The Ultimate Dog Nutrition Guide

What is the Best Dog Food?

Our dogs are some of the closest beings in our personal lives. So, it’s only natural to research what is really the best dog food for our four-legged family member.

Unfortunately, many of us face challenges when it comes to choosing the right foods for our dogs.

This problem has been made worse by the hundreds of cheap dog foods that proliferate the dog food market. However, you can go around this problem by seeking quality information.

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This is why I put together this very comprehensive dog nutrition guide. Please find below the table of contents, to guide you through the various sections:

The best food for your dog depends on your unique circumstances. For example, you need to take into account the breed of your dog, its age, and sensitivities among other factors.

Once you understand what your dog actually needs, you’ll be able to choose the foods best suited for it. It’s not impossible to follow this path in creating a healthy lifestyle for your pet.

In this article, we’ll guide you on what is the best quality food for your pet. What nutrients does your dog need? How do you know your dog is getting the right nutrients?

Let’s walk the journey together!

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How to Read a Dog Food Label

The dog food label is an important source of information. It will help you determine whether the food is good or bad for your dog, based on your concerns.

However, you need to be very keen to get all the information you need. Most labels are written in small, hard-to-read print.

But, with the right purpose of mind, you’ll be able to get the following information from dog food labels:

Name of the product

The name of the Product gives you the general details regarding the constitution of the product. Some of the more common terms you expect to encounter here include beef’, beef platter’, beef dinner’, beef flavor’, and beef entrée’.

Each of these terms conveys a certain message regarding the beef content of the dog food. For example, beef’ means that the larger percentage (above 70%) of the food is made of beef. Beef flavor’ means that the food contains just enough quantity of beef to flavor it (3% or less).

Ingredients Used

The ingredients part of the label shows you what is contained in the dog food. Usually, the manufacturer lists the heaviest ingredients first.

You need to have a keen eye out for unsuitable ingredients as you go through the list. Depending on the needs of your pet, you may have to drop some food items based on this.

The ingredient list does not indicate the quality of the ingredients or their source. Also, some manufacturers tend to separate closely related ingredients to make a more equal distribution. This could be misleading if you are not keen.

For example, the manufacturer may list different kinds of corn separately. This means that kibbled corn, ground corn, and flaked corn is not put down as one ingredient. So, although each of these shows a tolerable amount of corn, its cumulative amount is actually high.

The same goes for meat. Beef contains high water content. This means that it will not appear high up in the list of ingredients. On the other hand, meat meal may not be so appealing, but it counts high in actual meat content.

Be particularly careful with the ingredient list if your dog has special dietary needs. Dogs with allergies and other such needs require special servings of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and fiber. Fortunately, there are special dog foods for canines with special needs.

Your dog’s age, level of activity and breed also determines the type and quantity of nutrients you should give it. So, it is important you acquaint yourself with what carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and proteins supply to your pet’s body.

Whatever the case, do not settle for low-quality ingredients. The dog uses the food nutrients to play and jump around. Bad ingredients deprive him/her the energy and wellbeing he/she needs to do these activities efficiently.

Most poor quality foods have cheap fillers as part of their ingredients. You can avoid falling prey to manufacturers who make such products by going for high-quality dog food.

Guaranteed Analysis

This part offers such information as the minimum percentage (min %) of the Protein, fiber, moisture, and fat that the food contains. Also, you may get data on the calcium and phosphorus content.

Depending on the unique needs of your dog, it will require certain percentages of these nutrients. As such, it is important you pay close attention to the small print. Know exactly what the dog food contains. This will help you decide whether it is the right one for your pet.

Manufacturer’s Contact Data

This contains all the information you need concerning the manufacturer. It is useful should you see the need to contact them for any queries. Ideally, this paper has the phone contacts, email address, and physical address of the manufacturer.

Other key features of the dog food label include the following:

  • Product net weight
  • The type of animal targeted – dog, horse, cat, etc.
  • Feeding guidelines
  • About nutritional adequacy

Three Most Important Nutrients in Dog Food

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the dog with the energy it needs to carry out its daily activities. You can get good quantities of carbohydrates from dog foods that contain grains, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and beans.

Also, fiber is a source of carbohydrates that help with the animal’s digestive system. However, give the dog this fiber in moderation, so that it doesn’t cause flatulence.

