy, wheat, or corn.
4. Consult With The Vet
Dog owners tend to ask other owners about the food they feed their dog friends, but we should start with the vet. Nobody better than him to give you a consolidated opinion. Also, he may have samples of different varieties of food for your dog to try.
Your dog grows and his nutritional needs change with him. For this reason, you must adapt his diet whenever necessary.
Some people even suggest rotating the brand of dog food every 6 months. This is something you can check with the vet.
Should I Prepare Homemade Food?
You can do it, of course, you can. However, you must take into consideration the nutritional needs of your puppy or adult dog.
If you decide to prepare your dog's food at home, consult your trusted veterinarian to receive all the information necessary to create a nutritionally balanced food.
Homemade food can be a great option as long as you educate yourself on the safe way to make it and learn about your dog's nutritional needs.
Are you ready to choose the best food for your dog? We hope so.
How Do I Know If My Dog Food Is High-Quality?
Read the labels to check if your dog's food is high-quality. Choose those brands that have exceeded the expectations of the AAFCO guidelines. On the other hand, verify that the ingredients are of quality. A dog food with a higher percentage of meat and vegetables is always better than one with filling, such as corn, soy or wheat.
What Should You Avoid In Dog Food?
Avoid dog food with ingredients like:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA).
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
- Propyl gallate.
- Meat meal.
- Sodium Hexametaphosphate
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
- Unspecific ingredients, such us fish oil. Better to know the fats your dog eats.
- Food coloring.
- Corn Syrup.
- White Flour.
- Excess of fillings such as soy, corn or wheat.
What Is Meat Meal?
Meat meal is the result of a mixture of scraps from diseased and dead animals. It is cooked to remove excess fat and then used to make low-quality dog food. If you see a brand of dog food that says meat meal on the label, leave it on the shelf and choose another one.
Is Grain-Free Dog Food Better?
There are no scientific studies to support that grain-free dog food is better than dog food that includes grains. Grain-free dog food replaces the usual grains such as rice and corn with potatoes or assorted legumes. In 2019, the FDA studied a possible association between feeding grain-free dog food and reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The results were inconclusive. Consult your veterinarian before switching your dog to a grain-free diet.
What Are The Top 10 Healthiest Foods For Dogs?
The top 10 healthiest foods for dogs, which can be incorporated into their diet alongside their regular dog food, include:
- Carrots: Good for teeth, low in calories.
- Blueberries: Antioxidants for overall health.
- Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat.
- Pumpkin: High in fiber, good for digestion.
- Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamins A, C, B6.
- Apples: Vitamins A and C, and fiber (remove seeds).
- Oatmeal: Good source of soluble fiber, especially for older dogs.
- Green Beans: Low calorie, high in fiber.
- Eggs: High-quality protein and fatty acids.
- Chicken: Lean protein to build muscle.