Fats

This is the single, largest source of energy for animals, including dogs. Fats have high-energy content, which is good for very active dogs, and those suffering from kidney disorders.

Protein

Your animal friend is a playful creature. As such, he/she uses their muscles quite intensely for the better parts of their life. It is given that these muscles are subjected to a lot of damage in the process.

This is where proteins come in. They repair the body and help the body produce new, healthier cells. As such, the dog’s quality of life is enhanced.

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Key Things to Note

In the quest for the best food dog for your pet, do not be carried away by all the claims you’ll read on the dog food labels. The law is silent in the terminology that manufacturers can use on the label. Also, there’s no agreed standard on organic dog food.

As such, claims that the dog food is holistic, natural, and human-grade could just be mere claims. Treat them with the skepticism they deserve, unless there are very good reasons to trust the source of the food.

In the same way, be wary of meats and meat products that are not specified. Ensure that the label specifies the source of the protein. A claim of chicken meal’ or poultry products’ is not good enough. Do not compromise on the quality of what your dog feeds on.

Finally, avoid dog foods that contain harmful, disease-causing ingredients. Such ingredients include Propylene Glycol, BHA (Butylated Hydroxytoluene), BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole), Ethoxyquin.

Although some firms try to pass some of these substances as safe for dogs, the truth is that they are toxic to both humans and dogs.

The internet is awash with information on dog food. Ensure that the information you rely on has sound scientific backing. It’s better to be skeptical than sorry.

If in doubt, do not hesitate to check with your dog’s nutritionist or vet. After all, you owe your canine friend the best care possible.

What Dogs Can and Cannot Eat

You are the main determinant of your dog’s health and happiness. Therefore, it is important that you get everything right from the very start.

Dangerous ingredients can be hazardous to your pet’s health. We know that there’s too much information on the internet. This can confuse you on what your dog can and cannot eat.

Is it okay to give your pet a treat of coconut water? Can you give them a treat, such as an avocado? Such questions could be going through your mind as you consider giving your dog a treat.

This article will help you demystify what you can and cannot feed your dog. Granted, we cannot cover all the foods available. That would take countless days!

But, we can guide you through the more common foods that you are likely to interact with on a regular basis.

How to Choose the Best Dog Food

Committed dog lovers tend to be very caring. We are willing to share the comfort of your home with our pets. As such, it is quite common for us to share our favorite food with our canine friends, right?

Well, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your food with your dog. But, some foods that work quite well in the human body can cause mayhem on the body of your favorite pet.

Yet, others are quite beneficial to the dog’s health. The trick lies in understanding the foods your pet can eat, and the ones they shouldn’t touch.

You are the best-placed person to determine what’s best for your dog. You see it on a regular basis and you can monitor the foods that are working for it, and the ones that aren’t.

The rule of the thumb is that if the dog is active and producing healthy stool, the dog food is okay. Give your dog foods with beneficial nutrients. This means that you need to check for the type of food, its ingredients, and expiry date.

Also, be sure to consult your veterinarian. They are trained to handle all nutrition issues nutrition issues pertaining to dogs.

For example, if your dog is struggling with anal gland problems, there are specific high fiber foods that are recommended in this case.

Safe Human Foods for Your Dog

It’s perfectly okay to give your pets the food you crave. However, ensure that they are safe and will not affect your dog’s health. Here are some foods that you can use as a treat for your canine pal:

Can Dogs Eat Bread?

Dogs do love bread. You can give it to them as plain bread in small amounts. There’s no need to make them have bread in large quantities since it doesn’t have much nutritional value.

Just as in people, bread will help you dog pack on the calories. However, it is prudent that you avoid homemade bread altogether as it contains unwanted preservatives.

Can Dogs Eat Coconut?

In small amounts, coconut is good for your pet. It contains Lauric, which boost your immune system and fights off infections. Also, it helps get rid of a host of other maladies like hot spots, itchy skin, and flea allergies. Be on the lookout that the dog doesn’t swallow the coconut shell. It can be lodged in the pet’s throat.

Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

Dogs can enjoy a treat of cashews. Like with everything else, give the nuts in moderation. Too many nuts at ago may lead to weight gain and other fat-related complications.

Can Dogs Eat Eggs?

Well-cooked eggs are safe for your pet. They are a rich source of protein, which is also good for upset stomachs.

Ensure that your pet doesn’t eat raw eggs for these can lead to biotin deficiency in the dog.

Can Dogs Eat Corn?

Corn constitutes the commonest ingredient in dog foods. Also, dogs do love this delicacy. Ensure that the corn is off the cob. Cobs are hard and are likely to interfere with the digestion process if ingested.

Can Dogs Eat Cheese?

Choose the low-fat cheese varieties for your pet’s treat. Small quantities of mozzarella or cottage cheese are good for your dog. However, ensure that you check the dog for lactose tolerance before you expose it to a cheese diet.

Can Dogs Eat Fish?

Fish is a delicacy for any dog. Apart from that, fish contains amino acids and beneficial fats. We highly recommend sardines and salmon for their high protein and vitamins content.

Be sure to pick out all the small bones from the fish to prevent injury to your pet. Also, cook the fish well before feeding it to your pet.

Other Foods Safe for Your Pet

As noted earlier, we can take days to cover all the foods. Ensure that you conduct due diligence before you subject your pet to any food – even if the food works well for other dogs. Remember, moderation is the key when it comes to proper feeding.

Other safe foods for your dog include milk, honey, butter, pork, peanuts, shrimp, and quinoa.

Human Foods Dangerous for Dogs

Can a small portion of your favorite snack hurt your lovely pet? Well, it depends on what you want to feed it.

If that snack contains any of the following, you could be setting your dog up to some serious problems.

Can Dogs Eat Xylitol?

Most diet foods, baked goods, and gum contain this ingredient. It is dangerous, as it can cause hypotension and liver damage in your pet. The dog will experience symptoms of vomiting, poor coordination, and lethargy.

Within 3 to 4 days, your pet will have convulsions and total liver failure.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Never place chocolates anywhere your dog can access. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which is very dangerous and can stop your pet’s metabolic process. This toxic substance can cause your dog to start vomiting. Eventually, the dog will suffer from diarrhea, convulsions, and irregular heartbeat.

Can Dogs Eat Avocado?

Avocados have a substance called persin. Too much of this substance causes diarrhea and vomiting in dogs. The avocado plant contains this substance in its bark, seed, and leaves. As such, keep your pet away from avocado trees.

Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?

Now, cinnamon is not dangerous per se. however, it makes dogs produce a secretion in their mouths that is irritating. If your dog produces this secretion in high doses, it will suffer from hypotension, vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, and poor heart function.

Can Dogs Eat Alcohol?

We know the harmful effect of excessive consumption of alcohol on the human brain and liver. When it comes to your dog, it takes much less quantity of alcohol to inflict the same type of damage.

Just a little wine, liquor, or beer is enough to cause vomiting, poor coordination, and vomiting. Slightly higher doses are responsible for such problems as coma, erratic breathing, and death.

Can Dogs Eat Garlic?

Keep all onions away from dogs. Just like chives, leeks, and other onions, garlic is highly toxic to dogs. Its consumption will cause your pet to have a high heart rate, weak muscles, and pale gums. Eventually, the dog will collapse from poisoning.

We have a number of articles exploring the various foods dog can or can’t eat: pineapple, watermelon, broccoli.

A Few More Considerations on Optimum Dog Nutrition

There are lots of foods that you should not give to your dog. Some will affect its weight negatively, while others are just downright lethal.

Your vet can help you in choosing what your dog can and cannot eat. Vets are trained to research on nutrition in levels that you cannot. But, in the meantime, you can rely on the above information whenever the question of what’s good (and what’s not good) for your dog arises.

Good vs Bad Dog Food Ingredients

A walk through the pet section of any store will expose you to a wide variety of dog food choices. Before you pick anything for your dog, it’s important that you know what goes into making it.

One of the best places to get this information is on the dog food label. Each label contains the list of ingredients in the food.

The truth is that a good number of ingredients used in making have nutritional value. However, many are dangerous. They are likely to cause allergies, chronic ear issues, itching, and intestinal problems in your dog.

Let’s have a look at what you need to consider before you make a food purchase for your dog.

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GOOD DOG FOOD INGREDIENTS

These ingredients enhance the health of the dog. They not only maintain its health, but also they help it combat infections and boost their immune system.

Protein Is Crucial

In any dog meal, protein is very important. If the meal has a low quantity of protein, then it’s as good as useless.

But, the type of protein used in the food is an important consideration. Good quality protein comes for the healthy meal of turkey, chicken, and beef.

Also, you can have good protein derived from other acceptable protein sources such as cheese and eggs. A good number of high-quality dog foods use plant-based proteins from peas, chickpeas, and other such plants.

Some Fats Provide Good Protein

To maintain their all-around health, it’s important that you expose them to food that has some fat. Dogs use fat to produce energy and only resort to using carbs for this purpose when fats are not available.

In addition, your dog needs omegas 3 & 6 (essential fatty acids) to enhance their body balance. Good dog foods get these from both plant and animal sources.

Animal sources of fats include pork fat, chicken fat, and salmon oil. Also, plant sources like canola oil and flaxseed give good quality fat.

However, watch out for fats from cottonseed oil, tallow, and lard. Although they are good for humans, they are not appropriate for a canine companion.

High Quality Grains Are Good

According to some experts, dogs can take as much as 50% of carbohydrates or more in their diet. The truth is that carbs are not bad for our canine friends.

Also, they do provide your dog with short bursts of energy. Also, the use of carbohydrates in dog food enables manufacturers to produce cheaper products.

Nonetheless, dogs don’t need carbs desperately. They can get whatever nutrition they get from carbs in other sources. However, since most dogs tolerate carbohydrates, you can use them in the dog meal.

But, there’s a catch…! Don’t just use any source of carbohydrates. Poor-quality carbohydrates will provide no value at all. If anything, they could cause more harm than good.

You need to go for dog foods that use high-quality grains. Whole grains such as peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice are quite good.

These provide your dog with what it requires to function efficiently.

BAD DOG FOOD INGREDIENTS

A good number of ingredients are just bad for your dog’s health. Some manufacturers use such stuff as coloring and preservatives to make the foods more attractive.

Sadly, many of these have been linked with serious health ramifications and even death.

Let’s have a look at some dog food ingredients that you should always avoid.

Poor Quality Grains

Experts warn on the use of poor-quality grains in your pet’s dog food. Appear from the fact that they don’t add much nutritional value to the food, they can cause harm to the health of your doggy.

In fact, concerns over their use have risen since 2007, when massive recall of dog food from China was done. All these supplies contained rice and wheat gluten from China.

In addition, be wary of any dog food that has corn as its main ingredient. Yes, corn is cheap as a source of protein. But, you’ll get very poor performance from your dog.

Meat By-Products

The problem with dog foods made of meat by-products is that you can’t tell the authenticity of the meat products. Some manufacturers use unscrupulous ways to keep production costs down and maximize profits.

As such, they resort to condemned or undesirable animals as the source of this protein. They go for the bones, feathers, feet, heads, lungs, blood, and ligaments of animals of animals that are unfit for consumption.

These may include the Dead, Disabled, Diseased, and Dying prior to slaughter (4D’s) animals.

As things are currently, there are no strong laws to control the use of animal parts as a source of protein for dog food. Everything goes. You can get dog food made from road kill, rats, pigs, horses, and even drugged animals.

Some of the more undesirable sources of meat by-products include:

  • Untreated hair
  • Spoiled, rotten food waste
  • Unsterilized paunch products
  • Feathers
  • Carpel and tarsal joints
  • Undried, processed animal waste product
  • Dried swine waste
  • Dried poultry excreta

So, anytime you see the term by-product’ on the food label, think twice. The truth is; dog products should entirely consist of meat, some absorbable grains, and vegetables. You see, you can’t tell what the manufacturer had put in the by-products.

Other Nutritionally Useless Ingredients

AAFCO is the body that provides manufacturers with nutritional guidelines. Although this body has allowed a number of ingredients to be used as fillers in dog products, many of them are useless as far as nutrition is concerned.

Such fillers include:

  • Soybean meal – remains from ground flakes
  • Beet pulp – leftovers from sugar beets
  • Tomato pomace – the residues from tomatoes processing, including pulp, seeds, and skins
  • Sugar foods by-products – derivatives of sugar products such as gelatin, and candy
  • Pea protein, fiber, and starch – has absolutely no nutritional value
  • Oat grouts – leftovers of oats

In addition to the above, you need to keep off blood meal. Used as a cheap source of protein, it will be hard for you to verify its origin. The blood could be contaminated with dangerous medications or hormones.

GOOD / BAD INGREDIENTS CONCLUSION

With the number of dog food recalls that have risen in the recent past, you need to be more vigilant. Most of the issues reported had to do with poor safety measures at the point of manufacture.

Others issues arose from the desire of the manufacturers to make more money on the products. Ingredient suppliers, too, have not been left behind in this corner-cutting game.

A quick check through the FDA database will show you that up to 20 recalls were made in the first half of the year in the US. Most involved dog foods and treats that had suspect or confirmed cases of salmonella infection.

Other recalls resulted from the discovery of drugs used to euthanize and sedate the source animals. Indeed, one of these drugs, pentobarbital, can wreak irrevocable havoc on the health of your dog.

So, what do you need to do as a pet owner? It’s simple, really. Just be vigilant enough to ensure that your dog’s food is safe as well as nutritious.

Types of Dog Food

Admitting a dog into your life is like opening new vistas for adventure. However, it also comes with many important responsibilities.

You have to be cognizant of a number of things. For example, what type of food does your canine friend need? What kind of care will it need?

These considerations are all important. However, it’s paramount that you understand the various types of dog food your four-legged friend needs. This is not a decision you should make on a whim.

Before you decide what’s right for your pet, you need to consider a variety of associated factors. For example, what are the nutritional needs of your dog? What budget do you have to work with?

Once you’ve settled these concerns, you can go ahead and choose what is most appropriate for your dog. Here are the main types of dog food in the market today.

Dry Dog Food

Dry dog foods have low content in moisture. They are usually derived from kibbles and shaped pellets, biscuits, flake foods, and mixers.

This type of dog food has a longer shelf life than most other foods. Also, they are easier to store than moist foods.

Dry foods assist to clean your dog’s teeth. Moreover, you don’t have to refrigerate them. As such, they are more convenient to handle.

You’ll find it easy to serve a dry food diet for the dog. You won’t have to wash, unthaw, or cook them. All you need is to scoop it into the pet’s dish and serve it.

However, this is not to say that these foods have no disadvantages. For example, some manufacturers are taking advantage of the popularity of this diet to make unhealthy brands.

This means that you need to be extra cautious as you go about purchasing dry dog foods. Be on the lookout for those that have fillers, preservatives, flavors, and artificial colors. These are either harmful or have absolutely no value.

Wet Dog Food (Canned)

This is the opposite of dry dog food. These are very high in moisture content. As such, they have a texture different from that of dry foods. Most are served as chunks in gravy, chunks in jelly, and meatloaf form.

You may choose to purchase wet foods in bulk and refrigerate them. Before you serve each portion, you need to thaw and heat it.

Remember to heat wet foods at very high temperatures in order to keep them germs free. Once you do so, they turn soggy, making them soft and easy to chew. This means that wet food is best suited for dogs with dental health issues.

Since wet foods have high water content, you need to understand how much nutrients each serving offers. Your dog may have to take many servings per day in order to remain strong and healthy.

Semi-Moist Dog Food

This is more of a dog treat than a type of dog food. You can get them in the form of pellets from most of the stores. It has a chewy texture, and it contains many colors and artificial flavors.

Leading experts are of the opinion that semi-moist foods are not the best for your dog. They don’t offer much in terms of nutrients. As such, they are a bad choice for pups and dogs that require a consistent supply of nutrients. Of course, this means just about all dogs!

Puppy Dog Food

Puppies grow at a fast rate, and they need nutrients to fuel this growth. According to Dr. Joseph Wakashlag, a leading nutritionist at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, you should wean your pup from the age of 4 months.

You may have to use moistened dry food before your pup reaches the age of 2 months. This makes the food soggy and easy to chew and ingest.

Before you put your puppy on any special diet, it’s important that you seek the help of your vet. Professor Tony Buffington, the chief veterinarian at The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital, contends that puppies’ nutritional needs change rather rapidly within the first six months of their lives.

As such, it is prudent you consult your veterinarian, who’ll advise you on how to keep up with these changes.

The Association of American Feed Control Official (AAFCO) has much to do with setting the recommended guidelines for pet food.

They stipulate that you should feed your puppy special small dogs food that is primarily meant to boost growth.

According to AAFCO, you need to feed your pup on this food at least three times a day for the first six months. After this period, the puppy should have a thick, shiny coat and should be excreting well-formed, brown feces.

In addition, check to see that it is playful and energetic.

If your pup shows all the signs of health at the end of the initial 6-12 months period, you can switch from the growth diet to a maintenance one. Some small breeds make this change after 18 months.

Grain-Free Dog Food

The grain-free diet mimics the dog’s natural food since it’s a carnivore. You see, long before we started giving our dogs food in dishes, dogs used to hunt for meat alongside wolves and other carnivores in the field.

However, things drastically changed since that 1940s. The mass production of kibble for dogs came into play. Dog food with cheap fillers like barley, wheat, and corn could now be produced for dogs.

Indeed, up to this day, a good number of dog food manufacturers still list wheat or corn as the key ingredients in their dog foods.

Although dogs have evolved from living outdoors into our living rooms, their digestive system is still that of their ancestors. They have difficulty breaking down cereal grains and complex carbohydrates.

In fact, the dog’s digestive system relies on fermentation to break down grain foods for absorption. This can be a long and tedious process, and often leads to your pet developing allergies, obesity, stomach disorders, and sensitivities.

As such, grain-free food is preferable to foods that contain difficult-to-digest fibers.

What Are The Benefits Of Grain-Free Dog Food?

Expert nutritionists are of the opinion that well-balanced dog food should contain more animal fats and protein than carbohydrates. This has immense benefits for the animal.

These benefits include:

  • The food is easier to digest
  • The dog will require smaller servings
  • Reduces incidences of dog food allergies
  • Your pet will be healthier
  • It will have cleaner breath
  • Reduced cases of gas in the stomach
  • Your dog will be more energetic

Limited Ingredients Dog Food

This is the type of dog food that uses few and better quality ingredients. The more traditional, popular brands of dog foods tend to use cheaper but lower quality ingredients.

Also, limited ingredient dog food undergoes a slightly different process of manufacture. As such, it is less likely to transmit allergies to your dog.

What Makes Limited Ingredient Dog Food Different?

We can classify dog food as limited ingredient food based on a number of factors.

These include:

  • Amount of filler used
  • Number of ingredients used
  • Sources of protein
  • Number of sources of protein

Amount of Filler

Most commercial dog foods use ingredients that are very poor in nutritional value. In fact, the more the amount of fillers used in the dog food, the less its usefulness to your dog.

Fillers are used to add bulk to the food while keeping the costs low. As such, foods with fillers are more affordable than limited ingredient formula. However, they do pose a great danger to our animals.

Number Of Ingredients

Some firms use ingredients that are not meant for the type of dog food they manufacturer. These ingredients are like fillers, although they have some nutritional value. The aim of this is to keep the cost of manufacturing down.

While you’ll find these types of foods cheaper than limited ingredients, they are likely to cause allergic reactions in your pet.

On the other hand, limited ingredients dog foods don’t use ingredients for bulk. They are made with the fewest ingredients possible to minimize the possibility of causing allergic reactions to your dog.

Protein Sources

Poor quality commercial dog foods tend to have by-product meals in their ingredients. Such ingredients are not fit for human consumption. However, many companies use them in their dog food.

The fact that they are cheap and rich in protein content appeals to such commercial firms. It allows them to produce the products at cheaper prices.

However, you have no way to tell the source of these proteins. It is possible that they could be from diseased or dead animals. This is dangerous to the health of your dog.

Senior Dog Food

What’s a senior dog? Animal experts don’t seem to speak from the same page on this issue. Depending on the size and breed of your pet, a senior dog can be 5 or 15.

You see, different breeds age differently. For example, the giant Irish wolfhound lives to around 10 years. As such, we can say that it’s a senior dog from the age of six.

On the other hand, smaller breeds such as poodles and Whippets live to the age of 20 and beyond. Thus, this hit their senior-dog status from the age of around 13.

You can judge the senior-dog status of your pet by assessing their level of activity, health condition, and response to the food you give them.

The notion that your dog needs fewer calories as it ages is quite misguided. The reverse is true – they need more. Also, you should give them better quality foods and proteins, which they can digest and absorb with ease.

You don’t have to give them lower protein percentage foods unless they have shown some negative health issue that calls for this. Remember, protein is good for the senior dog, for it helps them to maintain well-toned muscles.

As a rule, most of the maintenance foods are good for your senior dog. However, be advised by how its weight and general health condition is changing. Should you see any anomalies, you can consider making some changes. Your vet should come in handy on this matter.

TYPES OF DOG FOOD FINAL WORD

The world is oversupplied with all types of commercial dog foods. Don’t feed your doggy just anything you find in the stores.

Take advantage of all the advancements made in the field of dog nutrition to give them the best that you can afford. The long-term benefits of this will outweigh any inconveniences you suffer by far.

Regarding the different dog breeds, there is no dog food produced for a specific breed. However, as mentioned above, certain characteristics make different foods more suitable for a certain breed.

For example, we researched what would be the dog food most suitable for: pitbulls, german shepherds, huskies, golden retrievers, bulldogs, dobermans, pugs, french bulldogs, dachshunds, schnauzers, border colliers, poodles, chihuahuas, large breeds, diabetic dogs etc.

Best Dog Food Brands

A quick walk through a pet store will show you that the world of dog nutrition is as diverse as that of humans.

You’ll see all kinds of buzzwords: Healthy Weight! Human-Grade! Grain-Free! All these may get you giddy in the head.

We’ve compiled this article to help you understand just what makes the winning brands tick. We hope this will help you as you look for food for your favorite canine companion.

So, how do you spot the best dog brands? Here is a report of five such dog food brands.

ACANA DOG FOOD BRANDS

Acana is a pet food company that manufacturers from Alberta in Canada. According to their official website, they transport the food ingredients direct to the labs immediately after harvesting. As such, they use the ingredients while still relatively fresh.

The fact that they have their own production facilities ensures that they remain on top of quality control during the entire process.

In addition, the company lays much emphasis on protein content as opposed to carbohydrates content. As such, their foods are suitable for your dog.

You see, although not all experts agree on this formula, there’s no doubt that a superior protein content is good for your dog.

The company derives its ingredients from such sources as fish, different meat, herbs, vegetables, and fruit. These ingredients are good for your puppy and grown dog. This is more so because they don’t use preservatives, flavors, and colors.

Pros

On the upside, Acana dog food brands have the following advantages:

  • They are grain-free
  • Use a wide variety of meats
  • Has anti-oxidants sourced from vegetables and fruits
  • Very nutritious because they contain healthy animal cartilage and organs

Cons

Here are is the downside of Acana dog food brands:

  • The foods are quite expensive compared to other brands in the market
  • Their use of the bacterium Enterococcus faecium is questionable. The effect of this probiotic has never been investigated fully

Acana Foods Recall History

There were no recorded recalls of Acana brands in by the third quarter of 2018.

Overall, we can say that these brands of dog food are quality, complete, and balanced. Of course, this is why they are a bit more expensive than other brands. Acana lays much emphasis on quality as opposed to cutting corners.

ORIJEN DOG FOOD BRANDS

Orijen is a company that is based in the US. It gets the bulk of its ingredients from Kentucky. Also, it works with independent farmers, fishermen, and ranchers to get high-quality ingredients for their dog food products.

Over the years, the majority of Orijen customers have been giving positive reviews regarding their dog foods.

The company insists on dealing in only farm-fresh produce in all their products. Unlike many firms out there, Orijen does not accept frozen ingredients.

This is good news for your flurry friend. These quality foods will be nourishing to their bodies, and will not cause any sensitivity.

Pros

You stand to get the following benefits by using Orijen products:

  • Farm-fresh ingredients

Your dog gets food made from fresh ingredients sourced in Kentucky and other parts of US. This also goes a long way in supporting the local rancher, fishermen, and farmers.

  • Helps resolve digestive issues

A look at customer reviews shows that many clients commend the Orijen products for helping their dogs overcome digestive problems. A good number of them report improvements of up to 100% health regained!

  • Their ingredients are organic

A good number of companies use grain-free ingredients. Orijen, too, does this. However, they have gone a step further. They have roped in organic ingredients such as pumpkin and kale to add more value to their products.

Cons

The Orijen foods have the following weaknesses:

  • Their dog foods are quite expensive as compared to their competitors
  • The change in the Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food formula was not received well by many customers
  • The distribution of the food is not as smooth as it was some years ago. A number of customers report that they cannot get it in their local stores as they used to.

Orijen Dog Foods Recall History

As far as we can tell, Orijen has not had to suffer any recalls. FDA has not listed them on their recalled foods section.

Overall, we can safely say that Orijen dog food is a good option for your dog.

best-dog-food-brands

FROMM DOG FOOD BRANDS

Fromm has been around for quite some time. The company was established in 1904, making it one of the oldest manufacturers of animal food.

It is based in Wisconsin, and sources ingredients from independent farmers across the state. They are keen to follow the approved AAFCO and USDA guidelines for ingredients.

With age, comes experience. According to the company’s official website, they have retained the authenticity of their recipes and formulas gained over 100 years. Of course, they’ve had to make positive adjustments in tandem with modern times.

Customer reviews show that many of them are happy with the products the company offers. The products contain such ingredients as Wisconsin Cheese, fiber, carbs, vegetables, dried eggs, and meat protein.

Pros

This dog food brand has the following advantages:

  • It’s the oldest dog food firm – they have the experience to do it right
  • The ingredients they use are FDA and USDA compliant
  • The products are rich in the proteins good for pregnancy, nursing, and puppies
  • Their dry food is high in fiber content. This is good for muscle strength

Cons

Customers have expressed their concerns regarding:

  • The use of peas as part of the ingredients
  • Some feel that 6% fiber is rather too high on dry foods for dogs
  • Use of probiotics whose full effect has not been conclusively tested

Fromm Dog Food Recall History

The Fromm Canned Dog Food section suffered a recall in March 2017. The 12oz. cans had high levels of vitamin D, which the company felt would pose a danger to dogs.

Overall, Fromm has had a clean slate as a brand. The recall they made in March 2017 was voluntary. This goes a long way in enhancing their reputation in the industry.

EAGLE PACK DOG FOOD BRANDS

This company has been in operation since 1985. Wellpet acquired it in 2010, and its manufacturing facility was established in Indiana.

The company manufactures different foods for a wide variety of dogs. For example, it makes brands for athlete and high-performance dogs, pet dogs, guard dogs, etc.

The Eagle Pack Dog Food division of the company has a high level of autonomy. It manufactures foods that meet the nutritional needs of pet dogs. These include Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard, and Wellness.

Pros

This company continues to be a favorite with dog owners for the following reasons:

  • Has been around for over 3 decades – age is gold!
  • Does very well in high-performance foods for athlete dogs
  • Use very exhaustive testing procedures
  • Does not use colors, sweeteners, and preservatives in their products
  • They verify all their sources of meat meal
  • Use the easier-to-absorb chelated chemicals
  • Use insulin for healthier guts

Cons

The company uses brewer’s yeast and tomato pomace as part of their ingredients. Experts have repeatedly warned about the use of these two ingredients in dog foods.

Eagle Pack Dog Food Recall History

As far as we could tell, the company has not suffered any recalls in the recent past.

Overall, the customers have posted many positive reviews on the company’s official website. The few negative reviews raise mild issues. They should not give you undue distress.

THE HONEST KITCHEN DOG FOOD BRANDS

Lucy and Charles Postins established this company in 2002 in San Diego, California. The company insists on making human-grade products.

As such, it doesn’t use colors, flavors, and fillers in any of its dog food products. In fact, the company has had to go through rigorous public scrutiny regarding this.

Some time back, they sued the US government for the right to use the term Hunan-grade’ in their products. A number of companies tried the same. Interestingly, it’s only The Honest Kitchen that won the suit. This means that their foods are very safe.

Pros

  • Relies heavily on organic ingredients
  • Does not accept ingredients from China
  • Uses the easier-to-absorb chelated minerals
  • Rich in healthy beef, fish, and poultry meant ingredients
  • Uses coconut oil as its source of essential fatty acids
  • Their diets are rich planted-based ingredients
  • Does not use colors, sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives
  • All human-grade ingredients (100%)

Cons

We were not able to pick any downside regarding their ingredients, products, processes, and work ethics.

The Honest Kitchen Recall History

The company decided to recall three brands of its products in 2013. They suspected that the parsley supplied to them had the potential for salmonella. To prevent future concerns, they terminated their contract with that particular supplier.

BEST DOG FOOD BRANDS FINAL WORD

Overall, there are excellent food brands out there for your pet. Many manufacturers appreciate that pet owner today have a lot of access to information. As such, they are trying their best to provide you with quality products.

However, a good number of others are only conserved with cutting costs and maximizing profits. You need to be wary of such manufacturers. As we always say, conduct due diligence before you make a purchase. Remember we do not test any of these products ourselves.

 

 

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